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 GPUs

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Serenity09
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PostSubject: GPUs   Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:35 pm

im considering upgrading GPUs. the one i have is pretty outdated (like 4 years old) and its been having more and more quirks. i think its also responsible for some streaming weirdness i have, but thats not super important. thing is i have no clue what to even look for in a gpu
question 1: nvidia releases one brand of gpu and then for some reason another brand rebrands the nvidia brand into <insert new brand here> + nvidia supercard. wtf is that all about?
question 2: which tier should i buy and when should i buy it? like do i go for the flagship on last years models or the low end of this years, is there a best time to buy etc
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Pat1487
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PostSubject: Re: GPUs   Tue Sep 30, 2014 11:22 am

Question 1:
You mean the EVGA superclocked?

Its just the name of the company that manufacturers it, EVGA, MSI, Gigabyte, PNY, etc.
It makes nvidia a lot of money to outsource the mass production to companies like that

Superclocked just means that its overclocked from the standard in the factory by default (and can be overclocked even more if desired) they have better cooling systems then non-superclocked versions
They are all pretty much overclocked by default now though so the superclock thing doesnt really matter anymore (you should still check clock speeds just to be sure that you arent getting the "under clocked" one)

You definitely want 1 that has been overclocked by default (they wont all say superclocked but many are, hence just ignore the superclock thing and check the clock speeds manually)
Also if EVGA doesnt say superclocked it actually isnt superclocked (superclock is evga's word, other brands can run at "superclocked" speeds even when not using that word)

Question 2:
The low end of the current year will always be worse than the high end of the last year and on par with the mid tier of the last year, the mid tier of the current year will always be about on par with the high end of last year (but will cost less), and the high end of the current year will make the high end of the last year look like crap

Usually the current years mid tier is what you want as its normally a cheaper version of last years high end
It depends on how much your willing to spend really

Currently the low end of this year for nvidia doesnt exist yet, the gtx 960 not out until october
The 960 should be on par with the 770, could be slightly worse or could be slightly better depending on what theyve decided to do
The 970 is slightly worse than the 780 (the difference is negligible) so the 960 probably will be slightly worse than 770 (probably also negligible difference)

And as for what is low mid and high end
Nvidia follows this pattern:
N60 is low end
N70 is mid tier
N80 is high end
So this year 960 is low, 970 mid, 980 high

Ti is mostly just a marketing gimmick, though sometimes its a more affordable or better version of the non-Ti card
Anything lower than N60 are budget cards released after the main 3 and usually suck
N90 is a special model, its basically 2 N80s on the same card, its really not worth the price

The Titan series is terrible and should be forgotten


AMD currently follows this pattern (most of the time, it changes and already changed with the most recent card):
R5 is low end
R7 is mid tier (not really mid anymore)
R9 is high end

And they have tiers within that which follow this pattern:

2N5 low end (more affordable slightly worse mid tier really)
2N0 mid tier
2N0X high end
So right now the R5 and R7s are low, the R9 290 mid, the R9 290X high and the R9 295X2 super high tier, yeah, like i said, they dont seem to care about following a pattern the 295X2 is the only card that is 2N5X2 and doesnt fit the pattern, its the only card to have a 2 after the X, there wasnt even a 295, 295X or 295X1 so they are just making it up as they go adding X and X2 to w/e they feel like
They also release cards out of order, like the 280 came after the 290 but the 280 is worse than the 290
Its like they are purposely trying to be confusing



Here are the lists of graphics cards to let you very quickly compare everything:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nvidia_graphics_processing_units#GeForce_900_Series
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_graphics_processing_units#Volcanic_Islands_.28Rx_200.29_Series
Scroll up a bit from there to see older cards
Those are the stock specs, not counting stuff like superclock

And heres a less technical way to compare them quickly (its updated very often)
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

Now isnt the worst time to buy, but its not the best either, since the 900 nvidia series just came out, literally less than 2 weeks ago and this years AMD series isnt out yet (AMDs next series could be R9 300, R11 200, R11 300, or some random combination of X and numbers that they pull out of their ass)
So id wait to see

That said, the 970 is really worth its price, $300 for what it offers is really good, but if you dont need a card right now you can just wait to be sure there isnt a better Ti version or to see if the 960 is worth it
Its even possible that AMD might come out with something worthwhile this year, the 290 and 290X were both actually pretty good last year, the issue AMD has is the price is too high, if they can come out with something to top the 290 and/or the 290X for $300 it could be worth it

So even though the 970 is really worth it, waiting is still best imo, just in case theres something even better
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Serenity09
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PostSubject: Re: GPUs   Fri Oct 03, 2014 5:37 pm

thanks for the info pat

pat wrote:
The Titan series is terrible and should be forgotten
lmao why so much hate?

pat wrote:
yeah, like i said, they dont seem to care about following a pattern
lol
it took me 2 read throughs to figure it out. its just senselessly complex, why does it need two indexes like that. maybe thats why they get the weird numbers, they get confused by their own system and just start making it up

what are the most important aspects of those comparison lists on wikipedia?
an example, ive seen some nvidia cards that are the same model but have a different amount of gb ddr5 -- so does a 6gb 760 (hypothetical) perform around evenly with a 2gb 770

okay ill wait too but ill probably end up with the 970
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Pat1487
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PostSubject: Re: GPUs   Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:18 am

Serenity09 wrote:
lmao why so much hate?

It was hyped as being the most advanced series of cards ever, way beyond anything ever seen before, but they werent that much better, like maybe a 20% increase in performance over the 680 (which was the card that came before the titan series)
Plus the 780 is on par with them for $700-$1000 less and came out shortly after (only a few months after)

Serenity09 wrote:
what are the most important aspects of those comparison lists on wikipedia?
an example, ive seen some nvidia cards that are the same model but have a different amount of gb ddr5 -- so does a 6gb 760 (hypothetical) perform around evenly with a 2gb 770

Clock rate, texture fill rate, and memory bandwidth are all that really matter
You can ignore the rest

Every 50mhz on clock rate is a moderate difference in performance, 100mhz is a significant difference
Every 20gt on texture fill rate is a moderate difference, 40 is significant
Memory bandwith also 20/40 moderate/significant

The amount of ram doesnt increase performance, the speed of the ram is what increases performance

A graphics card is basically a mini computer with a very specific specialized task, it has a cpu and ram, so you can think of it in the same terms as a computer, having a ton of ram isnt all that helpful when you have a slow cpu
Its especially bad when that ram is slow
The 760 has a memory bandwidth of 192gb/s, and the 770 is 224gb/s
So a 760 with 6gb is slower, but can hold more textures in memory at once, the 770 with 2gb is faster but cant hold as much
The only time the 760 with 6gb ram is better is when theres more than 2gb of textures on screen at once, its not faster and never actually performs evenly, i say its better because the 770 maxes out and cant display all the textures at once while the 760 can, so you wont get any out of memory errors or missing textures with the 6gb 760 where as youll get some sort of error, either visually or a crash to desktop, with the 2gb 770 once it passes that 2gb threshold

That said you dont actually need 6gb of video ram
Only the stuff being displayed on screen (and a bit off to the sides) at that moment is held in the gpu's ram, your system ram holds stuff thats off screen ready to pass it to the gpu when it needs to display it as you or other things move around, and it just dumps textures that it doesnt need anymore as it fills up
As far as the gpu is concerned the only thing that exists is whats on your monitor + a bit of a border around the monitor, even stuff behind the wall that your currently looking at doesnt exist to the gpu because its hidden from view by the wall, so you dont need that much in video memory at 1 time
Textures are re-used a lot too, like every pot in a game will have the same texture and hence only takes up a small space even with 100000s of pots on screen at once, every object has 1 to a dozen textures (depending on how many variations of the same object is required, or how complex the object is), so even though theres a ton of a bunch of stuff on screen, its not actually taking up that much space in the gpu'a ram to display, also its weird to have 2 different styles of chair at a table for example, so even though the game might have dozens of chair textures only 1 or 2 will need to be on screen (and in video ram) at a time
And sometimes devs will even re-use textures for different objects, like all the wood of a dock is the same texture as the wood of a boat (they just re-orient the texture a bit so it looks different) so that when the player goes to the pier it only loads 1 texture for several things and is really fast and efficient

And, for example, the whole wall of a giant building can be 1 texture (generally they are 1 texture for buildings that are really far away) so even huge open scenes that appear amazing dont actually need that much space in video ram because distant objects are barely textured
So maxing out 2gb of video ram at once is kindve hard, or at least it was, new games can max it out as individual texture size increases with higher quality textures, so 4gb video ram is the way to go now, you can still get away with 2gb but i wouldnt recomend it when getting a new card

Going back to gpu's being like a mini computer, 2gb video ram is like 8gb system ram, 4gb is like 16gb, and 6gb is like 32gb
6gb just not needed yet



Ive said things like "the game isnt optimized" before, when i say that its stuff like this that im refering to
Where the devs go crazy with many different textures rather than trying to re-use them finding spots where textures could be re-used, or giving detailed textures to distant objects when those distant objects dont need that much detail
Most games released in the last year, especially starting in like janurary of this year, could actually run on much worse hardware, its just that because most gamers have hardware above whats needed most devs just dont bother to optimize anything anymore so system requirements are inflated compared to what they could be


Also, something that i find interesting thats related to this, there used to be a limit to the number of colors that could be displayed on screen at once, im talking like 15 colors on screen at maximum (there still is a limit today, but its so high now we cant notice it)
Eventually hardware will come to a point where every possible perceivable texture can be loaded into video ram at once so you could hypothetically render an entire universe in full detail on screen at once, just like how we have every perceivable color on screen at once
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