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Advice on upgrading my graphics card


aaltair
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Happy holidays! I received a modest windfall for christmas and I'm thinking of upgrading my graphics card. I'm wondering, do I just get a new card and swap them out or will I have to do something with the other components to support the new card such as a better cooling system or whathaveyou? My system isn't anything special, here are the specs:

 

Asus desktop M31AD series

Intel i-7 4790 3.60 GHz

16Gb memory

Current graphics card is Nvidia GTX 760 192 bit

 

I'm thinking of upgrading to a 970 perhaps? The 980ti is too expensive. Will I see a significant improvement just going to a 970? Also should I go with an asus card since my system is asus or does it not matter? Is there a particular manufacturer recommended?

 

Any advice you all have to offer is greatly appreciated, as always! :)

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The only things you will need to worry about would be the power needs of the new card and the available supply and connector types from your existing PSU. Possibly the overall length of the card may be a factor.

 

Your existing 760 uses 2x6pin connectors and the 970, which also draws less power than the 760, it is however 2.5 cm longer.

The differing card suppliers do make a difference, but for the average gamer those differences might not warrant paying a premium for the specific brand name. It's one of those choices you will need to investigate.

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Remember that although the 970 is advertised as having 4Gb of VRAM, only 3.5Gb is actually the good stuff, the remaining 0.5Gb is slower. There was quite a hoo hah about that fact when it got out. Consider the 970 as a 3.5Gb card. Being a cool card, the 970 was happy to be fairly well overclocked, even with the default cooler.

 

Brand is not an issue. Just make sure you have enough space, airflow (take the opportunity to have a tidy up and dust in your case) and the correct power leads from your PSU.

 

HW Compare 760 vs 970 : https://www.hwcompare.com/18042/geforce-gtx-970-vs-geforce-gtx-760/

Edited by DanielCoffey
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I understand what some of you are saying regarding waiting to upgrade, but even if I wait I won't be buying the newest gpu due to cost, so regardless it will still be a 970 or 980. The only thing I play really is Skyrim and maybe with a new gpu I'll play witcher and FO4, but i'm not a person with a 4k multiple monitor setup so I don't think I need the most powerful everything, just want to run my mods and ENB on quality, heh. I've got inlaws who gave me cash with the specific caveat that I spend it on something frivolous, because really what ends up happening when I get any extra cash is I spend it on practical stuff which while not a bad quality also means that I pretty much take care of everything and everyone else first, which is their point with the frivolous caveat.

 

So basically if I get the 970 the cost is covered, it's like a free upgrade. Or I could apply that money to the 980 and shell out the extra $200 or so. But i'm pragmatic as mentioned I tend to balk at spending $$ on frivolous things so mainly what I'm trying to figure out now is, am I going to be significantly happier with the 980 vs the 970? If I were just going by normal gaming and gpu benchmarks I would go with the 970 but of course those benchmarks don't account for heavily modded skyrim or modded FO4 which of course I will be doing if I play that. I'm also pretty confused about the whole 4/actually 3.5 Gb thing and if that extra memory is going to significantly improve my game, perhaps allow me to add better textures? Or if it's a non-issue really. 

 

So with that in mind, 970 or 980?

 

I appreciate all your great advice!

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I usually wait till the end of spring or mid-summer for my upgrades that's when a good deal of the new parts come out and the older ones get somewhat discounted, I'd always go for the best card you can afford now I've been on the higher end (780) versus the low to mid-range (460, etc)

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Remember that although the 970 is advertised as having 4Gb of VRAM, only 3.5Gb is actually the good stuff, the remaining 0.5Gb is slower. There was quite a hoo hah about that fact when it got out. Consider the 970 as a 3.5Gb card. 

eh, you will never notice it. The issue is more that nVidia lied rather than it being an issue that affects any games.

I haven't seen any games show issues because of the card and I doubt there ever will

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Just got my 980TI (EVGA superclocked fancy cooled version).... which I just bought on impulse because I kinda suspected my old gtx660 was dying slowly but surely. 

Works wonders! Now I can once again play games at higher than 30FPS at 1440p! Hurray! 

 

Just had to get used to the fact that the fans do not start until it hits 60C! Which actually takes some effort! 

Damn this new modern tech

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for all the advice on this! For anyone who might be interested or considering a graphics card upgrade on a budget, I feel like I really got a lot of value with the one I chose, which is the EVGA 970 SSC. I doubt I would have noticed the difference between this and the 980 in anything except the cost which is around $200 more. I have about 180 mods and I'm using Grim and Somber ENB on high quality, and the lowest I'm seeing my FPS go is around 45 in the heavily wooded areas (SFO). Plus this thing is ridiculously quiet, I can't believe how silent it is compared to my old 760. Hurray for technology!

Edited by aaltair
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