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View Full Version : Buying a new PC -- is a GTX 690 worth it?



glimpse fade yelp
07-09-2012, 05:58 PM
I'm shopping around for a new custom build PC at the moment and can't decide whether to go for a GTX 680 or 690.

At the moment, a 690 would be overkill because I'll only ever be using one monitor and most likely 1900 x 1080 for 3d Vision...maybe higher res later on. But I don't plan on updating my system for another 4-5 yrs, so was thinking of the 690 as future proofing as far as possible (i.e. no idea what the next gen consoles specs might offer), for when a 680 can no longer cut it.

So...is it worth going for the 690 while I can afford one, or is it a waste of money/resources?

Any thoughts appreciated...

Sakkura
07-09-2012, 06:01 PM
If you want something better than a 680, get two 670s in SLI. And honestly, the 680 doesn't compare too well with a single 670 either; slightly better performance, much more expensive.

Feldspar
07-09-2012, 06:06 PM
You're right, it probably would be overkill, but largely its a personal choice.

Personally I'd buy something mid-range (but adequate for your needs) now, and then do the same in 2-3 yrs when you think your system is chugging a bit and can get something that will knock the socks off a GTX690 at half the price (or possibly less). To me, updating your graphics card is hardly changing anything in your system, possibly one of the easiest upgrades and makes a big difference to both your system and how your perceive it.

Sketch
07-09-2012, 06:32 PM
I was in your boat, I was strongly considering getting a 690, but to be honest the 2GB on each GPU put me off. I had trouble with my 5970, in newer games with texture packs or whatever the card itself was fast enough, but I'd reach the VRAM limit and it'd chug because it can't share the VRAM across two GPUs well/at all. If you're really an Nvidia guy, you wouldn't go wrong with a 670 or 80, but another option would be to get the 3GB 7970. Single GPU card, a LOT cheaper, nails all current games and definitely room to Crossfire another one if you need it down the line.

Kadayi
07-09-2012, 06:47 PM
I'd say you're better off going for a middle range card 660Ti and then in a couple of years buying a better one rather than paying through the nose for a top end card now that will be superseded in a years time when the inevitable 7 series come out. Woulndedbum is right about things like the onboard ram. With future cards we're going to start seeing more of that bundled in so it's pointless to go 690 with 2GB when in a few years that will seem antiquated. Plus GPUs aren't exactly hard to upgrade.

slick_101
07-09-2012, 10:02 PM
They have just released a 4 gig 680 from EVGA, I just saw some YouTube reviews (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIJIhv3mqNw&feature=g-hist) and they say it's a top card. Only down side is that I'm not sure if it's released in the UK yet. Though when/if they do released it won't be cheap. However it does do Quad SLI. And no. I'm not joking.

FriendlyFire
08-09-2012, 01:12 AM
I have two 6950s and honestly, multi-GPU solutions (be they fused cards like the 690 or SLI/CFX) suck. Driver and game support is terrible, scaling is very hit and miss, you get more issues than the average setup, and it costs quite a bit.

Buy a single good card like the 680 and upgrade later down the line. You can't "future-proof"; even a dual GPU setup now will get outclassed in a few years at best.

Grizzly
08-09-2012, 10:15 AM
Chances are that you won't be even able to find the 690 or the 680 as they are being produces for a niche, the 670 however is a neat choice.

I'd go for the 670 on basis of it being the best bang-for-your-buck card in the high end range.

Sakkura
08-09-2012, 11:12 AM
Chances are that you won't be even able to find the 690 or the 680 as they are being produces for a niche, the 670 however is a neat choice.

I'd go for the 670 on basis of it being the best bang-for-your-buck card in the high end range.
The GTX 680 and 690 used to be tough to find, but that's fixed by now. I still agree that the 670 is a better deal though.

glimpse fade yelp
08-09-2012, 11:31 AM
Wow -- thanks everyone for the info. I was pretty much 80% going to go for the 690, but what you're saying about the vram issue, driver support etc, has given me a lot to think about. Much appreciated!

Heliocentric
08-09-2012, 11:47 AM
Which nvidia card has the ability to throttle its power consumption? Is that out yet.

Sakkura
08-09-2012, 01:56 PM
Hmm? They all manage their power consumption as best they can. Nvidia's 600-series uses a bit less power under load than AMD's HD 7000-series, but when idle the AMD cards use less power. AMD's also more frugal with Crossfire than Nvidia SLI, because the extra cards power down completely whenever they're not needed. So typing away in Word means one card stays awake, the rest are asleep with the fan off.

christ87
10-09-2012, 09:19 AM
Im a bit cynical i love geforce but AMD always does it for me on price and quality!!! i will stick with my 7970!

mashakos
13-09-2012, 09:32 PM
Personally, I would not buy any video card just yet. Next-gen consoles might be announced this christmas, which is the usual queue for amd and nvidia to announce an entirely new generation of GPU's with triple the performance of th ecurrent gen.
Don't be like that guy who bought an nvidia 7900 GX2 3 months before the 8800GTX was released!

I have a gtx580, and honestly don't see the point of buying anything else for now. Everything runs perfectly, why bother? I really mean everything: you know that GTA IV icenhancer mod? 60 fps outdoor performance with occasional dips to 50fps.
A used one goes for $240 - $270, that's a real deal.


If you're really an Nvidia guy, you wouldn't go wrong with a 670 or 80, but another option would be to get the 3GB 7970. Single GPU card, a LOT cheaper, nails all current games and definitely room to Crossfire another one if you need it down the line.With the caveat that AMD's Catalyst is literally the worst driver package on the windows platform at the moment. I've seen no-brand usb hubs with better drivers...

Case in point: catalyst drivers crash Steam Big Picture on Windows 8 (http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showpost.php?p=32790274&postcount=239)

Sakkura
14-09-2012, 12:01 AM
New consoles won't suddenly make new GPU architectures available on the PC. They might ramp up their efforts a little bit, but I wouldn't bet on it. Besides, both of the newest GPU families are solid upgrades over their predecessors. Progress was actually slower a few years ago.

AMDs Catalyst is usually fine by the way. Usually. Big Picture itself is in beta anyway, which is where problems like this are supposed to crop up so they can be fixed.

mashakos
14-09-2012, 12:28 AM
New consoles won't suddenly make new GPU architectures available on the PC. They might ramp up their efforts a little bit, but I wouldn't bet on it.
That statement is either naive or just made from a lack of knowledge. Do this for me:
1- If you can, try to find an nvidia 7900 GX2 or an ATI X1900XTX.
2- Found one of these? Great. Now go and find an nvidia 8800GTX.
3- Now set them up, install Crysis, set everything to High and start playing.
4- Oh and use DX10.

What happened? Those cards don't support DX10? Well whaddya know!

Ok then, no worries, set it back to DX9. Any revelations you can share with us about similiar performance? Oh right, you will say that Crysis is unoptimised ;)

Ok then, how about Battlefield 3? Pretty optimised for PC right? Get back to me with those performance results.

EDIT: The 8800GTX was part of nvidia's next-gen unified shader architecture based platform. In other words, this was the "next-gen" for PC gaming. If you didn't know, PC graphics also go through generation cycles, and we are at the very end of the current one. Nvidia and Ati obviously would like to extend the current one as long as possible because it keeps their R&D costs down, but if next-gen consoles are released with graphics comparable to a gtx680 or gtx690, I can bet hard money that they ill immediately release their actual "next-gen" cards. Could be 2 teraflop cards or maybe something related to "cinematic" graphics effects (hair, particle simulation similiar to what was shown in the UE4 tech demos or square's last one). Whatever it is, it will definitely be released a very short time after MS and Sony's next-gen machines ship.

mashakos
14-09-2012, 12:39 AM
AMDs Catalyst is usually fine by the way. Usually. Big Picture itself is in beta anyway, which is where problems like this are supposed to crop up so they can be fixed.

I've faced a few issues outside of gaming (HD Video, upscaling lower resolutions on 2K monitors, lack of CUDA for Adobe applications) that have turned me off ATI permanently. Used to be a big fan of their cards in the ati 9 series era, but no anymore.

Here's m experience with pretty much every nvidia card since the 8800gtx: Plug it in, install drivers, it works!

Here is my experience with the amd 5870: plug it in, install drivers. Wait, what? Pixellated 1920x1200 resolution on a 30" monitor? No gpu acceleration for 1080p mkv?? Registry corruption after latest beta driver??? Have to manually remove 3,802 entries from registry???? Slower than gtx280 in GTA IV with mods?????

Yeah, usually fine.

Sakkura
14-09-2012, 12:46 AM
That statement is either naive or just made from a lack of knowledge. Do this for me: 1- If you can, try to find an nvidia 7900 GX2 or an ATI X1900XTX. 2- Found one of these? Great. Now go and find an nvidia 8800GTX. 3- Now set them up, install Crysis, set everything to High and start playing. 4- Oh and use DX10. What happened? Those cards don't support DX10? Well whaddya know! Ok then, no worries, set it back to DX9. Any revelations you can share with us about similiar performance? Oh right, you will say that Crysis is unoptimised ;) Ok then, how about Battlefield 3? Pretty optimised for PC right? Get back to me with those performance results. EDIT: The 8800GTX was part of nvidia's next-gen unified shader architecture based platform. In other words, this was the "next-gen" for PC gaming. If you didn't know, PC graphics also go through generation cycles, and we are at the very end of the current one. Nvidia and Ati obviously would like to extend the current one as long as possible because it keeps their R&D costs down, but if next-gen consoles are released with graphics comparable to a gtx680 or gtx690, I can bet hard money that they ill immediately release their actual "next-gen" cards. Could be 2 teraflop cards or maybe something related to "cinematic" graphics effects (hair, particle simulation similiar to what was shown in the UE4 tech demos or square's last one). Whatever it is, it will definitely be released a very short time after MS and Sony's next-gen machines ship. Who says the gap the 8800 GTX had over its predecessors is due to consoles though? Also, you don't seem to know what you're talking about. How long ago was it that AMD introduced their GCN? Where did you get the bright idea that new consoles will have graphics comparable to a GTX 680 or 690? There have been rumors that the PS4 and Xbox 720 will use GPUs based on the Radeon HD 7670/6670. That's hardware inferior to what I replaced with my current HD 6850. Which a 7850 runs circles around, while hoping no GTX 670 shows up and takes its lunch money.
I've faced a few issues outside of gaming (HD Video, upscaling lower resolutions on 2K monitors, lack of CUDA for Adobe applications) that have turned me off ATI permanently. Used to be a big fan of their cards in the ati 9 series era, but no anymore. Here's m experience with pretty much every nvidia card since the 8800gtx: Plug it in, install drivers, it works! Here is my experience with the amd 5870: plug it in, install drivers. Wait, what? Pixellated 1920x1200 resolution on a 30" monitor? No gpu acceleration for 1080p mkv?? Registry corruption after latest beta driver??? Have to manually remove 3,802 entries from registry???? Slower than gtx280 in GTA IV with mods????? Yeah, usually fine. I've had to downgrade Geforce drivers twice due to unresolvable issues. I have had to do that zero times with Catalyst. YMMV applies, you know. This is the PC we're talking about.

mashakos
14-09-2012, 12:59 AM
Who says the gap the 8800 GTX had over its predecessors is due to consoles though?

Wow, this is just... so, you can't argue that the performance gap between th nvidia 7/ATI x19xx series and the nvidia 8800GTX was GIGANTIC right? Yeah, you have no credibility with your ridiculous remarks:


They might ramp up their efforts a little bit, but I wouldn't bet on it.


Discussion over.

Sakkura
14-09-2012, 01:38 AM
Wow, this is just... so, you can't argue that the performance gap between th nvidia 7/ATI x19xx series and the nvidia 8800GTX was GIGANTIC right?
You still haven't shown us how that gap had anything to do with the consoles. You also still haven't shown us why the new consoles would have graphics comparable to the GTX 680 or 690, when most people are talking about chips derived from the old Radeon HD 5670.

mashakos
14-09-2012, 01:52 AM
You still haven't shown us how that gap had anything to do with the consoles. You also still haven't shown us why the new consoles would have graphics comparable to the GTX 680 or 690, when most people are talking about chips derived from the old Radeon HD 5670.
Honestly, it's so obvious to me that I'm having a hard time believing that you aren't sharp enough to see it. I'm bookmarking this thread, getting back to it after the next-gen consoles are out. Commence with your comments.

Sakkura
14-09-2012, 02:00 AM
That's mature. You still haven't answered those questions though. But nevermind, I think we're getting this thread closed anyway. Sigh... at least the OP got his answer already.

mashakos
14-09-2012, 06:17 AM
I posted this in another forum:


I'd wait till 2013 before buying anything new. If new consoles are released by then, nvidia and amd will follow suit with a complete redesign of their hardware architecture that will be 5-10 times faster than the current gtx680 and amd 7xxx series. It's happened in 1996 (3dfx voodoo 10 times faster than 3d on cpu alone), then again in 2001/2002 (nvidia geforce 4/ati radeon 9700 5 times faster than geforce 3/ ati 8xxx), then yet again in 2006 (nvidia 8800gtx 5 times faster than geforce 7900gtx & radeon X1900XTX).
See a pattern? All those gigantic leaps in graphics hardware coincided with 3 generations of console launches.
The same will most likely happen again at the beginning of next year IF a next-gen console is released from Microsoft or Sony.

Be smart and don't buy guaranteed-to-be obsolete graphics hardware. The gtx690? That's basically you donating an extra $540 (actual value of the card is $500 imo) to fund nvidia's R&D for next year.

If you have a spare $280 bill in your wallet you don't know what to do with, get a used gtx580. It is perfectly capable of running games at their highest settings at 1080p till next year.

Carra
14-09-2012, 11:08 AM
I have a 670 and it's running all games I threw at it at max settings at a resolution of 2560x 1440. So yes, a 690 is definitely overkill.

And if you game on 1080p, you might be better off with a 660 Ti. I'd advise you to browse some hardware fora, they have nice little charts with the FPS you can expect in modern games.

PS: as to the "wait until the consoles are released". We're talking end of next year at the fastest. Do you really want to spend another 15 months with your old card?

Sakkura
14-09-2012, 11:19 AM
I posted this in another forum:
That doesn't make it any less wrong. Why would they even need to make a leap ahead when their current graphics cards are already far better than what the new consoles will have?

FriendlyFire
14-09-2012, 07:54 PM
AMD's just released one of their largest architecture redesigns with GCN. There's no way in hell they'd make another complete redesign so soon.

Sketch
14-09-2012, 08:37 PM
Case in point: catalyst drivers crash Steam Big Picture on Windows 8 (http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showpost.php?p=32790274&postcount=239)

I don't find it that surprising that two brand new pieces of software don't work well to begin with. That's to say AMD are flawless, but they're nowhere near as bas as you make out.

mashakos
14-09-2012, 11:20 PM
That doesn't make it any less wrong. Why would they even need to make a leap ahead when their current graphics cards are already far better than what the new consoles will have?

Why did nvdia and ati (well, nvidia mostly) make a giant leap in 2006, when the nvidia 7900gtx/ati x1900 were FAR better than the Playstation 2 / Xbox / Gamecube?

mashakos
14-09-2012, 11:23 PM
AMD's just released one of their largest architecture redesigns with GCN. There's no way in hell they'd make another complete redesign so soon.

ATI/AMD doesn't do innovation anymore, they stick to releasing the most performance at the lowest price bracket possible. This has been the case since 2006, there is not a single instance where they were not playing catch up this generation. It's telling that their "major architecture overhaul" is just barely competing with nvidia's more or less incremental update to their original geforce 8 series.

Put it this way: if the "largest architecture overhaul" released in the past two years by AMD can't even run next-gen tech demos at 60 fps (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d74YAqh8NA4), how relevant is it?

mashakos
14-09-2012, 11:35 PM
I don't find it that surprising that two brand new pieces of software don't work well to begin with. That's to say AMD are flawless, but they're nowhere near as bas as you make out.

I don't know, I regularly see threads / articles about abysmal AMD compatibility on an epic scale:
http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1722615
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/RAGE-FPS-PC-Gaming-Texture-Popping-Screen-Tearing,13606.html
http://forums.pcsx2.net/Thread-Why-exactly-is-Nvidia-AMD-ATI-in-PCSX2

Sakkura
15-09-2012, 12:11 AM
Why did nvdia and ati (well, nvidia mostly) make a giant leap in 2006, when the nvidia 7900gtx/ati x1900 were FAR better than the Playstation 2 / Xbox / Gamecube?
None of those consoles were new in 2006. You're telling me Nvidia and ATI were so scared by what the consoles could do circa 2001 that they put full steam ahead for a huge leap forward in ...2006?

mashakos
15-09-2012, 12:51 AM
None of those consoles were new in 2006. You're telling me Nvidia and ATI were so scared by what the consoles could do circa 2001 that they put full steam ahead for a huge leap forward in ...2006?
and my point flies right over your head. *woosh*

Sakkura
15-09-2012, 01:05 AM
and my point flies right over your head. *woosh*
So you were referring to the new consoles that were released around that time? I've already addressed that. The upcoming consoles will reportedly have graphics based on the Radeon HD 6670. That's an outdated low-end GPU today, let alone when the consoles actually launch. Why would a great leap ahead be needed when there's already a huge gap between what PC graphics cards can deliver today and what consoles will deliver tomorrow?

Sketch
15-09-2012, 01:23 AM
I don't know, I regularly see threads / articles about abysmal AMD compatibility on an epic scale:
http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1722615
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/RAGE-FPS-PC-Gaming-Texture-Popping-Screen-Tearing,13606.html
http://forums.pcsx2.net/Thread-Why-exactly-is-Nvidia-AMD-ATI-in-PCSX2

And there are hundreds of ones about Nvidia ones too. I think on the whole Nvidia's support is better, but AMD's isn't so bad to write off the cards. I haven't had a problem with a game due to my card since Skyrim, and that was because the game is bad on dual GPU cards.

FriendlyFire
15-09-2012, 01:58 AM
AMD's 7000-series performance is besides the point. GCN is new. They're not going to make a new architecture.

But hey, keep telling yourself you know so much better than everyone else if it makes you feel better.

mashakos
15-09-2012, 02:07 AM
AMD's 7000-series performance is besides the point. GCN is new. They're not going to make a new architecture.I have already covered this: amd doesn't care about the cutting edge anymore.


But hey, keep telling yourself you know so much better than everyone else if it makes you feel better.I refer you to comment #21 (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?6088-Buying-a-new-PC-is-a-GTX-690-worth-it&p=189947&viewfull=1#post189947)

mashakos
15-09-2012, 02:14 AM
And there are hundreds of ones about Nvidia ones too.

no no no, I'm not talking about poor PC user no #67564 that has a problem with his new gfx card, I'm talking about the fact that amd cards have poor performance and shortcomings in an entire category of applications.

Sakkura
15-09-2012, 02:45 AM
no no no, I'm not talking about poor PC user no #67564 that has a problem with his new gfx card, I'm talking about the fact that amd cards have poor performance and shortcomings in an entire category of applications.
GPGPU says hi.

http://media.bestofmicro.com/A/6/351582/original/0101%20Bitmining.png

mashakos
15-09-2012, 02:53 AM
GPGPU says hi.

So it sucks at a bunch of things but is awesome at opencl processing. Do you just like to link to Tom's Hardware or do you have anything to counter what I said and linked to earlier?

EDIT: I also like that amd is only better when it's crossfired cards are used. Nice one!

Sakkura
15-09-2012, 12:09 PM
]So it sucks at a bunch of things but is awesome at opencl processing.[/B] Do you just like to link to Tom's Hardware or do you have anything to counter what I said and linked to earlier?

EDIT: I also like that amd is only better when it's crossfired cards are used. Nice one!
The point is Nvidia cards have poor performance and shortcomings in an entire category of applications. Does that sound familiar?

mashakos
15-09-2012, 02:50 PM
The point is Nvidia cards have poor performance and shortcomings in an entire category of applications. Does that sound familiar?
Fair enough. Then again, nvidia cards perform exceptionally well on a gpgpu platform that is widely adopted by software developers, one that amd cards do not even support - CUDA. I'd rather have a card that supports all the available platforms rather than one where people have to pester software companies to adopt in a limited form (http://blogs.adobe.com/premiereprotraining/2012/05/opencl-and-premiere-pro-cs6.html).

There's a context for everything. A single card not performing as well as a crossfire setup in OpenCL? For most users that is not a huge problem unless you are into generating rainbow tables or complex simulations built on that platform.

A single (or crossfired) card not able to accelerate H.264 video, cannot upscale on high resolution monitors and cannot handle applications where "driver optimisations" (read: artificial performance) are not applicable? That is major for a huge audience of users.

Sakkura
15-09-2012, 03:38 PM
Fair enough. Then again, nvidia cards perform exceptionally well on a gpgpu platform that is widely adopted by software developers, one that amd cards do not even support - CUDA. I'd rather have a card that supports all the available platforms rather than one where people have to pester software companies to adopt in a limited form (http://blogs.adobe.com/premiereprotraining/2012/05/opencl-and-premiere-pro-cs6.html).

There's a context for everything. A single card not performing as well as a crossfire setup in OpenCL? For most users that is not a huge problem unless you are into generating rainbow tables or complex simulations built on that platform.

A single (or crossfired) card not able to accelerate H.264 video, cannot upscale on high resolution monitors and cannot handle applications where "driver optimisations" (read: artificial performance) are not applicable? That is major for a huge audience of users.
"Yay, we can invent our own standard and be the best/only vendor with it! We're so awesome!"

Also, why are you babbling about comparing a single card to a crossfire setup? That comparison matches single Nvidia cards against single AMD cards.

mashakos
15-09-2012, 04:46 PM
"Yay, we can invent our own standard and be the best/only vendor with it! We're so awesome!"Whether it's exclusive or not, it's the current industry standard. Here's an argument on the merits of both platforms in regrads to gpgpu (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4638324/nvidia-vs-amd-gpgpu-performance). Bottom line: even if amd cards are cheaper (raw gpgpu performance goes up with dual chip cards like the 5970/6990) and have higher performance results in benchmarks, without proper support from the vendor professionals will steer well clear of a potential feature-creep mess in their projects. Even when amd wins the benchmark wars, it still loses out on overall support/reliability.


Also, why are you babbling about comparing a single card to a crossfire setup? That comparison matches single Nvidia cards against single AMD cards.AMD's latest naming scheme got me confused since the x9xx model number signified a dual chip card when the 5 series were released. You got me on OpenCL: amd has clearly better numbers in sample applications. In the real world however? I'll just go with what people who use gpgpu in their work tell me: a mature platform trumps impressive numbers.