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Roguey
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New architecture or not..

Posted by Roguey at Friday 1st July, 2016 | Comment 7 comments
During the past couple of months ive been following both nvidia and AMD new GPU architecture (Pascal/Polaris). Ive been running a 4k setup since Christmas and my single 980ti was struggling (often seeing 30-40fps). So I wanted to improve on that.

The first of the two - Pascal came out just over a month ago. I was excited at first - as I thought the new architecture should be a huge leap forward. We been stuck on a 28nm manufacturing process for long time - which has made some gpu's get pretty big (and costly to make). So with nvidia new 16nm manufacturing process; the chip could be much smaller, faster and maybe even a lower price. So after nvidia press event, I saw an MRRP of $699. Id hope this would translate into around £400 (UK pound). Sadly this wasnt the case, and the dollar sign was pretty much swapped for the pound sign. I did check a lot of benchmarks - the 1080 did offer more performance but at an higher price (£650). Basically rather than drop the old-line of gpus, nvidia priced them above. For me this made them too expensive, seeing that one card wouldnt be able to deal with 4k@60fps (so 1080 in SLI - which would set me back over £1,300!). I did hear about the 1080 thermal throttling back to its base-clock after 10mins (not sure how true that is).

I was also keeping an eye-out for Polaris - it didnt bode well hearing that it was aimed at the main-stream (not the high-end). In my case I was looking for an 4k solution. Polaris is based on a smaller 14nm process, so I was expecting to see Polaris around the same performance level (seeing as both gpus are based on a new manufacturing process). I felt that AMD has been the under-dog for far too long, so it would be good to see some healthy competition once again. However after seeing benchmarks of Polaris, it didnt look good. It suggests that the new RX 480 is around the same (if not slightly better) than nvidia 970. Not that is a bad thing at all, but made me feel disappointed. I knew price was key for AMD and to be fair I think they priced the cards at the right (its a 1080/1440 card). Hopefully AMD can claw back some of the market.

My last idea was to look at SLI with my existing 980ti. I normally dont do SLI, as when I need more gpu power, there is something on the market. 4k is an up and coming thing, and at this stage there is no single card solution for it. I am sure nvidia has a 1080ti ready but wont launch it until AMD release their Vegas chip at the start of next year (2017). Nvidia also cut the price of 980ti - I guess to clear stock? or make it fairer priced? I did look at the 1070 (which offered an extra 2gb of vram - useful) but two of them would be still more expensive. So Thursday I placed an order of another 980ti and a bigger PSU (Seasonic was a bit too close to the margin);

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Replacing a PSU isnt a quick job (as some of you may know). The PSU is kind-of the heart of the PC, supplying power to everything inside the pc. This time I went for an EVGA T2 1200w - which I know is a bit of over-kill, but after my Seasonic was short of 100w, I didnt want to have to replace it in-the future again. Anyway, after a couple of hours (I took my time and space is limited atm - I am still in my bedroom), everything went okay;

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Changing the PSU and adding a second 980ti was cheaper for me than a single 1080. I am sure the 1080 will become cheaper in the future, but I figured that will be when the 1080ti comes out. Hopefully ive done the right decision - I guess time will tell. I figured if the 1080ti/vega chips do come out in the new year, I could look at one of those to replace my SLI (if I have that bad of experience with it).

... yea, I know - I probably need to sort those GPU power-cables out some-how (although GPU power-cables do get in the way, especially with four of them!).
- Roguey



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Sinxar avatar
Sinxar  •  7 months ago
Oh yeah I totally agree. My CPU upgrade was a major one for me though so I can't really comment on that, I went from a Phenom II X4 820 to an i7-4790k.

But the funny thing is my old 8800GT is still relevant. It was able to easily play Skyrim and Dying Light and we are talking about an absolutely ancient GPU.
Roguey avatar
Roguey  •  7 months ago
Well, I think both the 1070/1080 are seriously over-priced and should of been direct replacements of the 970/980. However because of no direct completion from AMD, this has allow nvidia to price them over the top of the existing generation. Its hard to know what will happen in the next couple of years, but after this new generation its been a bit of a disappointment for me anyway (the new gen should of been a serious improvement not just 10-20%). The older generation of cards such should of been dead and buried with the new gen. It does look like CPU/GPU advancement has really slowed now. Another example is Intels new chips (one being a 10 core) is barely much faster either. Okay it has more cores (which is good) but single core performance hasnt changed 25-50, 75%+
Roguey avatar
Roguey  •  7 months ago
thanks m8. I was also looking for the 1080ti but I dont think we see it for another 7+ months (when AMD release Vega). I guess they could release earlier but why should they?

4k has been the problem for me, and atm the only solution is two cards. We arent even sure the 1080ti will be capable atm - the new cards so suffer from their problems (mostly thermal).

SLI'ing with my older 980ti is cheaper than one 1080! Let alone two of them (which is required for 4k@60fps). So I grabbed one whilst they are available and have a lower price for now.
Sinxar avatar
Sinxar  •  7 months ago
Yeah, in all honesty a 1080 would be overkill for me, let alone a 1080ti. I am undecided. I will likely wait until the price comes down on the 1080 a bit and they have better coolers on em then see. The 1070 is apparently the sweet spot for 1440p but I want to make sure to get high FPS (144'ish) as well as all the eye candy maxed.

That RX 480 was a disappointment. I sorta figured it would when they started talking about how efficient it was. At least for us anyway. I guess if you are playing at 1080p the 480 would be great since it is on par with a 970 with a much lower price tag.
Roguey avatar
Roguey  •  7 months ago
True, the RX 480 seems like a great choice for 1080p, and can also gives a bit of 1440p action. Its priced very well by AMD. Although nvidia is going to spoil the fun with the release of the 1060 in the next couple of days (I think the 7th).

If youre running 1440p, then I think either 1070 or 980ti would be fine for you. 1070 is new tech and has the extra vram, but there has been a lot of price cuts on the 980ti. It depends what price you can get them for - although 8gb does sound a bit over-kill for 1440p.

I doubt the RX 480 offers you any-thing much over your 970 - apart from some extra vram.

How does the 970 fair in 1440p for you? the 970 has earnt a good name for itself. Shame AMD has only found a way to equal it with the RX 480.
Sinxar avatar
Sinxar  •  7 months ago
The 970 is pretty good for most games, gets a good 60 - 80 FPS in more demanding games like The Division, Dark Souls 3, Farcry 4, and Just Cause 3. The 1070 should be pretty good but I want a bit more future proofing so I don't have to buy another GPU in 2 years.
Sinxar avatar
Sinxar  •  8 months ago
Nice! Im just going to wait until the 1080ti comes out if I can. Right now a 970 runs great at 1440p.

That PSU is top tier though, manufactured by Super Flower. I got the 650w G2 unit that is also by Super Flower. Both are Leadex based designs with excellent regulation and safety. Good choice overall.
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