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New computer build…GPU suggestions?

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Joined 2006-11-20

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I have a 9 year old PC running Vista 64 Home Premium which will become unsupported next year. It’s time for a new machine so I’m in the process of determining my needs/wants, performance wise.

Like many people on this site, I play mostly AG’s that use 2D or 2.5D graphics. I can’t think of any games in my catalog that are truly 3D nor require it. I don’t play MMOG’s. The other things I use my PC for include web surfing, light office work, and video and music streaming…no heavy graphics uses. My current graphics card is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 650Ti with 1GB video RAM, and to this date it has never been over-taxed. (I could overclock it if needed but I have no idea how!)

I would like to speed things up while I have the chance, so I’m going with a faster and more powerful quad core CPU and 16GB of memory, but my real debate is how much of a graphics card do I really need. I’m leaning towards a major brand 2GB GeForce GTX-950 series (which has double the memory of my current GPU), but for another $50 I could step up to a 4GB GeForce GTX-960. My question to anyone here that uses their system as I’ve described above, is would I really even notice the difference between the performance of these two options, and if so where/how would I see it? I mean, $50 for double the onboard RAM doesn’t seem like much, but it’s still $50 that I could spend on a couple nice bottles of wine instead. Is it worth it? Opinions, please!

     

Life is too short to drink bad wine…

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Mike the Wino - 16 August 2016 11:41 AM

I have a 9 year old PC running Vista 64 Home Premium which will become unsupported next year. It’s time for a new machine so I’m in the process of determining my needs/wants, performance wise.

Like many people on this site, I play mostly AG’s that use 2D or 2.5D graphics. I can’t think of any games in my catalog that are truly 3D nor require it. I don’t play MMOG’s. The other things I use my PC for include web surfing, light office work, and video and music streaming…no heavy graphics uses. My current graphics card is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 650Ti with 1GB video RAM, and to this date it has never been over-taxed. (I could overclock it if needed but I have no idea how!)

I would like to speed things up while I have the chance, so I’m going with a faster and more powerful quad core CPU and 16GB of memory, but my real debate is how much of a graphics card do I really need. I’m leaning towards a major brand 2GB GeForce GTX-950 series (which has double the memory of my current GPU), but for another $50 I could step up to a 4GB GeForce GTX-960. My question to anyone here that uses their system as I’ve described above, is would I really even notice the difference between the performance of these two options, and if so where/how would I see it? I mean, $50 for double the onboard RAM doesn’t seem like much, but it’s still $50 that I could spend on a couple nice bottles of wine instead. Is it worth it? Opinions, please!

If all you play are 2D/2.5D games, then the GPU isn’t as important. It is more important if you play 3D games, and since you don’t seem to play much of these, I think a GTX-950 should be ok. If you want a more future proof computer though, and might change your mind in the future about 3D games, then a GTX-1070 is pretty awesome and a less expensive option to the top of the line GTX-1080.

     

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1080 is best bet, since it supports current gen heavy hitters at 4k.
But to your query and comparing 940 to 960,

http://www.futuremark.com/hardware/gpu/NVIDIA+GeForce+GTX+960/review

     

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I’m not really up to date when it comes to GPU, so I can’t give you any concrete advise, apart from checking Tom’s Hardware guide. But a couple of things worth considering is that the GPU is the easiest part to upgrade, there is a quite hefty price difference between high-end and medium range cards, and the development in GPU happens relative fast.

My own strategy when it comes to GPU’s is to buy a medium range card, keep it for 2-3 years and then upgrade to a new medium range card. That way I end up spending less than if I had bought a single high-end card at the start, and the performance for the second card will be much better than a two year old high-end card.

As for performance then it really shouldn’t matter much if you only play AG’s, and the difference between 2 and 4 GB vram shouldn’t really make much performance difference. But you should be aware that most games have a minimum vram requirement, currently I believe all games support 2GB but it probably won’t be long before we see 4GB requirements, though that will most likely not be the case for AG’s any time soon.

     

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From what I’m reading, you don’t even need a new GPU, but should you choose to get one the GeForce GTX 950 will be plenty for your needs.

You might want to read Tom’s Hardware Best GPU for the price.


Right now I’ve got the Geforce 760, and while I don’t play the latest games, everything I’ve tried can run on high settings.

     

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SoccerDude28, nomadsoul, Iznogood, SpeedBo—

Thank you all so much for the insightful replies!

SpeedBo, the only reason I need a new GPU is because I’m building a new desktop PC and I don’t want to cannibalize the old machine. And thanks for the Tom’s Hardware link!

Izno, I like your upgrade strategy. Methinks I shall employ it!

nomadsoul, thanks for the comparison chart. I’ve not read reviews on Futuremark before, but now I’ll add it to my favorites.

And SoccerDude, since my current machine with the GeForce GTX 650Ti (1GB) has been more than adequate, I agree with you and SpeedBo that the GTX 950 should meet my needs for now.

     

Life is too short to drink bad wine…

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