Question Graphics card upgrade from an RX 480 ?

Aug 20, 2022
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About 3 months ago, I remade my computer with a new MB and i7-12700K CPU. The previous build was from early 2017 and I kept my old GPU: a Radeon RX480 8 GB. I currently have a pair of Samsung curved displays that are only 1080 and 60 Hz.

I am about to finally finish the the original Skyrim + DLC. Skyrim runs perfectly, of course, at full details (an 11 year old game played with a 5 year old GPU on an up to date CPU). I have played and enjoyed the Half-Life games as well as several of the Fallout games. I don't do a ton of gaming, but I'd like to play some of the newest games to "showcase" current state of the art graphics. I FEEL like my RX 480 is pretty long in the tooth so I have been shopping for a new one (yes, I know the GPU market is better, but still sucks).

During my research, I see games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Red Dead Redemption II used for some of the benchmarks. Checking the specs for both games, my RD 480 is actually the "Recommended" graphics card! Yeah, both games are also 4 years old. I guess they can tax even current cards at higher resolutions and especially with ray tracing enabled.

I like the idea of ray tracing, but it is very taxing so only the best cards really do it well. I'm willing to spend $500 or so, but even at that price point I think ray tracing is still limited and will be better in the coming years.

So...with all that, my questions are these:

1) what games are the best current showcase graphics games?

2) should I pop for a GeForce RTX 3060 TI or 3070 to get fair-to-good ray tracing? Or go "cheap" and get a Radeon 6600 and stay away from ray tracing for this go round? Or is my RX 480 just fine until really good, affordable ray tracing cards are out (maybe in the upcoming generation of GPUs)?


Thanks!

Rob
 

Aeacus

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1) what games are the best current showcase graphics games?
I'm not into AAA games nor i don't know which are the latest. But one of the latest such title would be Cyberpunk 2077.

Christmas has come early for PC gamers who can look forward to an unparalleled gaming experience in class leading titles such as Cyberpunk 2077. At ultra settings, with ray tracing enabled, Cyberpunk 2077 redefines the boundaries of immersive gaming. It makes GTA5 look like Tetris in comparison.
Source (scroll down, in Conclusion section of RTX 3070): https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-RTX-3060-Ti-vs-Nvidia-RTX-3070/4090vs4083

should I pop for a GeForce RTX 3060 TI or 3070 to get fair-to-good ray tracing?
You can always disable ray tracing if it doesn't look good or takes up way too much system resources. With this, i'd go with RTX 3070, IF you have at least 750W PSU (to factor in GPU transient power spikes).
 
Aug 20, 2022
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what your budget? if you don't care about RT, the current gpu gen is getting a lot of discount
As mentioned, I am willing to spend the $500 to $550 to get an RTX 3070 if it is going to give me long life with good performance (or better) in current games and those to come. The 3060 Ti is not much less expensive unless the base models come back available at the $400 level.

As for not caring about RT...I'm not sure if I do, or should yet! That's part of my question and decision making here.

Source (scroll down, in Conclusion section of RTX 3070): https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-RTX-3060-Ti-vs-Nvidia-RTX-3070/4090vs4083

You can always disable ray tracing if it doesn't look good or takes up way too much system resources. With this, i'd go with RTX 3070, IF you have at least 750W PSU (to factor in GPU transient power spikes).
I have read that review and those here on Tom's. I do need to crack open my case and measure the available space and check my PSU because I don't remember what it is. It is probably not more than 650W. EDIT: It is only 430W! So I'll need to update that as well.

I also remembered that I have a free download of Dying Light II from when I bought my CPU. It seems to have fairly high GPU requirements and gets mentioned as a high quality graphics game. I'll give that a test run to see how it does with the RX 480 and maybe that will help me decide if now is the time to upgrade, or to wait.

I think the RX 480 is 4 generations old: RX6000, RX 5000, RX 500, RX 400. It was certainly on the market in 2016.

Thanks so far.
 
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Aeacus

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if it is going to give me long life with good performance (or better) in current games and those to come.
The more beefier GPU you'll, get - the longer the GPU is able to hold it's own, until it's time to replace it.

Now, nobody knows what the upcoming games are going to be and what within them is going to be different compared to today's games.

Ray tracing is something Nvidia came up with, and it may die out with future GPU generations. Or it can take off and be inside every game (which i doubt). IMO, ray tracing doesn't add much, while taking considerable system resources.

Then there are of course Intel's P- and E-core CPUs (12th gen), that differ vastly from the current e.g 4c/8t CPUs. Many current games are unable to detect the new E-cores and in turn, run worse. Of course, there is also AMD and their plans with their CPUs.

GPU wise, Nvidia is pushing towards very high power consumption GPUs. Rumors are that RTX 4000 series would be as high as 400W per GPU. <- That in turn, pushes down on PSU manufacturers, who then have to redesign, or for the very least, include adapters for new GPUs. E.g even at current date, the 12-pin PCI-E cable is required for RTX 3000 series. Rumors are that RTX 4000 series needs 16-pin PCI-E cable. None of the current PSUs come with either the 12-pin or 16-pin PCI-E cable, instead, an adapter is used to combine two or more 6/8-pin PCI-E power cables, to fit the RTX 3000 series. And using an adapter is always worse than having dedicated power cable.

Another thing with PSUs is, that while for quite a long while, 550W unit was norm for any gaming PC and 650W unit was more than enough for any single GPU system. But far bigger power draw GPUs may make the 850W or even 1000W PSU as the norm. Even at current date, RTX 3000 series GPUs have transient power spikes, that can double or triple GPU power consumption for milliseconds, whereby the "Nvidia suggested" 750W PSU is not enough, and people instead have to buy 1000W or 1200W PSUs, when running RTX 3080/3090 series GPUs.

All-in-all, future is unknown. There are signs of what is there to come and things, usually, will get worse, than getting better.
 
Aug 20, 2022
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I checked my PC case today and I'm gonna need a bigger PSU if I get any new GPU. It is a Thermaltake TR2 430W unit!

My case is a full size ATX tower but I don't remember the brand. It is very modular, though. I measured from the back wall of the case to the front drive cages and I have just under 12" of space,. My RX 480 is about 10.5" or so long. So I should be able to fit any but the most monstrous card in there.

Right now I can get an XFX - Speedster SWFT309 RX 6700 XT for $400, so I'm leaning that way. I'm also going to replace one of my Samsung 27" 1080P displays with a good gaming display that will do 1440P and multiple refresh rates (like the LG 27GP83B-B which I can get for under $300).

I think if BestBuy gets in more of the GeForce 3060 Ti FE cards at $400 before I open and use the RT 6700 XT, I'll opt for one of those.

Thanks for the help so far.

Rob
 
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NoFaultius

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3070 for $499 would be a great choice. It will pair nicely with your CPU. Further, Nvidia reccomends a 650W power supply or greater for the 3070, which you have.

If you get this card, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you did not upgrade your monitor to something that can display more than 60Hz. Keeping your 60Hz monitors would be like driving a Ferrari on bicycle wheels.
 
Aug 20, 2022
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I updated my posts to show that my PSU is only 430W. Have ordered a Thermaltake 850W unit.

I played some Dying Light II today. Its graphics card recommendations are above my RX 480. Even so, it defaulted to "High" quality, so it may not have tested like many games do. At High, it was super choppy and was giving me eyestrain. I enabled Steam's FPS counter and was only getting in the 40s at best! I turned it down to Medium and it was a little better, but still only hitting 50 FPS at the best of times.

I had GPU-Z running on my other monitor and the GPU Load was pretty much 100% all the time and the temp was getting up there a bit, too. This computer is plugged into an APC UPS and it was beeping at me a lot of the time, too (especially when still on High). It is only a 600VA unit. I opened Powerchute also while playing and when it was doing pretty much anything, it was going over the max battery capability of 330W and showing a runtime of less than 2 minutes! So it is pretty clear this card is drawing quite a bit of juice when maxed out struggling with this game!

So that pretty well answers the question, "can I live with this RX 480 for a while longer?" Nope.


Rob
 

Aeacus

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Thermaltake 850W unit.
Which model? Since Tt mostly produces iffy PSUs. But there are some good ones in their lineup too.

This computer is plugged into an APC UPS
Output waveform of your UPS is?

Nvidia reccomends a 650W power supply or greater for the 3070
While Nvidia does recommend 650W unit for 220W GPU, it doesn't seem to factor in GPU transient power spikes, which for RTX 3070, is essentially double, or even 2.5 times of it's normal rated wattage. Essentially, RTX 3070 can draw upwards of 400-500W. And if you add the rest of the system to it, at 200-250W, 650W unit isn't enough.

What would be enough, is when you add everything together + extra 100W on top of it, as a safe margin. 200W extra on top of gives more comfort zone. For RTX 3070, i'd be using 850W PSU, or even 1kW unit.

Further watching about GPU transient power spikes, by GamersNexus:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnRyyCsuHFQ
 
Aug 20, 2022
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The PSU I ordered is this:

Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 850W 80+ Gold SLI/Crossfire Ready Ultra Quiet 140mm Hydraulic Bearing Smart Zero Fan Full Modular Power Supply 10 Year Warranty PS-TPD-0850FNFAGU-1

It was well reviewed everywhere I looked.

The UPS is an APC Back UPS 600VA. Says the output is "Stepped approximation to a sinewave ". But since it isn't running on battery while playing, I wouldn't think that matters.

Rob
 

Aeacus

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The PSU I ordered is this:

Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 850W 80+ Gold SLI/Crossfire Ready Ultra Quiet 140mm Hydraulic Bearing Smart Zero Fan Full Modular Power Supply 10 Year Warranty PS-TPD-0850FNFAGU-1

It was well reviewed everywhere I looked.
Yes, it's one of the best Tt PSUs,
TH review: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/thermaltake-toughpower-gf1-850w-power-supply

Says the output is "Stepped approximation to a sinewave ". But since it isn't running on battery while playing, I wouldn't think that matters.
First off (for easier access), your UPS specs,
link: https://www.apc.com/ca/en/product/BE600M1/apc-backups-600va-120v-1-usb-charging-port-7-nema-outlets-2-surge/

Have you ever tested if your UPS can actually keep your PC running? :unsure:
Testing it is easy, power on your PC, start a game or similar and pull the UPS plug from the wall. Then, when PC stays powered off from UPS, safely shut down your PC (close game, log off from win, shut PC down). Now, if your PC won't stay on, once you pull the plug, or shuts off before your can safely shut down your PC, it's time to look towards new UPS.

Oh, when you pull your UPS plug and PC won't stay on, then i have an explanation for that, as of why it happens. That is tied into the following:
Stepped approximation to a sinewave = simulated sine wave. Out of the three types (other two being square wave and true/pure sine wave), it's in the middle, but not good enough for PCs, since PSUs are considered as sensitive electronics (essentially on-par with medical equipment in hospitals) and simulated sine wave isn't compatible with active PFC PSUs. Only true/pure sine wave is compatible.

Btw, i've done a lot of research regarding UPSes (prior of purchasing mine) and picking the correct one is far more complex (and also more expensive), than choosing a PSU. IMO, every PC should be backed up by a proper UPS.

My 2x PCs (Skylake and Haswell, full specs with pics in my sig) do have their own UPS, 1x UPS per PC. I have two of these in use: CyberPower PFC Sinewave CP1300EPFCLCD (1300VA/780W, true/pure sine wave, line-interactive),
specs: https://www.cyberpower.com/hk/en/product/sku/CP1300EPFCLCD
amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/CYBERPOWER-CP1300EPFCLCD-Line-Interactive-VorabAustauschservice-dt-Software/dp/B0058RVIEC
video introduction:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IURKCvLJpY
 
Aug 20, 2022
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Sorry. I didn't mean to make this about UPSs at all. I was just pointing out how much playing a game was increasing my power draw over doing normal stuff.

I work in IT and have for the past 28 years. Mostly on servers. I have 3 computers under my desk: a small server for Hyper-V and home network management, a work PC and my personal PC (the one I have been asking about here). The 3 are plugged into two different UPSs and the 600VA is the baby. All computers and both displays, plus the NAS, cable modem and router stay up in brief power outages and brownouts (which we have somewhat frequently here).

Rob
 

Aeacus

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I was just pointing out how much playing a game was increasing my power draw over doing normal stuff.
Playing a game (while it depends on a game), will require more system resources. Mostly GPU but CPU as well. So, increased power draw and heat output is expected. Same goes when you tax your system other ways, e.g 3D rendering.

Also, power draw depends on where you measure it. If you measure it within system (e.g HWinfo64), then you get the most accurate readings. If you measure it at PSU outlet, you have to factor in PSU efficiency. And if you measure it from UPS, then it's efficiency also plays a role.

Regarding PSUs and their efficiency;
80+ Bronze unit, with efficiency of 85% at 50% load, providing e.g 400W, will draw 460W from UPS/wall, where the extra 60W is wasted as excess heat.
80+ Gold unit, with efficiency of 90% at 50% load, providing e.g 400W, will draw 440W from UPS/wall, where the extra 40W is wasted as excess heat.
80+ Titanium unit, with efficiency of 94% at 50% load, providing e.g 400W, will draw 424W from UPS/wall, where the extra 24W is wasted as excess heat.

So, to reduce PC power consumption, get as high efficiency hardware as you can. Also, highly efficient PSU (80+ Titanium), will give you more runtime out of your UPS, since it doesn't waste as much power as lower efficiency PSUs do. <- This is also one of the reasons, why i've bought 80+ Titanium PSUs, for those two PCs that are backed up by an UPS.

Now, while you know your way around UPSes and don't need the info about them, this forum and topic is public and my reply remains here for all to see. Who knows, perhaps someone stumbles ontop of your topic and is delighted to read all the info we share here. :)
 
Aug 20, 2022
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For the past week since posting here, I've been watching GPU prices and availability and have have purchased the new PSU and an LG 1440p gaming monitor.

I have purchased the following two cards and I can return either one unopened. So I need to decide which to keep.

XFX - Speedster SWFT309 AMD Radeon RX 6700XT for $400 plus tax
MSI Gaming RTX 3070 Ventus 2X 8G OC LHR for $500 plus tax

I think both were good buys in the market today. Both are pretty much lower end of their respective lines, but I doubt I'll be trying to overclock them.

The RX 6700 XT is probably a better VALUE for $110 less. But the RTX 3070 has slightly better overall performance and with DLSS I think it may serve longer into the future before feeling totally outclassed in 1440p gaming. The monitor I bought (LG 27GP850-B) supports both Freesync and G-Sync.

Thoughts?

Rob
 

Aeacus

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Drivers wise, Radeon never beats Nvidia.

Nvidia drivers are well made and optimized, while with Radeon, it's well known that their drives can cause all sorts of compatibility/gaming issues.

But the RTX 3070 has slightly better overall performance
Not slightly, but instead quite a lot,
comparison: https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/AMD-RX-6700-XT-vs-Nvidia-RTX-3070/4109vs4083

--

Overall, RTX 3070 has a lot better performance, has better drivers and consumes less power, so, how could RX 6700 XT be better than RTX 3070? :unsure:
 
Aug 20, 2022
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Did just the first step of my upgrade today and I'm already seeing some cool stuff.

I set up my new LG 1440p monitor and connected it directly with DP (bypassing my previous setup using HDMI through an electronic KVM switch). The previous setup wasn't allowing the computer to recognize the monitor properly or enable all the features (it was being detected as having a higher native display).

Now with the setup even the old RX 480 enables Freesync and can properly drive the display at 1440p with high refresh rate. I set the old Skyrim to 1440 and Ultra and it was pushing 165 fps and running the GPU near 100% most of the time ( and again pissing off my UPS, so I plugged the computer in differently). Before with my 60 Hz 1080 Samsung, the game was maxing at 60 fps and the GPU would occasionally hit high usage for a moment or two, but was mostly not using the GPU power at all.

The RTX 3070 arrived today and the new PSU is due here tomorrow, so in a few days I'll get to try the whole new setup

As for the KVM...I do still need to switch back and forth between my work computer and my personal one. Right now I have the new display directly connected with DP to my play PC (PC2) and through the KVM over HDMI to the work PC (PC1). The second monitor goes through the KVM still for both computers. So for work, I can switch to PC1 and then I have to manually change the input on the new monitor to HDMI1 to see both for work. When I switch back to PC2, it auto switches the new display because the old input from PC1 gets dropped by the KVM. What I don't want to do is buy a new DP-based KVM and have it degrading the signal or messing up the monitor detection and capabilities. If the input switching becomes too much of a pain, I'll have to try it.

Rob
 
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