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Question Old PC gamer lured back in by Half Life Alyx…

Apr 8, 2020
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The last PC game I probably played was Half Life 2, since then I’ve been in the dark world of Xbox but news of a new Half Life title (in VR!) means I want back in…

It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at PC components so have done days of reading!!

Here’s where I’m at… I have a Dell XPS 15 9560, I7-7700HQ CPU @ 2.8ghz, 16GB DDR4 RAM which is pretty punchy but let down by the GPU (GTX 1050) which falls under the recommended spec for VR on the steam VR test.

So, my plan, is to run a eGPU (which I didn’t even know existed until 2 days ago!) and have already pulled the trigger on a Razer Core X box (arrived today)…

Side note: I know there is an issue with the TB3 ports on the XPS (not all 4 lanes so only 20gbps) but don’t need to use the internal (laptop) display so have read it should be OK.

My dilemma is all the potential options for GPU… I want to get something with some headroom that allows me to play with decent quality settings (med/high) and give me some future proofing for the next gen of VR titles that follow and think I’ve narrowed it down to 2 options…

1. A new RTX 2070 (cheapest £378 on Scan)

2. Pre-owned GTX 1080ti (eBay around £390-£400)

I’m ruling out the base GTX 1080 as they’re seemingly outperformed by the RTX 2070 for similar money so reluctant to buy used with similar price/performance.

The question is, is it better to have a new RTX2070 (with 3 year warranty) or an old (potentially abused) but more powerful GTX 1080ti.

What’s the lifespan on a graphics card… is it sensible buying what could be a 4 year old card with no warranty, will the RTX 2070 give me enough power to rule out the need?

If it helps, I’ll likely run VR on a 1080p projector (as second display) but I do also own a 4k screen and do video editing (often 4k) so having something that can help with that would be a bonus.

In terms of VR unit, right now I’m planning on going all out and getting the Valve Index, so something that can run the higher refresh rates (120Hz) on offer would also be preferable… not sure if the RTX 2070 can handle that??

Any help would be much appreciated, then I’ll take my place at the back of the long queue for an Index setup!

Thanks in advance!
 
The last PC game I probably played was Half Life 2, since then I’ve been in the dark world of Xbox but news of a new Half Life title (in VR!) means I want back in…

It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at PC components so have done days of reading!!

Here’s where I’m at… I have a Dell XPS 15 9560, I7-7700HQ CPU @ 2.8ghz, 16GB DDR4 RAM which is pretty punchy but let down by the GPU (GTX 1050) which falls under the recommended spec for VR on the steam VR test.

So, my plan, is to run a eGPU (which I didn’t even know existed until 2 days ago!) and have already pulled the trigger on a Razer Core X box (arrived today)…

Side note: I know there is an issue with the TB3 ports on the XPS (not all 4 lanes so only 20gbps) but don’t need to use the internal (laptop) display so have read it should be OK.

My dilemma is all the potential options for GPU… I want to get something with some headroom that allows me to play with decent quality settings (med/high) and give me some future proofing for the next gen of VR titles that follow and think I’ve narrowed it down to 2 options…

1. A new RTX 2070 (cheapest £378 on Scan)

2. Pre-owned GTX 1080ti (eBay around £390-£400)

I’m ruling out the base GTX 1080 as they’re seemingly outperformed by the RTX 2070 for similar money so reluctant to buy used with similar price/performance.

The question is, is it better to have a new RTX2070 (with 3 year warranty) or an old (potentially abused) but more powerful GTX 1080ti.

What’s the lifespan on a graphics card… is it sensible buying what could be a 4 year old card with no warranty, will the RTX 2070 give me enough power to rule out the need?

If it helps, I’ll likely run VR on a 1080p projector (as second display) but I do also own a 4k screen and do video editing (often 4k) so having something that can help with that would be a bonus.

In terms of VR unit, right now I’m planning on going all out and getting the Valve Index, so something that can run the higher refresh rates (120Hz) on offer would also be preferable… not sure if the RTX 2070 can handle that??

Any help would be much appreciated, then I’ll take my place at the back of the long queue for an Index setup!

Thanks in advance!
I would go with the new card - the older Pascal cards lack a lot of modern capabilities (for example no Async compute - something AMD has had since the HD 7000 series?!) - recent tests have shown the performance of Pascal is dropping off compared to Turing in more recent titles so in the long run I think the RTX 2070 will be faster.

That said, I'm not sure a base 2070 makes much sense - the 2060 Super is essentially the same thing but costs quite a bit less so is the better buy, whilst the 2070 Super is effectively a rebrand or the original 2080 so is quick a bit faster than a base 2070.

If price / performance is a concern your best option might be an AMD RX 5700 XT - it's roughly on par with a 2070 Super for quite a bit less money. The only downside is the lack of ray tracing support (although given the performance hit there's an argument to be said the current RTX cards aren't really fast enough to use it anyway).
 
Apr 8, 2020
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That said, I'm not sure a base 2070 makes much sense - the 2060 Super is essentially the same thing but costs quite a bit less so is the better buy, whilst the 2070 Super is effectively a rebrand or the original 2080 so is quick a bit faster than a base 2070.
I did wonder that but looking at current pricing in the UK (Scan as an example), the cheapest RTX 2060 Super on offer is £372 and the RTX 2070 is £378... the RTX 2070 Super, more like £503 which probably is getting a bit on the pricey side.

In that context, would you stick with the RTX 2070?

AMD RX...i'll need to look into but I did go down the Radeon route years ago and found the drivers less reliable/buggy vs Nvidea but I am talking 15 years ago so maybe things have changed!
 
I did wonder that but looking at current pricing in the UK (Scan as an example), the cheapest RTX 2060 Super on offer is £372 and the RTX 2070 is £378... the RTX 2070 Super, more like £503 which probably is getting a bit on the pricey side.

In that context, would you stick with the RTX 2070?

AMD RX...i'll need to look into but I did go down the Radeon route years ago and found the drivers less reliable/buggy vs Nvidea but I am talking 15 years ago so maybe things have changed!
Ah yes based on those prices the RTX 2070 makes more sense as it's a fraction faster than a 2060 Super, when launched the 2060 Super was quite a bit less than the 2070 but looks like prices have changed.

With regards to the AMD cards - it's interesting as recently there was an issue with an AMD driver bug causing black screen crashes on the new RX 5000 series (these cards are based on a totally new architecture)- that got a lot of publicity and AMD have responded and fixed the drivers... however as a result the price on the 5000 series has dropped significantly (just looking on Ebuyer you can get a 5700XT for £350 now?!). I have machines with both nVidia and AMD graphics boards and personally not run into any significant issues with either. I would say software wise the AMD drivers are much more modern than nVidia. I think buying into the RX 5000 series now might not be a bad idea as looks like they've ironed out the teething problems of moving to the new design but the prices are still low due to the controversy of the bug.
 
Apr 8, 2020
4
2
15
0
Ah yes based on those prices the RTX 2070 makes more sense as it's a fraction faster than a 2060 Super, when launched the 2060 Super was quite a bit less than the 2070 but looks like prices have changed.

With regards to the AMD cards - it's interesting as recently there was an issue with an AMD driver bug causing black screen crashes on the new RX 5000 series (these cards are based on a totally new architecture)- that got a lot of publicity and AMD have responded and fixed the drivers... however as a result the price on the 5000 series has dropped significantly (just looking on Ebuyer you can get a 5700XT for £350 now?!). I have machines with both nVidia and AMD graphics boards and personally not run into any significant issues with either. I would say software wise the AMD drivers are much more modern than nVidia. I think buying into the RX 5000 series now might not be a bad idea as looks like they've ironed out the teething problems of moving to the new design but the prices are still low due to the controversy of the bug.
That's really interesting... thanks for the input, i'll do some shopping around and take a look at the RX 5000!
 
Reactions: cdrkf
Apr 8, 2020
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Just did a bit of digging and found this review comparing the various current gpu options specifically in Half-Life Alyx:
https://www.pcgamer.com/uk/half-life-alyx-best-gpu-best-headset/

Looks like both the RTX 2070 and 5700XT are good for ~ 120fps on high settings with the RTX 2070 being a fraction faster.
Yep that's one of ones i saw that specifically called out the RX 2070 which led me down that road... but having read about the RX5700 i think either will do the job so i'll see if i can find a decent deal about and be led by that...

Thanks again for your help!
 
Reactions: cdrkf

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