Question Thoughts on the GTX 970 for 6600k build

GabeBB

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I want to get better graphics for my son's gaming computer. He's in second grade and plays Roblox and various Steam games. I don't tend to buy the latest games as I refuse to pay over $5 for a game lol. He has every Tomb Raider except Shadow. We play every Resident Evil up to the 6th. I plan to get RE7 pretty soon but not the newest one (RE2) for quite a while. I saw a used 970 for very cheap at a reputable local place, just a little under $100. I suppose I could potentially get a used 580 or 1060 on eBay for the same amount but it has the disadvantage that I'm not able to easily return it should it have any issues. So is this 970 a good idea based on the games we play? I don't own any monitors over 1080p. There's also a used 980 being offered for 40 more but I'm not sure I actually need this extra performance? What do you all think? Also, do the 2GB difference with the 1060 make that much difference in game?

His specs are as follows:
i5 6600k
AsRock Z170 Extreme6
Seasonic Focus 850W (I know it's way overkill, it was on sale and cheaper than other units when I got it)
WD 1 GB, HGST 4 GB drives
 
Why do you want to buy a used/second hand GPU ? Tight on budget ? But you may sometimes find some better GPU models under the same price tag. Your PSU is very good, then why not grab the new GEN GPUs, like the GTX 1650, GTX 1660/ti, RX 560/570 ?

On 1080p, these cards will offer better performance.

Also, do the 2GB difference with the 1060 make that much difference in game?
I don't actually understand this question. Can you be more specific ?
 

GabeBB

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Hi MetalMessiah, yeah my phrasing was weird. I meant will the extra 2GB in the 1060 make a big difference in-game versus the 970 or 980 4GB?

I guess I could pay more than $90, I'm just cheap lol. Basically if I can get enough performance for $90 I don't really feel like spending $300 on one of the newer GPUs. The store I went to offers warranty on these refurbished GPUs. I like the idea of being able to easily exchange it if anything is wrong with it. They do have 1060's as well, they're just more expensive. Do you think I should go for a 1060 over a 970 or 980 for 1080p gaming? Will performance be much better?
 
I meant will the extra 2GB in the 1060 make a big difference in-game versus the 970 or 980 4GB?
OK. You mean to say the GTX 1060 6GB would be better than those 4GB models ? But, If you are on a 1080p screen, then even 4GB will suffice, though these days games are more graphic demanding, and may require more VRAM. It actually depends on the game being played though.

I won't advice getting the GTX 970 though, because of it's memory/VRAM partition, 3.5+0.5 GB.

Also, note one more thing. Having more VRAM does not make any GPU faster, or provide extra FPS. Nope. The higher the screen resolution, then more VRAM you may require, but it won't double your FPS. Having more VRAM doesn't make any GPU faster either. There are other technical specs which matter, like the amount of CUDA CORES, STREAM PROCESSORS, ROP/TMU count, MEMORY BUS width, Bandwidth etc.

Btw, you can buy any of those 3 GPUs, but the GTX 980 would be slightly faster though, in some cases..
 
I think you are good with the 970.
It is in about the same performance tier as a GTX1060.
Since you get to check it out from a reputable place, I think you should be fine.

As to vram, what you get will be appropriate to the card you get.
Here is a bit on vram I wrote some time ago:
VRAM has become a marketing issue.
My understanding is that vram is more of a performance issue than a functional issue.
A game needs to have most of the data in vram that it uses most of the time.
Somewhat like real ram.
If a game needs something not in vram, it needs to get it across the pcie boundary
hopefully from real ram and hopefully not from a hard drive.
It is not informative to know to what level the available vram is filled.
Possibly much of what is there is not needed.
What is not known is the rate of vram exchange.
Vram is managed by the Graphics card driver, and by the game. There may be differences in effectiveness between amd and nvidia cards.
And differences between games.
Here is an older performance test comparing 2gb with 4gb vram.
Spoiler... not a significant difference.
A more current set of tests shows the same results:
http://www.techspot.com/review/1114-vram-comparison-test/page5.html

And... no game maker wants to limit their market by
requiring huge amounts of vram. The vram you see will be appropriate to the particular card.
 

GabeBB

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I won't advice getting the GTX 970 though, because of it's memory/VRAM partition, 3.5+0.5 GB
I read about the vram-gate las night lol. I did not know about it, that kind of sucks that they were selling this as a 4GB card when it's really 3.5GB. Some folks say its performance is still alright at 1080p but I might have to think about the 980 or 1060. I like the idea of being able to SLI in the future if my 980 becomes too weak. I read that SLI was not without drawbacks but in two years or s the 980 will be cheap af to get a second one.

I think you are good with the 970.
It is in about the same performance tier as a GTX1060.
Since you get to check it out from a reputable place, I think you should be fine.

As to vram, what you get will be appropriate to the card you get.
Thanks geofelt! yeah I feel like the 970 is probably enough for whatever games I'm playing now with my kids, even with its 3.5GB. I'm just thinking if I get newer games that require more power, I might be better off with the 980. If like 2 years from now I decide to SLI with the 980, would my available vram double to 8GB? I need to read up more on SLI and crossfire, I'm kind of clueless about it.
 
Some folks say its performance is still alright at 1080p
There is nothing wrong with the GTX 970. On 1080p, the performance is very good. I've used an ASUS STRIX GTX 970 before in the past. I was just pointing out the 3.5+0.5 GB design, but many peeps failed to realize that accessing the last half GIG/0.5 GB portion is STILL faster than using the PCI-express.

On 1080p, you won't be VRAM limited that much. It also depends on what type of GAME you are playing. Some games fill up the GPU VRAM quickly, whereas others are more CPU-bound.
 
sli is a very poor option.
True, you see impressive synthetic fps benchmarks with dual gpu.
But your gameplay is better with a single good card.
Dual gpu is prone to screen tearing, stuttering, and non support in an increasing number of games.

As to the vram issue, it is much ado about nothing.
Nvidia used vram in a different way. For that matter AMD drivers manage vram differently than nvidia.
What counts is the performance in the games you play.

Your Seasonic 850w focus is outstanding and can support any future upgrade you might want.
Sounds like a bargain on the 970. Buy it and see how you do.
If it is not sufficient now, you can return it or, down the road sell it.
 

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