Which one of these video cards is better for my PC?

JonathanBlack

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Jan 27, 2014
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I plan to upgrade my current graphics card and I am undecided between these two cards:

1) Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 with 512 MB GDDR4 on 256 bit, GPU Clock 768 MHz, Default Clock 776 MHz



http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102719&cm_re=sapphire_radeon_hd_3870-_-14-102-719-_-Product

2) ASUS Radeon R7 240 with 2 GB DDR3 on 128 bit, Core Clock 780 MHz

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121799

Which of these two cards would be better for my PC? I have a DELL Optiplex GX620 which has an Intel Pentium D 945 3,40 GHz Dual Core and 2 GB DDR2 Kingston. This DELL Optiplex accepts ONLY single-slot video cards, like I was told in another thread I published, and both of these cards are indeed single-slot, I believe.

My current video card is a Sapphire Radeon x1950 Pro with 512 MB GDDR3 on 256 bit:



But the thing is that both of the cards - Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 and ASUS Radeon R7 - require a newer PCI Express, I mean the Sapphire HD 3870 requires PCI Express 2.0 and the ASUS Radeon R7 requires PCI Express 3.0. And I think my PCI Express slot is only 1.1, like GPU-Z says here:



So which card would be better in this case? I plan to play games such as Crysis 1, Assassin's Creed 1, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky, S.TA.L.K.E.R. - Call of Pripyat, Chronicles of Riddick - Assault on Dark Athena, Call of Duty World at War plus Modern Warfare 1 and 2.
 

clutchc

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Sorry, I saw Pentium and assumed... well, you know.
It sounds like you have set your mind on the HD-3870. I doubt it'll make much difference anyway. So go for it.
I don't normally put much stock in "GPU Boss" because it is purely an on-paper comparison, but it is about the only place you can get a comparison of those two widely age-separated cards: http://gpuboss.com/gpus/Radeon-R7-240-vs-Radeon-HD-3870
It tends to agree with you. The HD-3870 would have the edge.
 

JonathanBlack

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Well, the thing is that the HD 3870 has GDDR4 and 256 bit, while the R7 has DDR3 and 128 bit, but 4 times more memory. It's like a battle between more memory of older generation (2 GB DDR3) versus less memory of newer generation (512 MB GDDR4). Besides, the memory interface also favors the old 3870, since it has 256 bit. So, if it doesn't matter what version my PCI Express slot is, which card do you think will perform better for the games I mentioned that I plan to play?
 

clutchc

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Neither of those cards and the old single core Pentium are going to be much good playing Crysis, unless you really cripple the settings and lower the resolution.
And you're right, I didn't notice that the old HD 3870 had DDR4 VRAM. I just assumed it was DDR3 like the R7-240.
It's almost going to be a tossup. If the HD 3870 had at least 1GB of VRAM, it would be a better choice just because it performs slight l better.

The R7-240 2GB comes in DDR5 too if you want faster RAM. But I don't understand your concern about the memory bus width. The card's memory has nothing to do with the system memory.

 

JonathanBlack

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My processor is not single-core, it's a Dual Core 3,40 GHz Pentium D 945:







The ASUS Radeon R7 240 I can buy has DDR3 memory, not DDR5. Maybe a version with DDR5 also exists, but the only one available for me to buy is the one with DDR3.

I was speaking about the memory interface (the bits) because I assume a card on 256-bit performs better than one on 128-bit, am I correct? Meaning that from this point of view, the HD 3870 would be better at this chapter than the R7, since it has 256-bit, whereas all those 2 GB of VRAM the R7 has go only on 128-bit...
 

clutchc

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Sorry, I saw Pentium and assumed... well, you know.
It sounds like you have set your mind on the HD-3870. I doubt it'll make much difference anyway. So go for it.
I don't normally put much stock in "GPU Boss" because it is purely an on-paper comparison, but it is about the only place you can get a comparison of those two widely age-separated cards: http://gpuboss.com/gpus/Radeon-R7-240-vs-Radeon-HD-3870
It tends to agree with you. The HD-3870 would have the edge.
 

JonathanBlack

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Yes, I initially intended to buy the HD 3870 because it is a bit cheaper. But then I thought that the R7 would perform better given the 2 GB of VRam it has, plus it is newer (and thus assumably better) technology. But here is what I have recently came across while Googling left and right:

http://www.techbuy.com.au/p/365821/VIDEOCARDS_RADEON_R7_240/ASUS/R7240-OC-4GD3-L.asp

http://www.ebuyer.com/645226-asus-r7-240-4gb-ddr3-vga-dvi-hdmi-pci-e-graphics-card-r7240-oc-4gd3-l

The same ASUS Radeon R7, still with 128-bit, but with 4 GB of DDR3! Four GB, that's like WOW! What do you think? Would this 4GB version be definitely better for gaming than the HD 3870? Cause I couldn't find any reviews about it yet...
 

clutchc

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The amount of VRAM won't make the card any faster. It is only needed for greater resolution and things like higher A-A, DoF, AF, textures settings. Something a card of that class won't be able to make much use of. Don't waste your money on more than 2GB with either of those cards. it will sit unused. In fact, most of the 2nd GB will sit unused. How do I know? I've benchmarked many games with many cards. In fact, today I just benched a FX-6350 @ 4.7 GHz with a GTX 960 @ 1510 MHz @ 1080p. At max settings in the games and benchmarks I ran, it never used its full 2 GB of VRAM. And the FX 6350/GTX 960 is more than you are looking at.
 

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