graphics card questions

it looks like one of the fans in my XFX R9 280X is going. They will probably repair or replace it as i have always have very good service from the but it got me thinking about a real upgrade.
Ultimately i want to do a triple 1080P monitor setup.
I have been trying to decide on what card(s) to get.

I have read that in general a multi card setup can be a hassle, but is it required for a triple display

PowerColor has a water Cooled R9 390X for under $450, but have never user that brand, anyone got experience with them? they have a decent 2 year warranty service so that’s good.

If a multi card setup is truely better (not street cred better), should i look at maybe 2 r9 380, or 380X instead of 2 390X?
i really dont want to put more than $500 into it, and im also pretty partial to AMD so i haven’t look too much at the nvidia cards.
Price is mainly limed to the fact that im likely going to need a new case (mid tower to full tower) and later this year a new mobo with PCI-E 3.0 and a M.2 slot [size=85](we dont need to discuss M.2 or PCI-E 3.0 now as its too soon for me, we can keep it to the GPU, just noted it to point out my price constraints)[/size]

Triple 1080p at 50-60 fps is not possible for less than $1000… you’d need at least 2 GTX 980’s to do that… and while I’m a pretty big AMD video card fan, right now they just can’t compete in this super high end range.

I’d wait until the next version of video cards are available, but even still $500 triple head is not a reasonable build idea.

I appreciate the honesty, if i cant do it for under $500 that means i will have to get 1 and then wait i suppose.

So I should look more at the the GTX Cards, i assume that would be the 980 and 980Ti
same type of question here, if im going to use dual cards would it be important to get the top 980Ti or 2 980’s
and i guess i can look but since im writing this i will ask, is the price difference of the cards close enough to where its just stupid to not get the 2 980Ti.

If i were to concede on the triple monitor setup, would the single 390X or even 980Ti be enough to run a single 4K monitor at ~60 fps? im guessing it can, my 280X struggled a lot but at 1440 res it does pretty well. So i may consider keeping a dual monitor setup with primary being 4K and secondary being 1080 but having the game/sim only on the one monitor and use the second for other tools/apps.

Thanks again for the feedback

There is no way to run 4K @60 fps with a single card nowadays. EDIT actually even with 2 cards I’m not sure it’s attainable. It requires NASA hardware for now, hence why nobody runs it.

You’re talking about very high end setups here, be it 3 monitors setup or 4K@60fps, that’s several thousands of dollars to get to that kind of hardware, if your budget is $500 I think you should seriously reconsider your whole expectations.

As Sangoria said, no, there is no single card that will let you run a 4k@60fps. Remember, a 4k monitor is equivalent 4 1080p monitors arranged in a square and combined into a single panel. There are setups that will run 4K@60 but you are looking at multiple thousands of dollars to get that. And even then you only will be able to play SOME games at that.

Yeah 4K monitors are worse than triple head setups… you’ll need 3 or 4 $400-500 video cards to run at 60fps. Too far outside your budget.

For a single 1080p setup (I’m talking about game play area, so for example I have 4 monitors on my work setup, but only use 1 1080p for game play), the GTX 970 is your best bet today cost wise. If you want to run a 2K monitor then the 390 would be best.

What processor are you running because that is likely going to be an issue in such a budget build?

thank you all for the feedback, and insight, i know 4K is 4 times as much, but i didn’t realize that today’s typical higher end cards (390X/980Ti) couldn’t do it. thank you for that i will discard that notion as well. i think running it at 2K might be a good option if i dont pursue triple 1080, which is seeming like it may be more hassle than its worth.

Also regarding the “budget” that was just the estimated budget for the GPU only, not for my whole rig, as fo the whole thing, to answer that question, i have an H80i water cooled FX 8350 8c 4Ghz CPU on an FX990 chipset MB, 16 GB i think @1600, and SATA3 SSDs for OS (Samsung) and Star Citizen (OCZ)… i will be looking at m.2 upgrade when i go for a new MB and case later.

So right now i was just going to update the GPU. If i needed 2 GPU cards then i was going to likely add a new case since cooling would probably become an issue in my current mid tower case.

I have always had AMD cards and would like to stay with them, i know AMD vs NVidia is like AMD vs intel, Mac vs PC, politics, religion, etc, etc. everyone has there stance and can argue it as if its a faith sometimes. However for me, if there is some really compelling reason (like performance to cost) to look at the nvidia card, i would not dismiss that option i dont but too much into raw benchmarks cause it seems you can menchmark each to perform better than the other at one thing or another, but to be fair i havent spent any major time comparing all the 390x vs 980Ti benchs.

Well first off, your CPU is going to be the bigger problem moving forward, the reality is AMD CPU’s above the $100 mark just can’t perform as well as Intel chips dollar for dollar. As for video cards, it depends on exactly what you’re trying to do, for example the GTX970 will out perform the 390 on a 1080p setup, but the 390 will out perform a GTX970 on 2K.

You’ll find that most of us just want the best part for the least amount of money… AMD is competitive in the GPU space, but Nvidia generally has an edge because of heat, but AMD still makes sense in certain use cases. As for CPU’s it’s never a good idea to buy an AMD CPU for a gaming rig. The CPU you have now is much slower than the i5-2500K which is now 5+ years old.

Yes i had read that the AMD GPUs can perform well but heat tends to be an issue and power, i guess what for watt you get more out of the nvidia card… AMD can perform similar but requires more power and in turn heat.

(thank you a lot for laying out facts and not just “this is just better than that”

Now for the GPU, i do plan to finally make the change to an Intel chip partially because of performance but also because of the same power/heat issues AMD has with the GPU. the i5 and i7 seem to perform as well or better with much less power and heat, but that was going to be part of the upgrade i do later towards the end of the year or maybe next year… i started a bit of research on the i5 and i7 chips, but some very interesting and mixed views on how the 95 can perform very well for gaming at that the i7 may be overkill if you are just gaming… but again i only read a couple articles so i didn’t take too much stock it in as i hadn’t read enough.

But yea as you can see, my GPU is an Issue now so i figured i would start handling that as it could cost as much as my new MB, CPU and SSD upgrade later…

So im sure i will seack out some help and advice later when i get to that point of my upgrade, but for now regarding the GPU, i see you have twice now compared the 390 to the 970… with the 390x being the top end (i guess excluding the R9 Fury), does it not compete with the 980Ti?

I’d wait and save my money, there is another generation of graphics cards coming out later this year…

i5 6600K’s are plenty fast and for 1080p 2k setups there is no need to go with anything else.

ok good, XFX support has agreed to send me a new replacement cooler for my card so thats good i will be able to use it a bit longer.
the new cards… are they expected in like Q3 timeframe, or Q4

The i5 may do just fine, my Surfacebook has the i5-6300 with the nvidia gpu, i think a 940M, its surprisingly good.

Anyways, thanks for all the feedback, i think my decision for now, assuming my GPU is repaired will be to wait for the new line to come out.
Maybe then i will resurface this thread to see what people think

There’s a bit of misinformation here.

The 980ti is capable of rendering a single 4k monitor, but you do have to tweak settings to have playable frames. Regardless, that’s way outside your $500 budget.

A single card can also render 3 1080p monitors without issue. AMD can do the same thing in reference to non 4k triple monitors. AMD can also natively handle varying resolution sizes. Nvidia cannot do this.

You can look at a 390x to handle a 1080p triple monitor setup as well, but expect compromise. It’s a better deal than the 980, however.

That said, take Jay’s advice and wait for the new generation of gear. Save up a solid budget and pull the trigger as late as possible.

Nowadays, it’s more important to know your intended monitor setup and pick cards into that. There’s a lot of options to us today. While not necessarily the best solution, you could opt for a triple card setup to drive multiple monitors, for instance. The rule of thumb has always been to get a single card where you can, however. A recent exception in 2013 was 2 970’s compared to a 980.

I hope that provides a little more clarity. Good luck! Save asome much as you can for as long as you can!

Yes Teleo, thank you for the additional information as well.
I will have to keep my eye out for the next gen cards and then plan for one of those. Hopefully they are to far off :slight_smile:

That kinds of defeats the purpose if you have to play on your 4K monitor with everything set on LOW and experiencing frame drops below 60. Just my opinion.

I’m sorry but my information was spot on, a single 980ti can only average 35-40 fps on many modern titles with the graphics turned up… To pull 60 fps which is the bare minimum with the graphics set on high or ultra you’re going to need at least 2x 980ti, if not 3x depending on the game in question… and we have every reason to believe SC will be towards the 3x side.

Here is the simple back of napkin math, take whatever video card you have, and see how it runs a video game, whatever the average fps score is, divide by the number of monitors you intend to have. So lets say you have dual 7970’s in a system and they’re able to push a single monitor at 100 fps you’re average fps on a triple head system will be in the mid 30’s fps. 4k monitors you divide by 4, so in that same setup you’d be running in the 25 fps range.

I’ve tested a number of video cards on triple head monitor setups, and even older titles that should be easy to push like say Falcon 4 BMS you have frame rate issues dropping below 30 fps.

For the VAST majority of folks, a single 1080p quality gaming monitor, a good upper mid-range video card and trackir will give them a much better experience at a fraction of the cost.

Why on earth spend $1000+ on video cards and monitors (triple head 1080p) when a $300-350 video card, and $100 trackir will give you a much better experience and make you more combat effective.

I have to agree with Jay’s last post from an anecdotal stance. I’m in the process of putting together my own upgrades using just this process.

I already have a newer 1080p monitor, sold off my older three aging units.
I’m purchasing TrackIR, soon after it becomes re-integrated with Star Citizen.
Once the newer Graphics cards drop, I’m upgrading that component too.

I batted back an forth between triple monitor vs. single with head-tracking. In my research the latter is the best bang for my buck.

Just my 2-cents - YMMV

yea im starting to lean the same way the more i consider it. I have the 28" 4K display, but i think i will run it at 2K with TIR (already have).

XFX is sending me a new cooler for my 280X which is good cause i should get some more time out of it… What sparked the need for an upgrade is that i wasnt sure if they were going to repair or replace it for me (supported has always been great so figured they would) so i was starting to look at upgrade options. Its a good thing i suppose, allowing me to wait for next gen cards, however that usually means paying top dollar cause they are new, will see how they are though

Draco, have a 1 year old GTX1060 still works…new PC is rocking a GTX 1080. Was running 3 screens and VR on it. Should help you get bye for a while…Not sure of the shipping BS. But its an operational Unit.
$$ is not a big issue…figure out the shipping and we’ll work something out if your interested?
Rapptor Out.

no worries mate, this was liek a 2yo thread, i ended up getting a 1080 myself about a year ago and its been working good for me as well.

Good to hear Draco…new trying too get caught up and help if at all