What is the best option for upgrading the GPU in my i7-based system?

Lins November 2, 2014
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Hi I have a MSI Z77A-G43 mobo. My GT 8800 has just died (it has lasted very well) I need some advice on what GPU to buy now. Should I spend money on just one good GPU, or crossfire two ok ones? I have an intel i7 chip. 750 watt power. 16 gig ram. Also, is it ok to run Radon GPU with a intel chip?

  1. Victor
    November 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Any graphics card would work. I would recommend that you do NOT use crossfire/SLI, as programmes need to be configured to work properly with this setup. A single, powerful GPU will work better than two low-end cards in SLI/crossfire.

  2. DalSan M
    November 3, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I would say to refrain from using Crossfire/SLI dual graphics unless you have a specific need. I say this because many games and programs cannot utilize it properly to the point that the performance would be smooth or not have any hiccups. On top of that, several games and programs do not work properly with a dual graphics setup. If you must use dual graphics, purchase ones that would be able to handle most of the current games and programs on high settings just to be on the safe side.

    Preference and price would be your major factor, but if you go with an AMD R series card, go with Asus or MSI as their cards are generally clocked higher than most others (the Asus R9 280 is clocked slightly lower and costs less than an R9 280X). Keep in mind that AMD will release their R9 300 series cards early next year, so you may want to wait to either get those cards or for the price for the older R9 200 series cards to lower in price more. If not, the Nvidia 900 series cards would provide better performance since they are newer than the AMD R9 200 series. The Nvidia GTX 970 or higher would provide more than enough power for almost all games produced today. Note: Compared to the AMD R9 290X, the AMD HD 7990 performs better in many instances. The major difference is in heat generation, where the R9 card would produce less heat and consume less energy.

    If you want to go with a dual graphics in a single card, you can go for the AMD R9 295X 2. Otherwise, go for an Nvidia Titan, but both these cards are very expensive.

    Comparison between AMD HD7990, AMD R9 290, AMD R9 295X2, Nvidia GTX 780 Ti, Nvidia GTX 780 Ti SLI (dual graphics): http://techreport.com/review/26279/amd-radeon-r9-295-x2-graphics-card-reviewed/5

    Note: Nvidia cards have a sequence of numbers to always follow as far as performance; e.g. the 600 series cards (or any for that matter) goes from 610 to 690, then goes to 700 series. However, the 660 generally would be better than the 750 card, noted by the tens digit being higher rather than going by the hundreds number. It can be confusing, so always research the cards before purchasing. Also, the AMD 7990 and higher would offer higher performance over the AMD R9 290X, but some features may not be available since they are older cards than the R9 series. Look at what you are needing, wanting, and willing to pay for it, then research and look at reviews for the options you choose. It is always best to be informed when purchasing such an investment.

  3. Oron J
    November 2, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Partly it's a question of what you do with it! The i7, even without a discrete graphics card, is quite capable. What do you use the graphics for, and how well has your previous card coped with the job? Also, do you have a particular budget in mind? As Jan says, at a particular price point, two cards offer better performance than one but it is a question of what you actually use it/them for...

  4. Jan F.
    November 2, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Either brand should work with your motherboard, NVIDIA or AMD ATI.

    From a performance point of view two value level cards (in SLI/Crossfire) usually outperform a single high-end card (by 10-30%).

    It really comes down to three points:
    - do your applications, games etc. support SLI/Crossfire
    - the price you get on the individual cards at your preferred vendor
    - how much you actually want to spent

    An inexpensive dual-card setup might be a GTX 760 SLI. Compared to a single-card GTX 970 setup it's a tough call since the SLI should cost you the same money but only give about 10-15% more performance.
    Adding in the cost over time duo to power consumption the GTX 970 probably has more value, since it gives you the option to go for an SLI setup later on, in a year or so.

    With an Core i7 processor your system still has some time left in it so it might be a smarter choice to leave the SLI/Crossfire option open for a later time.

  5. ha14
    November 2, 2014 at 8:52 am

    i think MSI Z77A-G43 do not do SLI bur MSI Z77A-G45 can do it
    MSI Z87-G43 GAMING Users Manual: Amd Crossfire™ (multi-gpu) Technology
    Install two AMD Radeon™ HD graphics cards into the PCI_E2 & PCI_E4 expansion slots. all graphics cards used in CrossFire™ mode are of the same brand and specifications
    Please note that although two graphics cards have been installed, only the display ports on the graphics card installed in the first PCIe x16 slot will work. All displays should be connected to this graphics card.
    This motherboard allow PCIE 16/4 (PCIE x16 Gen3, PCIE x4 Gen2) crossfire.

    What is the difference between AMD CrossFire™, AMD CrossFireX, AMD Dual Graphics and AMD Hybrid CrossFire?
    http://support.amd.com/en-us/search/faq/230
    http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-articles/Pages/AMDCrossFireFAQ.aspx#

    it all depends on what you do, for games some crossfire configuration match the highest end graphic card performance. Once you cant play a game in its highest settings then you start to think to add another graphic card. After 2-3 years when the graphic cards get old of 2 generation, then it is time to change them.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BeKb9M5zV0
    HD 7850 1GB CrossFire benchmarked: this generation's best multi-GPU buy
    http://www.pcgamer.com/hd-7850-1gb-crossfire-benchmarked-this-generations-best-multi-gpu-buy/

    AMD Radeon R9 290X
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2453389,00.asp

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