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The Official Graphics Card and PC gaming Thread

Discussion in 'Building a new PC' started by abuzar1, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    Can't wait to play Far cry 3 some more tonight :) I think I'm more excited to play with my receiver I thought may be dead. It still lives! I'm almost afraid to run it to certain speakers though. They really tend to quake!
     
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  3. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Do it :)

    Very fond of my receiver already, and it's not really fully utilised yet. The amplifier in it is very powerful, both for headphones and the primary. It's too loud to turn the headphones up beyond -20dB and I haven't risked beyond -35dB for anything noisy on the speakers. Have used -25 for something very quiet, then a full volume sound turned up and I got the shock of my life!
     
  4. harvardguy

    harvardguy Regular member

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    So, Kevin is also into Far Cry 3, and Sam is holding off until he upgrades his graphics. I totally agree with that - why play the game by turning down the settings when you have the equipment to totally immerse yourself in the splendor - except for the graphics cards. The game will still be there next year, even in better condition with more patches, lol.


    Free-roaming romp - haha - well put.

    Look at the southern islands - some tropical - but also some closer to the look of Far Cry 2. Look at these gorgeous trees!


    [​IMG]

    And notice the sky - it's not just a simple sky box - well maybe it is. But they do keep changing it, and in one hour of gameplay, the map changes 24 hours, and they throw in some exciting lightning storms for good measure.

    Look at this Kodak moment. I was stunned. I had to stop the quad and shoot the picture.


    [​IMG]


    And don't forget, the new southern island trees really burn beautifully. Haha.


    [​IMG]

    Wow, Jeff, I have to say that you know your graphic and gaming details. I can't argue with you at all, because I can just barely follow you, lol.

    I know you were able to spend a lot of time with crysis and get to know it intimately, and even mod it, while it sat on my shelf for 2-3 years, until I could play it maxed out this past Autumn when the 7950 card became part of my newish-for-me 9450 gaming rig. At the same time I had Warhead, and Far Cry 2, and Crysis 2 to play, all of which had been sitting and waiting. (And now that I think about it - sometime later this year I have to go back and max out Metro 2033 to see the graphics quality you raved about.) I played through parts of crysis twice - it is really an amazing game with huge variety - the tank battles are quite good by themselves for example - yet all too short unfortunately.

    Earlier on, a couple years ago, I had some fun with the Koreans in the demo, turning off invisibility and just seeing if I could out-gun them. Because they yell just as they are about to shoot you, it wasn't too hard, but it was still fun. You're so right, the Far Cry 3 buffoons are laughably easy to take out. LOL

    I think that I need to go back to crisis sometime, when it will be new to me again – perhaps in a year. Maybe then I’ll be able to fully appreciate all the graphic details and the physics that you are talking about.

    From this discussion, one essential point speaks to me once again:

    Over on the builder thread, Sam recently congratulated Steve on joining the high-res desktop club with his new 3.6 megapixel monitor.

    But if anybody were to be involved in high res graphics, it seems to me that it should be you, Jeff. Your knowledge, and your appreciation of the subtleties of graphic details, the finesse involved, in my opinion outshines everybody else.

    You have no equal.

    I appreciate your arguments that 3.6 or 4 megapixel gaming forces one to keep up with the state-of-the art in graphics. So what? Do you have to play every game the day it comes out? Sam out on the front lines took all the arrows, and he taught us that beyond crossfire it’s not worth it, 3x, 4x too much trouble for too little payback. But the new cards are pretty strong, the last of the 7950s only $300 or less, and the 8000 family around the corner. So my $850 30” Dell of 4 years ago, when I just had the p4, and my gift aging platform quad 9450, plus my two six month old 7950s, worth $600 at today’s prices, allows me to immerse myself. Me – somebody who can’t hold a candle to a true graphics connoisseur like yourself.

    Right now you have 2.3 megapixels in front of you – okay - that’s pretty good. But it’s nothing to write home about – for crying out loud, now there are multiple-monitor 5-7 megapixel eye-finity systems. But think about, one 30” monitor right in front of you, 4 megapixels in about 45% more screen area – more data – tighter dot density – richer more immersive graphics – the essence of what you love about the artistry involved in producing these video games - these works of art. At your unmatched level of knowledge and professionalism, why aren't you a member of the high-res desktop club?

    I think it’s time, Jeff. Don’t you?

    Rich
     
  5. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    That's not actually what I said. It's more that by the time I get round to playing it, I will probably do that. There are too many other games vying for my attention right now. I'm sure FarCry3 would run well enough for me as is, but I have so many games to play!

    I have no doubt Jeff would appreciate owning a higher resolution display. However, you have to remember Rich, they're not cheap, and neither is the graphics horsepower required to run them. As odd as it sounds, there's a sense of security in running a game at 1920x1200 in a screen that's designed for it. Whether you upscale or 1:1 pixel map a game running at lower res on a 30" or 27", it just isn't right... The 30" monitor was borderline justifiable for me - from buying the original 24" and upgrading twice through the 3007 to the 3008 I have a net outlay for it of £1230, and both the HD4870X2 pair and the more recent HD6970 pair driving it were around £550 each. I may have sold one of the 4870X2s to get a little back, but even factoring that into account (and ignoring the weaker graphics cards I used to use before I got serious about gaming at 2560x1600) it comes to £2220 in all (that's pretty much exactly $3000 before tax, which is 20% here).

    Disregarding the recent lightweight LAN PC build and monitors for it and for work, it's been two years now since I spent money on my gaming PC/monitor of any real sort besides fan controllers etc and upgrading to a bigger SSD. That's just about enough time to recover from the considerable expenditure. The 3008WFP is 5 years old not too far from now, and even the HD6970s are two years old this month. Despite this, I am in no financial position currently to upgrade either even if I wanted to, primarily because in the last year all the investment has gone to my file server.
    I've not played many top-tier games of late, Serious Sam 3 is the only thing I've played recently that comes close to that - If you keep playing top titles regularly at 2560x1600, you need to keep pace with every major hardware generation, at least in graphics. Sad thing is, it's only by allocating an alarming proportion of your disposable income that you can do that and keep it up...
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  6. harvardguy

    harvardguy Regular member

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    Sam - you were the true pioneer and you spent a boatload of money helping all of us better understand how to do this stuff. If you didn't have a 30" monitor, I never would have invested in one. (You tried to hide how great it was, lol - but somehow I knew you were on to something.)

    But in reply to your quote above, I have to quote myself from my remarks to Jeff - "Do you have to play every game the day it comes out?"

    No you don't. The games can sit on the shelf. (That is not necessarily as true with the multiplayer games, like BF3, where you might want to ramp up to better weapons, so you can be competitive, but you can always fall back to running those at 1920x1200, even though it won't be ideal.)

    Look at you, with Far Cry 3. The game will be there still when you are ready for it.

    I know I put words in your mouth when I said you were waiting to upgrade your graphics, but will the twin 4870x2 cards run the game at max? Maybe they will - but we know they don't have 3 gigs of vram for each processor - so how's that going to work for all the high res textures? My 3 gigs vram is fully utilized throughout the entire game. My guess is that it won't be a satisfying experience for you on the 4000 family.

    ------------------------------------------


    Sam, by the way, you mentioned SSD, and last night in reading some Tweak Guides stuff, Kourosh Ghazi finally bought an SSD.

    When I barrel around the Far Cry 3 countryside roads on the quad I can't quite say it is 100% fluid - there may be some micro-stuttering. With the wind whistling in my ears and the challenge of controlling the quad, I don't mind it much, but Kourosh talked a lot about micro-stutter, and I have the suspicion that is my hard drive loading up some textures, even though my vram of 3 gigs per card runs full all the time in this game as I mentioned. So as of last night, I started thinking - well - maybe get an SSD, put Windows 7 on it, and install whatever current Steam game I'm running on it.

    I know one can change the steam folder, and I guess you don't have to migrate every single steam game to the new device, the SSD. Plus there are only a couple that I would be playing regularly. So I guess the whole project wouldn't be that hard. I assume my p5E bios will let me boot to the SSD - doesn't it see it as a type of hard drive?

    I don't really care about shorter bootup times, or quicker chapter load times - those are fairly brief as they are, since in a sense I am short-stroking this 1TB drive which is only about 30% full. I guess my question is - if it is true that I am getting micro-stuttering from hard drive transfers, is an SSD likely to cure that?

    Rich
     
  7. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Surely you know by now I'm not still using the HD4870X2s?
    As written above, I'm using two HD6970s and have been since January 2011...
    2GB per GPU there will be a limitation as FC3 has been proven to need 2.5 for 2560x1600, but who knows, less AA will probably cure that.

    SSDs behave like hard drives, just beware you should be using Windows 7 or newer with it, as while SSDs do work with Windows XP, they are not designed for it.
     
  8. harvardguy

    harvardguy Regular member

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    Ah, that's right. Sorry, I had forgotten. (How could I forget after everything you went through making those cards work in the first place - but all the excitement on my end - moving to the spedo case, etc etc - too much to keep track of, lol.)

    Regarding AA - I am showing 3.1 gigs of vram usage, somewhere around that number, and I have AA down to 4x, rather than 8x, which dropped my fps by 10. I am getting mid 40s fps most of the time. I really don't see any jaggies - but you have a much better eye for that than I do.

    Well, your crossfire 6970s may well work with 2 gigs each - but I think you'd have to cut a few quality corners, like the old days "before you got serious about 2560x1600 gaming" as you said. So if you get around to this Far Cry 3 title, you can try it for curiosity, but I recommend if you have to cut too many corners, just wait until you can max it - the eye candy on ultra is worth it I promise you, lol.

    -----------

    Regarding an SSD, yes to answer your question, I would be using Windows 7. So are you saying "YES" - that an SSD would likely cure any stuttering as I had described it (tearing down the road on the Far Cry 3 quad.)

    By the way - great news tonight - I am past the knife fight QTE where I wasn't getting any prompts past the first 3 - so I was getting killed each time and could not progress in the game. Ubisoft had me call their support, and Tyler helped me out - he came up with 3 great ideas. I did the first two ideas at the same time - put a different keyboard on - and do something that caused the game to do a new auto-save, in case the fault lay in the old autosave - which in my case was just to buy ammo at the vending machine. I have a feeling it was the new autosave idea that worked. So it was some kind of rare bug - and I'm past that point, with my save games safely in place on two different computers.

    Rich
     
  9. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    LOL thank you. Too kind. I try to be a discerning graphics snob, but fair :) I didn't even mention the multitude of graphics mods for Crysis that improve its consistency drastically. When using mods on Crysis it's not even fair to compare the two.

    Haha I really do agree Rich. I just don't have the money. That requires $1000+ for a good monitor(probably a 27" if I were going to do it) and another $600-800 for a set of proper video cards to do it. At 1920 x 1200 I can run any game on more reasonable hardware, such as these two much lower end cards. Also, this monitor was $650 brand new about 5 years ago, and is an absolutely excellent display. If this one died, I would be more inclined to replace it directly than to get a different resolution. It's in the sweet spot for size, resolution, image quality and performance all in one.

    2560 x 1600 is a hardcore resolution to play games at. It just takes too much raw performance to manage. In that regard Rich, your system kicks the living sh** out of mine. I just spent $150 on a new PSU, $40 on a new cooler, $200 for a new CPU(which has arrived and will be installed shortly). My current video cards are barely adequate for many games right now. I'm banking on an XFX HD6970 Black Edition coming my way which will help tremendously with its liberating 2GB of VRAM. It will be a further $200 to get another one, and I currently don't want to spend the money. I will otherwise be sitting on these 6850s until a similar deal comes along. If anything, they still hold good value, being worth about $100 each used. I just don't have a buyer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  10. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Warframe

    Not a good game to own an AMD CPU for, or SLI for that matter.

    1920x1080:
    Average 60fps: AMD Phenom II X4 955BE/X6 1090T/any FX, Intel Core 2 E6850/E5400/E7200/Q6700/Q8200/any Core-i series,
    DX9 Mode:Radeon HD4890/5830/6790/7750, Geforce GTX280/460/560/650Ti
    DX11 Mode: Radeon HD5830/6790/7770, Geforce GTX460/560/650Ti

    Minimum 60fps: Intel Core 2 Q9650/any i-series (including i3), no AMD CPUs capable
    DX9 Mode: Radeon HD5830/6850/7770, Geforce GTX470/560/650Ti
    DX11 Mode: Radeon HD5850/6870/7770, Geforce GTX470/560/650Ti

    2560x1600
    Average 60fps:
    DX9 Mode (1.25GB VRAM required): Radeon HD5870/6970/7850, Geforce GTX670
    DX11 Mode (1GB VRAM required): Radeon HD6990/7870, Geforce GTX680
    (SLI Scaling: Negative, Crossfire scaling: 106%)

    Minimum 60fps:
    DX9 Mode: Radeon HD6990/7870, Geforce GTX680
    DX11 Mode: Radeon HD6990/7870, No nvidia GPUs capable
     
  11. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    FAR CRY 3

    I think this game is as good a reason as any to plan an upgrade in the future...

    Average 60fps:
    AMD FX-6100/8150 @ 4.20Ghz, FX-8350 @ 4.10Ghz, Phenom II X6 @ 4.00Ghz
    or Intel Core i5/i7 Quad Mk I/i5 2500K @ 4.00Ghz, Core i7 2600K @ 3.80Ghz, 3770K stock, 3930K @ 3.40Ghz

    MODE 1: Very High, No AA/AO
    1920x1080: Radeon HD6990/7970GE, Geforce GTX590/680
    2560x1600: Geforce GTX690, No AMD cards capable (HD7970GE@40Hz, HD6990@45Hz)

    MODE 2: Very High, 4xAA, SSAO
    1920x1080: Geforce GTX690, No AMD cards capable (HD7970GE/6990 45Hz capable)
    2560x1600: No current cards capable (HD7970GE/GTX680@25Hz, HD6990@30Hz, GTX690@45Hz)

    MODE 3: Very High, 4xAA, HBAO
    1920x1080: Geforce GTX690, No AMD cards capable (HD7970GE/6990/GTX590 45Hz capable)
    2560x1600: No current cards capable (HD7970GE/GTX680@25Hz, HD6990@30Hz, GTX690@45Hz)

    MODE 4: Very High, 4xAA, HDAO
    1920x1080: Geforce GTX690, No AMD cards capable (HD7970GE/GTX680@40Hz, HD6990/GTX590@45Hz)
    2560x1600: No current cards capable (HD7970GE/HD6990/GTX590/GTX680@25Hz, GTX690@45Hz)

    MODE 5: Very High, 8xAA, HDAO
    1920x1080: No current cards capable (HD7970GE/GTX680/GTX590/HD6990@30Hz, GTX690@50Hz)
    2560x1600: No cards capable until est. 2015 (HD7970/HD6990/GTX590/GTX690@15Hz, GTX690@30Hz)



    Minimum 40fps (M60 not yet considered realistic):
    AMD FX-8150 @ 3.80Ghz, FX-6100 @ 4.00Ghz, FX-4170 @ 4.50Ghz, FX-8350 Stock, Phenom II X6 @ 3.95Ghz
    or Intel Core i5 760/2500K @ 3.50Ghz, i7 920 @ 3.40Ghz, i5 3570K/i7 2600K/3770K/3930K Stock

    MODE 1: Very High, No AA/AO
    1920x1080: Radeon HD7970, Geforce GTX590/680
    2560x1600: Geforce GTX690, No AMD cards capable (HD7970GE/GTX590 35Hz capable)

    MODE 2: Very High, 4xAA, SSAO
    1920x1080: Geforce GTX590/690, No AMD cards capable (HD7970GE@35Hz, HD7970/6990/GTX670@30Hz)
    2560x1600: Geforce GTX690, No AMD cards capable (HD6990/GTX590@25Hz, HD7970/GTX680@20Hz)

    MODE 3: Very High, 4xAA, HBAO
    1920x1080: Geforce GTX690, No AMD cards capable (HD7970GE/GTX590@35Hz, HD7970/6990/GTX670@30Hz)
    2560x1600: Geforce GTX690, No AMD cards capable (HD6990@25Hz, HD7970/GTX590/670@20Hz)

    MODE 4: Very High, 4xAA, HDAO
    1920x1080: Geforce GTX690, No AMD cards capable (HD7970GE/GTX590@35Hz, HD7970/GTX680@30Hz)
    2560x1600: No current cards capable (GTX690@35Hz, HD7970GE/6990/GTX590/680@20Hz)

    MODE 5: Very High, 8xAA, HDAO
    1920x1080: No current cards capable (GTX690@35Hz, HD6990/GTX590@25Hz, HD7970/GTX670@20Hz)
    2560x1600: No current cards capable (GTX690@25Hz, HD7970GE/GTX590/680@15Hz, HD7970/GTX670@13Hz)


    Yup, to pull off a minimum of 60fps at 2560x1600 all maxed out, you're going to need the power of five full-fat GTX680 GPUs, at 100% scaling. Hmm... Oh, and a 5Ghz i7 of some sort.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  12. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    I've known my GTX 570 is becoming dated. But now it's OFFICIALLY outdated LOL! Eh, it'll do for now. I'm not really an enthusiast when it comes to gaming. If I love a game, and it drops below 30Fps too often though, it's worth an upgrade. THAT'S when it's beginning to show its age ;)
     
  13. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Battlefield 3 Aftermath

    Average 60fps:
    AMD Phenom II X4 9xx @ 3.95Ghz, X6 10xx @ 3.65Ghz, FX-4150 @ 3.70Ghz, any FX-6/8
    Intel Core i3 530 @ 3.60Ghz, Any Mk II Core i3, Any Core i5/i7, Core 2 Quad Q6850/9450
    High Graphics
    1920x1080 (1.25GB VRAM required): Radeon HD6990/7850, Geforce GTX590/660
    2560x1600 (1.5GB VRAM required): Radeon HD6990/7970, Geforce GTX690
    Very High Graphics
    1920x1080 (1.5GB (nvidia), 2GB (AMD) VRAM required): Radeon HD7970, Geforce GTX590/680
    2560x1600 (2GB (nvidia), 2.5GB (AMD) VRAM required): Geforce GTX690, No AMD card capable (HD7970GE@45Hz, HD6990/7970@35Hz)


    Minimum 60fps;
    AMD FX-4170 @ 4.50Ghz, FX-6100 @ 3.50Ghz, FX-8150/8350 stock
    Intel Core i3 2100 @ 3.65Ghz, Any Core i5/i7, Core 2 Quad QX9770
    High Graphics
    1920x1080: Radeon HD6990/7870, Geforce GTX590/660Ti
    2560x1600: Radeon HD7970GE, Geforce GTX690
    Very High Graphics
    1920x1080: Geforce GTX690, No AMD card capable (HD7970GE@55Hz, HD6990/7970/GTX590@50Hz)
    2560x1600: Geforce GTX690, No AMD card capable (HD7970GE@35Hz, HD6990/7970/GTX590/680@30Hz)
     
  14. harvardguy

    harvardguy Regular member

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    Sam, I don't see crossfire in the table - is that correct? So you're showing 25 fps from one 7970 in the above, right?

    I think you're correct. I get mine dropping from 40 down to 32, and even 25 on occasion, WITH CROSSFIRE. I'm up in the airport after end of game, fighting the privateers with bow and arrow which is wonderful kick. The special long-range sight helps you learn how high to raise the bow depending on how far away they are, and with all the privateers dead I have practiced setting a distance marker, then with that being able to tell how far apart things are.

    [​IMG]


    Like I climb on top of the old propeller plane, and shoot this stack of boxes about 80 meters away, just 10 meters past where the privateers are usually roasting a pig (on the opposite side from where the screenshot below here was taken.) After enough practice you can often do it without sighting in as you draw back the bow (by holding down the fire button) which enables you to get faster kills - a good skill to have when 5 of them suddenly figure out where you are shooting from.


    [​IMG]

    It's such a kick to sight in on a guy who must be about 80 meters away, not even seeing you, raise the bow about 1 1/2 body lengths above his head, release it, then watch him tumble about two seconds later as it connects. They give you a little vapor trail to try to help you follow your arrow - it's a little hard to see but sometimes from that you can catch when you are shooting short.

    (Then when they're all dead I go over and pull out the arrows, and have my whole 30-arrow quiver full again. Haha. You just pass over the body and you can hear the little click as you pick up an arrow.)

    I jazzed my clock up from 975 stable, up to 1050, and it's been so cold here, it was running fine for a couple hours. Then finally I started paying attention to the OSD.

    I was shocked to see that my graphics cards were only running around 65% - 70% load, each of them, especially while up in the airport, but my frame rates were in low 30s, with a dip to 25, and definitely not totally fluid - choppy I would say.

    There are so many beautiful airplanes and helicopters, dust in the air from time to time, pigs being roasted over a blazing fire on each end - something is maxing one of my cpu cores.

    Look at these gorgeous birds they place there from time to time - there are 3 of them and they come and leave in a group unless you shoot one, lol. When they preen and spread their feathers, it's amazingly colorful. In this shot I am zoomed way in through the "camera/binoculars" device.


    [​IMG]


    Anyway, throughout the game prior, I had from time to time charted my cpu usage using perfmon, and overall it's been 75%, so I thought I had the cpu horsepower, and generally my gpus have been running a consistent 98% or 99% load, and I have been getting around 45fps, at the 975 totally stable clock. But as of yesterday I found out that the perfmon average cpu load doesn't tell the full story - if one core is maxed out, I'm screwed. I had no idea this was happening, and it didn't happen before. Something about the airport and all the detail and models - maybe you guys will have a better idea why.

    So I started paying attention yesterday, and my Afterburner OSD gives me cpu usage per core, and all the cores were running 75-80% except the 3rd core which was running 98-100% as I ran back and forth looking at the OSD.

    So if one 9450 core is maxed out, while my graphics cards are cruising at 65-70% then that's a cpu bottleneck. I was shocked, and so I dropped back to the more conservative rock solid stable 975 core clock, and then the gpu usage was up closer to 75% on each card.

    So now, finally, with the long-awaited cpu bottleneck staring me straight in the face, I have a few options:

    OPTION 1. I could get a professional cooling tower right now - something better than the cooler that came with the 9450 (it's not the Intel reference, but it's not a TRUE) and try to OC it up from the 3.343 to the 3.6 target that you guys said I should be able to hit, which would be about 8% faster. That headroom might put me closer to 35-40 fps minimum.

    OPTION 2. Or I could just rest the game for a while, until I can get hold of the over-heating 3 year old i7 1366 nehalem gigaybyte with 3 16x card slots motherboard, and put a nice cooling tower on that, and push it close to 4 ghz, which should give me a 40% faster cpu. Am I right?

    By the way, Sam or Jeff, could you guys explain to me the difference between SSAO, HBAO, and HDAO? Tonight I'll try to make sure I am running the less-intensive SSAO and see if that helps me somewhat.


    Jeff, you're not going to believe it, but in this conversation we're having, I'm now wondering if I should sell you my HIS IceQ cards for maybe $150 each. That link is to the original newegg page with the review video.


    [​IMG]


    Uh-oh, I think your argument about "It just takes too much raw performance to manage" is coming true again. I looked up "GE" to see what Sam was talking about, and I came across the 6 gig sapphire gigahertz edition at $580, 1000 core clock, and the 3 gig MSI Lightning 7970 mil spec card which I had spent a lot of time looking at a few months ago, reading all the reviews, etc, at $490 that ships with 1070 core clock, with a daughter-card control module that helps eliminate voltage fluctuations - ripple - keeping things under control if you want to push it even further.

    The reviews are pretty strong, and the Lightning brand goes back a few years with consistent rave reviews. Both cards are nearly 3 wide, but the 1366 motherboard I should be getting will run two of them at 4x spacing between cards. Plus all the effort I put into ensuring airflow in this spedo (6 input fans with pricey Demciflex filtering, two side, 1 bottom, 3 front - 5 of them 140s, 70 cfm phanteks etc. - no dust - balancing out the 4 exhaust fans, two 140s, 1 120 behind the mobo, and ceiling 200) makes me no longer afraid of graphic cards that don't have the turbine design of the HIS IceQ which was intended to work better for me, eliminating heat out the back of my toasty mid-tower Antec Sonata to which I had modded two boisterous 3000 rpm kaze input fans.

    Or I could wait for the 8000 family.

    I am thinking that if I want to, I could get this i7 and 1366 motherboard (I think 8 gigs Ram - maybe 16) pretty soon - I have to run up to LA in a couple months or so and fix Miles' photo and iTunes server that I Raided like crazy two years ago - three sets of mirrors, including two ENTERPRISE 1TB WD drives in a Cavalry esata Raid external enclosure. (The registry apparently recently became corrupted so on bootup it says it is missing System - one of the hives. I explained to him that Raid protects against disk failure - which brought down his system in the first place - not software failure. Hopefully I put Erunt on that rig, cross my fingers, and did at least one registry backup before I delivered it to him. Otherwise I might have to start from scratch again.)

    And thanks to you and Sam I am getting even more addicted to eye-candy - it has all been intoxicating being able to finally jump into Crysis and all the wonderful titles that sat on a shelf for 3 years, plus moving to the spedo case, all since summer, finally really showing off this spectacular 30" Dell which is rigidly planted on my gaming table - nothing will get me to part with it, haha.

    So with the lack of fluidity on Far Cry 3, and Crysis 3 coming along pretty soon, I am willing to consider taking an additional $1000 graphics plunge if I can get a few bucks back on the cards and help a friend. If you're def not going to move away from your original $650 "absolutely excellent display" then these might rock it for you for quite a while. LOL

    Rich
     
  15. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    That's correct, I have only included single card configurations as those are the raw bench results as tested. It should be worth noting that at the time of their testing (and as far as I know, still now) Far Cry 3 is not supported properly in Crossfire.
     
  16. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    At the time of me writing this, FarCry 3 fully supports Crossfire on the 12.11 beta drivers and latest Crossfire profile. Second card 80-90% load.
     
  17. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    As far as the CPU goes, if you overclock to the same speeds you'll see 20% or so more with the i7, so it'll help but not a huge amount. Conversely a modern i7 3770K will provide you with an almost 50% performance boost before you overclock it. I can't really say it'll run substantially cooler than the old i7 (it will stock, though!) because the Ivy Bridge heatspreaders are very weak. Still though, with a decent cooler, a 15% overclock to 4Ghz would be childs play, pushing you up to a 70% increase versus the Q9450. If you're having to make investments, making them in old tech isn't always the wisest choice.
     
  18. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    Taking it back to my simming roots again and playing X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude.

    It essentially drops you in a small ship in the middle of a HUGE universe and lets you go free. Follow one of several story lines or simply start a trading empire and start buying large warships or whatever you want to do. Completely open ended and never forces you to do anything but fight or die. This is basically the single player equivalent of Eve Online.

    The older games in the X Series use very outdated tech, lack widescreen support, and have a very steep learning curve(more like a learning wall). So I haven't bothered to play since X2: The Threat back on my old 4:3 monitor and X850XT. Even the first X3 game, X3: Reunion, had these same issues.

    What I'm playing is the X3 Gold Pack. It includes the much better expansion for X3, Terran Conflict, and the expansion's direct sequel Albion Prelude. Albion Prelude is a complete re-working of the game engine to bring it up to modern technical and graphical snuff. Terran Conflict was originally released separately, but had a close enough version of the engine that they were able to apply all of the fixes from Albion Prelude and include both as a single, updated version of the game. The end result is a VERY pretty and impressive free-roaming universe worth hundreds of hours of gameplay.

    Sadly, the original X3: Reunion is not using a new enough version of the engine to apply the upgrades. I do regret not being able to enjoy it in full glory. Fortunately, it's a standalone game, and the other two don't depend on it for story content. X2: The Threat probably had the best story.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X_(computer_game_series)

    -------------------------------------------

    The only thing I've chosen to change is that X3 does not have visible cockpits, unlike X1 and X2. There has been a wonderful mod released that takes the cockpit models from X2, and updates them with all the X3 gizmos and glitter.

    http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=254635&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

    ------------------------------------------

    What I find most intriguing about these games is the control scheme. You can choose to use a flightstick if you wish, but it only gets in the way of the fantastically complex-yet-simple-interface. Almost everything is mouse-based as you have a large interface full of external cameras, comms windows, navigation information, etc. Everything works a lot more smoothly if you use the keyboard and mouse for navigation. The game goes out of its way to make sure KB and Mouse do not compromise any control or finesse, so it's not a downside at all. All you have to worry about maneuvering-wise are throttle and roll on the keyboard, and pitch/yaw on the mouse. This simple control scheme keeps the action solely focused on the smaller details, such as targeting, weapons payloads, cargo holds, damaged components, etc.

    Small example of the complexity at hand:

    Say you want to dock with an orbital station. We'll assume it's on the other side of a system or sector so you can't just roll right up to it. First you need to bring up your sector map and locate it. You can either look on a list of ships and structures present in the system, or you can look directly on the map and click the object you want to navigate to. Either way will put the orbital station in your targeting register. That means it is now highlighted on your HUD and visible in your targeting computer readout. You now have a general idea which direction to fly in to reach it.

    Now, assuming the station is out of line of sight, you can click it on your targeting computer and pull up the interaction sub-menu. If its within line of sight, you have the option of clicking it directly and getting the same menu. This opens lots of options but we'll stick with the task at hand, docking. So you click on the comms option and choose who you want to speak with. In this case, it's the station control tower. This will open a comms window with several dialog options. From these options you must select "Request Docking Permission". Assuming nothing is currently preventing them from accepting new arrivals(such as a battle or military blockade), you will now be granted permission to dock. Now, with the orbital station still highlighted, you can either maneuver into dock manually or engage your autopilot which will dock automatically, though it does take some time to work out the best route. I usually pilot it into the landing lane, then let autopilot take over and pull me in nice and easy.

    --------------------------------

    Now, this seems complicated at first, even overwhelming. I mean, I did all that just to dock at a station. What about combat? What about exploration or mining? Well it all follows the same basic interface.

    The interface is essentially a mini OS made just for the game. It's complex, but not complicated or confusing. It's like learning a new version of Windows or Linux but nowhere near as deep.

    Think of it this way; doing different stuff is like using or installing different programs on your PC. Sure, the programs themselves are very different, but you still use the same basic Windows UI to do it. This game follows that mentality.

    The end result of these complex-yet-simple controls is the sensation of actually flying, interacting, and living in outer space. The game itself might seem sterile at first glance, but every single mechanic in the game is designed to mimic the restraints of real-world technology. Radio not powerful enough? Limited signal range. Busted jump drive? Either stay stranded until someone finds you, or start making your way to the nearest friendly system under sublight power before you starve or other systems start failing. Every little detail is designed to immerse you in the world, and make you think about your actions.

    -----------------------------------

    As an old school space and flight sim gamer, I highly appreciate the complexity of the X Series. It's deep enough for any micromanagement junkie to absorb his life into. Yet it's accessible enough for a noob with a few hours of getting used to the interface to start getting stuff done.

    It never throws too much at you at once. All you need to start is a basic feel for the flight controls and a few minutes poking around the interface to figure out what everything does. It's all very intuitive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  19. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    I may be officially done with Far cry 3. At least til it comes down in price. I'm just not that impressed with how things are playing out. First person shooter? After over an hour of tutorials, video clips, and walking through the jungle, the only shooting I've done was kill two Boars, for their skins. I'm afraid GTA IV is still my game of choice LOL!

    Glad I could test it out, before paying $50 for a game I may never play again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  20. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    Thoroughly enjoying X3: Albion Prelude. Just bought a small freighter and converted it into a mining ship with some spare parts. A bit slow, but lots of cargo room and good shields for working close to rocks and stuff. I can have it follow me in, blow up a bunch of rocks with my fighter, then let it do its stuff, collecting and processing the ore.

    I can use the ore for construction materials or sell it. As of currently, I'm just trying to maintain a steady income and not get my ships damaged. It takes about 15 minutes real time floating around outside a ship with repair tools to fix one. It's either that or pay expensive fees. I prefer to fix most of my own stuff barring larger craft. It makes it worth it to keep your stuff in good shape.
     
  21. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Shootmania Storm:
    Crossfire support: No
    SLI support: No

    Average 60fps:
    Intel Core 2 Quad QX9770, any Core i-series
    AMD Phenom II X4 965BE stock, X6 1100T @ 3.55Ghz, FX-4100/6100/8150
    1920x1080 (1.5GB VRAM AMD, 2GB VRAM nvidia required): Radeon HD7970, Geforce GTX580/660Ti
    2560x1600 (2GB VRAM required): No current cards capable (HD7970GE/GTX680 @ 45Hz)

    Minimum 60fps:
    Intel Core i7 975/2600K stock/i5 7xx @ 3.40Ghz/2500K Stock, i3 5xx @ 3.60Ghz
    AMD FX-8350 @ 4.20Ghz
    1920x1080: No current cards capable (HD7970GE/GTX680 @ 55Hz)
    2560x1600: No current cards capable (HD7970GE@40Hz, HD7970/GTX680@35Hz)
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013

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