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Graphics To GTX680 or not to GTX680, that is the question?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by xaser04, 12 Apr 2012.

  1. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Hi all,

    Ever since the GTX680 launched I have for some strange reason wanted to get one to at least test it out and compare it to my HD7970 in Portrait Eyefinity (2D Surround).

    On the face of it this seems somewhat illogical as my HD7970 clocked at 1125/6600 basically matches a GTX680 anyway - I run a resolution of 3560x1920 for reference - so ultimately what is the point?

    Well, last night I found one major reason to give it a go.

    When running Just Cause 2 in Portrait Eyefinity I noticed alot of screen tearing on the two monitors connected by Active DP to DVI adaptors. As my monitors are in portrait mode this looks like an image that is being spliced together vertically and is very distracting, not to mention leaves me feeling very queasy and with a lingering headache.

    Up to now I havn't noticed the tearing before, but to be fair I have only been playing BF3 where the affect seems much less pronounced - but is still there if you look for it.

    For me it makes JC2 basically unplayable which is very annoying as I love the game (and it looks glorious maxed out at 3560x1920).

    After a bit of further testing (and a nice cuppa to remove the sick feeling/headache - love tea :D) I have found that any game that has a third person viewpoint is affected to the point that I find it unplayable. First person shooters are affected but not as bad.

    Other than driver quirks this is probably the biggest reason for looking at changing.

    The slight snag is the fact that any change would cost me around £80 to £100 depending on what model GTX680 I went for. I have my eye on the Palit Jetstream 2GB card for £459.99 which looks to be a decent card for a reasonable price (considering reference cards are now around £430). 4GB cards are a bit rich for my liking.

    In order to make this switch viable I need a few questions answered (hence the thread):

    1 - Would I lose any Eyefinity features by going to surround?

    I currently run two profiles - one extended mode which allows three screens independantly / maximise windows to each screen (something which alot of review sites suggest is not possible once you enable Eyefinity) and one spanned mode which is Eyefinity proper.

    I understand that Surround works slightly differently in that it is always in "spanned" mode, but allows for snapping of windows to each screen / task bar on the centre screen in the setup menu.

    2 - Can I run my monitors in PLP mode to allow for gaming at 1080p whilst having the side monitors for work/forums/guides?

    The AMD CCC allows for this by running the monitors in extended mode with Eyefinity disabled.
    In effect does surround allow for this being that is always in spanned mode? (This is quite difficult to explain but essentially is it clever enough to know I only want to game on the centre monitor whilst still having output on all three?).

    3 - Can you run three monitors off of the GTX680 without using the DP?

    This is one question that I would have expected to be answered by the big review sites, but most make no mention in actually how they setup their monitors and instead just focus on the performance. HardOCP mentioned that you can run them from the DVI ports and the HDMI port, but I want to make sure. I don't want to have to buy further £25 adaptors to get Surround to work when Eyefinity worked out of the box (HD7970 came with everything required).

    4 - Do you think the 2GB Vram will be a big problem going forward?

    This is obviously one of the more loaded questions as there is alot of debate on both sides. From my own testing I have seen more than 2GB used on my HD7970 *but* this doesn't necessarily mean the game *needs* more than 2GB.

    Looking at HardOCP's GTX680 review it doesn't seem overly affected by a lack of Vram (compared to the HD7970) at 5760x1080. Even in SLI - where higher AA and settings are possible - it doesn't seem negatively affected either.

    My assumption on this is that the settings required to breach the 2GB Vram limit would probably not be playable on a single GTX680/HD7970 anyway. SLI may be a different ball game but I have no interest in running multiple cards at the moment.

    As I say, I have seen well over 2GB Vram usage on my HD7970 in BF3 *but* this doesn't mean that a GTX680 would also use this much. My normal "Eyefinity" settings use around 1.7GB in BF3 so a GTX680 should be fine.

    However, I am still concerned that the 2GB limit will be a problem in the future.

    5 - Will I still be affected by screen tearing?

    I don't have native DP monitors and I can't run three DVI connections natively from my HD7970 so the actual cause for the tearing is hard to pin point with 100% certainty. I know the monitor connected directly to the DVI port doesn't having any tearing so I am only really left with the active DP to DVI adaptors being the root cause of the problem.

    Still if changing over to the GTX680 doesn't solve this tearing then I would have literally just wasted my money.

    6 - Will I lose performance in any drastic way?

    Most of the games I play are the ones also review by the likes of HardOCP et all so I think I will be making a sideways move more than anything. BF3 is the big one but I also enjoy Arcania (Gothic 4), JC2, Batman, Crysis (all three) and many more.

    I do want to get Skyrim but this looks like it runs alot quicker on the GTX680 anyway (some 29% faster if you believe the HardOCP review).

    7 - Am I missing anything obvious here?

    An unusual question I know but I am a little concerned that the "hype" of the GTX680 and the headache inducing tearing are clouding my judgement somewhat and I have missed some obvious advantages my HD7970 has over the GTX680 (barring the obvious cost aspect).

    To summarise I am thinking of selling my HD7970 for around £350 and picking up a nice custom cooled GTX680 for £450ish. I aim to run surround in the exact same way I run Eyefinity. If the GTX680 can't manage this then I will just stay as I am and attempt to deal with the tearing.

    Ultimately I am after you input to one, two or even all of my questions.

    Cheers in advance guys.
     
    Last edited: 12 Apr 2012
  2. j4mi3

    j4mi3 What's a Dremel?

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    long post is long! il read it now

    edit: i am not sure on your questions so instead of giving false info il just wait for someone else
     
  3. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    well i don't have multiple displays or the cards, but i have read a lot about them. so here it goes:

    1. nvidia doesn't require manually switching profiles, in surround mode, windows will work like in multiple monitor mode, while games automatically span across screens. i think this is the ideal solution compared to manually switching profiles.

    2. don't see why you cannot. but i guess you'll have to manually disable surround mode. or may be you can set such things in nVidia's game profiles. (which AMD doesn't have)

    3. yes. 680 have the ability to drive all 3 displays on DVI and HDMI, no need for DP.

    for more info regarding those 3 questions, see this article: http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/nvidia-surround-on-the-geforce-gtx-680/#2

    4. no idea on this, there's a heated debate on this in other threads.

    5. screen tearing will be a thing of past. my 5870 is just terrible with tearing and Vsync makes everything lag. nVidia's vsync seems to be much better in terms of responsiveness. nvidia also got new adaptive Vsync in their new R300 drivers, which ensures no tearing while FPS doesn't take a dive.

    6. can't see how you'd lose performance going to a faster card.

    7. have you tried enabling Vsync on your current cards before spending the cash? i know AMD's Vsync induces massive input lag (see 5), but it's still worth a try. even with 680, you'll still need to enable Vsync of some sort.
     
  4. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Thanks for your response wuyanxu.

    I have bolded my reponses above.
     
    Last edited: 12 Apr 2012
  5. wejjy

    wejjy Minimodder

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    Interested in this topic as im tempted to ditch my 7970 and opt for 1 or 2 680's...
     
  6. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    do you get tearing in landscape mode? could be an effect of the monitor image refresh, i notice this when holding the ipad in portrait mode and scrolling really fast.
     
  7. feathers

    feathers Minimodder

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    Are your monitors not the cause of the tearing?

    I stopped using 60hz monitors last year.
     
  8. N17 dizzi

    N17 dizzi Multimodder

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    May I ask why?
     
  9. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    No, the one connected via DVI doesn't have any tearing (as long as Vsync is on). I can replicate this on all three monitors by changing how each is connected.

    Tearing occurs in Landscape mode but it is reduced (it still happens but you don't notice it as much).

    To confirm I run the following:

    Centre screen - DVI to DVI - No tearing
    Left screen - mini DP to DVI via active adaptor - tearing
    right screen - mini DP to DVI via active adaptor - tearing

    Whichever monitor is connected via DVI-DVI doesn't exhibit tearing (or at least not noticable).

    When I used to run a single HD6970 I only had tearing on one screen as the card had dual DVI outputs. I could in theory replicate this by running HMDI to DVI via an adaptor (same signal) but this still leaves me with one monitor tearing.
     
  10. feathers

    feathers Minimodder

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    So it's an ATI isssue then. Driver or hardware.

    I like my 680 by the way. +600mhz overclock on the vram and +241mhz on the core.

    Got a full cover waterblock for it but not fitted yet.
     
  11. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    hum, sounds like it's caused by the DP adaptors rather than the card, monitor or the game.
     
  12. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Hardware issue (card or adaptors) more than anything as it looks to be down to the differing display signals of DVI vs DP.

    The exact technical reasons I don't know but it looks like the GTX680 doesn't have this issue as it has three clock generators (dual DVI and HDMI).

    Nice overclocks on your card there. The Palit card looks pretty good in the OC department.
     

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