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PieEater

Just Upgraded From GTX680 to GTX780ti - Initial Impressions

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Background - I have a fairly decent PC based around an i7 2700K CPU at 4.7GHz which I use for FSX in DX10 mode combined with Steve's DX10 Fixer which I must say I am really thankful for as it makes FSX so much better visually whilst eliminating the inherent bugs in vanilla FSX. I have been using a GTX680 for the past couple of years which I overclocked and fitted a custom cooler to (Prolimatech MK-26). Recently I have been hankering after a graphics card upgrade but had a limited budget and was unsure as to whether I would reap much in the way of rewards within FSX (the main reason for the upgrade). I was looking at the GTX970 which was at the top end of my budget but the only really viable upgrade from my GTX680 at this moment in time. However the VRAM issue with the 970 was putting me off, not that I expected to reach 3.5Gb usage within FSX but mainly because I don't believe the resale value with these cards will be very high in a couple of years when people are looking to trade up, at which point 3D games and higher resolution monitors will most likely be needing more and more VRAM. Looking at the upgrade advice available online it seemed that the GTX980 would give noticeably better results in FSX than the GTX970 but even second hand these cards were way out of my budget. The next option I looked at was a used GTX780Ti, with similar performance to a GTX980 (though with higher PSU requirements) it seemed like the best option, sure it meant I was only getting 3GB of VRAM so maybe the same argument will hold true regarding the 3.5GB on the 970 but the 780Ti is always going to be viewed as a top tier card so should hold it's value. So I decided on a budget of £250 for the right 780Ti and monitored the members market and 'B Grade' section of overclockers.co.uk.

 

A couple of days ago a number of B Grade Gigabyte cards turned up overclockers including 2 780Tis at £199 each. Buying direct from a reseller as opposed to a private individual meant I could take advantage of the distance selling regulations meaning I could return the card within 7 days if it didn't meet my expectations and it also came with a 90 day warranty if the card did prove to be faulty after 3 months of testing, so I bit the bullet. At £199 I was expecting the card to come in a brown box and show evident signs of usage as per any second hand purchase however I was pretty ecstatic to find that the card came fully boxed with the protective plastic sleeves on all connectors and the cooler had never been used (no signs of dust and the plastic protector still in place), so it's either been fully factory refurbished or is unsold stock.

 

I have installed the card and am really please with it. The version I have is the one with the reference cooler which is the best looking cooler out there, but is not the most effective however I have managed to overclock the memory by a massive 450MHz and the GPU by 182MHz whilst keeping the temperature under 80c with the fan spinning at 80% under full load, I have not overclocked the GPU further as I want to stay under 80c and whilst the fan is bearable at 80% it becomes annoying at higher speeds. I intend on fitting the MK-26 cooler on this card and am sure that by doing so I will be able to increase the GPU clock further as well as greatly reducing noise levels.

 

So how does it run in FSX DX10 mode? Initial impressions are I'm getting ~40% increase in FPS from this upgrade. At the moment most of my time is spent in the RealAir Turbo Duke (v2) and on the ground in external mode where I was getting about 60FPS I am now getting over 100. The real reason that I wanted an upgrade though was flying through REX generated weather, in high cloud situations which look stunning my system was dropping to 15fps which meant however much I loved the visuals panning around looking at them was disappointing, in the same situation I'm now getting around 23fps and it's a whole lot smoother, this may increase further if I can push the GPU overclock once the replacement cooler is fitted. I may be looking through rose tinted glasses at the moment but I seem to be able to notice more detail on the Duke that I didn't before so as well as the increase in FPS I also appear to have improved visual quality. So what can I say other than I am really please with my upgrade.

 

I'm hoping that this proves useful for folks, as I searched long and hard for posts on upgrading from a GTX680 for FSX on a budget and didn't find anything really conclusive.

   

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My honest opinion is hold on too what you have and save a little more and get the GTX980/ or a TI when its released, Maxwell is the chip you want for DX11/12, if you go the 780 it will not perform as well using the newer mods game developers will include i`m afraid the now old 780`s like mine do not take advantage because of this. The 780 is a power horse but what happens when P3d go`s 64bit, the maxwell is what you want. My 2 Cents, also you will not see a huge gain with your 780, maybe in clarity and a bit more stable fps, you should water cool it if you intend to oc a standard clocked 780, even heat around 80 will kill it quick.

 

Rick

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You evidently are not the target audience my post was aimed at. I have no interest in P3D which is why there is no mention of it in my original post and personally I could never justify spending £450+ on a graphics card.

 

The performance of the 780Ti is not far behind the 980 in DX11 and it will support DX12, though this is totally irrelevant as I'm only interested in FSX (DX10).

 

The maximum temperature for the 780Ti is specified by NVidia as 95c, running the card around 80c is perfectly safe and will in no way "kill it quick".

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I know this was meant to be helpful, and agree with most of what you have written. But given your processor, and previous gpu I am extremely skeptical of a 40% increase in FPS.

 

I have a similar processor and I came from a 480 gtx to a 970 gtx. A new GPU will generally only provide higher levels of AA and smoother frames (and the use of BP=0, if you are really behind the times). It does not give you a 40% increase in frames even in DX 10.

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The OP did state that his increase was in DX10 mode.  I am under the impression that FSX in DX10 mode does make greater use of the video card's processing capabilities.

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PieEater, thank you for your post and well written analysis.

 

Cost / performance is spot on here, congrats on getting a great card at very reasonable price, it will stand to you for the foreseeable future. I wouldn't overclock myself tbh tho. The better visual quality is real, I see the same watching Matt Davis' FSX videos and his 777 VC look much clearer than what I see with my GTX 760, he runs a GTX780 too.

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Thanks for the comments. Regarding performance I can only report on what I'm experiencing, and even I'm surprised at the results as I wasn't expecting the increase across the board or better visuals. Monitoring the GPU usage of the 680 it never hit 99% when the aircraft was on the ground yet still I'm getting more FPS with the 780Ti, it doesn't make sense but it's happening nevertheless. I can't promise similar results for anybody else because there are too many variables all I can say is that I am very pleased with my upgrade, it has exceeded my expectations.

 

I have now fitted the Prolimatech MK-26 cooler to the GPU, along with the heatsinks for the VRAM and VRM's, I've been able to overclock a little further (now +221 on the GPU) whilst keeping temps in the mid 60s with the fans running at 40% during the benchmarking process. I appreciate overclocking isn't for everyone but I've been overclocking my CPUs and GPUs for the past 20 years, I enjoy the process and getting top tier performance from mid price parts.

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Hey guys,

What about a jump from a 660 to a 970?  I'm running with a 4790k and 8gb of 1600 memory.

Running both P3d 2.5 and FSX:SE.

 

Want to pull the trigger, but drowning in all the number games.....one would logically "assume" that a 6xx was weaker than a 7xx, which would be weaker than a 9xx.

But reading up on the technology...apparently the middle number is VERY significant, as it seems that a 780 is more powerful than a 960/70?  Seems the unsuspecting "typical" consumer would be quickly duped into this thinking, and may be the defacto marketing strategy, but its pretty annoying for users who just want to know that a 9 series is better than ANY 7 or 6 series, but sadly we don't seem to live in that world.

 

Opinions on if I need to jump to the Maxwell chip (I guess that means a 9 series?) if I'm going to push ahead with P3d?

 

Budget is a big issue here guys, so while I'd love to have quad Titan X's in my rig, even the 980 is out of reach at the moment unless anyone can convince me I'd be better of with one NOW (not into 4k yet), vs years down the road when we're all on 4k, and a 4gb video card is the minimum. :ph34r:

 

Read all about the 970 3.5gb ram issue, and not sure if I stay away from this card, or if its a good performer even though its neutered 500mb of its ram?

 

Guess I'm saying I need compelling reasons to jump to a 980 or Titan, or else a 780/970 (or 960 unless I hear a "Don't go there", hehe) is where I'm leaning.

 

Help me spend my money wisely guys!

 

Thanks

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