After the previous upgrade of the CPU and Mobo, even though it was great to have the speed, the graphics held the machine back. The original plan was save up and get an RX 480 before Christmas. Then temptation reared its head and I got a second-hand GPU. So what does it mean? It means I get to re-apply for my #PCMasterrace credentials! Haha. I will admit it was an impulse purchase and oddly enough the research only took a couple of minutes stood in the shop, instead of my normal painstaking trawl though many different websites, etc.
My previous build articles are here and here. Everything in the build up till now has been brand new, which is obviously nice because each little bit of kit makes you feel like it’s Christmas all over again. I was wandering through town and popped into CEX (an electronics and media second-hand high street shop in Britain.) I had been keeping an eye on the Graphics cards when I still had the previous setup of dual-core processor et al. As it became habit I popped back in, expecting cards to appear in greater number with the release of the new cards from both nVidia and AMD. Someone at CEX HQ had noticed the influx of GPU’s and had slashed the price on them, not so good if your selling a graphics card but good news for me.
Here is my old graphics card a passively cooled ASUS Radeon HD 5450.
- 650 MHz clock
- 1GB DDR 800 MHz
- 80 Stream Processor Units
- 8 Texture Units
- 4 ROPS
- 104 Gflops Single Precision Compute Power
Not really a power house, I had to massively reduce my expectations of any game I wanted to play unless it was 5+ years old. Benefits it was silent and power efficient! But many games I wanted to play where appalling the best frames iIcould get;
- Skyrim 9 fps
- KSP 10 fps
- World of Warships 5 fps
- Elite:Dangerous Would not run
- STO 8 fps
These are average frame rates at minimum graphics settings, visually observed using the free software RivaTuner.
So you can see from these numbers, I could not really play any games and enjoy the full benefit of my CPU. Perfectly fine for watching YouTube etc but not much else.
While in CEX there where 2 cards that caught my eye both in terms of performance and price. They where the Nvidia GTX 750 Ti This was priced at £110, there was also a R9 270X from Powercolor. The 750 Ti is one of those cards that hits the sweet spot of price and performance and is a highly regarded graphics card and rightly so. I would have been happy to put the 750 Ti into my machine. The problem was the price (Not the crossing the floor to join the green team!) CEX had the card at £110 which was more than I was willing to pay for an upgrade, I’m not even sure where the cut off point was because I hadn’t really looked into an upgrade for my new PC. The Powercolor R9 270X ‘Devil’ was only £65, if both cards where stock the cards are very close together in terms of performance but with the Devil having a substantial overclock the Devil would outperform the Ti.
Lots of fans, all the fans.
- 1180MHz Boost Clock Speed
- 2GB DDR5 1400MHz
- 1280 Stream Processors
- 80 Texture Units
- 32 ROPS
- 2688 GFlops (This is the stock no.)
From the raw numbers you can see this is a massive upgrade from the HD 5450, the temptation was to great and I parted with my £65 after just a few minutes research. I knew where it placed in the line up of the GPU’s so I really just wanted to know about the individual card, not the actual model. This is the type of graphics card that you have a window in the case for, it just looks ( and feels) great all that brushed aluminium. Plus all those fans 2x 80mm and one 90mm fan that even playing a modern game at ultra settings at 60FPS they keep the temp at around 41°C.
- Skyrim 60 fps Ultra settings
- World of Warships 60 fps Max settings
- Star Trek Online 60 fpsa Max settings
- KSP 60fps Max settings
- Elite:Dangerous 60 Fps Ulta settings
I can’t discern any noise difference between the passive and devil cards, but I have no way of actually testing, so it is just my own opinion.
Buying second-hand is risky, but CEX offers a guarantee. I also got to have a hands on look at the card before I handed over any cash. I did a good ‘sniff’ test of the card, over the fans and around the sides of the card. I visually inspected to see if dust had built up, on the fans, or cooling fins. The card past both tests so i was happy to hand over the cash. What you can’t check is to see if the card had been overclocked to hard and therefore reducing its life. Which is a risk but with it having a great cooling system I thought the risk was worth taking.
I now have a kick-ass computer that anyone would be happy to own the CPU is highly desirable and the graphics card is more than enough for 1080p gaming. I will more than likely put off any further upgrades on the computer itself, the upgrade to a RX 480 would be marginal and won’t have any real benefits for me at the moment. To improve my PC gaming my upgrade path is going to be a desk and chair followed by a 1080p monitor. I also really want a HOTAS for my ship flying in Elite:Dangerous. But in the future there is always the Vega chipset that is coming next year, I will be keeping an eye on that. Could it be a 4K delivering beast…?
See you on the other side…