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Advice on an upgrade from gtx 560 ti?

ramraze

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#1
Hey guys,

I would really need your or the testers' advice on what to do to get better performance!
I've investigated and checked all possible forums and benchmarks since June 2011 and still haven't found the solution. Generally I don't ask advice as I have sufficient knowledge on the topics I need. Also, in most cases most topics are easily researchable on from a variety of different reviews and benchmarks.

SPECS:

- i5 2500k at 4.2 ghz
- gtx 560 ti TF OC II, clocked at 900mhz
- 8 gb of 1333 mhz RAM
- 7200 rpm hard drive
- windows 7 64 bit home premium
- nvidia 285.38 driver (285.62 didn't have as good performance imo)
- samsung syncmaster 2233 120hz 1680x1050 monitor
- maximum pre-rendered frames set to 0 in nvidia control panel

At the moment I play BF3 competitively and therefore need every last frame I can get. Most competitive players, regardless of their systems, put all or most of their settings to low for the smoothest gameplay.
As I said above, I also own a 120 hz samsung 1680x1050 monitor with 3ms response rate. My goal is to get an ultra smooth gameplay on 120hz, in terms allowing me to get the maximum results in my gaming. Therefore, I've OC-ed my graphics card, tweaked all the settings to max performance on nvidia control panel, play on all low settings with no AA or any eye-candy. Generally, in BC2 and BF3 I get around 105 to 115 average fps, which sounds relatively nice, right? Well, in 80% of the situations my fps stays at around 100-120. In about 20% of the cases it drops below 90 or sometimes even, however rarely, below 80.
Here is the issue ! In such situations, the gameplay feels less than smooth and in all honesty feels like 50 fps, which feels stuttery!. If I were to play an important clan match and were to get killed because my fps was less smooth than what it normally is, it is completely unacceptable.
Because of that, I'm forced to play on 60 hz, because my monitor's refresh rates go as follows: 60,100,110,120. Even on 100 hz, the same phenomenon happens.

Now, I had my friend, who has an i7-950 and gtx 560 ti SLI with the newest drivers, at my exact settings, do a benchmark for me on a SP map Operation Guillotine. The latter can be considered as relatively static, which I am able to reproduce. He reported an average of 108 fps. When I tried the same, I also found my average to be 108-110.
The problem is all benchmarks in almost all reviews do all of their benchmarks on ultra or high settings with AA. However, I would need some insight on how certain graphics cards at this performance point perform on low settings, in other words, which has the most raw power in that scenario.

Now, my question is, will a gtx 560 ti SLI give me an average of at least 120 fps in all low settings on 1680x1050 resolution. In my friend's case (he's no dumb monkey) it proved that the gain ranges anywhere from 0 to 80%. I'm currently considering a 5970, a second GTX 560 TI SLI, a gtx 580 or a new radeon tahiti series graphics card. It seems to me more and more that a single card will perform better on the low end spectrum because of the increased number in shaders and in nvidia's case, cuda cores. Basically, the stronger the GPU, the higher the minimum. Also, I would like to note that I can not afford to deal with any micro-stuttering or such issues, so for the time being, a crossfire combination is out of the question, unless it is a good tri-fire system.
I'm thinking, at the moment a gtx 580 would be the best buy, since I would like to stay under 500 $ or 500 EUR to be exact, since I live in europe.

My goal is to get the best combination for the cheapest price. Any suggestions what would be a better upgrade?

Apologies for such a long novel, I hope peeps out there with similar experiences can help me out!:rockout::rockout::rockout::toast:
 
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#4
Yeah, all I can say is get the fastest single GPU video card you can afford. Currently, the 7970 is the fastest card available,but it's only available in very limited supply right now. IIRC, the 7970 should be widely available on Jan 9th. Next fastest would be the GTX580.
 
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#5
The 7970 would be you best bet. However, you'll be paying for it as they're not cheap.

IMO, the best thing you can do is get another 560Ti. At your resolution you wont benefit at all from more VRAM, contrary to popular belief.
However, your stuttering issue can be other things as well. If you don't have enough system memory this can also cause stuttering ingame. I'd recommend at least 6GB, preferably 8+.

I just sold a rig that had two 560TI's in SLI. At stock speeds (both CPU and GPUs'), they beat a 7970. I could seriously run almost any game out there on Ultra with max AF/AA (32x in BFBC2) and easily maintain 100+, with dips down into the mid/high 80's. And that's at 1920x1080.
So I'd imagine at 1680x1050, it'd be a lot higher.
So just get another one. It's not only the cheapest method, but it's also the most powerful as 2 560Ti's WILL SMOKE a 580, and on your 2500k, easily beat out a 7970 as well.
 

ramraze

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#6
Thanks for your reply. I have 8 gigs of system memory, so it's not that. It's not exactly stuttering, but anyone who has tested playing on 100 or 120 hz will know that if it dips below 80 or something, it feels like 50 fps on 60 hz. Just a little bit unsmooth. I just get annoyed when I get those drops, especially at operation metro last base on rush, where you're fighting outside and getting that mcom on the road, next to the bus. FPS is like 75 to 80. Not as responsive or smooth!

I also imagine an GTX 560 TI SLI will be faster than those single cards, but the benchmark my friend ran, shows that i would gain nothing, since I already have the desired max fps, rather than the desired minimum fps. To be honest, I want a little safety headroom as well, not having to worry about frames even if I decide to put some settings on medium.
 
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#7
So just get another one. It's not only the cheapest method, but it's also the most powerful as 2 560Ti's WILL SMOKE a 580, and on your 2500k, easily beat out a 7970 as well.
Let me say that by early OC results from the 7970 cards(over 1300mhz on air, over 1700 on LN2), they can be faster than a GTX590 or 6990. I wouldn't be so fast to say the 7970 can easily be beaten by a pair of GTX560TI cards with that in mind. They might be able to do it, but it won't be easy.
 

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#8
It's not only the cheapest method, but it's also the most powerful as 2 560Ti's WILL SMOKE a 580, and on your 2500k, easily beat out a 7970 as well.
Yeah they beat the GTX580 but only by 11% and that's far away from SMOKING.
They wont beat the 7970 tho, as it can be overclocked to around 1.4GHz with air and a stock clocked is already 10% faster than GTX580 so you can just do the math how much faster it will be at 1.4GHz.

My point:
1. SLI GTX560Ti -> Faster than GTX580 but not by much + huge SLI problems.
2. SLI GTX560Ti -> Slower than HD7970
3. Wait for the HD7970.
 

ramraze

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#9
Thanks for the reply. I have watched some videos and it seems that a gtx 560 ti in SLI every once in a while does skip some frames, so I don't want that -.-


Any other suggestions?
 
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#10
Let me say that by early OC results from the 7970 cards(over 1300mhz on air, over 1700 on LN2), they can be faster than a GTX590 or 6990. I wouldn't be so fast to say the 7970 can easily be beaten by a pair of GTX560TI cards with that in mind. They might be able to do it, but it won't be easy.
I was talking about stock speeds.
And yes they easily outpace a 7970 at stock speeds and on a slower processor to boot. I recently sold a first gen i7 rig with a 920 running at stock speeds. With 2 348 core 560Ti's, my 3Dmark 11 score beat a 7970 by 40 points; and the 7970 was benched used a 2600k. That was with turbo off. Now with turbo on, running @ 2.813MHz, my rig beat it heartily by over 500 points.

Yeah they beat the GTX580 but only by 11% and that's far away from SMOKING.
They wont beat the 7970 tho, as it can be overclocked to around 1.4GHz with air and a stock clocked is already 10% faster than GTX580 so you can just do the math how much faster it will be at 1.4GHz.

My point:
1. SLI GTX560Ti -> Faster than GTX580 but not by much + huge SLI problems.
2. SLI GTX560Ti -> Slower than HD7970
3. Wait for the HD7970.
11%? Really? I don't know what you've been reading, but you're wrong.

Lets use the Guru 3d 560Ti SLI review.

In Far cry 2 560Ti's in SLI beat a 580 by 27%.
In Anno 14 -Dawn of discovery: 25%
In Crysis Warhead: 23%
In 3D mark Vantage: 20%
In Metro 2033: 24%
In Dirt 2: 22%
In BFBC2: 25%

So far for the games and apps I've listed, 560Ti's in SLI beat a 580 by almost 24% on average. So your statement of 11% is utter bullshit.

Then,
1.) in SLI they're much faster.
1a.)SLI problems? I've never had any with SLI or Crossfire and I've been running dual card setups since 2005, both SLI and CF.
2.)560Ti's in SLI = a 7970's performance. And possibly best it depending on the CPU used and it's overclock. I was thoroughly impressed with the 560 Ti's performance in SLI. Definitely best bang for the buck cards.
3.) Why wait? So you can pay a premium? Save A LOT of money and get better performance by going SLI.

EDIT:
4.) At the resolution he's playing at, he will never utilize the amount of memory a 7970 has. So there is no benefit from it unless he's planning on getting at least 2 more monitors for 3D vision or Eyefinity.

EDIT 2:
Thanks for the reply. I have watched some videos and it seems that a gtx 560 ti in SLI every once in a while does skip some frames, so I don't want that -.-


Any other suggestions?
The reason they were getting frame skip was due their monitor refresh rate. More often than not, turning Vsync on alleviates any issues with screen tearing or skipped frames.
Basically when you get screen tearing or skipping, it's because the video output device is supplying the frames to the monitor well beyond its refresh rate. So if you have a 60Hz monitor, guess what? You're only getting 60FPS no matter what any monitoring software may tell you otherwise.
From personal experience, Vsync only causes input lag in Source based games. That's it. In every other game I play, Vsync removes all screen tearing and skipping, although, I haven't had any issues with skipping (typically referred to as microstutter).
 
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ramraze

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#11
When i play 60 hz on my 120hz-capable monitor on 100 fps i've never ever seen the slightest hint of tearing of clipping, or skipping. I had micro-stuttering in mind, when i talked about SLIs skipping frames.
 
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#12
When i play 60 hz on my 120hz-capable monitor on 100 fps i've never ever seen the slightest hint of tearing of clipping, or skipping. I had micro-stuttering in mind, when i talked about SLIs skipping frames.
Vsync does not lock it to 60fps. Vsync locks the framerate to your monitors refresh rate. So if your monitor is 120 Hz then vsync locks it to 120 fps.
As for microstutter, its not really an issue these days. You cant base a cards or SLI performance on a video. Reason being, there are too many variables you dont know about. Such amount of system memory if their overclock is stable and so on. On the i7 rig I sold I never had any microstutter.
 

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#13
Any other suggestions from people? I do want to add that price is not of my primary concern, would like not to spend overly much. I'm going to save for the GPU well ahead, anyway.
 
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#14
I stick by my suggestion of a 7970. They will be available a week from today, and will be priced in the $550 range. I'll probably be ordering one to replace my 5870's with, and it may actually be a performance upgrade instead of a sidegrade.
 

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#15
Yeah. Cool = ) Btw, does anybody have any guess/estimations on how the 7950 will perform? I'm asking since the 6950 and the 6970 perform rather similarly. I read from somewhere that people estimate it to be in the ~400 dollar price range. Would be nice if a 7950 would still be on par with or better than a gtx 580!
As for the 7990, however, it is easier to place its' performance as it is a dual card and a flagship of the series...
 
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#16
the 7970 is a single GPU card, the 7990 will be the dual gpu card of the HD7000 series
 

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#17
Oh lolz, just noticed i had made a mistake. I meant the 7990. I'm acquainted with the 79xx series cards leaked info :)
 

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#18
SLI GTX 560 Ti, because you have TF II/OC version and you play on low resolution.

And save money for new series of nvidia gpu.
 

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#19
And save money for new series of nvidia gpu.
Well with no performance indicators at all, that's good advice eh?
 

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#20
I'm personally atm not digging the idea of the rather sporadic nature of sli. You never know-maybe bug company 3 is released and im forced to play on a single card for 2 months, rather than Sli. I would like to rely on a single more powerful card instead. As I've mentioned before, Sometimes you get 80% to 100% gain, sometimes you get 0%. I'm more interested in raising my minimum, rather than maximum. However, of course I want raw, reliable power. I've decided to only buy nvidia but above the gtx 560 ti, im not sure I'm liking the prices. Radeon's carda have lately been surprisingly efficient in terms of value/performance. We'll see what nvidia's reply will be. Will wait for both releases.

Raw performance isn't always gold - it doesn't necessarily guarantee a smooth experience
 

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#21
Nvidia is always more expensive.
 
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#22
I'm personally atm not digging the idea of the rather sporadic nature of sli. You never know-maybe bug company 3 is released and im forced to play on a single card for 2 months, rather than Sli. I would like to rely on a single more powerful card instead. As I've mentioned before, Sometimes you get 80% to 100% gain, sometimes you get 0%. I'm more interested in raising my minimum, rather than maximum. However, of course I want raw, reliable power. I've decided to only buy nvidia but above the gtx 560 ti, im not sure I'm liking the prices. Radeon's carda have lately been surprisingly efficient in terms of value/performance. We'll see what nvidia's reply will be. Will wait for both releases.

Raw performance isn't always gold - it doesn't necessarily guarantee a smooth experience
That's exactly what SLI does. Although, it inadvertently raises both.

And Nvidia is REALLY good about pre-releasing SLI profiles before games come out. They have a great working relationship with most game developers.

And if you're referring to BF3 and the lack of SLi and CF profiles, well, there actually were some. Then EA and Dice decided to change some bit of code that screwed them up. Regardless, if it's a big enough title, like BF3, they had a fix for it out in a matter of a week --if that long.

Quite honestly, instead of spending all of that cash on a crazy new graphics card that you'll never even get to fully utilize because of the resolution you're playing at.

Instead, get a another 560Ti, and a new larger monitor. Something along the lines of a 27" 1920x1200 resolution.
Even at that resolution the 560Ti's will plow through most any game.
 

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#23
Instead, get a another 560Ti, and a new larger monitor. Something along the lines of a 27" 1920x1200 resolution.
Even at that resolution the 560Ti's will plow through most any game.

Thanks, but no thanks :) I purposely sold my 23" 1920x1080p monitor for a 120 hz 3ms 22" 1680x1050 monitor. You shouldn't need to ask why :)

If anything, I'll sell even this to go to 1280x1024 for more pwnage.
 
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#24
1. Does your microstutter problem occur at predictable locations of the game map, or does it occur randomly anywhere on the map?
2. Have you run any monitoring tools to see if CPU utilisation is peaking at these places, HDD is being used, pagefile being accessed, or are you 100% sure it is purely GPU bottleneck?
3. Is the map scene complex at this point, or are their new textures being pre-loaded, that account for the slowdowns?
4. Would you be ready to invest in another 8GB RAM and set up a RAMdisk and install the game on the RAMdisk?
 

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#25
1. Does your microstutter problem occur at predictable locations of the game map, or does it occur randomly anywhere on the map?
2. Have you run any monitoring tools to see if CPU utilisation is peaking at these places, HDD is being used, pagefile being accessed, or are you 100% sure it is purely GPU bottleneck?
3. Is the map scene complex at this point, or are their new textures being pre-loaded, that account for the slowdowns?
4. Would you be ready to invest in another 8GB RAM and set up a RAMdisk and install the game on the RAMdisk?
Thanks for replying.
1) I don't have micro stutter since I'm at the moment running a single gtx 560 ti. They are natural fps drops.
2) I do casually, my gpu utilization in game ranges from 90-99% at stable temperatures. Cpu utilization ranges anywhere between 40-60 or 70 %, stable (if i remember correctly when i last checked it) depending on the map and whether it is actually in a loading pause or not. The CPU is running on stable clocks and has stable temps. I haven't actually checked for HDD activity. I haven´t ever encountered any particular HDD issues or long loading times (except for BF3 bug that occurs on every system, regardless if on HDD or SSD)
3) There are no actual skips/jumps or "stutters" per se, but only lowered fps that makes aiming harder (around 20% below refresh rate and below). It usually happens when there is a lot to render, like bigger areas with more depth of field. I haven't actually noticed BF3 pre-loading any new textures as the maps aren't as big for that, so no.
4) and no, I have memtested my ram and my loading times and ram activity seems to be fine. I don't want to overkill my ram, even 4 GB of 1333 mhz should be enough to run it. I don't think it is the issue.

There are no frame drops if i run the game in 60 hz though. Overall, by framedrops I don't mean random spikes but naturally lower fps. To be honest, I think what I'm getting on my gtx 560 ti is good enough, compared to other similarly priced and performing cards, but it just can't do 100-120 fps all of the time, which I understand.

Hope this answers your questions