Visit any builder’s forum last week, and you would have noticed an abundance of AMD GPUs, and rightly so really. AMD’s new Hawaii cards have turned the graphics card industry upside down in terms of user preference, cheap powerful cards are seemingly hard to refuse. So specifically, what exactly is going on in the world of builders? Have users abandoned their beloved GeForce experience for a taste of eyefinity? Well let’s look at some numbers first.

1440p+ gamers have flocked to our saviour, AMD’s R9 290x (apx.$580), a card capable of exceeding the capabilities of the 780 (prev.$649) at the price stability. 1080p gamers on the other hand have have gone with the equally astounding R9 280x (apx.$320), a card that trades blows with Nvidia’s 770 (prev.$399), although in some tests our hero seems to be fighting with his off hand. Unfortunately, AMD have not been able to produce a truly chart topping card. The GTX Titan still rules, and probably will do for some time. This is something that many builders have managed to look past however, AMD’s prices are just too good, and price for performance wise AMD has emerged the reigning champion.

Interesting stats, some might even say that the long fought game of GPU’s is over. Even though AMD have failed to produce a Titan killer, prices alone tell us that AMD is truly the place to go if you want a bang for your buck, or is it?

Evidently, allowing your competitor to undercut you with superior products is bad for business. So Nvidia have rebutted with a slight price drop in their chief 700 series cards, an offer that is somewhat appealing to our frugal builder friends. Take a look at these prices:

GTX 780:
Previously: $649
Currently: $499
Price of competition: $580

GTX 770:
Previously: $399
Currently: $329
Price of competition: $320

Let us start with the 780; although not topping all test charts, the 780 is incredibly close in performance to the 290x. Taking into consideration that if you max out your 290x there is a 80% of your computer melting, I would say that the 780 is even a wiser choice for gamers. But I digress, the fact of the matter is PC building is all about high performance for low price, and if you’re willing to sacrifice a couple frames then you could find yourself $80 richer, and with a rig that doesn’t pose a huge fire hazard. But let us not forget AMD’s promise for consistent performance at ultra resolution. A pattern that has emerged suggests that high res gamers could do better off with the slightly pricier 290x, a card “tailored” for high res gaming. So now we see a healthy split between GPU’s, are you planning on going for a 1080 or 1440p display? The 780 will do you proud, but if you’re planning on world domination at some unearthly res, then the 290x is your man. (It should also be noted that the problem with the 290x’s heat output has the potential to be fixed with third party coolers, so watch out for those).

We haven’t however, forgotten our good friend the 770. How fares this card’s adventure in its battle against the 280x? Well, price wise the cards are almost on par. This means that we can toss frugality out of the equation, and focus solely on performance. Interestingly enough, the two cards trade blows nicely and there is no clear winner here. On average however, the 770 just about peaks its head through the gap that is high end gaming. A choice that seemingly must be made solely on personal preference is this one. Struggling users might consider taking into account the games they wish to play, where games such as BF4 will perform better on the 280x and games like Arkham will thrive on the 770.

In conclusion, Nvidia’s drop could mean a huge shift in the building industry, but the battle is not over yet. Could third party coolers elevate the 290x above the 780? Can we expect the 280x to drop in price only one month after release? An interesting playing field, but nvidia still has yet to bring out its secret weapon the 780 ti, stay tuned for more info.

Henry Wilson

Team TechRaptor

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