Am I Bottlenecked by my CPU or would a GTX680 be the answer?

Hello again

For a long time i have been using a 5870 to power my gaming habit. It was great, it maxed out near enough anything at 1440x900 on my 19" monitor. However, i recently bought a new 27" monitor and, as it turns out, a 5870 just can't handle gaming at my native resolution of 2560x1400. So I went ahead and delved in to ebay and got my hands on a second XFX 5870 for £90 and crossfired it up. 

   The results were, dissapointing at best. With some diagnostics i found that my second PCI-E slot is not capable of the speeds listed. Using GPU-Z i observed that while slot 1 was running at the correct speed of PCIE 2.0 x16. On the other hand the second slot, as it turns out, is not capable of the advertised PCIE 2.0 x4 (which according to the benchmarks iv seen wouldnt have infringed performance by more than ~5%) but rather PCIE 1.1 x4.

  This has lead me to the point where the only solution that doesnt involve a new build is a single high-end card like the GTX680.

Now, the question I have is whether or not my PC will see improvement from a GTX 680 or whether the other components just arent up for it.

Here are my specs:

i5 750 @ 4GHZ

4GB DDR3 @ 1600MHZ

Asus P7P55D LE motherboard

2x XFX 5870 in Crossfire.

XFX 850w PSU

OCZ Vertex 3 Boot Drive

2x 500GB Seagate Baracudas in (software) RAID0


Thank you in advance for any insight that you can provide ;).

As long as you're only running one card, I think you would be fine running a GTX 680. Also, your board is running at the advertised speeds. I have a board that does the same thing with one of its X8 slots. For whatever reason, GPU-Z reads the secondary slot as PCI-E 1.1 if it is not running at X16, or at least that's the conclusion that I have come to.

X4 will take about 5-15 percent of your card's power away because it's just simply not enough bandwidth. Also, the 5870 only has 1GB of ram, and you want more VRAM for higher resolutions. Looking at benchmarks, though, it looks like the GTX 680 still outperforms the 7970 at 2560x1600 (in the most recent games anyway; the 7970 has an advantage in Crysis for some reason) even though the 7970 has 3GB while the GTX 680 has 2GB. I'd say go ahead and get the 680.

I don't think the i5 750 would bottleneck the card, especially because it's overclocked to 4ghz. 

Thanks for your fast reply!

Now it just comes down to red vs green. I would have originaly gone for the GTX 680 as performace is similar and the 680 throws in PhysX as a bonus. But as i was browsing my local components supplier i found that the 7970 is ~£60 cheaper than the 680.


So my question is; Is the GTX680 worth the extra money?


Well that's up to you. Here's a performance comparison between the two cards:

If I was you I wouldn't bother with the 680 right now.

Its severly overpriced, and the 670 will be coming in 4 days and it keeps up with the 680 (its really close) plus it *should* come in higher volume and be around $100+ cheaper :)

I have actualy been considering 12 months interest free finance on a 690. Just need to be sure my PSU is up for it.


Sure thats not just overkill?

Do you really need it? 

Is it worth paying back for the rest of the year when you will get the same real satisfaction of a card half the price?



Just a bit of advice, I know what its like. When you want something you really weant it. But I have found after spending a tonne of money on certain things liek this thinking I really wanted or needed them, once I had them it was just.... meh and a waste of cash

This is true. Ill look through some benchmarks. Doesnt seem to be much of the 680 around at 2560.

You may benefit more form getting a sinlge 4gb 680 instad of the 690 which only has 2gb per GPU.

At that resolution already in BF3 it is limiting on the Vram, but in the next year and beyond there will be games that eat that Vram up at that high res, so if your thinking about keeping it for a while at the resolution you may be better off with a 4gb one.

The only problem with that is the £600 pricetag. That's £100 per gig extra.

Yeh.. dont even bother. The prices for 680's or way over the top atm. If I were you I would wait till the price gouging has stopped.

Or even better, the 670 releases tomorrow, it is coming in high volume and should be a good price. It is extremely close to the 680 in terms of performance and there are non referance 4gb cards, I think two of these may be your answere :)

My mobo doesnt support SLi unfortunately. If memory is gonna be an issue, do you think the similarly performing (and slightly cheaper) 7970 be a better choice? As this comes as standard with 3GB of VRAM.

Yes it is a good choice, they are priced very well.

But consider this.. I had a 7970 and traded it before the price drop for a 570, Im very happy with the 570. 

Im a long time AMD fan and have never had any driver issues witht hem in the past, I much prefer their colour pallet (colours are more accurate and slightly more vibrant at collaberated settings compared to Nvidia) and their IQ.  But I directly swapped my 7970 for a 570 + cash and as soon as I used my PC games just felt smoother even though the fps was lower, its weird but I am very happy I did the swap.

I think the 7***'s cards have a few drvier issues, I couldnt play BFBC2 as they never bother with the drivers for it (40% GPU usage) and a few other games, and overall performance even higher fps didnt feel as smooth compared to my 570.

Its a shame because I hate Nvidias colour pallet with a passion.....

My 5870s were my first Team Red cards and i have to say, I agree with you totally on the colour pallet. Especially on my IPS monitor. I found the pallet on my 9800GTX+ to be allot more grey and even slightly washed out. Its strange you should mention this though, i too have noticed that Nvidia cards do seem to cope better at lower frame rates before getting choppy. The low framerate is noticeable in GTA4 on my cards at like 30FPS.

Pluss there is the fact that there are a couple of games I play that do benefit from PhysX. Although there is some drivers that should not be named that allow you to have an Nvidia card installed at the same time for PhysX even after Nvidia/ATi disallowed it.

Yeh, some people dont notice a difference, and Nvidia 'fanboy's will deny it straight away. But to me it is clear as day, its not a huge difference, but its a certain difference and when your screen is collaberated Nvidia's cards are more washed out or grey as you say.

And I think thats what it is, Nvidia cards to feel smoother at lower framerates, I remember on the 7970/6970 on BF3 at 70 fps (I have a 120hz screen) it didnt feel smooth so I lowered the settings, but on the 570 I can be at 60fps and it just feels smoother, its weird.

I've never noticed the difference in colors. The main thing I notice with colors is the difference between monitors. Glossy screens have much better color than matte screens.

Yep, its very hard to notice unless you directly swap your GPU's and pay attention to it, and when you do notice it... it kinda sucks and you just live with it.


It's the reason most proffesional photographers use AMD cards.


A perfect GPU would be AMD's colour pallet and IQ mixed with Nvidias smoothness and driver support for old games on new cards. (Another thing I forgot to mention is AMD's Super Sampling is allot better quality than Nvidias, their 'SSAA' in the Nvidia conrol panel isn't real Super Sampling atall, you have to use Nvidia Inspector, and even then AMD's standard SSAA is better quality)

So the 670 reviews are out and around and, while they are impressive, i just dont think they have enough of a price drop compared to the 680 to compromise on one. Yeah they perform very well at the moment but it would seem that when the new drivers go full release that the 680 is gonna see a major performance boost in some of the more recource intensive games like Witcher. I think it might be time to do the financial calculations necassary to purchase a GTX680 2GB.

The 670 is extremely close to the 680 and that isn't going to change. It is the same chip, they are just binned slowly lower.

Many 680 buyers are dissapointed now that the 670 has come out and its allot cheaper and only a few fps behind.

I suggest to get the Galaxy or Gigabyte windforce OC models as they overclock well and are only just behind the 680 even when overclocked.

The card down from the top card has always been allot bettere value for money, and its not changing here infact as it is compared to the 680 the 670 is an epic card, drivers wont change anything as they are both the same chips, if drivers improve the 680 the 670 will improve with it the same,