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GPU upgrade strategies

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magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
I'm guessing most people here don't just go out and buy the latest, greatest video card releases. So what strategy do you employ when upgrading your GPU(s)? When is it worth it to upgrade your GPU? Do you always buy NIB?
 

Tír na nÓg

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2015
It depends on the opportunity. Sometimes I buy new, a few months after launch, when some sales are running.
Sometimes "open box", if there is a good deal.
Sometimes used.

Same goes for GPU, CPU or any type of hardware (except HDDs/SSDs).
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
I buy the latest and greatest video cards and/or review them.
Strategy, sell the old one.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
You are definitely in need of an upgrade according to your signature... or wait, have you still not updated that after numerous requests with the hardware you currently have? :rofl:

Its worth it, to me, to upgrade when my current GPU isn't playing the games I play at the settings I want (Ultra with AA). I really wouldn't call it a strategy as opposed to letting the need drive the purchase. I buy both NIB and used.
 

NewbieOneKenobi

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Location
Warsaw/Poland
I've probably bought slightly more NIB than used, but most happened before it became popular for PC shops to put long warranties on used stuff (even 6 months). The warranty service itself doesn't really matter, what matters is how serious things look, and shops tend to be less random and more reliable than individuals. For example, just yesterday I installed the same card you have in your sig in my friend's computer — purchased for just under $50, and it was a huge boost for his 965 for such a low price (we could probably sell his 550ti for $40 quite easily). The shop always has more of those cards, so it isn't dying to sell just one particular unit and should probably be smart and experienced enough to help you with some information you need.

My own current card is a used unit from some private guy who ran a 4-way Crossfire or some such. It was a BuyNow cheap enough to be a no-brainer and just expensive enough to not look fishy. I'd never seen a more professionally packaged GPU, not even NIB. The lack of foil was the only visible trace of anything else than NIB. Performance and everything else is perfect. Not so much the other 280X I'd bought half a year ago, though — wasted money on some sort of cheating guy, as it later turned out. I obviously wouldn't have needed another card had the first one worked, but between the two of them I could probably get a 970, a NIB 290X or whatever.

Used is good for savings but not if your first purchase must work because you can't afford replacement. Even if you can, you're often better off buying NIB in the grander scheme of things, just because of how much a single wasted purchase sets you back. This is where those shops (registered companies, preferably with a physical shop location) come in that sell tested used cards with longer warranties for nice prices.

EDIT: Your strategy also depends on your PSU. If it's strong enough and you aren't a total n00b, you can try adding (CF/SLI) rather than replacing, in future. But from the get-go I'd always go for a single card anyway, except in narrow scenarios with cheap used cards for older games. Even then, it still hurts your wallet through electricity bills, so replacing probably makes more sense, as long as you sell your previous card. With modern CPUs all having IGAs, you don't need a spare discrete card in case you fry the current one.
 
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magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
You are definitely in need of an upgrade according to your signature... or wait, have you still not updated that after numerous requests with the hardware you currently have? :rofl:

Its worth it, to me, to upgrade when my current GPU isn't playing the games I play at the settings I want (Ultra with AA). I really wouldn't call it a strategy as opposed to letting the need drive the purchase. I buy both NIB and used.

So you always buy top-of-the-line ED? Because I notice you seem to always have Ti models in your signature. Did you ever consider getting a Titan X instead of your GTX 980Ti?
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
I have never once listed my hardware in my signature here. ;)

I did not consider a TitanX over a 980Ti.
 
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magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
I have never once listed my hardware in my signature here. ;)

I did not consider a TitanX over a 980Ti.

I swear you did in the past. Otherwise how did I know you used to have a 780Ti classified?
Do you always buy EVGA classified Ti's? R U waiting on the 1080 Ti now?
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
I never owned a 780 Ti Classified either. Maybe in my really early years here did I have my hardware in my signature, but that was well before the 780Ti days. ;)
 
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magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
I never owned a 780 Ti Classified either. Maybe in my really early years here did I have my hardware in my signature, but that was well before the 780Ti days. ;)

Maybe it was one of your reviews that had the EVGA Class 780Ti in it. Maybe a review of the GTX 970?
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Strike 3. :p

Dino reviewed the 780ti classy. Ive reviewed a 970 before though...

...anyway, fun exercise. Being a reviewer here, i really have a choice as ro what i keep. That said, i did buy my last card, the giga 980ti extreme gaming. I am waiting to review a 1080 or 1080ti to replace it, yes.
 

NewbieOneKenobi

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Location
Warsaw/Poland
Just out of curiosity, do reviewers get to resale the parts they kept too or is that a restricted deal? I'm mostly thinking about all those used 'Intel Confidential' CPUs (engineering samples) that people sometimes sell, so I wonder if the rules for them are relaxed after some time has passed compared to the normal strict injuction against reselling.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Just out of curiosity, do reviewers get to resale the parts they kept too or is that a restricted deal? I'm mostly thinking about all those used 'Intel Confidential' CPUs (engineering samples) that people sometimes sell, so I wonder if the rules for them are relaxed after some time has passed compared to the normal strict injuction against reselling.

This depends from manufacturer to manufacturer and product to product, but typically it is yours to do with as you wish.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Just out of curiosity, do reviewers get to resale the parts they kept too or is that a restricted deal? I'm mostly thinking about all those used 'Intel Confidential' CPUs (engineering samples) that people sometimes sell, so I wonder if the rules for them are relaxed after some time has passed compared to the normal strict injuction against reselling.
You are not allowed to sell an ES sample at any point AFAIK. If Intel gets wind of it and traces it back to your site... that isn't good for future products. ;)
 

Tech Tweaker

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Personally, I've never bought the latest and greatest of anything computer-wise.

I've only ever purchased two video cards new. Probably at least two dozen used, and can't even remember how many now that I think about it.

I tend to purchase GPU's/graphics cards when they're 2-3 years old on the used market on ebay or this forum (or some other forum), and more often than not I don't buy the top end models. For instance, I didn't buy a GTX 480, I bought its little brother the GTX 460. Didn't buy a GTX 580, I bought a used GTX 570 (and it was broken when I got it, and I had to repair it). Didn't buy the GTX 690, I bought a used GTX 680. Didn't buy the GTX 970 or 980 for $350-500+, I bought a used GTX 780 (just this year in fact) for under $230. The GTX 780 is roughly on par with the GTX 970 in many games and applications, so I think it was a good deal getting an older card for over $100 less than a new GTX 970. Do wish I'd bought a 780 with a reference PCB though, as I thought I'd try to liquid cool the GPU, then discovered that my card has a non-reference PCB and the mounting won't fit due to a row of chokes being in the way.

The GTX 460 may have been a mistake though, as it didn't really quite suit my needs performance-wise, and I was a bit annoyed that it had no heat sinks on the VRAM or VRM's.

Bought my motherboard and CPU when they were a generation behind (and saved over $200 in the process. I like to buy stuff after its reliability is well established. I don't like buying in as an early adopter of technologies or unproven products, as you often (or sometimes) end up as a guinea pig or unintentional beta-tester of a product you purchased, while the manufacturer works to get the kinks out of the product.
 
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magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
I bought a used GTX 780 (just this year in fact) for under $230. The GTX 780 is roughly on par with the GTX 970 in many games and applications, so I think it was a good deal getting an older card for over $100 less than a new GTX 970. Do wish I'd bought a 780 with a reference PCB though, as I thought I'd try to liquid cool the GPU, then discovered that my card has a non-reference PCB and the mounting won't fit due to a row of chokes being in the way.

I thought a GTX 780Ti was roughly equivalent to a GTX 970, not the plain-jane GTX 780?