Joined on 06/19/06
XFX Radeon RX 480 4GB
Pros: The card is only 200 dollars. The refernce design works great for my usage in a small form factor HTPC. The card actually has 8GB of RAM which I was able to enable via a BIOS update. The noise from the stock fan profile is rather tolerable and I was able to bump up the fan speed slightly before it became intolerable. Under voltage actually yields more performance (see below for details). The card actually performs better with a slight under voltage. Example: Fire Strike graphics score of roughly 11900 without any adjustments in WATTman, at stock settings the GPU was frequently under 1200mhz in this benchmark. Fire Strike graphics score of roughly 12400 when slightly lowering the voltage, roughly 1050mv at power state 7, and 50mV less in each preceding power state respectively. At this point I increased the power limit and found even more performance gains in Fire Strike graphics scores with the max being slightly over 13000. Its important to note the GPU boosted much closer to advertised while gaming at stock settings, with the under voltage enabled it stayed pegged at the advertised boost clock and I did not need to have the power limit adjusted from default. This was tested with a limited number of games so the power limit may actually yield a performance increase in other games. Its also important to note I needed to slightly bump up the under voltage in power state 7 to 1080mV with the updated BIOS but this was most likely due to the new boost clock rating of 1288mhz.
Cons: Depending on your usage the reference cooler could be considered a con.
Overall Review: It took a full 7 days to receive my order from Newegg when purchasing this the day of launch.
EVGA GTX 980 TI Classified
Pros: Excellent performance. Attractive design albiet rather large. Turbo boost 2.0 offers a higher then advertised boost clock. The card I received runs consistently between 1354-1367 with rare boosts up to 1380 MHZ at stock settings. After upgrading from a Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X I noticed roughly a 50% increase in frame rates at comparable settings - the difference was only NVIDIA vs AMD shadow settings. The fans are quieter when compared to my Sapphire at the same RPM's, which isn't a big surprise considering the EVGA uses two fans.
Cons: The card at idle runs hot in my opinion running over 60C, my ambient temperature is 25.6C. The card was "idling" at 963 MHZ core clock and the RAM was staying at full speed 3503. After some research I was able to resolve this problem but this required me to decrease my monitors native refresh rate from 144 HZ to 120 HZ. After this was done my card magically began to idle at 135 MHZ core clock and 405 MHZ memory clock. I then when into the NVIDIA control panel and confirmed my "Preferred refresh rate" was set to application-controlled, this presumably allows me to game at 144 HZ. I do not know how to actually test if my games are refreshing at 120 HZ or 144 HZ so this is my only valuable gripe with the card and led to my overall rating. Default fan curve is a little to conservative for my taste and my card would frequently run in the low 80's C, again my ambient temperature is 25.6C. I was able to drop the temperature to run in the high 70's C after tweaking a custom fan curve using MSI Afterburner. Precision X software requires you to either register with EVGA or be logged into you Steam account to open the application. That is why I chose to use MSI Afterburner. ASIC Quality 65.6% which seems low for a premium version of top tear card.
Overall Review: System: BenQ XL2730Z Intel 4790K ASUS Sabertooth Z87 Mushkin 2133 Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Pros: Great game that came as a free gift with a Sapphire R9 290x at the time of purchase! When I was able to start the download it was fast, and ran at expected speeds for my internet provider.
Cons: Dinged one star because the day I received the access code, May 13th 2015, I was a unable to initiate the DL through Rockstars Social Club. I was able to enter product code but when attempting to download received an error "URL not found." The problem was resolved the following day. Large DL 60gig+.