Turns out I forgot to blog about the final part of my computer upgrade: the GPU. Bit silly of me, given how important it is. I purchased the other components over the course of last year and built the rig in September, but only purchased the GPU right at the end of November.
This was all about waiting for the new ‘sweet spot’, which seemed to be on the verge of changing throughout 2014. NVIDIA had already teased some new tech and were clearly building up to something – that turned out to be the 970, a card which offers phenomenal power-to-price value.
The 970 is more expensive than the 960 and not as powerful as the 980, but it sits in-between the two perfectly. An overclocked 970 starts to edge up towards the 980 in terms of performance, while cutting costs to go for the 960 is likely to be limiting in the long run.
I went for an MSI version, which has a nice super quiet fan when it’s not being taxed. I have an Asus variant at work which is similarly spiffy.
Aside from its raw power – it can handle anything I throw at it, so far, and can run any pre-2014 game at 2x my monitor’s normal resolution without breaking a sweat (eg 3360×2100) using NVIDIA’s cool built-in supersampling thing – it also runs very efficiently, which means it’s quieter, cooler and less hungry than a card of this power has any right to be.
And, thus, my computer upgrade is now complete. Shadow of Mordor and Dragon Age Inquisition at Full Everything and super high resolutions are amazing, and it turns older games into perfection. Star Citizen is silky smooth. The big test comes in May with the arrival of Witcher 3 – the first game to really push beyond the current console gen. Fingers crossed it can handle it.