Last summer, I built myself a whole new rig... unfortunately, as is often the case with our wonderful world of PC hardware, I'm already starting to feel the strain on the machine (in a few, extremely limited situations.) The primary performance pitfall that I've been experiencing is in Battlefield 4 (a renowned system killer,) specifically in busy urban fields of view, with a relatively long draw distance, and lots of "stuff" happening. For people who play and know the game and maps, the best examples I have would be like when I'm standing on a roof in Pearl Market, able to look down the length of one of the longer roads, or, while flying the scout helicopter around over the middle area of Flood Zone. In both of those circumstances, my typically stable 70-100 FPS consistently drops to the 45-55 range.
For this reason, I'm considering a couple options for bolstering graphics processing. Right now, the two being most heavily considered are as follows:
- Obtaining a 2nd R9 290X, to run the cards in a CrossFire configuration
- Slightly cheaper than outright purchasing a GTX980, despite the necessity to also get a higher output power supply
- This extensive benchmark testing chart indicates considerably better performance from the R9 290X CF configuration, when compared to a single GTX980
- Time and effort saved in not having to do any software changes (drivers, etc.)
- Would need to replace power supply with higher output unit
- Louder operating noise under load
- Less future-proofing (what happens when I'm having the same issue in 12-18 months?)
- Replacing the R9 290X with a new GTX980
- Would not require power supply upgrade
- Future proofing (leaves capability to add 2nd GTX980 in SLI, sometime down the road)
- Could likely recoup $200-$300 of upgrade cost by selling R9 290X (along with the ~2 remaining years on the retailers optional 3 year in-store immediate replacement warrany that I had purchased)
- This similar benchmark testing chart indicates only slight overall performance gains from the alternative single-card
- Would require additional work to reconfigure drivers and applications, a process that doesn't often go without some horrible bugs or crashes
However, I'm also a bit torn on my display configuration at the moment... after reading this PCGamer article on "The best gaming monitors", I'm starting to wonder if the time has come to start shopping for a replacement for my old Samsung 1200p 16:10 60ms primary display. While the display does still look ok, I absolutely notice the color saturation and definition degradation when I'm LANning with friends, sitting 6' away from one of their brand new 1440p 16:9 144hZ monitors.
When considering options for monitor purchase, I must specify a few things:
- I'm not going to downgrade in screen real-estate to a 1080p screen. The stuff in my sights is either 16:9 1440p, or 21:9 1440p (whatever that bonkers resolution is, it looks amazing)
- I'm also not bothering to consider anything in the 4k market. Pixel density on the 27"~34" screens is way too high for my blind old-man eyes to see stuff on my desktop, while any ~40"+ screen is just too bloody huge to be a PC monitor (too close to face in seated position, not being able to easily focus on both middle and edges of screen simultaneously defeats the purpose of having a gorgeous high-res for high-FOV FPS gaming)
- I'm highly averse to the proprietary BS surrounding the green-man's "GSync" (which sounds like something awful that would be muttered by a gangsta'rapper)
- I am, however, willing to wait until a suitable monitor that supports DisplayPort 1.4a AdaptiveSync becomes available on the market
- As I'm already experiencing intolerable FPS drops while playing at 1200p, should I hold off on massively increasing my pixel render count until I can do so simultaneously with a major graphics processing upgrade?
I'll likely only have $500~$750 (Canadian money, in Canadian hardware market,) in my budget for this year's incremental gaming rig upgrade, and I'm having a hard time deciding which of the above would be the wisest course of action. Nerd army, PLS HALP!