It is an interesting time of year for anyone on Team Green to consider upgrading their GPU. While NVIDIA had nothing to say about their next lineup of desktop graphics cards at CES last week they are inevitably on their way, most likely for Q2 of this year. Making it an even bigger deal is that both the 600 and 700-series cards were based on the same Kepler architecture, whereas next time NVIDIA’s finally leaving it behind for the new Maxwell architecture instead. But while such names and numbers make the next lineup sound significantly more powerful, chances are the performance increase over what’s on the market today won’t be mindblowing. It’s also worth considering that the midrange 700 series cards are roughly on-par with the PS4 and Xbox One GPUs, so it’s likely that a decent Kepler GPU will be capable of holding out pretty much the entire next generation.
All that being said, what the choice really comes down to is you. If your graphics card isn’t struggling yet, wait. But if you’re on the low end of the spectrum—say, a GTX 460—you can expect to be blindsided when next-gen games come out and absolutely thrash your GPU.
And a GTX 460 is exactly where I was, and where a lot of other PC gamers find themselves as well. The 460 is a powerful little card and managed to crank out performance well beyond what seems possible on paper. But like happens to all good technology it has been well superseded over the last few years, and to really get in on the next-gen action it’s time to move on.
That’s where the GTX 770 comes in. While a 760 is a substantial upgrade over a 460 and perhaps the more obvious upgrade path, its performance in recent titles leaves a bit to be desired, considering this is a threshold next-gen piece of hardware. The 780ti is of course a graphics powerhouse, but also well outside most gamers’ budgets, and the normal 780 suffers from a similar pricing issue without so much power to offer. Thus for a balance of budget and power, the GTX 770 is currently NVIDIA’s best offer. But let’s say you’ve got a little extra room in your budget and want to spec your PC as much as possible. In that case, an aftermarket 770 is for you. Models like Gigabyte’s Windforce edition offer enhanced cooling, expanded memory, and faster clock speeds than a standard GTX 770, and at minimal cost compared to stepping up to the next tier of GPU.
Sound interesting? Then hit up the unboxing video below for an overview of the card. And to see just how big a difference a 770 will make in your 460-toting PC, be sure to also check out the comparison benchmark, using 3DMark’s epic Fire Strike test.