Don’t upgrade your graphics card yet


As a follow on from “Hardware you should buy right now“, we’ve decided to put together reasons why you shouldn’t buy a graphics card just yet.

There are a lot of exciting things set to happen within the next few months, let’s take a look at a few of these.

AMD 7000 series

AMD’s recently released 7970 is making waves, as high-end cards often do. Combining impressive performance figures with a range of new and interesting features like ZeroCore and Eyefinity 2.0, comparing the 7970 to anything else on the market makes AMD’s new high-end offering the obvious choice for gamers. There are some things you should take into account however.

The first is price; the card starts at around R6,500 locally, which is a lot. More than most gamers would be willing to spend on a single card.

Secondly; the HD7970 can only currently be compared last-generation offerings from AMD and Nvidia, so of course the HD7970 will clean the floor with everything else. If it didn’t the card would be a failure.

Finally; AMD is preparing to launch the lower-end HD7000 series graphics cards in the next few months. These will cost less than the HD7970 and chances are good that they’ll offer a greater price/performance ratio while still retaining all of the new technology found in 7000 series cards.

Amd Radeon 7970

Amd Radeon 7970

Nvidia Kepler

Nvidia also have big plans for the coming months. The Kepler architecture is the latest generation of Nvidia technology, with the cards being based on an all new 28nm manufacturing process. It will bring features such as PCI Express 3.0 support and DirectX 11.1, and compete directly with the AMD 7970 series.

Once Kepler is out, gamers will have a wider choice of graphics cards available to them, and there is a good chance Nvidia’s new cards will put pricing pressure on AMD’s 7000 series. Once the dust has settled, expect either price drops from AMD, or competitive launch prices from Nvidia.

nvidia geforce gtx 580 video card

This is a GTX580, but if you close your eyes and imagine, it turns into a Kepler based card

Don’t care about the latest generation of tech?

If you’re not interested in the latest high-end technology and would be comfortable grabbing current AMD 6000 series or Nvidia 500 series cards, you should also hold off on upgrading.

When stock of the new series of cards lands, chances are good that retailers will try to clear their shelves of old stock, meaning sale prices.

If you’re interested in the second hand market, keep an eye out once the new high-end cards launch. All of the early adopters will look to shift their old cards once the replacements arrive, so expect a wave of “old technology” to hit the local second hand market.

old graphics card

Old tech is still cool!

Bottom line

There is a time to buy a new graphics card, but that time isn’t now.

Rather hold off for a month, or two, or three, or even four if you have too. You’ll have access to a range of new exciting technology available at aggressive prices, or slightly older but still capable technology at clearance sale pricing.

Forum discussion

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  • Anonymous

    i had a 3dfx banshee once … haha

  • Voicy

    Meh. Just bought myself an ASUS GTX560 top 3 weeks ago. Oh well. 😐

  • Glordit

    Ah no worries! GTX560 is a awesome card have yet to find a game that will make it cry :)

  • SairenSA

    Do you also get an error message “Driver has stopped responding (blah blah) … has recovered successfully.” ?

  • Anonymous

    Thankfully I am still a couple of years away from my next upgrade.

  • Anonymous

    Are you using Firefox? if so disable “use hardware acceleration when available” in Firefox’s advanced tab. solved that problem for me.

  • SairenSA

    This error only occurs when I’m playing high-end games like GTA IV/ MW3 / etc.

  • YePsy_ZA

    LOL he said, MW3! hahahaha your so funny

  • YePsy_ZA

    What does Kepler stand for? I have seen it on a few phone’s too and google doesn’t give me anything on the first page.

  • SairenSA

    LOL No shiz. Game freezes on MW3 or any modern mid/high end game. Even on Team Fortress 2 or Counter Strike.