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Hi, i might be in the wrong place but i was just searching online for experts on computers and I got here. If im on the right place though I have the following question.

I've been struggling to make a decision between a GTX 960 2gb 128bit and a R9 380 4gb 256bit. On paper the R9 seems to easily win without any doubt but I've asked a few friends and they seem to agree that they'd rather have the GTX 960. It will obviously be used for gaming. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

Getting a recommendation for nVidia is not surprising, regardless of whether or not their offering is the "better" of the available candidates. nVidia is simply more popular, and has better marketing than their competition. This does not mean, however, that they are "the best" - AMD (Radeon) and Intel (Iris) both make very competent graphics hardware as well, and generally I would lean towards performance-per-dollar than popularity. The R9 380, as you've noted, is the more powerful of the two cards, although overall the two are relatively good competitors (the 380 is usually "a bit" faster, but we aren't talking night and day differences here). That said, if you're being asked to spend significantly more money for the 380, I'd pass (maybe 5-10% more; if its cheaper that's a no-brainer).

Special considerations:
- All of the "Maxwell" based nVidia cards (primarily the GeForce 900 series) do not fully support DirectX 12 (despite nVidia's claims to the contrary); this has been unearthed in recent months after game developers came forward and exposed nVidia's "cheating" in DirectX 12 benchmarks. Real-world implications are pretty slim: there aren't significant DirectX 12 games on the market right now, and they're likely a few years off (by which time modern cards may be completely unsupported due to performance anyways), however it is something to keep in mind. The GCN-based Radeon cards (Radeon HD 7000 series and above) have no such limitations, and fully support the current DirectX 12 standard.

- The R9 380 has higher power consumption than the GTX 960, at around 200W, and if you're going to pursue such a card you should ensure your system has an appropriately capable power supply.

- If your system has a mediocre CPU, upgrading the GPU may not yield the performance improvements you're after, as your game(s) may still be limited by CPU performance (or lack thereof).

- With either brand, I'd suggest going with a quality after-market cooling solution, which you can obtain at the time of purchase by buying a non-reference board. For nVidia-based boards I'd suggest Asus, Gigabyte, or EVGA; for AMD I'd suggest XFX, Asus, or Sapphire (neither is in any particular order; all five are good).

- The R9 380, as a later iteration of the GCN architecture, is one of the few AMD cards that supports "full" 4K VSR. You can read more about that here:

- nVidia exclusively offers support for their PhysX SDK, so if you're wanting to play games with hardware-accelerated PhysX features, you must use an nVidia GPU (keep in mind, there are many games that use non-hardware PhysX, while the number using actual hardware-acceleration is relatively few - here's a relatively complete list: The GTX 960 may or may not be powerful enough to run your chosen game + full PhysX effects, which is also something to think about.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.



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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner. I have a personal interest in PC gaming, and can apply my experience to such an end. Questions related to 3D games on OS X or other platforms are less likely to get answered.


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