Up For Debate - How Often Do You Upgrade Your Graphics Card?

Written by Jon Sutton on Thu, Dec 29, 2016 4:00 PM

I’d say that, for the vast majority of us, the graphics card is where we sink the greatest amount of money in a PC build (aside from possibly monitors). It’s the beating heart of our gaming, delivering blisteringly fast frame rates while remaining whisper quiet. In terms of upgrades, getting a new graphics card is going to make the greatest difference. It’s the chief component differentiating a bog standard office PC from a gaming monster.

As such, choosing when to upgrade your GPU is a tricky prospect. The conservative option is to wait until it's on its last legs. When it feels like it’s barely going to be able to run the latest games.

Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum. The power user who always needs the best and they need it right now. You know the sort. They bought a GeForce GTX 980 ti and then they were first in line when the GTX 1080 was announced, already planning their 1080 Ti purchase. For them, making no sacrifices to performance whatever the cost is what it’s all about.

I personally sit somewhere in the middle, happy to pick up a mid/high range graphics card every two years or so. Selling the old one keeps the costs down and I think it strikes a nice balance between price and performance at this tier.

Whatever approach you take, you will always run into the age-old probably of something new being just around the corner. PC tech is fast moving and there's always something better if you just wait. At some point you have to bite the bullet though, so do you prefer to get in their early with a new graphics card family or wait until the prices start dropping? Do you always remain a generation behind to pick up a few bargains?

How often do you upgrade your graphics card?

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09:51 Jan-15-2017

GMA 3100->HD 7770->R9 280X->GT 210->GT 640 GDDR5->GTX 970

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23:42 Jan-10-2017

I clicked "3 years" because there's no other more suitable option to choose. However, it really depends on some things such as whether or not the game I have addicted to can run smoothly with my current hardware and/or whether or not the video card hasn't gone to the video cards' eternal hunting grounds.

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01:09 Jan-09-2017

I have had two in a year gtx970 Dec, 2015 and gtx1060 Oct. 2016 and about to build a new rig with kaby lake and 1080 in Feb. 2017 est...

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21:40 Jan-08-2017

I think 5 year wait is horrible but give you a huge upgrade

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02:05 Jan-09-2017

There's the dilemma.
A real good gpu can easily last 5 yrs but only if u are willing to tone down settings and play at lower fps. I reckon someone with the money for a good gpu wont be willing to make compromises.

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02:50 Jan-11-2017

but wouldn't a moderate but cheaper card, replaced more often give you more bang for you buck?

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11:33 Jan-11-2017

This has and always will be the question every PC builder/gamer has to answer.

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16:35 Jan-08-2017

I've gone trough 780-780Ti-980-980 SLI-980 TRI-SLI-980Ti-980TI SLI-1080. But I will keep the 1080 until Volta.

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21:39 Jan-08-2017

Wow.


You are enjoying all nvidia high end cards

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14:42 Jan-08-2017

I'm kind of weird. I'm someone who buys the previous generation of cards. Like in 2012, I had a AMD Radeon HD 7870. Now I have a GTX 970 in 2016. It's just how I like to upgrade my PC. I only really upgraded because the 7870 was too hot.

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16:34 Jan-08-2017

Nothing wrong with getting an older gen card for the right price!

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15:50 Jan-09-2017

You save ALOOOT of money if you stay one gen behind. It's actualy stupid to not do it, but .. yeah... it can be hard to not buy the newest.

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17:19 Jan-12-2017

The problem is with NVIDIA old hardware - now, ya can get the GTX 7XX series for dirt cheap and on paper, they should be able to me sufficient for 1080p mid-igh gaming - and yet this ain't the story, so better go AMD if old

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17:23 Jan-12-2017

Buddy you think nvidia is cheap?


I bought my 8800gt for 25$

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12:53 Jan-13-2017

well, its not really a linear drop in price - it can never be, based on a material point of view - old cards from 2006+ to 2010 have almost the same price, otherwise people will just throw them away, instead of bothering with selling for C

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13:38 Jan-13-2017

Yes you are right most people scrape old cards

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02:42 Jan-06-2017

I mean when I upgrade is kind of a weird question, because I used a 650 ti for 3 years before getting a 780 so i upgraded to a card 1 year newer after the card itself was 3 years old.

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02:45 Jan-06-2017

but there are cards that are 5 or 6 years old on the high end that still play modern games since the gtx 480 is close to a gtx 660 and the 660 is the req for current games a person could upgrade to a 6 year old card and be fine for a year

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02:49 Jan-06-2017

I personally wouldn't get a 6 year old card but I have recommended it to people on a strict budget, so I think there's less a question of when and more a question of how someone upgrades.

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01:14 Jan-09-2017

If anything the efficiency of a new gen card is worth the upgrade, lower watts, lower power, lower temp, lower bills.

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23:15 Jan-05-2017

I was considering upgrading my gtx 980 to a gtx 1070 gamerock premium. But im still unsure if it's worth it. Im fine with upgrading every 2 years, my current pc is from 2014 or sth.

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10:38 Jan-06-2017

Unless u get the 1070 at a ridiculous price, resist the temptation bud! It really isnt much of an upgrade.

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16:08 Jan-06-2017

Maybe if you upgrade the monitor to a 144hz one, either than that, it is not worth it

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01:12 Jan-09-2017

Agree unless running Vr,

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11:33 Jan-09-2017

well the 1070 would cost me around 480-520€ which is expensive.. @Fattman i actually own a 144hz monitor^^

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14:29 Jan-05-2017

LOL this above is to much for me eve one year....I change my GPU every month and even earlier...
Not only GPU, I often changing all PC parts.
So I often have upgrade and donwgrade (but that is part of my job and my love to PC)

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19:02 Jan-04-2017

For me was 7 years i upgraded my gt 130 1.5Gb to a Asus R7 370 4Gb

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22:58 Jan-05-2017

Wow. I bet that was a hell of a shock.

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12:36 Jan-13-2017

True, but i had a laptop with a gt730 but the diference from both to the r7 was amazing

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16:14 Jan-04-2017

it's been 3 and a half years for me, i'm upgrading from a HD7850 1GB to a GTX1060 6GB XD

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13:28 Jan-04-2017

lol every year xd Jealousy Intensifies

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18:53 Jan-03-2017

For the amount I invest, I try to get 3 years out of a GPU. I recently upgraded an HD6950 to a RX 480 Nitro+. That should give me enough room to play for a while.

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12:40 Jan-03-2017

I got a 970, and while I would like to ugrade to 1070 since the jump in performance is so big, I'll probably wait for Volta. Or I might even go for AMD if the Vega turns out to be good.

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06:15 Jan-02-2017

I tended to upgrade lower range cards every year but since I bought a 970, well...Incidentally, I intended to skip this generation but the lure was too great..

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15:01 Jan-02-2017

This is why pc gaming is only theoretically/potentially cheaper than console gaming, the desire to upgrade is just too strong!
And why future-proofing is such a losing battle -- a weak part will last just as long as a high end one coz we get used to the quality we get from them!

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22:09 Jan-01-2017

When i can no longer run games @60fps with decent settings ;)

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19:11 Jan-01-2017

Every 2 years but only when the performance gain is massive for around the same price.
upgraded from 960 to 1070.

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16:12 Jan-01-2017

Currently I am happy with my current 1080p resolution and gaming setup.. Probably My next upgrade will be after 2 years :)

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14:19 Jan-01-2017

I change every time a new architecture is released. I used have a GTX750 and now I have a GTX1050Ti. Next video card will probably be the successor, Volta. Most likely another GTX##50Ti or GTX##60 if the power consumption is kept low enough.

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21:05 Dec-31-2016

If 1080p (regardless of Ultra-Low) still gives me 60fps, i will not upgrade since the cost and equipemment is getting better and cheaper every year.

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08:40 Jan-01-2017

same here 270x still gives 60fps on 1080p pretty nicelly

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14:22 Jan-01-2017

Kinda misleading, you'll have to drop to low settings to even come close to an average of 50 fps in modern (2015-2016 titles).

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