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

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Mar 17, 2018 4:00 PM

This week a rumour emerged that both Nvidia and AMD are considering slowing down their graphics card release cycles in order to generate greater profits from each generation. To my surprise, I discovered most folks in the comments were actually supportive of investment in new technology being lessened, pointing towards the fact they wouldn’t be required to upgrade as often. This could save PC gamers hundreds of dollars a year, particularly those who just can’t resist the allure of a new GPU generation.

It’s an understandable view, but I do believe one of the strengths of PC gaming is the unstoppable march of technology and the constant choice in the upgrades available. Without new hardware, PC gaming would increasingly begin to look like console gaming, held back by the whims of the hardware manufacturers who could ultimately decide to withhold powerful GPUs with the aim of mass-producing cheaper, older graphics cards.

Ultimately, is withholding the choice from customers ever a good thing? For the vast majority of gamers, I suspect we use our graphics cards until they’re not running the latest games fast enough, and then we upgrade to whatever’s out at the time. The more GPUs that come out in that time frame, the bigger the leap in performance should be. Slow the release schedule down even a little bit, perhaps to every two years, and you can feel the cogs spinning in your head. Now, you either buy the new graphics card every two years, or you slog it out for four whole years with what you’ve got. This system could easily encourage some people to buy more graphics cards despite AMD and Nvidia actually releasing less.

However, the counterpoint to this is that there are always those who need to be at the cutting edge of technology. The actual results or percentage performance gains don’t necessarily factor in as much, it’s just a simple case that the new GeForce GTX 1080 is faster than their GeForce GTX 980, and if they don’t have it they feel like they’re missing out. New tech often comes with that ‘grass is always greener’ vibe, even if what we already have is more than enough to do the job.

Which brings me on to the point of all this - how often do you upgrade your graphics card? Do you feel the need to upgrade to the latest and greatest as soon as it’s available, or are you happy to sit with the same GPU for three, maybe even four years, and experience a huge jump in performance from your upgrade?

How Often Do You Upgrade Your Graphics Card?

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14:36 Mar-28-2018

I upgrade simply when my current card starts feeling obsolete. Since I currently use a 970, I don't feel any need to upgrade it for a difference that doesn't impress me within price range (the next upgrade I would've went for is a full generation jump up to 1070).


Now if it's my CPU we're talkin about. I definitely would love to have an 8th generation intel CPU for a couple of extra cores.

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16:07 Mar-22-2018

"This could save PC gamers hundreds of dollars a year, particularly those who just can’t resist the allure of a new GPU generation." i giggled

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14:46 Mar-22-2018

I have had an interesting relationship with PC gaming. Technically I had been playing on PC since 1995, but I was young, and didn't understand what a graphics card was until much later because I had too many interests to keep track of. Games I played as a kid were on prebuilt IBM machines Windows 95-98 era and XP machines until about 2003. In 2007, I got my first decent laptop with a "dedicated GPU"(which it really wasn't), which was a Geforce Go 6150. It was only later on that I started***

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14:55 Mar-22-2018

  • building my own machines in about 2016 where i picked my own components including GPU.
    Here is a list of my GPUS over the years:


1995-2003: Basically whatever came installed. I do not recall because I did not know.
2007-2012: Geforce Go 6150..... it got me by for world of warcraft...barely... until the cataclysm xpac
2012-2014: Intel HD Graphics 3000
2015: Intel graphics 4400
2016-2018: Geforce GTX 960....which I stepped up to a 970 SSC
2018: I was blessed to be gifted a 1080 Ti FTW3

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21:32 Mar-21-2018

PS1 ( 2012 )
PS2 ( 2014 )
PS3 ( 2016 )
PS4 (2018)
PS5 (.) (.)

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21:50 Mar-21-2018

so that would be:
a PS1 Sony GPU
a PS2 Sony GPU
a Nvidia G70 RSX -> Modified Nvidia 7800 GT
a hd7870 with 1x CU cut and 6x additional Asynchronous Compute Units.


Cool.

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14:06 Mar-21-2018

Sapphire Radeon Vapor-X HD 7770 GHZ OC 1 GB ( 2013 )
Asus Radeon R7 250x 2gb ( 2015 )
MSI RX 570 Gaming X 4G ( 2017 )

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16:11 Mar-22-2018

my sapphire still does the job after 3-4 years of service; at the resolution i use it's ok in gta v, nfs payback, witcher3.. i'll update it only when it's going to vaporize.

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17:08 Mar-26-2018

true
the only reason to why I buy the Asus Radeon R7 250x 2gb
was because one of the two fan of the Sapphire Radeon Vapor-X stop working

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17:09 Mar-26-2018

then the only reason to why I buy the MSI RX 570 Gaming X 4G
was because the Asus Radeon R7 250x 2gb had thermal issues

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10:41 Mar-21-2018

Mt first GPU was Trident card (with 256kB of memory and using ISA standart) paired with black and white monitor. Next was Cirrus Logic card with 512kB of memory (I was so hyped when I discoverd it allows me to use 800x600 resolution). Then I took a long break and my next GPU was Voodoo Rush my first card on PCI slot (6 MB of memory 2MB for 2D + 4MB for Voodoo card it was great). Then AGP came....

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10:45 Mar-21-2018

And along with it Intel 740 8MB AGP replaced quickly by Riva TNT 2 which I soon swapped for GF MX2 400 64GB (my first OC-ed GPU). I don't remember all of my card my last AGP card was ATI 9550 128MB and then I took another break and few years back I build office PC with AMD 6570 replaced with 7790 ---->GTX 950 2GB ---->gtx 960 4GB (all this in 18months) and finally my GTX 1060 6GB,

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19:07 Mar-20-2018

Oh man, if I list all my GPUs, I'm gonna go back at least 17 years, mostly ATI/AMD... and I don't remember how long I had them, exactly, and some of them I forgot the exact model. But I'll give it a shot:
-2000/01: Radeon 8500 (I think, one of the originals or 2nd gen Radeon)
-2004: Radeon X850 Pro or XT, can't remember
-2007/08: Radeon HD2600XT
-2009/10: Radeon HD5870
-Dec. 2012: Radeon HD7870
-May 2014: Radeon R9 290X
-Feb. 2017: GTX 1070 (switched teams, lol)
Looking back, I guess I upgraded more often than I remember, every 2/2.5/3 years.

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19:10 Mar-20-2018

Before -2000, I think I had some of the late-model ATI Rage GPUs and maybe some 3dfx cards, possibly used some nVidia on-board graphics chipsets, way before I started building my own PCs (pre-built by a guy my dad knew at Radioshack. Good times.).

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10:42 Mar-21-2018

I had alot less cards, started with the nvidia riva tnt2 with the full 32 (!) mb of onboard memory.
Then haven't been in pc gaming for a while, next card was the 7900gt or something like that from nvidia.
Afterwards had the x1900xtx from ati
the GT540 in a prebuilt, upgraded it to a 6870
Then did a build with 660ti, ran that for about 3-4 years. Upgraded it to a 970 and then to a 1070

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16:38 Mar-20-2018

2014 : R9 270
2018 : GTX 970

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13:46 Mar-20-2018

2007 - 8800GTS 640
2009 - HD 4870X2
2009 - GTX 295
2011 - GTX 570 TF3 OC
2013 - R9 280x VaporX
2016 - RX 470 Gaming 4G
2017 - GTX 780ti Gaming 3G... still

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11:51 Mar-20-2018

So if I had to list all my GPUs:
until 2002: some Riva GPU I think Nvidia made them...
2002-2004: Radeon 9700
2004-2005: Radeon X800
2005-2007: GT 7800
2007: HD 3850, but swapped for a Nvidia GS/GTS(one of the two) 8800, no idea why, I think it died or something.
2008 -> when I chose my GPU for the first time and I did all the rest -> HD4670 -> I chose poorly as I wanted to play some game back then and it was barely better than the 8800gts, so I got a hd4830(and by I, I mean my dad bought both).
2009-2012: HD5750 the more and faster Vram, DX11, just lovely.

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11:53 Mar-20-2018

2012-2015: HD6790 -> GPUs were mega overpriced in 2012-2013 in my country and as I was making almost no money back then for 170 euro I got a hd 6790, which was a bigger boost than I expected and lasted me until 2014 no problem, in 2015 i started getting artifacts. The HD7000 series were disappointing so I just skipped them.
2015-now: R9 380, the Rx 300 seires were hated for the rebranding, but they finally got the price right, great GPU still plays all my games at 2560x1080 low to max depending on the game.


in 2017 I wanted to get a gtx 1070, but they were literally all sold out.

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11:56 Mar-20-2018

Now you can see why I like upgrading often to those who criticize me for being against longer GPU generations and complaining about the slow graphics card improvements...


To this day I have about half of these GPUs in my room or in the attic, some in systems others NOT. Oh yeah, and a couple months before I got the r9 380 I used a gt 630, that was in an office PC my mom brought home after the motherboard died, no idea where it went, since my hd6790 was artifacting like crazy.

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10:04 Mar-20-2018

2009-2014: GTX 275 (new build with i7 920) sold for 50€
2014-2016: 2 RADEON 7950 (second hand from a friend miner for 150€ each)
2016-2017: changed 1 7950 for a GTX 770 4GB (with a friend)
2017-2018: sold the GTX 770 4GB (for 150€), added 50€ more and bought a GTX 970 for 200€ (rocking high-ultra on 1080p)

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12:45 Mar-20-2018

The Crossfire was sh1t so 1 of the RADEON 7950 went to another buil i've made for my gf in 2015 with it. Another i7 920 with mobo, liquid cooler and 8gb ram for 200€. Bought a sh1ty case and power supply both for 50euros and an BQ 1080p screen for 80€. OCed the i7 to 4.4Ghz on watter and still bangin high on 1080p

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05:26 Mar-20-2018

until it burn dead
so I guess not very often :-)

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04:25 Mar-20-2018

i buy my used gtx 1050 ti on march 2017 for 180$ im planning to upgrade to new rx 570 or gtx 1060 on 2018 (The price stil around 300S on 2017) but seeing the price now push me to hold this card for another year.

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04:02 Mar-20-2018

2008 - 2015 : 9100M G (laptop, dead)
2014 - now : HD 5570 (pc)
2018 - : GTX 1050M (laptop)
If I would upgrade from my HD 5570, I must upgrade the entire pc. But now I have GTX 1050 laptop, maybe I won't upgrade my pc for now.

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01:08 Mar-20-2018

In my POV, it's best for me to upgrade when I can't run my desired games at high settings, or when any new tech with significant (40-60%) improvement over what i have. Upgrading to at least one tier better than the last one, from Radeon R7 250X to RX 460 for example.


When Radeon Navi coming up in 2019, maybe i'll get the cheaper one that performs like RX 570/RX 580 at least (if there's any).

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01:19 Mar-20-2018

In 2011, i'm using Radeon HD 4250 integrated with the M/B, paired it with Phenom X3 8750 BE. (I was at school before that so i don't have time to build a PC)


2013-2014 Radeon HD 5570 (just to be able to play NFS games smoothly)
2014-2017 Radeon R7 240 (it was a stupid upgrade, fall for it 'cause of Mantle)
2018-2019 Radeon RX 460 (trying to find R9 380, but couldn't)
2019- Radeon Navi

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02:53 Mar-20-2018

that is basically how I've been doing it, by the looks of things, my next graphics card upgrade is more likely going to be a byproduct of me upgrading my monitor, I think you will be good for awhile

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21:35 Mar-19-2018

Had first PC at home around 2002. Not mine obviously. Could run Half-Life, Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Other PC was bought around time when NFS: Underground 2 released. Around 2007 brother made small gpu upgrade. In 2010 he upgraded everything. Could run Crysis 2 on extreme etc. 2011 - PC sold, got first personal laptop so...
2011-2013 gma 900
2013-2014 gma 950
2014-2016 intel hd m370 (1st gen)
2016-2018 940m. Still love my laptop, but 940m is not enough for many AAA games. Not too sad cause in comparison with previous laptops, it's quite modern

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21:44 Mar-19-2018

Don't see buying new laptop / PC anytime soon cause I'm just way too poor right now ;D. I hope sticking with it till 2020 if nothing bad happens. Dont see myself playing games that much. Slowly losing interest last 2 years... Can guarantee though that my next pc is going to be big jump in performance.

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14:48 Mar-19-2018

2011 - HD 6670 (1 GB)
2012 - HD 6670 (1 GB)
2013 - HD 6670 (1 GB)
2014 - HD 6670 (1 GB)
2015 - HD 6670 (1 GB)
2016 - HD 6670 (1 GB)
2017 - HD 6670 (1 GB)
2018 - HD 6670 (1 GB), but going to receive 1050ti


and save it for other 7 years

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15:17 Mar-19-2018

ayy well played bruddah

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16:56 Mar-20-2018

at 1080p with HD6670 in 2018? ouch

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17:22 Mar-20-2018

yee, I'm not the smartest guy around
but I don't fell any satisfaction (joy?) when I play on lower res :P

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17:48 Mar-20-2018

intel hd 630 in 2018..
.
.
hello darkness my old friend...

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12:43 Mar-19-2018

Used a GTX 560ti for almost 5 years, then upgraded to a 4GB version of the GTX 960, so that I can play Forza Horizon 3 and Gears of War 4. Now I already would like to upgrade to a 1060, but prices are just way too high... :(

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15:15 Mar-19-2018

This too, shall pass...

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12:04 Mar-19-2018

2013- HD6670 2GB
2014- HD6670 R.I.P
2015- Intel Integrated
2018- Miners bought it all
(crying over the corner)

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15:40 Mar-19-2018

Quite a tragic tale this

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06:13 Mar-19-2018

2006 - 2011 GTX 8800
2011 - 2013 GTX 580
2013 - 2016 GTX 780Ti
Can't recall before that.

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Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 9 3900X 12-Core 3.8GHz GeForce RTX 3070 EVGA FTW3 Ultra Gaming 8GB 32GB
| 60FPS, Low, 720p
APU A8-7410 Quad-Core Radeon R5 7410 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1080 MSI Gaming X 8GB Edition 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Ryzen 5 3400G 4-Core 3.7GHz Radeon RX Vega 11 6GB
| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile 8GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium,
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
| 30FPS, Low,
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-10400 6-Core 2.90GHz GeForce GTX 1650 16GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-10300H 4-Core 2.50GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Athlon II X2 245 GeForce GTS 250 4GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i9-10900X 10-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gigabyte Gaming OC 3X 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX 540X 2GB Mobile 8GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-4670 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti EVGA Gaming 4GB 8GB
100% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2080 EVGA XC Ultra Gaming 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [5 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 7 4800H 8-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Ti 4GB 8GB
| High,
Ryzen 7 2700 8-Core 3.2GHz Radeon RX 5600 XT Gigabyte Gaming OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1440p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Palit Super JetStream 16GB
50% Yes [6 votes]