Computers & Electronics

Need a used GPU - GTX 960 vs GTX 970 vs R9 280 vs R9 290

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Need a used GPU - GTX 960 vs GTX 970 vs R9 280 vs R9 290

I'm building from scraps a i5-2500K @ 4.5GHZ w/ 16GB DDR3 for my son. I'm only missing a GPU.

My son will mostly play Minecraft so a good GPU isn't necessary, but I want something taht allows him to play a bit of Battlefield 4 and the Minecraft story mode games.

So the GPUs I listed in the title are the ones I have in mind that could do the job for cheap, but I'm not sure which ones are best "value" on the used market.


Here are the average-ish prices I see on kijiji:

$250 - GTX 970
$180 - R9 290 (reference model)
$180 - GTX 960
$140 - R9 280 (tri-cooler model)


I'm leaning toward the R9 280 because it would be cheaper and quieter than a R9 290.

I used to have a R9 290X (dead) with the i5 2500K and the GPU was almost bottlenecked by the CPU in BF4.
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Mar 6, 2015
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For what you listed, the 280 would be the best deal. Consider the RX 460 though if you want to spend a bit more and get the warranty. You can sometimes find them on sale for $150, they have very low power requirements, and will more than meet your son's current needs.
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GeneralZod wrote: The R9 290/280 are the best options from the choices you have presented.
yeahwhat wrote: For what you listed, the 280 would be the best deal. Consider the RX 460 though if you want to spend a bit more and get the warranty. You can sometimes find them on sale for $150, they have very low power requirements, and will more than meet your son's current needs.

Well, from further reflection and searching, I am leaning more and more on a 280 if I can get it for $120 with a silent cooler.

I had a R9 290X that died earlier this year, but it was actually being held back by the i5 CPU unless I uncapped the FPS and raised the graphics to high/ultra.

I already spent a lot of money building a system around the i5 2500K processor ( it's a long story ) and I doubt my son will notice/enjoy the higher quality graphics or the higher FPS of a R9 290. I'd rather he can play in his bedroom without sounding like he's blowdrying his hair.


His computer will eventually be swapped in 2 years when I upgrade my personal gaming computer.
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alkizmo wrote:
GeneralZod wrote: The R9 290/280 are the best options from the choices you have presented.
yeahwhat wrote: For what you listed, the 280 would be the best deal. Consider the RX 460 though if you want to spend a bit more and get the warranty. You can sometimes find them on sale for $150, they have very low power requirements, and will more than meet your son's current needs.

Well, from further reflection and searching, I am leaning more and more on a 280 if I can get it for $120 with a silent cooler.

I had a R9 290X that died earlier this year, but it was actually being held back by the i5 CPU unless I uncapped the FPS and raised the graphics to high/ultra.

I already spent a lot of money building a system around the i5 2500K processor ( it's a long story ) and I doubt my son will notice/enjoy the higher quality graphics or the higher FPS of a R9 290. I'd rather he can play in his bedroom without sounding like he's blowdrying his hair.


His computer will eventually be swapped in 2 years when I upgrade my personal gaming computer.
you mentioned you have your own gaming rig.. well give him your current video card since he doesn't game high end. then buy a nice video card for yourself.
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akito925 wrote: you mentioned you have your own gaming rig.. well give him your current video card since he doesn't game high end. then buy a nice video card for yourself.


My R9 290x died earlier this year, so I bought myself a GTX 1070. I have nothing to hand down to him.
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yeahwhat wrote: For what you listed, the 280 would be the best deal. Consider the RX 460 though if you want to spend a bit more and get the warranty. You can sometimes find them on sale for $150, they have very low power requirements, and will more than meet your son's current needs.
RX 460 is slow like molasses (relative to this crowd I mean). It's so slow in fact it's slower than GTX 1050 non-Ti...in DX12! DX12 of course being an area where Nvidia is pretty lacking. I have no idea why the RX 460 is Polaris 11 Pro, either. Why they didn't make it the full (XT) Polaris 11 is a mystery. But they really should have.

If he were buying new I'd suggest a 1050 Ti because, TBH, if it actually sells for what it's supposed to (though there is some doubt there) it's really not that bad. It's basically as fast as a Tahiti XT/Tonga XT and uses a fraction of the power...and it's not too expensive. Of course the sad part is, it costs what a Tahiti Pro cost like 3 years ago :rolleyes: partly thanks to our dollar I guess.

Otherwise, all these cards are faster than an RX 460, with some of them being so by far.
alkizmo wrote:
GeneralZod wrote: The R9 290/280 are the best options from the choices you have presented.
yeahwhat wrote: For what you listed, the 280 would be the best deal. Consider the RX 460 though if you want to spend a bit more and get the warranty. You can sometimes find them on sale for $150, they have very low power requirements, and will more than meet your son's current needs.

Well, from further reflection and searching, I am leaning more and more on a 280 if I can get it for $120 with a silent cooler.

I had a R9 290X that died earlier this year, but it was actually being held back by the i5 CPU unless I uncapped the FPS and raised the graphics to high/ultra.

I already spent a lot of money building a system around the i5 2500K processor ( it's a long story ) and I doubt my son will notice/enjoy the higher quality graphics or the higher FPS of a R9 290. I'd rather he can play in his bedroom without sounding like he's blowdrying his hair.


His computer will eventually be swapped in 2 years when I upgrade my personal gaming computer.
Oh yeah I remember your machine and when you put in an R9 290X I think... Sucks that it died.

You should actually look for some better pricing (or haggle better with ppl on kijiji, etc.). Lots of people aren't looking to get tons of money for their old cards simply because they upgraded to something much faster (like RX 480 or GTX 1070) and they got good years out of their previous card and will take very reasonable amounts for them. This is good for ppl like you and me who are looking to get GPUs on the cheap and aren't really looking to spend a ton on anything.

Some used cards I've bought in the last little while:
HD 7950--$100 off Kijiji, Gigabyte 3x fan version. It was an old version of a 7950 but it's nothing adding some VRM cooling and BIOS editing for slightly higher volts and power limit won't fix ;) Seller was asking $120, I offered $100--done deal. This guy had bought an RX 480 at launch time as an upgrade and wasn't too concerned with what he got for the old one.

HD 7870 XT (Tahiti LE). Right here on RFD :) Seller wanted $60 which was pretty cheap as it was TBH but I offered $50 and he was nice enough to accept :) He had bought a 1070 recently--if you're spending $600 on a new card it probably doesn't matter too much if you get $50 or $100 for your old one. I mean if I could afford a 1070 I wouldn't care about getting top dollar for an old Tahiti LE either.

About a year and a half ago I also bought a regular HD 7870 (Pitcairn XT) for $85. Again seller was looking for $110 or something but I got him down to $85 after some back and forth (but granted I had to drive a fair ways to get to the guy who was in Oshawa but still worked out well). I'm not sure if this guy actually upgraded to anything as the new cards were obviously not out then and I got it at a school campus and he said he was too busy with studies to bother with gaming anymore.

Personally my pricing guidelines go like this for older AMD cards:
7870 or R9 270X: Don't pay more than $80
7950 or 280: Don't pay much more than $100
7970 or 280X: $120-$130
290: Try for the $150-170 range
290X: $180ish.

Nvidia cards I can't really say but they seem to hold their value better making them worse for the bargain basement GPU hunter. I don't even bother with them For what ppl are trying to sell GTX 750 Tis for, you can easily get a Tahiti Pro card which is wayyy faster.

If you're not getting those^ kind of deals, might as well just buy something new instead (like GTX 1050 Ti). You may have to wait and keep looking a little while, and try throwing offers at several ppl (some ppl on kijiji are ridiculous and think they should get close to what they paid for something :rolleyes: ) and you'll likely get one to bite. Most times I throw out a few offers like that, I usually get at least two ppl that are willing to deal/sell for what I offer. Sometimes they don't reply for a few days which is too bad...for them, lol. 'Cause the other guy that replied within 30 mins? I'd have already bought his card by then. Just be serious, don't lowball, but just say "hey this is what I'll pay for that"...if they say yes don't jerk them around either--buy it the same day.
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ES_Revenge wrote: so slow in fact it's slower than GTX 1050 non-Ti...in DX12! DX12 of course being an area where Nvidia is pretty lacking.
Oh DX12 is more than useless to me. I found it hilarious to read forum discussions dated from 2013 about which cards were best and how DX12 support was a bonus. We’re reaching 2017 and DX12 is still not good for the games my son and I would play. So, DX12 can kiss my whatever. I don’t care for newer technology support.

Anyway, wouldn’t DX12 require even more juice out of the GFX cards? I remember back in the days of Team Fortress 2, I’d run TF2 in DX8 instead of DX9 because it ran faster even if my card supported up to DX10.
ES_Revenge wrote: Oh yeah I remember your machine and when you put in an R9 290X I think... Sucks that it died.
Oh if only it was just the R9 290x and that it had died only because it was getting old, but not, it died because something else died.
My gaming rig (i5-2500K @ 4.8GHZ + R9 290X) started doing a soft-reset within minutes or seconds from booting up. It would even soft-reset (no errors, no nothing) while in BIOS.
It turns out the motherboard was faulty. Since I had a Z97 board that I got for free from a Best Buy pricing error, I decided to grab an i7-4790K locally and do an impromptu upgrade.
When I rebuilt the system, I realized I had damaged the R9 290X from man-handling my gaming computer (Was having a really bad week). So I ran to a local store and bought a GTX 1070.
I basically went through a major system upgrade without the joy of taking my time to shop for parts. My only consolation is that I get to experience the joys of shopping for a gaming rig with the one I am building for my son. I’ve grabbed a bunch of used components on kijiji to get the i5-2500K back in action. All I’m missing is a GPU and the time to build the computer.
ES_Revenge wrote: You should actually look for some better pricing (or haggle better with ppl on kijiji, etc.). Lots of people aren't looking to get tons of money for their old cards simply because they upgraded to something much faster (like RX 480 or GTX 1070) and they got good years out of their previous card and will take very reasonable amounts for them. This is good for ppl like you and me who are looking to get GPUs on the cheap and aren't really looking to spend a ton on anything.
I don’t know about Toronto/GTA, but here in Montreal, there are a ton of idiotic kijiji sellers that think they can ask a premium for their parts. I also value my time and a lot of sellers are within 1H30 round-trip drive, so I favor buying closer to home even if it means paying $20 more. It’s also easier to refuse to purchase if the product doesn’t look in good condition once you get to the seller if you didn’t have to do a 1H30 round trip.

ES_Revenge wrote: if you're spending $600 on a new card it probably doesn't matter too much if you get $50 or $100 for your old one. I mean if I could afford a 1070 I wouldn't care about getting top dollar for an old Tahiti LE either.
It doesn’t work like that for everyone. The few people from which I bought components were young university students who were trying to get the best value out of their old components in order to be able to afford a 1070 or whatever else. Fortunately, they were the ones most aware of the market value of components. The other sellers I contacted were people who said “I paid $500 for that thing! So why should I sell it for $100?!”, and those were the wealthy ones (Judging from the neighborhood they reside).
ES_Revenge wrote: I'm not sure if this guy actually upgraded to anything as the new cards were obviously not out then and I got it at a school campus and he said he was too busy with studies to bother with gaming anymore.
I’ll tell you what he did, he did what every spoiled geeky university student does and regrets later: He replaced his gaming tower with a gaming laptop. He’ll regret it. I too made that mistake and I too sold my desktop gaming components for cheap.
ES_Revenge wrote: Personally my pricing guidelines go like this for older AMD cards:
7870 or R9 270X: Don't pay more than $80
7950 or 280: Don't pay much more than $100
7970 or 280X: $120-$130
290: Try for the $150-170 range
290X: $180ish.
Sounds like the same prices listed by someone else through private messages. I’ll be very much leaning toward the 280x unless someone can convince me the 290 can be quiet if clocked down to 280 level.
ES_Revenge wrote: If you're not getting those^ kind of deals, might as well just buy something new instead (like GTX 1050 Ti). You may have to wait and keep looking a little while, and try throwing offers at several ppl (some ppl on kijiji are ridiculous and think they should get close to what they paid for something :rolleyes: ) and you'll likely get one to bite. Most times I throw out a few offers like that, I usually get at least two ppl that are willing to deal/sell for what I offer. Sometimes they don't reply for a few days which is too bad...for them, lol. 'Cause the other guy that replied within 30 mins? I'd have already bought his card by then. Just be serious, don't lowball, but just say "hey this is what I'll pay for that"...if they say yes don't jerk them around either--buy it the same day.
I guess I repeated a bit of what you said up above. I’m already eyeing a few cards on kijiji and contacted a couple of sellers while not being in a hurry. I just can’t decide on R9 290 or R9 280x just yet, I’ll see what turns up with my kijiji hunt.
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get 290 if it's a 40 dollar difference.

like if it's 100 diff then I can understand.
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b1ack1otus wrote: get 290 if it's a 40 dollar difference.

like if it's 100 diff then I can understand.
I decided to get a 7950 triple fans for $90. It will overclock to 280x level while being way quieter than a $180 R9 290 (reference cooler).

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