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Where is my bottleneck? Shopping question!

Last response: in Video Games
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July 5, 2011 11:44:51 AM

I run 1920x1080 native 23" monitor, but window some of my more demanding games (Rift, Witcher 2, etc) to 1680x1050 or below (sometimes)

My hardware specs are:

ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU/2DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 (not overclocked)
AMD Phenom II x4 925 @ 2.8ghz (not overclocked)
8GB PC3 10600 1333 DDR
1TB SATA 3Gb/s dual drive NCQ - 5,400 RPM
Aloe GL8E mobo
OCZ Fatal1ty 550W Modular Gaming Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

This is basically an HP (HPE 112y) computer w/ blu-ray that I bought at Best Buy for ~$800 for a media center PC but have fitted it for gaming.

http://h20141.www2.hp.com/Hpparts/Search_Multi_Product....

I'm wanting to playing Rift/WoW/CoD: BO/Crysis/Skyrim and all upcoming games at my native res with full high quality at 60FPS

I'm wanting to spend ~$1,000 to upgrade this machine to do so and have priced an i5 2500k, m78 mobo, and a cpu cooler with a nice full tower case and a geforce GTX 580 fermi card for just under my budget.

I'm hoping to keep my HDD/Ram/Blu-Ray/Power Supply (because I just bought the power supply late last year) to cut down on costs. I'd LOVE to be able to keep my video card (unless it's a bottleneck), but I've read that some ATI cards have issues with Intel boards/CPUs.

Here is my shopping list:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Thoughts? Help? I'm looking to buy tonight when I get home from work.

I'm going to sell whatever parts I have that are replaced on craigslist to regen a small amount of cash.
July 5, 2011 11:57:03 AM

id swap out the cpu, the psu and buy another 6850. im pretty sure you would blitz a 580 with 2 6850's
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July 5, 2011 1:38:32 PM

I agree that two 6850s in Xfire should roughly equal a 580 in performance. I would skip the OCZ PSU--it performs only "OK" (nearly a half-volt ripple) at max capacity and two 6850s would definitely put it up near its limit. (Here's my reference on the ripple, page 4: http://www.ocia.net/reviews/fatal550w/page1.shtml ).

Contrast this ripple on the 12V rail with the Corsair AX750, which has 0.00% ripple at 100% load: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4011/corsair-ax750-80plus...

I'm not sure what you could do with the CPU without swapping to an Intel mobo--AMD has a glass ceiling in terms of performance. Perhaps grab the fastest Phenom II X4 and a good cooling solution and overclock the hell out of it.
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July 5, 2011 4:07:27 PM

I'd need a new mobo that would support the old processor and the massive size of the 6850's. Any advice on that?
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July 5, 2011 6:58:25 PM

First thing I need to say is NOT to cross fire the 6850. You'll still only have 1gig of video memory, period. That was the first thing I noticed when you posted your res and the need to lower it.

As far as the posters and their "same performance as"......... the numbers ( FPS ) may be near similar but the REAL PERFORMANCE is no where near each other. I know somebody who runs 580's. They can't be beat.

The power supply, playing big IMO you gotta go a little bigger. Don't go by watts go by amperage. Somewhere around 50/60 amps would make me feel more comfortable with your proposed hardware.

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July 5, 2011 7:01:13 PM

swifty_morgan said:
First thing I need to say is NOT to cross fire the 6850. You'll still only have 1gig of video memory, period. That was the first thing I noticed when you posted your res and the need to lower it.

As far as the posters and their "same performance as"......... the numbers ( FPS ) may be near similar but the REAL PERFORMANCE is no where near each other. I know somebody who runs 580's. They can't be beat.

The power supply, playing big IMO you gotta go a little bigger. Don't go by watts go by amperage. Somewhere around 50/60 amps would make me feel more comfortable with your proposed hardware.


What about motherboards then? Get a single 580 at first but I'll want to SLI them eventually. What size mobo do I need? (so sorry to sound so dumb)
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July 5, 2011 7:15:58 PM

nixhexxion said:
What about motherboards then? Get a single 580 at first but I'll want to SLI them eventually. What size mobo do I need? (so sorry to sound so dumb)


regular ATX mobo is fine, ensure it has enough PCIe 2.0 slots for the GTX 580s + whatever else you want to throw in there.

If your eventual goal is to SLI 580s, then make sure you buy a beefy enough PSU (*at least* 1000w of good, clean power with no ripple).

I would also hazard to speculate that you may run into a CPU bottleneck with this sort of setup, and recommend at least an i5-2500K with a P67/Z68 motherboard.

Do realize that a dual GTX 580 setup is a lot of overkill for WoW/Rift/Crysis.
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July 5, 2011 7:17:53 PM

The past few years I've been a sucker for Gigabyte boards. They seem to run cooler and I have had zero problems. I'd go for the newer ones ( z68 I think they are ). Get something with enough room between the cards so you get fresh air between them. Not one of those "cards on top of each other" boards.
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July 5, 2011 7:24:51 PM

i5-2500K: $220 ($180 from MC)
Z68 mobo: $120-350
Each GTX 580: ~$450
>1000w PSU: ~$200

You are really going past your stated budget of $1000 for a new rig.
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July 5, 2011 8:21:49 PM

Mozart25 said:
i5-2500K: $220 ($180 from MC)
Z68 mobo: $120-350
Each GTX 580: ~$450
>1000w PSU: ~$200

You are really going past your stated budget of $1000 for a new rig.



I'd be SLIing later only.
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July 5, 2011 8:24:16 PM

Then you should buy the big PSU up front, as I wouldn't trust the OCZ 550w to run a GTX 580. Just something to factor in.
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July 5, 2011 8:26:28 PM

Mozart25 said:
Then you should buy the big PSU up front, as I wouldn't trust the OCZ 550w to run a GTX 580. Just something to factor in.



Gotcha. Thanks!

So...

1000w no ripple PSU
i5 2500k
m78 mobo (for SSD caching later maybe)


Can I run my current video card on this setup since it's not HORRIBLE? Or should I bite the bullet and get the 580 because of Intel/ATI card "issues"?
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July 5, 2011 8:36:07 PM

The 6850 is a great GPU and there is no reason why you can't run it on an LGA1155 Z68/P67 mobo (psst, you mean Z68, there is no M78).

While you need to ensure a mobo designed for an Intel CPU supports Crossfire if you intend on using two AMD GPUs, there are no "issues" with using a single AMD gpu on an Intel board.
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July 5, 2011 10:21:43 PM

Mozart25 said:
The 6850 is a great GPU and there is no reason why you can't run it on an LGA1155 Z68/P67 mobo (psst, you mean Z68, there is no M78).

While you need to ensure a mobo designed for an Intel CPU supports Crossfire if you intend on using two AMD GPUs, there are no "issues" with using a single AMD gpu on an Intel board.


Haha, sorry. z68 ;) 

So the most bang for my buck right now is new mobo + cpu + psu with an optional 580 gpu?
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July 6, 2011 10:38:00 AM

Sorry, but I have to stop the hype. You don't need 1000W PSU for 1 GTX 580 or 2 6850. I have a 450W Corsair PSU with 5850, which is just a little hungrier. Check 6850 reviews. I never saw one which would go above 400W with an i7-920 @3.3GHz . Looking at a 580 review, I can see 2x5870 CF going 600W, 2x470(SLI) 740, 2x580(SLI) 770W and 2x480(SLI) 850W. And this is TOTAL POWER CONSUMPTION (measured at AC, so PSU efficiency included). A single 580 goes 450W, which is just above 80% load of 550W (where usually the best efficiency is). The 1000W requirements come because of PSU marketing, where some 700W PSU's can't handle 500W reliably. OCZ has an overclickng reputations, so I don't think they would put a cheap PSU on the market.
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July 6, 2011 12:21:16 PM

mathew7 said:
Sorry, but I have to stop the hype. You don't need 1000W PSU for 1 GTX 580 or 2 6850. I have a 450W Corsair PSU with 5850, which is just a little hungrier. Check 6850 reviews. I never saw one which would go above 400W with an i7-920 @3.3GHz . Looking at a 580 review, I can see 2x5870 CF going 600W, 2x470(SLI) 740, 2x580(SLI) 770W and 2x480(SLI) 850W. And this is TOTAL POWER CONSUMPTION (measured at AC, so PSU efficiency included). A single 580 goes 450W, which is just above 80% load of 550W (where usually the best efficiency is). The 1000W requirements come because of PSU marketing, where some 700W PSU's can't handle 500W reliably. OCZ has an overclickng reputations, so I don't think they would put a cheap PSU on the market.


You do realize he fully intends to get a second 580?
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July 6, 2011 4:01:22 PM

the op did say that he'll SLI the cards eventually. why not go for a coolermaster silent pro gold 1200 w psu or that 'no ripple' 1000 w psu.
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July 6, 2011 4:14:51 PM

"No ripple" was not a brand, I was emphasizing a quality he should look for in a PSU.

I am partial to Corsair, and two big PSUs that did well at Johnny Guru are the HX1000 and AX1200.
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July 6, 2011 6:57:25 PM

You cannot categorically say two 6850s are more powerful than a single 580.

After analyzing reviews on each card:

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_580...
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_6850_C...

Here are the results:

Complete wins over the other card at 1280x1024, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600:

GTX 580: 3
Xfire 6850s: 2

Partial wins (2 out of 3) over the card at 1280x1024, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600:

GTX 580: 1
Xfire 6850: 3

Individual wins, counting all resolutions:

GTX 580: 13
Xfire 6850s: 15


Of note:
- The two 6850s displayed 0.0 FPS in Metro 2033 at 2560x1600 (hmm, out of memory?)
- In games that were partial losses (Far Cry 2, Metro2033, AVP), the GTX 580 beat the Xfire 6850s at the highest resolution (2560x1600)
- World of Warcraft and Call of Juarez 2: Bound in Blood do not support crossfire, evidenced by the 6850s putting out abysmal numbers beat by single cards such as the GTX 460.

Games compared: COD:MW2, BFBC2 DX11, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Crysis, AVP, Hawx, World of Warcraft, Unigine Heaven, Battleforge.

--

Other factors evidenced here are the advantages the GTX 580 has in being a single GPU (not depending on every game to support multiple GPUs--we already ran into two), no thermal issues of two cards parked right next to each other, and expanded memory (1.5 or 3GB) to support higher resolutions.

That said, it will end up being less of a hassle to buy a more powerful single card than SLIing/Xfire two lesser cards together.
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July 6, 2011 10:57:08 PM

Fair point I should have said they have similar performance not better and yes higher resolutions may need more RAM but the resolution is 1920 x 1080 not 2560 x 1600. And yes there are advantages in power requirements and cooling with a single card compared to crossfire, but if you already have a 6850 then the cost of a second is tiny compared to a 580.
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July 6, 2011 11:37:33 PM

simon12 said:
if you already have a 6850 then the cost of a second is tiny compared to a 580.


I totally agree. But it seems like the OP wants to end up with GTX 580 SLI...
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July 7, 2011 1:52:22 AM

don't you think that's why i added the quotes before writing no ripples. I know that you're emphazising it. Anyways, but still, going for the gtx 580 is better. the op said that he will sli the card, so that's a tad better than 6850s in cf.
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July 7, 2011 1:59:58 AM

If you are doing SLI/crossfire then the 6950/6970 would be better. I wanted the best single card I could get, so I got a GTX 580, but if I was going to ever plan on buying card #2 or even 3 then I would not get 580s.

P.S One card best=GTX 580, More then 1 card= 6970/6950s.
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July 7, 2011 5:58:34 PM

4ktv said:
If you are doing SLI/crossfire then the 6950/6970 would be better. I wanted the best single card I could get, so I got a GTX 580, but if I was going to ever plan on buying card #2 or even 3 then I would not get 580s.

P.S One card best=GTX 580, More then 1 card= 6970/6950s.



The AMD cards do indeed shine at higher resolutions and in Crossfire--they are more efficient and tend to do better than the Nvidia cards. I would suggest two Radeon 6950 2GB as best 'bang for your buck'.

Whatever you do, get something with 2 or 3GB of VRAM--no sense going with dual cards that only have 1GB of vram.

If you, like me, are partial to Nvidia, I believe there are 2GB versions of the GTX 560 and a 3GB version of the 580.
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July 8, 2011 1:13:26 AM

i wouldn't recommend a 6970,but two 6950s with shaders unlocked can get you wnough.
but still, gtx 580 is a good choice since he's thinking of pairing them up.
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