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4850 versus 4870 in Crysis (other games too)

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July 22, 2008 7:09:58 PM

Anybody with ATI Radeon video card experience, please help.

I've seen numerous benchmarks, and they vary significantly. I've seen tests with it at 35fps and at 45fps in Crysis at 1280x1024

Is the Radeon HD 4870 really worth the extra hundred?
http://www.legitreviews.com/images/reviews/734/crysis.j...

In all other games I see that the 4870 does have significant FPS improvements, but in all other games the 4850 already runs at 60+ fps. I do want to keep my computer very fast for at least the next 10 years, so I do always have an option of just getting a second card for CrossFire.

With my motherboard, how does the CrossfireX work? Will I be able to eventually add two 4870s to my one 4850? The TigerDirect video review seems to indicate yes. If this is possible then I think the best choice is to go with a single 4850 for now, and later just add some better cards in as needed? Link to mobo: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

My computer specs:
Core2Duo 3.0GHz
2GB DDR3 RAM
X48 Motherboard

Resolution: 1280 x 1024
July 22, 2008 7:25:34 PM

omg of course 4870 is better
July 22, 2008 7:27:14 PM

But is is worth the 100 bucks extra? Can someone seriously tell me if it's worh it.
Related resources
July 22, 2008 7:33:06 PM

No one out of the four hundred who viewed this thread will help???
a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2008 7:35:28 PM

At 1280x1024, it won't be enough of a difference in all likelihood. At higher resolutions, the GDDR5 would help out quite a bit, but for you, I would just recommend the 4850.
July 22, 2008 7:36:28 PM

I will help ;) 

Well personally I would try to shoot for the 4870, if your funds allow you to.

But then again, your gaming at a lower res, so a 4850 would work really good also.

And to answer you question of Crossfire X, yes you can simply add another 4850 or 4870 later if you so choose. But at your resolution, Crossfire would be a waste.

Any more questions?
July 22, 2008 7:39:15 PM

The reason I want crossfire is so that my computer is future-proof, because games will get better, and even at a lower resolution i'll still need to step up performance over time.

What settings do you think I could run Crysis on with a 4850? Most benchmarks say 35fps on max settings (high DX9). So i could just lower to 1024x728 and get good fPS?

I'd like to keep my native resolution (1280x1024) if possible. Postprocessing and shaders are something I want to keep nice and high, but shadows at low still look very nice.
a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2008 7:42:42 PM

At 1280x1024, I would guess it would be pretty smooth on fully cranked settings, with no to low AA. Very high everything, 2xAA maybe? Of course, the 4xxx series are good with AA, so you might be able to do 4x. That's a fairly low resolution though, so I wouldn't be too surprised if you could pull it basically fully cranked on very high and maintain >25fps at almost all times.

Keep in mind that crysis has motion blur implemented quite well, which allows an occasional dip down to 20fps to still feel smooth.
July 22, 2008 7:47:08 PM

"I do want to keep my computer very fast for at least the next 10 years"

- i think the 4870 will devour crysis7 and in 2018.
July 22, 2008 7:47:20 PM

Alright, so I think $100 is not worth the +3fps in Crysis?

In the future I think my motherboard will let me add more video cards and stuff so i'm keeping my comp open for upgrades.
July 23, 2008 12:02:10 AM

I'm thinking about saving the $100 by getting an 4850 instead of 4870 for a better case, is it worth it?
July 23, 2008 12:45:36 AM

MayDay94 said:
"I do want to keep my computer very fast for at least the next 10 years"

- i think the 4870 will devour crysis7 and in 2018.


I meant more like 5 years I guess, and I am going to upgrade in the next 5 years, just keep it upgradeable for at least 5 years.
July 23, 2008 1:00:55 AM

If you're looking to keep it that long, I'd spend the extra dough on the 4870.
July 23, 2008 1:33:41 AM

5 years is a bit much... if i was you id just wait for the 4870x2 than...
and i wudnt be surprised if you were insanely outdated by 2010-2011, ray tracing is just on the horizon
Anonymous
July 23, 2008 1:37:35 AM

I cant believe no one has burst this guy's bubble. To upgrade a rig in 5 years and hope its lasts for 5 more, is impossible. If by upgrade you mean everything but the case(??) then i guess it will work.

You are going to come to the point of needing to upgrade everything (read new build) before ten years if you want to do more than type and surf the net.
July 23, 2008 3:04:59 AM

it's only an extra 100 dollars over 10 years guys, go for it..hehe
July 23, 2008 4:35:46 AM

I think i'm just gonna go for the 4870, and I seriously think my comp will be able to be upgraded for 5 years, the only major thing that'll need upgrading is the video card and processor, which probably won't take any major turns in the next few years.
July 23, 2008 8:42:23 AM

Crysis laughs at any GPU or CPU thrown at it... be it 8400GS or GTX280 or 4870X2..... ... 2 or 3 FPS difference between 4850 and 4870 may not mean much... but if you look at the benchies of other games, 4870 does outperform the 4850.

Moreover since you'd be keeping that rig for a long time, it would be a better investment to get a faster GPU. If anything, future games won't possibly run faster on 4850 than on 4870.
July 23, 2008 10:00:02 AM

infinitywraith said:
The reason I want crossfire is so that my computer is future-proof, because games will get better, and even at a lower resolution i'll still need to step up performance over time.

What settings do you think I could run Crysis on with a 4850? Most benchmarks say 35fps on max settings (high DX9). So i could just lower to 1024x728 and get good fPS?

I'd like to keep my native resolution (1280x1024) if possible. Postprocessing and shaders are something I want to keep nice and high, but shadows at low still look very nice.


Just to let you know, future proofing your system for more then a year is very difficult- nonetheless 5 or ten lol.

Look at this thread.
http://www.computing.net/answers/gaming/xbox-360-comput...

In the thread some Joe, about two years ago, when the x box 360 first came out, wanted to know what system he would have to buy to equal that consoles performance in games. Some other Joe posted as a joke the top of the line system back in the day. According to that other Joe in the thread, that system would cost 3000 dollars. Out of curiosity I put together a wish list of a similar system on newegg. That same top of the line system back then came out to 400 today (for the tower) 700 for the whole package, although without speakers. Keep in mind, this was posted just two years ago.

I would get the 4850, because it can play all but one or two games on the highest settings, very comfortably, on obnoxiously high settings (minus AA for some at really high resolutions...certainly if you keep the resolution low for you sub par monitor), and its cheap. In six months everybody will be talking about how much better the new cards are anyway and you can upgrade then, or six months after that when all those cards are obsolete, or six months after that when those cards suck too... ect. Consider this- the oh so popular and powerful 8800s had a grand lifespan of about two years- with plenty of reworkings to keep them going. They can still run well now, but fall well short of the new cards by a huge margin. The top of the line card listed in the thread about (a 7950 gtx :lol:  ), is nothing compared to a simple 3850 for a hundred dollars now. That thread was posted about two years ago. You make your choice based on that.

EDIT: the 8800s are not dead... fanboys don't flame me please. They are, however, no longer top end.
July 23, 2008 11:12:32 AM

infinitywraith said:
The reason I want crossfire is so that my computer is future-proof, because games will get better, and even at a lower resolution i'll still need to step up performance over time.

What settings do you think I could run Crysis on with a 4850? Most benchmarks say 35fps on max settings (high DX9). So i could just lower to 1024x728 and get good fPS?

I'd like to keep my native resolution (1280x1024) if possible. Postprocessing and shaders are something I want to keep nice and high, but shadows at low still look very nice.


Ive got a 4870 and windows xp. When I first got it I spent alot of time playing around in crysis seeing how high I could get the settings. My highest res is 1400x900. I settled on all on high (dx9 of course) at 1400x900 but with the 'natural mod' installed and switching between 0xaa and 2xaa depending on the frames I was getting on the various levels. The first 3 levels actually were the hardest on my card and system, so I play without AA t maintain 30fps+. With AA it spends half the time around 22-27fps. On the snow level though (paradise lost) 4xaa was perfectly smooth and the card walked through the whole thing, lack of vegetation on those levels I guess. In short ive got all on high, natural mod and with 2xaa on half the levels averaging a STRONG 30+ fps on a 4870, e6300 oc'd to 2.8ghz and 2gb of ddr2 800.

I have tried having no AA and having all but shaders, particles and textures hacked to very high with these other three on regular high, but it wasn't above 25fps enough of the time for me to enjoy it. Loading pauses were my biggest enemy, even on a very 'clean' system and thoroughly defraged hard drive. That was using the 4800 series 'hotfix drivers'. So things should get better over time with better drivers, but in say 3-5 revisions, not 1 or 2 so patience is very much required.

As for a 4850, you should be able to play all on dx9 high with the natural mod and no AA very smoothly thoughout the whole game. I keep mentioning the natural mod because I really liked the different tones with it installed, and it does introduce a few extra settings from very high that have a nice effect without giving fps any big hit.

Hope all that helps?

Cheers
July 23, 2008 11:16:34 AM

infinitywraith said:
Alright, so I think $100 is not worth the +3fps in Crysis?

In the future I think my motherboard will let me add more video cards and stuff so i'm keeping my comp open for upgrades.


for 1280x1024 a 4870 might seem like overkill, but it will be 'future proof' for at least 6 months longer than a 4850. I mean a 4870 will stop being able to max out all games very comfortably with 4xaa and 16xaf (except crysis) at least 6 months later than a 4850. Now is that worth 100 of your yankee dollars? Don't forget the 4800 series isn't really optimised at all for crysis right now. In all the reviews it really 'bucks the trend' of performance vs. 9800gtx and gtx260.
July 23, 2008 3:17:37 PM

Yeah, I kind of meant run well with games, maybe not max them out. I could probably spend $200 dollars a year keeping my system up to date? The 3870x2 does pretty well for something that old you know.

I think I'm going to stick with the 4870 then just because it heavily outperforms the 4850 in most games other than Crysis.

See this link, it's the best benchmark i've found. http://www.legitreviews.com/article/734/12/

By the way, I noticed the Crysis actually has less FPS with Crossfire, which they had better fix somehow.


About natural mod: I looked at it and it looks really nice and i'll be sure to get it.
July 23, 2008 5:31:25 PM

Get the HD4850, people fobbing you off with future proofing are crazy.

Was the HD3850 future proofing over HD3870 at that resolution?

Difference of about 15% in Crysis, 3 fps omg.

Across the board 10 - 20%, HD 4850 is the perfect choice for 19" and below monitors.

Graphics card scene moves so fast, so you always buy for now, not 6 months down the line.







July 23, 2008 6:50:20 PM

infinitywraith said:
Yeah, I kind of meant run well with games, maybe not max them out. I could probably spend $200 dollars a year keeping my system up to date? The 3870x2 does pretty well for something that old you know.

I think I'm going to stick with the 4870 then just because it heavily outperforms the 4850 in most games other than Crysis.

See this link, it's the best benchmark i've found. http://www.legitreviews.com/article/734/12/

By the way, I noticed the Crysis actually has less FPS with Crossfire, which they had better fix somehow.


About natural mod: I looked at it and it looks really nice and i'll be sure to get it.


In your benchmarks the 4850 was playable in all games at your resolution. The biggest difference I saw that I can remember was about six framerates. Both cards are meant to take heavy loads anyway- they are not high clock rates like the gxt2 but powerful shaders. They are meant to handle heavy loads. You will have a hard time seeing any difference in performance between the two at your resolution. Anyway, according to a benchmark I've seen a tweak town, the difference in performance between the two cards is a maximum of 23%. That is very little for a hundred dollars difference in price. More importantly all games at your resolution were very playable in your posted benchmarks.
July 23, 2008 7:05:54 PM

Huh, either I didn't see it or nobody has said it yet. Guess I will.

Don't try and future-proof your PC on one game, especially an unoptimized, poorly-coded one. You will be disappointed no matter what.

That said, 4870s are made of win and awesome all around, no matter the game.
July 23, 2008 8:23:42 PM

On the contrary, the HD48xxx because of their high clocks and steam processors perform very well in shader heavy titles such as Call of Duty 4 (It plays amazing maxed at 1680x1050 4xAA 16xAF with the rig in mah sig. It rarely drops below 70 FPS). Crysis is actually one of the HD48xx's weak points partially because of its 256-bit bus and 512MB of memory. (I am certain a 384-bit bus with 768MB of memory would result in a significant performance boost [hello 8800GTX])

At 1280x1024, the performance increase of a 4870 over a 4850 won't be much, not enough to justify an extra $100 in my opinion. However the HD 4870 with it's GDDR5 will likely be a bit more futureproofed, and it's dual slot cooler keep heat from being an issue (Even at 40% fan, the card idles at 48ºC, and rarely hits above 80ºC under load. I'm sure If you turned the fans up on the HD4850 to 50%-60% (anything higher then that is LOUD), you should get reasonable temps.

I don't even bother futureproofing anymore. In a year, no matter what you have bought, it's already outdated; and something half the price will trash your old stuff. Just buy for now :) .

I would get the HD4850, see how you like it. If you find it lacking in performance, get another. The HD4850 has a much better price/performance ratio, lucky you for getting a CF board. I would wait a bit to CF, though, as the drivers still aren't really scaling well in CrossFire.

Also, I recommend running your games at 1280x960. Your monitor is probably a 4:3 monitor, and 1280x1024 is a 5:4 resolution, so stuff will look 'skinny'. It's not very noticable, but less pixels=better performance :) .

Good luck with your decision.
a b U Graphics card
July 23, 2008 8:42:23 PM

doomsdaydave11 said:
On the contrary, the HD48xxx because of their high clocks and steam processors perform very well in shader heavy titles such as Call of Duty 4 (It plays amazing maxed at 1680x1050 4xAA 16xAF with the rig in mah sig. It rarely drops below 70 FPS). Crysis is actually one of the HD48xx's weak points partially because of its 256-bit bus and 512MB of memory. (I am certain a 384-bit bus with 768MB of memory would result in a significant performance boost [hello 8800GTX])

The extra memory might help, but the additional bus width would be a waste. All that matters for memory is bandwidth and quantity. Bus width is one way to get bandwidth, but so is faster memory (GDDR5 for example). In fact, a 256 bit bus with 3600MHz GDDR5 is higher bandwidth than a 384 bit bus with 2160MHz GDDR3 (8800U). Extra memory could help in Crysis at high resolutions. I doubt it is the main bottleneck though, as shown by the fact that the 4870 still loses to Nvidia in Crysis, despite having greater memory bandwidth than all but the GTX280.

Oh, and if your monitor is native 1280x1024, it is probably more square than 4:3 anyways. Run at full native - it looks better, and you should have more than enough power to.
July 23, 2008 9:04:23 PM

can any ATI card beat Nvidia cards in CRYSIS?
July 23, 2008 9:35:00 PM

i bet this n00b works for nVidia or something...
July 24, 2008 12:40:27 AM

doomsdaydave11 said:

I would get the HD4850, see how you like it. If you find it lacking in performance, get another. The HD4850 has a much better price/performance ratio, lucky you for getting a CF board. I would wait a bit to CF, though, as the drivers still aren't really scaling well in CrossFire.

Also, I recommend running your games at 1280x960. Your monitor is probably a 4:3 monitor, and 1280x1024 is a 5:4 resolution, so stuff will look 'skinny'. It's not very noticable, but less pixels=better performance :) .

Good luck with your decision.


Thanks for the advice, however my monitor, and just about all standard aspect ration monitors has a native resolution of 1280x1024.

Nicocat said:
Huh, either I didn't see it or nobody has said it yet. Guess I will.

Don't try and future-proof your PC on one game, especially an unoptimized, poorly-coded one. You will be disappointed no matter what.

That said, 4870s are made of win and awesome all around, no matter the game.


I'm definitely not basing it just on Crysis, especially because there is only 3fps difference between cards. On other games like Call of Duty 4, the performance increase is from 65fps to 90fps and a boost like that definitely means something.

At this point I'm probably going to still get the 4850 and just crossfire a second one when it's needed.
July 24, 2008 12:54:32 AM

UPDATE: I discovered that since I cut some money from my build by getting another keyboard (the one I was going to get was an overpriced Intel thing) and taking advantage of the recent Intel processor price drops, I can afford two 4850s. Should I go for it, or use my money somewhere else? I could get a bigger monitor but seeing as to how I already have a 19inch and 20inch running in dual screen (except in gaming), I don't think I really need a larger monitor. What do you guys think?
a b U Graphics card
July 24, 2008 1:03:38 AM

concrum said:
can any ATI card beat Nvidia cards in CRYSIS?

Just by looking at the graph provided in this thread alone, it looks like an affirmative. Not that it matters since I'd rather save the $250-300.

@OP: Crossfire in Crysis is something you want to avoid like the plague.
July 24, 2008 1:24:02 AM

Is there a way to disable crossfire without physically taking the card out?
a b U Graphics card
July 24, 2008 1:25:17 AM

I think you can do it in the Catalyst Control Centre but I have an NVIDIA card so I can't check.
July 24, 2008 1:29:02 AM

Here's the deal: I have a $342 budget for a video card (or more than one) based on my current configuration. I have a X48 MoBo, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 700W powersupply, so I can take just about any ATI card, if I do nVidia i'll have to go to one of their overpriced mobos :/ 







I'm worrying a bit about Crysis not playing well at my native resolution (1280x1024)
The only think i'm willing to turn down is shadows... Any thoughts?
a b U Graphics card
July 24, 2008 1:32:00 AM

You can use an NVIDIA card on an Intel mobo, just not more than one in SLI. I still wouldn't go for an NVIDIA card with that budget though, since the GTX280 is the only significant improvement over the HD4870 and it costs a fortune.
July 24, 2008 1:39:11 AM

So what would you do when you have a high end build ready and still have $342 bucks remaining for a videocard(s)?



Should I get one 4870 and for $290 or two 4850s for $300? Performance is significantly better for the two 4850s in all games except Crysis...
a b U Graphics card
July 24, 2008 1:46:06 AM

I would buy a single HD4870. Crysis often scales negatively with CF, but I think it does ok with SLI.

EDIT: Well this thread is about Crysis, but if you intend to play other games alot then CrossFire is worth it. Just remember that these cards get hot unless the fan speed is turned up so you should have good airflow in your case too.
July 24, 2008 2:00:01 AM

Yeah I read up on changing the XML file to up the fan speed.

I think it's kind of amazing that two 4850s is just a bit more expensive than one 4870.

I'm not just playing Crysis, but that's the only game right now that a single 4850 can't max out.

I'll see about how I can improve Crysis performance :/ 
a b U Graphics card
July 24, 2008 2:35:49 AM

No good when you live in Australia :( 
July 24, 2008 2:39:55 AM

infinitywraith said:
Thanks for the advice, however my monitor, and just about all standard aspect ration monitors has a native resolution of 1280x1024.



I'm definitely not basing it just on Crysis, especially because there is only 3fps difference between cards. On other games like Call of Duty 4, the performance increase is from 65fps to 90fps and a boost like that definitely means something.

At this point I'm probably going to still get the 4850 and just crossfire a second one when it's needed.


I am aware. Both my 19" LCD and 17" CRT were 1280x1024- just saying that 1280x960 would be a better option in case you didnt know :) .
July 24, 2008 2:44:44 AM

cjl said:
The extra memory might help, but the additional bus width would be a waste. All that matters for memory is bandwidth and quantity. Bus width is one way to get bandwidth, but so is faster memory (GDDR5 for example). In fact, a 256 bit bus with 3600MHz GDDR5 is higher bandwidth than a 384 bit bus with 2160MHz GDDR3 (8800U). Extra memory could help in Crysis at high resolutions. I doubt it is the main bottleneck though, as shown by the fact that the 4870 still loses to Nvidia in Crysis, despite having greater memory bandwidth than all but the GTX280.

Oh, and if your monitor is native 1280x1024, it is probably more square than 4:3 anyways. Run at full native - it looks better, and you should have more than enough power to.


I mean't to say the HD4850 (with it's GDDR3). My apologies :) .
a b U Graphics card
July 24, 2008 5:05:08 AM

doomsdaydave11 said:
I am aware. Both my 19" LCD and 17" CRT were 1280x1024- just saying that 1280x960 would be a better option in case you didnt know :) .

Typically, I would go with full native as often as possible on LCDs, as some blurring can result with nonnative resolutions (try it and see :) )

1280x960 is the standard aspect ratio though.
July 24, 2008 6:05:11 AM

I would advise against a crossfire set up... the most performance increase you can expect to get is 50%- if your lucky. I think in the future both crossfire and Sli will become much more efficient and might be worth it then. Right now I would say it isn't. You also have to purchase a good power supply and a processor with a high clock rate to get the most benefits too. I would get the biostar T power motherboard for 89.99 right now at Newegg, and bump down to 4 gigs DDR2 1066 memory instead (DRR3 is overrated and really not necessary). Use the money you save to get a better monitor (the acer on newegg for 389 looks very nice) and still get a 4850 or a 4870. If you do that (and shop right), you should still have some money left over compared to your mentioned build right now to get some good case fans and heatsinks for your processor and card, or a starting payment for a replacement gpu some time down the road (or you can get something completely unrelated- like an ice cream sundays; point being it is money you don't need to spend).
July 24, 2008 8:44:32 AM

Won't work on a DDR3 board but will on any DDR2. Newegg had better deals though; especially if you can find the right combos (let me no if you are interested and I will make a public wish list for you and post the link). The RAM you listed is DDR2 800, which will be quite adequate if you do not plan to overclock, and okay even if you do. If you do want to overclock I would get DDR2 8500 (1066) RAM to be able to push those fsbs even higher.
July 24, 2008 11:46:17 AM

7900 was the king only two years ago.....and now it cant even compete with 3850. so even if u get a 4870, i would be really surprised if it lasts u more than two years.(unless ur willing to lower some details and game at 1024x768). so get a 4850 now and the keep the xtra 100 and buy another card a year later.
and goin crossfire a year later for performance increase mioght not be profitable if u consider the fact that by that time 48xx would have phased out and become harder to get and hence more expensive
July 24, 2008 3:30:15 PM

So should I get a newer motherboard like the X48 ($250) and a bit of DDR3 RAM or save money by getting just an older non-crossfire motherboard and DDR2?

Currently, my build totals $1197 with a single 4870, an X48 MoBo, and two gigs of DDR3. If I cut some money from mobo and ram, where should I redirect that to if I HAD to spend the money? My budget is $1250
!