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Single GTX280 vs 4870x2?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 22, 2008 10:24:52 AM

I ordered a new system, and the store is waiting on parts... But now I have a dilemma... I currently have a GTX280 on the order, but then the 4870x2 comes out from the ATI/AMD camp... So, now I wonder... Should I keep the GTX280, or swap it for the 4870x2?

It's going in a:
Gigabyte X48T-DQ6 motherboard
Core2Extreme QX9770 quadcore cpu
8gb ddr3-1600 ram
and other stuff that shouldn't affect the choice of video card...

The tomshardware article/test shows the GTX280 having better performance in Flight Simulator X (which is likely going to be my primary concern), but implies that the beta drivers used may be affecting the test results... The 4870x2 wins in most of the rest of the tests.

Given the mixed test results, which card would you recommend?

More about : single gtx280 4870x2

August 22, 2008 10:37:08 AM

I do think that given better drivers, the 4870X2 should come out on top over the GTX 280 in FSX... After all, it holds an overwhelming margin in most other titles, particularly the more-advanced ones like Crysis, particularly in cases where AA is enabled.(A case that I'd expect for someone spending >$400US on a video card...)

Both cards use roughly comparable amounts of power as well, so that means that if your system can support one, it could support the other.

Keep in mind that the 4870X2, by all means, should easily crush the GTX 280 when it has proper drivers (being a dual-GPU board, it would be extra-sensitive to drivers) but it also happens to be $100US more expensive. Of course, it tends to be more than that much more potent than the GeForce, so... Yeah, I'd recommend it.
August 22, 2008 11:05:51 AM

the more important thing is what resolution will you be gaming on?
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August 22, 2008 11:44:50 AM

I agree with iluvgillgill. If you are running at above 1920x1080, than 4870x2 will start to show its muscle. I also agree that the 4870x2 will need really good drivers to bring it to life. As an owner of one, I really recommend the 4870x2.


At the end of the day, which one will make you happy (in pants or not)?
August 22, 2008 12:14:14 PM

That is a tough choice. I kinda lean towards the 4870x2. If Flight Sim gets better performance with the 280 and it is $100 less...tough call. If you do play more games than just the flight sim, the 4870x2 may be the best option.
August 22, 2008 12:41:45 PM


Another point for the 4870X2 would actually be based on your motherboard. The X48 chipset supports Crossfire; not SLI. Should you decide to upgrade later crossfire is an option.
August 22, 2008 12:46:19 PM

nocteratus said:
Better frame rate in FSX than the 4870X2 and I paid mine $285.

That's due almost entirely to driver issues... And of course, the 9800GX2's framerate PLUMMETS once you turn on the AA; it doesn't handle it well at all. Getting only makes sense if you never use AA.

These benchmarks paint a clear picture of what's going on, unlike most sites which often don't show as much side-by-side. The fact that the 4870X2 UNDER-PERFORMS the single-GPU 4870 shows a clear sign that something is wrong. I'd chalk it up to very immature drivers that don't work well with that game yet; with Catalyst 8.8 out, it's liable to be a different story.

Also, Id be a tad skeptical over the comparison of AA performance for 1920x1200, since I noted that in all cases but one, FSX appeared to run FASTER with it TURNED OFF. Yet at 2560x1600, FXS runs faster on a single-GPU 4870 than on the 9800GX2 once you enable AA. Go figure.
August 22, 2008 12:55:25 PM

nottheking said:
That's due almost entirely to driver issues... And of course, the 9800GX2's framerate PLUMMETS once you turn on the AA; it doesn't handle it well at all. Getting only makes sense if you never use AA.

These benchmarks paint a clear picture of what's going on, unlike most sites which often don't show as much side-by-side. The fact that the 4870X2 UNDER-PERFORMS the single-GPU 4870 shows a clear sign that something is wrong. I'd chalk it up to very immature drivers that don't work well with that game yet; with Catalyst 8.8 out, it's liable to be a different story.

Also, Id be a tad skeptical over the comparison of AA performance for 1920x1200, since I noted that in all cases but one, FSX appeared to run FASTER with it TURNED OFF. Yet at 2560x1600, FXS runs faster on a single-GPU 4870 than on the 9800GX2 once you enable AA. Go figure.


For the price difference I think it's worth it to take a look at the 9800gx2...
August 22, 2008 1:11:27 PM

OP what resolution will you be playing at?under 1920 the 4870X2 well in fact any AMD card is no match for the GTX280 for some reason. the 4870X2 as said before only shows its good after the GTX280 being pwn by the graphics in game.

about the 9800GX2 well its not a bad card at all.specially with the price drop now.its a great card for that price.but its hot and loud and limited to games now i would say. in the future?well...it will show its age pretty quick i think.
August 22, 2008 1:31:40 PM

iluvgillgill said:
OP what resolution will you be playing at?under 1920 the 4870X2 well in fact any AMD card is no match for the GTX280 for some reason. the 4870X2 as said before only shows its good after the GTX280 being pwn by the graphics in game.

about the 9800GX2 well its not a bad card at all.specially with the price drop now.its a great card for that price.but its hot and loud and limited to games now i would say. in the future?well...it will show its age pretty quick i think.


The 4870X2 is louder and hotter than the 9800GX2, and every card will be limited with time, I plan to keep it for about 1 1/2 to 2 years max until something worth the upgrade is out. Maybe when the second-gen DX 11 cards are out.

That's why I try to pay my video card as low as possible and get the best out there at a reasonable price. Because I won't be able to pay >$500 every year or so, but like my 9800gx2 cost me <$300 I'll be able to buy a new video card in 18 months or so.
August 22, 2008 1:56:38 PM

i would say based on the OPs other components price is really a non factor. qx9770 and 8gb of ddr3?? :)  So with that being said i think it is all about performance. I'm sure he can shell out $$ next year if something way better comes along. because of that i would recommend the 4870x2 and that way he can get another one and crossfire on that mobo. if price was more of a concern or maybe crossfire might not happen soon or that kind of stuff i think there would be more options. but on an x48 with plenty of $$ 4870x2 and then crossfired soon. this is also assuming that if that kind of $$ was spend on the computer the same kind of $$ was spent on a high end monitor. if the monitor is lower res that would change things. but i have a feeling it isn't. :) 
August 22, 2008 2:27:54 PM

Since we are on topic with the 4870x2?
Would id be a great a idea to get one if you were planing to play on 1680x1050 pixel monitor?
And running Q6600 with 4gb 800Mhz ram on a 680i board?
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2008 2:35:51 PM

nah, you wont see a big boost, an HD 4870 is plenty of power for 1680x1050, even my 4850 plays everything except crysis at very high at this resolution.
August 22, 2008 2:39:32 PM

Seriously what's the point in buying a 4870x2 if you're NOT
August 22, 2008 2:41:47 PM

Seriously what's the point in buying a 4870x2 if you're NOT playing at 1920 or higher.
Practically every game at lower resolutions attains 60+ min fps even with full aa etc on, there's no point at all.
That's what a 4870x2 is for, making those huge resolutions playable which a single 4870 or gtx 280 can't
August 22, 2008 3:27:25 PM

bdollar said:
i would say based on the OPs other components price is really a non factor. qx9770 and 8gb of ddr3?? :)  So with that being said i think it is all about performance. I'm sure he can shell out $$ next year if something way better comes along. because of that i would recommend the 4870x2 and that way he can get another one and crossfire on that mobo. if price was more of a concern or maybe crossfire might not happen soon or that kind of stuff i think there would be more options. but on an x48 with plenty of $$ 4870x2 and then crossfired soon. this is also assuming that if that kind of $$ was spend on the computer the same kind of $$ was spent on a high end monitor. if the monitor is lower res that would change things. but i have a feeling it isn't. :) 


I second this. The cost should really be a nonissue as the OP clearly isn't hurting for money.
August 22, 2008 4:05:09 PM

Well, if i want a card that can last about 2 years with it allowing me to play at full settings.

Wouldn't 4870x2 be a great card?
August 22, 2008 4:09:29 PM

no idea what you will need or games will require in 2 years. do know 4870x2 is more than you need right now but will most likely last plenty long at that resolution. question is do you want to pay that $$ now for something that you don't need but may need in the next year or so or spend less now and upgrade later if you have to?
August 22, 2008 6:30:33 PM

Well, that's a good question.
But i prefer to buy something that is best, so that it can last for while.
And since i am either getting 280 which where i live is only 16 dollars cheaper then 4870x2....


I would also like to try play crysis on ultra high settings with an fps over 30...
But its all ways my luck, like when i bought X1950Pro(my current card) something new came out just a week later :-P
a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2008 6:49:14 PM

Considering the time frame, 2 years out, the 4870x2 hands down. Not only is it a better performer for future games , but it has DX10.1, which will be implemented whether nVidia likes it or not by then. Havong DX10.1 in the one game that does have it shows a 20% gain in fps, plus therell be the other features as well.
August 22, 2008 9:15:44 PM

I'm limited to 1600x1200x32@60Hz on my monitor, so that's going to be my resolution of choice... Maybe an upgrade in a year or two is an option, but I spent my entire budget for the computer on this system, no money left over for a monitor upgrade anytime soon...

Sounds to me like I can go either way at this resolution..
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