Now I need to decide on a videocard. The motherboard is CrossFire ready, so it seems silly not to get ATI. Price is *almost* not an option. I kind of don't want to spend 530 bucks on a video card (it seems excessive) so the Radeon HD 4870 X2:
$299.86 - radeon hd 4870 1gb
$249.99 - radeon hd 4870
$159.99 - radeon hd 4850
I don't want to blindly pay the most amount of money for something that won't give me real added benefit to gaming and graphics programming (I dabble in OpenGL development). I can't conceive of a graphics card having 1GB of VRAM... does this amount of VRAM really make a noticeable difference?
I guess what I'm asking is: I don't mind paying $300 for a video card if it really enhances the gaming experience, but I definitely don't want to pay for something I won't notice or can't perceive. Which card would be best for me?
I don't plan on buying a 2nd card just yet, but I almost certainly will in the near future.
The machine will be a Linux / WinXP dualboot. Can Linux use any of these cards for graphical acceleration? What's the status of Linux and these cards?
Lastly, I crunch vast amounts of data for work, fun, and personal profit. Numerical stuff -- calculating time series data, diagonalizing covariance matrices, interpolation of series, etc. I've heard of people using their video cards for super-fast number crunching. The idea seemed pretty simple -- the difference between OpenGL rotating a graphical scene by multiplication of a rotation matrix is actually no different than any other kind of matrix rotation, even if that matrix happens to be a variance/covariance matrix. I don't know the nitty gritty details of how this is done, but I want to learn Can these video cards do that sort of thing?
Oh, my LCD monitor is 1920x1200 native, so that's the resolution I'm forced to play in. Many other resolutions (but not all of them) definitely have an unsharp look to them.
The X2 is basically two 4870s with 1GB of RAM each on a single PCB running in crossfire. Generally it's significantly cheaper than two 1GB 4870s, and you can add another X2 so that you are basically running 4 4870s with 1GB of RAM each in quad crossfire.