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Radeon 4870 X2 vs. GTX 260 216 SLI

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 1, 2008 3:32:17 PM

I'm looking to build a new computer and I have been trying to figure out which graphics solution to purchase. I have a 25.5" monitor at 1920 x 1200 resolution. I would love to be able to play the latest games at this resolution and at very high graphics quality. I have heard that at this resolution, most of the games are bottle-necked by the graphics card, not the processor.

I was originally going to purchase one GTX 260 with 216 shader cores for around $250 and then possible go SLI with another one if I wasn't satisfied with the games' performance. However, if I did decide to go SLI right away because of the performance problem, would I have been better off buying just one 4870 X2 for about the same price as the two 260's?

Do you think the fan noise and/or heat generated by two GTX 260's would compare to the 4870 X2? I don't want my computer to be screaming at me while I'm playing games if I can avoid it.

Lastly, would purchasing a 4870 X2 now with the possiblity of buying another a few years down the road for increased performance be a good way to help "future-proof" my PC for gaming?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice.
December 1, 2008 5:18:05 PM

gtx 260 sli wil perform better in most games
December 1, 2008 5:28:42 PM

I always recommend one card over 2 in SLI or CF. So IMO you would be better off with one 4870x2.
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December 1, 2008 5:29:14 PM

oicwutudidthar says:
gtx 260 sli wil perform better in most games

+1 ^
a c 190 U Graphics card
December 1, 2008 5:41:58 PM

Unless you have a X58 MB you`ll have to decide which way to go now.
Nforce motherboards only do SLI, Intel only Crossfire, but either will handle a single card.
Until you tell us your MB, we cannot really give you good advice.
December 1, 2008 6:10:29 PM

coozie7 said:
Until you tell us your MB, we cannot really give you good advice.


I don't have a specific motherboard picked out yet. My choice of a graphics solution would be the determining factor in which direction I went with a motherboard purchase.
December 1, 2008 6:14:33 PM

evongugg said:
Here are some benchmarks:
GTX 260 SLI wins.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-4870-x2,2...


Am I correct in noticing that these cards were not the Core 216 cards but the older 192? If they were only comparing the 4870 X2 with the older 192 core GTX 260's then I would assume the gap would be even greater with two of the 216 cards SLI'd.
a c 190 U Graphics card
December 1, 2008 6:21:25 PM

@DRAXXISS
Was n`t sure which way your thinking was going with reguards to the build, hence the question.
Go for the SLI setup, the cards run cooler and performance is similar if not better.
And for your extra pleasure:

http://www.guru3d.com/category/vga_charts/
December 1, 2008 6:52:32 PM

coozie7 said:
@DRAXXISS
Go for the SLI setup, the cards run cooler and performance is similar if not better.


I know that usually cooler=quieter but even with two of those cards? I just find it hard to believe that the 4870 X2 is really that loud.

Also, both cards are dual slot cards which would mean minimal space left for expansion cards if I went with the SLI configuration, correct?

And lastly, I haven't upgraded my current computer in over six years so I have never messed with SLI or CrossFire before. I've done a lot of reading about it as it's come out and gotten fine-tuned a bit, but I don't have any first-hand experience. Do all modern games fully support SLI? It would be an awful waste if only one of my cards was being used to render everything.

My gut instinct tells me to stay away from a two-card solution when one is actually a little cheaper and similar in performance.

4870 X2 = $489.99
260 GTX 216 Core (x2) = $519.98

*edit* (I forgot about the $20 rebate currently being offered for the 260 GTX. If I included that in the total price then it comes in at $479.98. Just $10 cheaper than the 4870 X2).
December 1, 2008 7:11:03 PM

Crysis is pro nvidia... In other games it is less clear. I would go 4870x2. One card is just less hassle, even if it is dual gpu. And you can go crossfire in a few years, if needed.

December 1, 2008 7:14:09 PM

No, not all modern games fully support either SLI or Crossfire, it depends on the individual game which one works better, I sympathize with your inclination to stay with a single card solution. The OS also has a bearing on the selection, as my experience with nVidia drivers and Vista has been mostly negative, with consistent video driver failures. I solved that by going back to ATI. I find the HD 4850 is quite adequate for my 27" Samsung, but then again I do use my computer for things other than benchmarking.
The noise and heat issues are dependent upon which 4870 you select, and are easily mitigated by an after market cooler if they are a concern.
December 1, 2008 8:57:47 PM

Every time I think I make up my mind about which way to go, new information and opinions come to light that cause more uncertainty to bubble to the surface. Arg.

I will be running Vista Ultimate 64 bit edition, but did not think that there would be any problems with Vista driver compatibility since it has been out for so long now.

I too tend to use my computer for more than just gaming, I just want to be sure that I have good performance that will last at least three to four years. I want to be able to play today's games at very high graphics quality and have that quality slowly slip away as newer games come out. I don't want to settle for mediocre now and have it slip to unplayable within a few years time.

!