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What Would Be Better Overall?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 19, 2009 7:31:45 AM

Hello all. Currently, I do not really have too much of a problem with gaming, however, I'd like to up the ante much more. Currently, I run a pretty decent high-end system (not the highest you've ever seen) but lately, I feel as if I could get better. I've made the decision that I would like to get new gfx cards. Currently, I run an ATi Radeon 4870 (512 mb). I have 2, but i don't run crossfirex which I'll touch up on in a moment. I like to use Steam, and most of my games are on steam, but I've found that in a lot of steam games that are powered by the source engine, I get missing textures, aka certain ground textures are slightly transparent and blink and the intro/main menu is all scrambled for a little while, among other problems. That's if I have CrossFireX enabled ONLY. Another game that I play a lot that suffers from the usage of CrossFireX is the Witcher. So...I've resorted to using a single card for the most part. Every now and then I'll enable CrossFireX, but not too often. For a while, I've been pretty much an ATi girl because of the great price-to-performance ratio, but I've noticed that NVIDIA is supported a lot more than ATi is by most mainstream games (WoW being one of the only mainstream game that I know of that supports ATi over NVIDIA). I've also noticed that in benchmarks, the NVIDIA cards tend to do a bit better. So, I have come to the conclusion that I would like to switch graphics cards and give my old graphics cards to my brother (after I get new ones of course). Money is not much of an issue for me, which is why I am going to switch cards in the first place. Anyways, these are the two cards I was looking at buying;

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 (I will run them in SLi when I buy a second one later on if I feel that I should.)

OR

ATi Radeon 4870x2 (I will run 2 in CrossFireX when I buy a second one later on if I feel that I should.)

I see they're both really expensive, but about the same price, give or take here and there depending on who/where you buy from. So I'd like to buy one and add another on later. I'd like to know what would OVERALL be a better buy. I don't really care too much about the minute stuff such as 'ATi plays best in most games...except Crysis'; okay, I don't care about the special exceptions like that. Overall, what would perform better in the end? That is my question. To get a better idea of my gaming habits as to help with the decision, here are the games I play the most;

Oblivion
The Witcher
TrackMania Nations Forever
Left 4 Dead
Fallout 3
Crysis
Half-Life 1 (source ver.), 2, and all the Episodes and Lost Coast (even though it is just a level...)
CS:Source
Audiosurf
Max Payne 1 and 2
F.E.A.R. 1 and 2
Doom 3 and Resurrection of Evil
Far Cry 2
Call of Duty 4
Assassin's Creed

Those are the games that I play for the most part. There are a few more, but I rarely ever play them. The game most important to me is Oblivion, since it is the game I play the most, and the fact that I am also making a machinima with that game too. Anyways, I look forward to replies.

PS: Please don't base your reply on bias. I do not care if you love NVIDIA and hate ATi or vice versa. I just want to know what the best one would be based on facts, not opinions. Please and thank you!

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February 19, 2009 11:56:52 AM

Overall the 295 GTX I've seen to be up to 20% stronger in generous games, while it can be on par or worse in other games.

As for the supported statement, I've noticed that as well, that Nvidia has been really rolling in the drivers alot more than ATI lately.

To be honest though 295 GTX is 100$ more than the 4870 X2, and it doesn't justify the over all 10-15% gain.

Although I would like to point out that I don't like the idea of quad sli/Crossfire, since the yields are not worth the price.

I personally feel more secure with the 4870 X2, since it has a lower price tag, more Vram, DX 10.1 and 6 months maturity over the 295 GTX...although at the same time you can argue that the 295 GTX doesn't have maturity and yet it still beats the 4870 X2.

Order terms of power:

295 GTX > 4870 X2

Order terms of price/performance:

4870 X2 > 295 GTX

My choice would be a single Strong GPU like the 285 GTX, but others might not agree, and the price you have to pay for the 285 GTX, and the results you might get over your 4870 512, won't be worth the price.

Ever consider staying a bit longer with the 4870? And seeing whats coming out in April?

If its really a must, I would go with the 4870 X2 (I'm basing my opinion on the 2 cards you''ve selected), unless where you live you can only get them for the same price, or maybe the 4870 X2 is more expensive than the 295, where I would say go with the 295 GTX.

2 things that kill it for me about the 295 GTX is, High end card, with only 1.7 gigs of Vram, and 448 bit Bus width...not really what I expected for a card that came out 6 months later. I mean if it was a revision even that would be excusable.
February 19, 2009 6:05:21 PM

What resolution?
February 19, 2009 10:15:20 PM

@L1qu1d: Thanks. I'll keep that in mind. I think you're right though; I think it's better to wait for a few months, and I think I will. Thank you for the informative input, it really helps.
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