Gaming Only Card and I'm Undecided

Im going to start building a new gaming system probably next month or in April (awaiting my tax return!). I'm going to get a i7 920 processor and either a Asus or Gigabyte x58 mobo (read the article on anandtech which favored the Asus board). The big question is which video card. I know the 4870x2 sucks up a lot of wattage and generates enough heat to cook any size bacon but I am curious which would be better. Does it pay to get 2 4850x2's? Does it pay to get 2 4870's? Is there a big difference between GDDR3 and GDDR5? I haven't seen anything new come out since the 4870x2. I do have Flight Simulator X and I plan to go to Jumpgate Evolution, This is Vegas, Sims3, and maybe The Godfather 2 (maybe I will get the PS3 version). Lets say that money isn't the issue. I just want the best bang for my bucks but don't want to overpay!

If you have a different anwer that I didn't put on the Poll, please let me know. Thanx!
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More about gaming card undecided
  1. I want 2 Evga GTX 285 FTW cards run in SLI
  2. swordfish1030 said:
    I want 2 Evga GTX 285 FTW cards run in SLI

  3. What resolution?
  4. 2560 x 1600 dual link
  5. mikeny said:
    Im going to start building a new gaming system probably next month or in April (awaiting my tax return!). I'm going to get a i7 920 processor and either a Asus or Gigabyte x58 mobo (read the article on anandtech which favored the Asus board). The big question is which video card. I know the 4870x2 sucks up a lot of wattage and generates enough heat to cook any size bacon but I am curious which would be better. Does it pay to get 2 4850x2's? Does it pay to get 2 4870's? Is there a big difference between GDDR3 and GDDR5? I haven't seen anything new come out since the 4870x2. I do have Flight Simulator X and I plan to go to Jumpgate Evolution, This is Vegas, Sims3, and maybe The Godfather 2 (maybe I will get the PS3 version). Lets say that money isn't the issue. I just want the best bang for my bucks but don't want to overpay!

    If you have a different anwer that I didn't put on the Poll, please let me know. Thanx!

    What resolution?
  6. It looks like the votes are anonymous, 2 4850 X2's are out. Hope those poll results were helpful.
  7. GTX 285 FTW.. I got one on the way! :D
  8. Maybe a 20"-22" LCD----LG or Asus. I see there native resolution is 1680x1050. I forgot to mention the GTX 285 and I see that ATI is coming out with another card.
  9. mikeny said:
    Maybe a 20"-22" LCD----LG or Asus. I see there native resolution is 1680x1050.

    GTX260 216, HD4870 or 4850x2
  10. SLi with GTX260 216 core. That would be superb.
  11. theAnimal said:
    GTX260 216, HD4870 or 4850x2

    What about Nvidia's new 295? I was reading about it and it looks like it's the new king.
  12. If your only going to be using a 20"to 22" monitor then you don't need some super killer card. Following is a link to a the Guru of 3D website and they have VGA charts that lay out ratings of a ton of cards and different resolutions.

    I just got a GTX 280 and it's more than enough for my 24" monitor. I have a core i7 system I just built with the Asus PT6 board and I love it. I'm playing Crysis, COD: WAW and Grid on high settings with no problem.
  13. I checked out the Guru site. I see that the 4850x2 is more than enough for a 1680x1050 resolution. I know the 4870x2 is overkill but I plan to keep the new system for a while.

    Is there a big difference between GDDR3 and GDDR5?
    GDDR3 (gtx's and 4850x2)

    GDDR5- (48704870x2)

    I just want to make sure Im not going to run into bottlenecking and say, Geez I should of went with the other card.

    I was thinking of getting i7 920, Asus mobo, 6GB DDR3 RAM (3 x 2GB stick kit)
  14. Single gtx 285 is more than enough for max settings at 1680x1050. I bought the low end EVGA card and it overclocked to the FTW settings just fine, save some money and just overclock your card if you do go gtx 285. Also dont get a 280 IMO just incase you do get a 2nd or 3rd card later on 285's will be more available.

    sapphire's 4850x2 is still pretty highly rated by many for its cost effectiveness (read the Feb Card roundup)

    the GTX 295 and 4870x2 are probably a tad bit overkill with a low res monitor but hey at least you know you'll be ahead of the curve for awhile if you dont want to sli/xfire anytime soon, and you can always quad them if you really felt you needed the extra graphical power.

    and as always the 4870 1 GB isn't a bad option but you should really compare the charts of the games you play the most and see which games the radeon and/or the Nvida cards shine in.

    my vote though, go with a gtx 285. from personal experience mine can handle anything at max settings at 1680x1050 that I've thrown at it so far. Read the most recent card roundup though may help you make up your mind.
  15. +1 to mikecs

    At 22" resolution, the GTX 260 Core 216 is probably sufficient, with the option to add a second later.

    However, if you want to keep the system for a while and you have the budget, then I'd go with the GTX 285 and leave open the door to an SLI upgrade later.

    4850x2 is fine, but there's always the risk that it may not scale as well as the single GPU cards if you add a second card.

    With your timeframe, you should also look at ATI's new offering to be released in April--the 4890, I believe.
  16. It's weird. I was at Microcenter and bought the i7 920 for $229 and the salesman mentioned the 285. He also mentioned to sli the 285 if you I decide to buy one then another later. Especially with FSX (I havent played it in a while because I was getting about 20-30 fps). I'm keeping an eye on the 4890 also.

    I'm guessing that the 4870x2 is only good for LCD's 30" and higher? I read about the scaling issue.

    I was looking at this card:

    Concerning my LCD monitor....WHen I finish my new build, Im giving my system (that Im on now ;-) to my wife including my 19" LCD. I was checking out LG's 22" (If I remember correctly). Or I might keep my Viewsonic screen now and upgrade later.

    Im open to 21-24" LCD's. I was looking at these 2:

    I think I saw the LG monitor at BestBuy and was amazed.

    (BTW, I'm slightly hesitant with going to NVIdia. I had a Alienware 51m with an NVidia card and after 1 1/2 years of usage....the freaken card overheated and died. Alienware was no help and even to this day (3 years ago, I still can't find a replacement video card.) Their tekkies suck! Their Customer service blows. I've had an ATI card in my old desktop which lasted a long time, and this one. Only thing that was tiring was the fact that every month or every other month, there was another Catalyst Driver update.

    I'm watching the new ATI card and I was thinking of getting a 4870 and another down the line but I might be weakening on seriously looking at Nvidia namely the 285.
  17. Announcement: Akebono 98 is not the Microcenter salesman! :ange: But that salesman did give some good advice...

    The 4870x2 also had another use when it first came out--something called "Crysis". Right now, it's an excellent value in a high end video card.

    eVGA GTX 285 FTW, FTW!! Despite my first post above, here's something else to keep in mind. eVGA now has introduced a new voltage tuner for video card overclocking (though apparently not yet ready for the GTX 285). That, coupled with the original OC potential of the GTX 285 itself would imply that if you're a tweaker, you might be more satisifed with the base version of the GTX 285 and FTW it yourself, FTW. Would also save a few bucks too.

    If you're upgrading from a 19" LCD, you should go to at least 24" because a widescreen 22" is pretty close in height to a 4:3 aspect ratio 19" (I'm only assuming that you have this type).

    The monitors you linked are nice. The Samsung 24 inchers are good too.

    Generally, there seem to be more complaints over ATI drivers than nVidia drivers.

    If you're hesitant to go nVidia, suggest you try eVGA for their excellent customer support (24/7), lifetime warranty and 90 day step-up plan.

    And no, despite my apparent fanboi post, I neither work for nVidia nor eVGA. ;)
  18. Wouldn't touch the 4850x2 with a 10 foot pole, simply not any support. Dual cards in general also have scalability issues.

    I'd go with the 285GTX, and put another in SLI if needed.
  19. Thanx Akebono. Hey, did you sell my my i7 920 that I bought at Microcenter yesterday, same name tag lol (j/k).

    Yeah, I heard of the scalable issues with x2's. I was thinking of going with the 285 and buying another to go SLI. Im also watching to see what ATI comes out with in April. I've seen how many updates ATI had, but never had any issues. I was leaning towards eVGA's 285. I was also looking at eVGA's mobo (Asus and Gigabyte also). I'm thinking of overclocking the i7 920. I heard that eVGA has an easy way of o/cing it.

    Im keeping an eye on monitors also. I have about 2-4 weeks before I really start. This is about the time I should get my tax refund.
  20. Here's a good reference point on the GTX 285. In another thread that I saw last night, L1qu1d mentioned that he had his GTX 285 OC'd up to 755 MHz core / 3000 MHz memory. He also mentioned that he was getting about a 20% boost in performance from his OC.

    Btw, if you're thinking of running SLI on an OC'd i7, take a close look at the Asus P6T Deluxe V2--its expansion slot layout leaves a gap between the 2 video cards to allow for better cooling and that board should give you a nice, high OC as well (with user friendly BIOS).
  21. Akebono's Asus suggestion isn't bad but read this:,2164.html
    Great info on some of the X58 Platforms out there that aren't too hard on the pocketbook.

    As for your post up above about NVIDIA cards dying, thats why I'm such a EVGA fanboi myself. As long as you register your card w/in a few weeks (30 days iirc) after buying it your good to go with lifetime replacements/repairs for just the cost of shipping the card to them (make sure you save the box/plastic it comes in, makes replacement shipping a breeze as you know its safe). I've only had one card freak out on me and instead of shipping back a 6800 gs they sent a 7800 gt as the replacement. Free minor upgrade awhile back for the wifes computer heh.
  22. Thanx Mike. I saw that article. I heard to stay away from FoxCon, MSI and DFI. I was looking into Gigabyte, Asus, and eVGA. From the looks of the chart on that article, it seems like there is no difference between 96% and 100&. I've never o/c'd a video card. I've never o/c'd period. Im hesitant but I heard that the 920 (i7) is easy. Im looking for an easy mobo that can help me/guide me to o/c possibly lead the way lol. I'm thinking of going SLI with a 285 and I might go with a PCI-e sound card or PCI (FatalityTianium XFi or Auzentech's card that I hear so much about.

    With that in mind, if Im going to attempt to o/c, I am going to get a Full tower that has temperature readings on it (the dials that show or LCD readings showing the temperature. I heard o/cing is easy and a long time ago, I would say definitely not BUT now Im thinking hmmmmmmmmm.
  23. Yes from what I too have read i7's are great OC'ers. There are tons of guides out there for you once your ready to squeeze everything out of your CPU.
    As for OCing your GPU its actually really easy as you just use a program after your OS boots to do so. EVGA now has thier own precision overclocking tool that is pretty user friendly. If you go to another brand great programs are out there such as rivatuner that do the same thing just aren't as 'pretty'.
    If you do decide on another sound card you need to triple check that you can SLI dual slot GPU's and still have a PCI-e 1x slot available that doesn't conflict with the 4 slots your dual slot GPU's are using.
  24. Saw that article too. As it turns out, the MSI, DFI, Foxconn and eVGA boards all allow for a gap between two SLI'd video cards (I missed that on the eVGA, as I always assumed that you use the first 2 slots when running dual SLI). However nice that sounds, though, I too stay away from MSI, Foxconn and DFI.

    You actually need to OC the i7 920 to get your money's worth. Otherwise, I'd suggest that you just save your money and get a Q9550 instead. It's slightly easier now that the FSB has been eliminated (but base clock is really almost the same thing), but you just learn a different set of parameters. I would do it, 'cause I think overclocking is easy too... ;)

    I have a PCIe X-Fi Titanium Fatality and I can tell you that it's awesome for watching Blu-ray!

    As for expansion slot layout, the reason I like the P6T Deluxe V2 so much is that after you run SLI, you still have 1 PCI slot and 1 PCIe x4 slot open (e.g. sound card and wireless network card).

    If you're going to OC the i7 with SLI GTX 285, then more important for you would be case cooling, as opposed to fancy temperature dials because that setup generates a lot of heat. You'd really need something like the Coolermaster HAF 932... :D
  25. Thanx Akebono!

    I grabbed the i7 before the sale stopped at Microcenter. I got it for $229 and yeah I have been keeping any eye on the specifics about each board concerning the PCIe spot for the soundcard. I probably will go with the Titanium because Ive been buying SB products what seems like forever lol and never have had a problem. I know they like to throw so much software and stuff, but hey, thats why they have 1TB HDD's lol.

    This is probably going to be my setup (a little delayed since I heard that my filing of taxes will be delayed as the Hybrid form for Hybrid cars wont be available till 3/6)

    EVGA Mobo:

    Evga video card:

    Triple Channel RAM: (undecided)

    Sound card: (although AuzenTech's Xonar looks appealing)

    WD Raptor 10,000RPM for Vista and all component drivers
    WD Caviar SATA II:

    DVD Burner: LG:

    <still researching CPU fans for O/C>
    <Still looking over good speakers. I like the Logitech 540.

    Which Vista? I was reading that Vista for System Builders is only for experts. I was thinking of either the Windows Vista 64-bit for System Builders (if it's worth it) or Windows Vista Home Premium.

    PSU: Havent decided whether if I'll go SLI or not but I will probably go with either Thermaltake or Corsair (850w or 1000).

    Case: I was looking for pull out mobo trays if any. Definately going for a full tower though. I was looking at the Coolmaster Cosmos, the HAF (Thanx Akebono) and a few other with see through windows. I heard that the ones with removable mobo trays are really nice.
  26. My comments:

    Mobo: You might have a problem with mounting a PCIe x1 soundcard on the eVGA mobo once you SLI. I'm not sure that you can use the middle x16 slot, because that might take the second video slot down to x8. In that case, you'll have to go with a PCI soundcard instead. If you're really interested in having a PCIe x1 soundcard, then you might have to look at other mobos (like the Asus P6T Deluxe V2).

    Video Card: +1 on the eVGA GTX 285 SSC. However, if you're not inclined to OC it yourself, then this eVGA GTX 285 FTW is faster: LINK.

    RAM: From your DDR3-1333 memory selections, I'd go with the G.Skill CL7 kit. However, if you want nicer RAM that would OC a little better, consider one of these: LINK for Corsair Dominator, G.Skill Pi Black and Mushkin DDR3-1600.

    Soundcard: +1 on the X-Fi, but if you need to switch to a PCI version, try the Auzentech Prelude. Don't forget to check the jacks on your hi-fi D/A converter if you ever plan on sending a digital out there. The Sound Blaster has Toslink optical jacks, while the Auzentech has coaxials. The various Asus Xonars are good too.

    System Drive: For your Velociraptor system drive, make sure you get this newer HLFS version: LINK.

    Data Drive: On your Caviar Black data drive, don't get the 750GB, as it has mediocre platter density. Higher platter density means more HDD speed, so get the 1TB version instead or the 640GB version as second choice. In case you're curious, here are the platter densities for the Caviar Black family:

    1Tb: 166.7 GB/platter
    750GB: 150
    640GB: 160
    500GB: 125

    Heatsink: The eVGA mobo has tall heatsinks surrounding the CPU, so you're going to have to be careful when choosing heatsinks and check for fit. I'd be inclined to use the TRUE 120, but do note this article: LINK.

    Speakers: The Logitech Z-5500 set might be a little nicer here: LINK.

    OS: Here is the Vista you should get: Home Premium SP1 64-bit OEM. It has nothing to do with experts and whatnot. Don't pay extra for the retail version, because if anything, you will probably want to buy Windows 7 instead. I've read that Microsoft might provide free upgrades to Win7 if you buy a Vista machine after July 1.

    PSU: To leave room for GTX 285 in SLI, you should either get the Corsair 850TX or the PCP&C 860W. You could go with the Antec Signature 850 if you're feeling generous here--it is the most stable PSU around and beats the other two I've listed.

    Case: Here are a few more case suggestions--Antec 1200 and 900 Two, Thermaltake Armor series, Coolermaster Storm Sniper, NZXT Tempest. Cosmos is great, but you might find the airflow inadequate if you go SLI later.

    Thermal Paste: For a top-end rig like this, you'll definitely want to use IC Diamond 7 Carat, the best there is.
  27. Geez! Thanx for all the great tips. I realized when I put DDR3-1366 that I probably needed higher ram for O/Cing the i7 and I missed Corsair (the one you mentioned). I like Corsair, when one of my RAM sticks failed, there customer service was great.

    I figure you would mention the Z-5500 speakers lol. I like em but the $300 price tag is enough to say; any really good sale coming soon lol.

    Wow, I never saw this particular WD Raptor that you recommened. I hate when I do searches and it misses.

    I saw the Antec case, didnt the article on x50 mobos mention that cases with bottom PSU's would be a nightmare to deal with concerning the eVGA board?

    I was also looking at the Asus board but I didnt see anything about OC utility. I was reading that the EVGA board is very easy to OC with. Actually, these 3 were on my list: eVGA, Asus, and Gigabyte. Gigabyte is in my present system. Im not sure if I will O/C the video card; I tried to on my ATI x1900 card but it would burp and fart everytime I tried. I was checking Gigabytes mobo because that what I have presently also and its been stable (havent been keeping up with the updates but I run by the saying: If it's not acting screwy, why update bios!"

    The heatsink you mentioned is amazing. I cant believe how huge they've gotten.

    The article you sent about the eVGA board and the heat sink: I was amazed at the picture of the RAM, 3 280's and the heatsink combined make the mobo disappear lol. Damn, where's the sound card fit lol. Actually, Im amazed at how big the video cards have gotten. Is the 285 that big?? I was impressed with the Cosmos because it had side ducts for video card airflow and good cable management (no looking into my current system lol, all I have to say, is what management!!!???). Something Im gonna work on for this build lol.

    Concerning the video card: I was looking at the higher FTW but I saw that there was only a small difference between the clock speeds (702 to 720) I didnt think that there would be a noticable difference. Im leaning towards SLI more than overclocking the video card. I was looking at the article on the 285 (BFG) and it sounded like eVGA had the better of the 2. Would you recommend SLI? Geez, if I did 3, I would need my own substation to power them lol.

    So the heatsink and 2 video cards would prove to be a problem on the eVGA mobo? I saw on the article that there looks to be no room for a sound card but the picture showed 3 video cards.

    Is Gigabytes mobo any good or just stick with either EVGA or Asus?

    Great, Great: Revision

    1TB WD (Black)
    WD VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s

    Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit

    6GB 3x2GB Corsair Dominator triple channel ddr3-1600

    EVGA 285 FTW (SLI) <---If 2 helps with FSX

    Titanium Fatality or Auzentech Prelude (Ive heard the Prelude is beginning to include bloated software now) I hardly listen to music on here except when I have my iPod on to drown out my wife watching chick flicks lol I heard that there is no difference between PCIE and PCI sound card interfaces. If PCIE is recommened then I would go with the Asus mobo. Is a sound card in PCIe going to be a problem with 2 video cards? I saw in the article that the picture had 3 cards in SLI.

    Mobo: Either Asus P62V2 or EVGA I mentioned (but I think I will stick with EVGA and just be careful with the heatsink). I couldnt find the thermalright heatsink on newegg and I checked Microcenter's website also. I figure that if Microcenter had it I could check it out and ask if it would fit and easily return it, if not. I saw it on the heatsink website you provided. Wow, $70 for it.

    The cases you mentioned are the companies that Im looking at....full towers only. I read the review on the Storm sniper in addition to that.

    PSU: Corsair or Thermaltake or Antec (I know Antec is the best and Thermaltake is up there as well).

    Thermal PasteL IC Diamond 7 Carat

    Thanx for all the tips and links. You didnt have to do it's much appreciated.
    Im debating whether I should go SLI or not. (Basically it comes down to one of my games; If SLI benefits FSX or not). Im looking to see what ATI is coming out with April but Im thinking that the 285 should last me a while. The next upgrade I might do, is like you said Windows 7. Im planning on keeping this new system for a while.

    >>>><I read the article concerning the EVGA mobo and the 2nd to last paragraph shows that a PCIE sound card would fit if you are only installing 2 cards and not 3 like the picture shows (3 in SLI). Check it out: 2nd to last paragraph where it starts: "Not only do we have plenty of space...."
  28. If you ever have trouble reaching the 8-pin EPS 12V connector as a result of a bottom mounted PSU and routing the cable around the backside, keep this 12 inch extension cord link handy: LINK.

    I think that if you go with a GTX 285, they should be much more overclockable than older cards. It's a 55nm design (i.e. overclockable) and with eVGA's introduction of a voltage tuner utility, they're practically inviting people to OC them (through the roof, so it seems).

    Disappearing mobo under tri-SLI = porn for computer geeks :D

    One thing that I like about Coolermaster cases vs. the Antecs is that there is a little more depth to the case front to back, so that means more space between the end of a long video card and the HDD cages.

    SLI GTX 285 is nice. Although because that card is so powerful, you might want to start with 1 and see how it goes first. You might be happy to find that you don't actually need the second card right now. Flight Sim is apparently handicapped slightly by going from 1 to 2 GTX 280s, so the same might hold true for GTX 285. And I'm not sure if the latest driver has solved that yet. For now, Flight Sim is probably best served by a highly OC'd i7 with 1 GTX 285. Here, have a look at these benchmarks to give you an idea: LINK.

    Going SLI might be best when: newer and more demanding games come out in the future, and when the price of the GTX 285 comes down a little.

    With the eVGA X58 mobo, if you SLI, then the PCIe x1 soundcard would have to be plugged into the middle x16 slot. I'm just not sure if that reduces the speed of the slot of the second video card to x8. Might want to check that point out if you go with the eVGA. The mobo just might do that by default, when all 3 of the long x16 lanes are occupied (even if it's not with a video card).

    Gigabyte mobos are excellent, but in the X58 realm, I'd rather go with Asus over Gigabyte right now. I'd probably take Asus over eVGA too for X58 (at least until the eVGA Confidential mobo comes out).

    +1 on the Corsair Dominators. I've read someone running them at these timings on an i7: 1600 MHz, 7-6-6-18, 1.66V. Well worth the price!

    In terms of audio quality, you're right in that there is probably not that much difference between the PCI and PCIe interfaces. What's more important for sound is to get it off the mobo itself. While a PCIe soundcard is more futureproof (e.g. the killer mobo that you want in a few years time has no PCI slots), I think that the better approach right now is to buy your mobo with SLI in mind and then look at what slot is left open for the soundcard (although the eVGA does allow both). The other thing to keep in mind is that the quality of a source music file varies quite a bit, so unless you're really picky, I think that you'd probably be happy with either the X-Fi or the Prelude. The X-Fi does have a thick metal shroud that they claim to insulate E/M interference (I can't verify that claim, but it does make sense), so if you get that one, it's best to put it in the top x1 slot and not sandwiched between 2 very E/M noisy video cards in SLI! :lol:

    P6T Deluxe V2 and eVGA X58 are both excellent boards, though I'd be inclined to go with the Asus. If you do go eVGA, the Thermalright cooler does fit, but just read that link I gave you carefully regarding fit. It's expensive at $70, but it's the best one of all... and there's also a full copper version of it if you're super hardcore! If you're having trouble finding it, try or, both of which carry it.

    Yup, did reread that section of the eVGA mobo review. In two card SLI mode, both a PCI and PCIe slot is open for soundcard use. However, see my points above--they would lean towards the Asus board if you're really into sound.

    No matter which way you go, you're going to wind up with one of the sweetest rigs around--I'm sure that you're going to be really happy!

    And no problem at all with the assistance. That's what these forums are for--we're all driven by a true passion for this art!
  29. I noticed that Heatsinkfactory charges no tax. Nice!

    LoL, I love that comment on the link you provided: 3 video cards, the large heatsink, and the i7 known as porn for computer geeks lol.

    I noticed on a article from 2 years ago concerning FSX and what card to get, I saw it on graphics cards forums here because someone just added to the post recently. The charts were showing a GTX black version scoring higher than the 4850m 4870, 4870x2, and 4870 toxic version. I noticed this link on newegg showing higher clock speed, higher core clock (over 702 and 720 that you showed over the 702 one that I showed), higher mem clock (3300) and higher streaming processors. i noticed that the 4800's have higher streaming processors as well. Only down side to this one (4870) is that it has only 512mb.I noticed that 285 is only DX10 not 10.1. but its OpenGL 3.0 while the 4870 is 2.1.

    The specks look amazing and the card is made my XFX. What do you think:

    Heres the one you recommend (very nice card)
  30. XFX makes very nice video cards and for nVidia, I'd probably go with them second if I couldn't get eVGA. They've also started to make ATI cards recently, with the nicety of dual slot / rear exhaust coolers that some of the others don't have. However, the XFX brand is just not as popular on the TH forums as some of the other brands.

    That card you linked is very nice, but one thing that I'd beware of is the smaller 512MB frame buffer. At high res (like 1920x1200) with eye-candy turned on, that's when the frame buffer matters most. So for your purposes, whatever card you get, make sure it has the full 1GB frame buffer.

    Flight Sim favours nVidia, which explains why those 4800 series cards got trounced. The direct comparables at the moment are GTX 260 Core 216 vs. 4870 1GB. With x2 cards, there is always the issue of less than full scaling, and drivers matter a lot. So the 4870x2 got whipped by a "lesser" card because ATI did not optimize its driver at the time for Flight Sim on the x2 card (they were probably working on Crysis instead ;) ).

    Don't worry too much about the differences in video card architecture between ATI and nVidia. If you dig into the minute details, you'll notice that some of ATI's specs look a lot fancier on paper. However, it's the overall package that counts and Teams Red and Green have very different approaches to design.

    To a gamer, what's most important is the frame rate on the games that matter. Then it's driver optimization and those types of issues. So really, don't worry about DDR3 vs. DDR5, etc.--it's doesn't really matter.

    And don't forget, if you are impressed with high clock rates, you can always OC yourself...

    I think that for you at the moment, playing Flight Sim would dictate a single GTX 285 as the video solution. It's one of the very few multicore games, so you've actually solved the bigger issue by going with the fastest quad core, the i7. The more practical issue for you in terms of the GTX 285 is whether to go with the base version and overclock it (thus saving money), or to buy a factory overclocked version, the fastest one being the FTW version. I can't really answer that question for you, as it is really a matter of available budget and your comfort with overclocking.

    The only other relevant factor in your video card decision is the upcoming ATI 4890 and although it is supposed to slot in above the GTX 285 but below the GTX 295, there is the question of how it will perform on Flight Sim, seeing as that is your primary game. If you're not in a rush to build, it wouldn't hurt to see the preliminary benchmarks on this new card as against the GTX 285, but I probably wouldn't hold my breath here.
  31. I've kept my eyes on eVGA and XFX since their lifetime warranties and step up program gets high marks from gamers. I see their products are rated high by gamers as well ( I pay attention to all the reviews and see if they are relevant.

    When I get a video card, it definitely will be at least 1GB. I probably won't go for any x2's simply because of the scaling issue. People at Microcenter had said, it's still a problem. They've also mentioned that the 4870x2 is nice but not as great as it should be.

    I tried to OC my x1900 a few times and it wouldn't. My system would freeze or other craziness would happen.

    I was comparing the 285's to 295's. PLus Im keeping an eye out on the 4890 but then again, they said that the 4870x2 would bust everything and NVidia would be down for the count.....that didnt happen.

    I still have a few weeks, perhaps in the beginning of April also. Im leaning towards the EVGA FTW edition. I saw the 295's and they look like overkill.
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