ATI to Nvidia & Vica Versa PLEASE NO FANBOYS

It's late, didn't mean to make it this long. Sorry for the book. Skim questions at bottom to get jest.

Hey, I want to upgrade my GPU. I have always gone strictly AMD on CPU and Nvidia on GPU.

I am looking at a midrange (price wise that is) card. As of now I am focusing on:
GTX 260,
4850 x2,
or 4870 1gig

Basically if I receive no further knowledge I was going to go with the best discount/value on Newegg - recertified, retail, OEM, etc. all applied. I saw a missed a good deal on a 4870 1 gigger, open box from newegg - $129 and sold out.

I don't want to specify applications I use, the most hog of a game/software I use today may change tomorrow.

(1) Can use 2 different video cards simultaneously in Vista 32bit. One card powerful for a single, main monitor (37 inch Vizio) for games, and one cheap card for internet and video watching on two 21in monitors.
Currently I have an BFG 8800GT OC2 for main and an XFX 8500GT for secondaries.
(2) Will get me through 1-2 years - Highest settings in games NOT required
(3) Can be easily managed with a Corsair 750watt PSU


(1) I am under the assumption that an "x2" card vs. its equal "x1" in sli is the exact same thing - considering performance only. Is this correct?
(2) The specs on the 4850's and 4870's are pretty much identical less the frequencies. So if I buy a 4850 at half the cost of a 4870 and OC it, do I pretty much have a 4870 with the wrong sticker on it?
(3) The reason I have stuck with Nvidia cards was just due to comfort level.
I know that the drivers are going to support multiple cards, which is what allows me to have a low low grade card along side a decent card. Is ATI like this? Can I run a 4870 or 4850 x2 along side a 4830 or even a 3000 series card in Vista? If not that narrows me to a GTX. How do the "extras" from ATI compare to Nvidia, i.e. Nvidia Control Panel and Nview?
(4) Will a "x2" version of a card crash a system, not perform as well as its single cousin, or run just as good as its cousin when considering games not made for sli and dual GPU cards?
(5) Biggest question At what point is way overboard? I could probably make it quite a while longer on my current set up. In a new purchase, I can see going overboard to compensate for what may come out tomorrow-software wise. How I feel now is that the current "top" cards ($400-$500) are for 3d mark scores and electric bill enthusiasts only.
Example: A new Windows will come out exclusively offer direct X 11 by the time these GTX 295's and 4870 x2 , 2gig cards will even start to get stressed. Unfortunately, these cards may not have the capability for DX 11, and they will flood EBay at $50. Am I on the ball with this or way off? If I have pegged it, What cards from Nvida and ATI mark the line that splits WAAYYY overboard and "I am good for a while, and I am not going to cry if I never got to put my savings to good use"?
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  1. 4870 has gddr5 and 4850 gddr3...
    gddr5 doubles the memory speed... 4850 has 2000mhz and 4870 3600mhz...
    u cant overclock that much...
    best deals at the moment IMO are the ~$150 4870 512mb or $20 more for a 1gb 4870...
  2. Palit has a 4850 gddr5, not sure about the price but should be close to 4870 512mb and perform very close to a 4870...

    For the X2, I have a 9800GX2 and never had a probleme with it, the only downside is if the games and or drivers are not optimize for the card to use both GPU. The PSU for this card is a 750wPC&C with room to spare.

    The only reason I went with Nvidia/Evga is because of the lifetime warranty and the good support from EVGA.

    What is your Motherboard? if it support crossfire go with ATI but if it support SLI go with Nvidia.
  3. Yea, if it supports crossfire go with ati, sapphire 4870 1gb, if nvidia, gtx 260-280 since you spoke of the corsair 750tx
  4. CrossFire / SLI doesn't matter to me. I use two cards, but for more monitors, not for connecting together. As Long as I can get two different cards to work at the same time.
  5. Well i dont know what type of motherboard you have so i cant tell you to go sli or crossfire.
  6. If you ever plan to go with nVidia go with either the GTX 260 or the GTX 280.
  7. "Hey, I want to upgrade my GPU. I have always gone strictly AMD on CPU and Nvidia on GPU.

    I am looking at a midrange (price wise that is) card. As of now I am focusing on:
    GTX 260"

    pretty sure he's already figured that one out,
    if his motherboard supports CROSSFIRE, i'd suggest going with a ATI card.

    if his motherboard supports SLI, i'd suggest going with nVidia card.

    if its only 1 slot of x16 pci-e 2.0,

    GTX 260/280/285(if you got the money for bigger resolution)

    HD 4870 1gb sapphire(Toxic version)/ 4850x2 (if you got the money for bigger resolution)

    But, in the long run, 4870 1gb"specially toxic version" out does the gtx 260 in a bigger resolution.
  8. 4850x2 supports 4 monitors.
  9. i'd go with ati for better colors, almost same performance for less $$ and because of less required power. the 4850X2 would be my chosen card.
  10. I have an ati 4850x2, and as stated before it supports 4 monitors, but if you just want to use internet or watch a movie you can disable the crossfire and just use 1 single 4850 card.

    Then if you want to play something in high settings, just enable the second 4850 back. If you have good airflow/cooling in your pc case you can overclock it a bit (around 15%) using ATI's software.
  11. What most of you are saying prompts another question. I thought a crossfire or sli capable board made no difference unless you actually plan on connecting two cards. Then I can understand the posts stating to get what your board can support. However I do not ever foresee a need for either function unless an "X2" version of a card requires that functionality as well. I would Like to try ATI, but I want to know if it has
    1- comperable utilities as Nvidia
    2- will a dual GPU card still require Crossfire even though it is in a single slot?

    By the way thanks to all those who took the time to read and provide input.
    I am thinking of going with the 4850 x2 now that I know it supports 4 monitors.
    If I have to purchase a new Mobo so be it. They are getting cheap, and I want to prepare for a good AM3 chip anyway.
  12. I've got an EAH 4850/512 Mb (early edtions) x2 in crossfire config. with 2 screens. the heat up quite alarmingly make sure u've got a good airflow in the case. works fine. might consider an 4870 dual GPU for main + a single 4850 (for secondary, they have dual outputs, well thay both have dual outputs).
    what sort of motherboard do you have?
  13. If you have a ati 4850 x2 or 4870 x2, you just need one pci express slot, but even if you only need 1 pciE slot dont go cheap on the mobo, get a good one with enough regular pci slots and ram support.

    Or if the one you have right now is working just fine, you dont need to buy a new one.

    as Katmandude said, the GPU can get really hot if you dont have proper ventilation.
    My brother bought a cheap case with poor airflow, and the 4850x2 hit 100 degrees Celsius (it can take up to 120degrees but no one wants to try that). with a the new case it hits 60-65 degrees under load.

    Almost forgot about this, be sure your PSU can take at least 600watts, if not, you will need to buy a new one, this applies if you want to do any SLI or Crossfire.
  14. 4850 X2 doesn't exhaust out the back, if your sticking to 1 slot, grab 1 4870 x2 it will serve you much better, and you have more variety, than just the Sapphire brand.
  15. Not too sure about these numbers, as they were taken from only 1 retailer from France, but it gives a basic idea. Alot of people make a big thing out of the 4850 temps, but looking at these it actually has the lowest return rates. Reading all this, its all good info youve been given, and hopefully you find that something thatll help make your mind up.
    ATI has comparable utilities, any dual gpu is either sli or cf, even single slot, so they have to run in sli/cf mode for full output, and have fun
  16. L1qu1d said:
    4850 X2 doesn't exhaust out the back, if your sticking to 1 slot, grab 1 4870 x2 it will serve you much better, and you have more variety, than just the Sapphire brand.

    Yup 4870x2 is much better but only has 2 video outputs, he wanted something to use with multiple monitors. So it's up to him, up to 4 monitors, more heat and regular-high performance or 2 monitors, less heat and high performance and more expensive.

    again with good airflow you dont have to worry about overheating.
  17. For those who have been asking, my current system consists of:
    MOBO: ASUS M3N72-D (SLI support); 'I do know that this means no Crossfire.
    Backup MOBO: ABIT (WHO SUCKS) AX78 (No Dual Support); I may put this one back in if I can figure the RAID out on it.
    CPU: Phenom 9850BE @ 3.2
    RAM:4x1gig Sticks of OCZ Reaper 1066 Running @ 800
    GPU #1: BFG 8800GT pushing VIZIO 37"
    GPU #2: XFX 8500GT (A great secondary card and it is fanless) pushing 2 x 20" Samsungs
    PSU: Corsair 750watt
    O/S: Dual Boot Vista Ult 32 and XP home 32. Looking into how to install a third boot of XP Pro 64. I have the disk but I don't want to screw my other boots up.
    CASE: ANTEC 900. Probably going TT Armor Full Tower if I decide to swap MOBOS. I noticed they are cheaper now.
    COOLING: Swiftech H20-220 (I think thats right model #.) Only cooling CPU.

    Since the 4850 x2 can do as Jasso was saying, I will not need to worry about buying an additional (CHEAP) ATI card to replace the 8500GT, and I won't have to worry about future Driver conflicts.

    Will the 4850 x2 still require Crossfire, seeing as it doesn't bridge slots?
    Will both GPU's on it produce at PCI-E x 16 on a board with 1 slot @ x16 and 1 @ x4?
  18. Theyll both run off the pci-16, and there should be plenty of bandwidth
  19. These are SLI boards, 750a's....why not get a gts 250 or rather the gtx 260 then try to sli later on?

    Your going to waist a x16 slot by gettings a 4850x2, get the gtx 260, save some money, then get another.
  20. The OPs pci slots are 16x and 4x, itd be a waste to go sli, as 4x will bottleneck a decent card
  22. NO!!!
    Its_Me_Mario said:
  23. thank you. Didn't mean to yell. Everyone bringing up what my mobo supports and since its sli get gtx after I already stated I wasn't going to bridge cards was confusing me. A few of yall actually helped me a good bit.
  24. L1qu1d said:
    4850 X2 doesn't exhaust out the back, if your sticking to 1 slot, grab 1 4870 x2 it will serve you much better, and you have more variety, than just the Sapphire brand.

    Haha, I love you Liquid, one day the X2 is the worst card in the world, the next day you're recommending it for purchase.

    I'm just teasing you of course. = P
  25. Never said it was a bad card. I just don't recommend 2 weaker GPUs over 1 unless P/P is really the issue.

    I said it has bugs and drivers needed fixing, never said the card itself was bad remember our convo;)


    2 4870s > 4870 X2 in many reviews. Thats what I mean in general:)

    But I wouldn't say the 4870 X2 was a bad card at all, just that ATI needed to step up with the drivers, and finally give the public what they deserve with the card.
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