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[Graphics Cards] CF 4770 or GTX 275 / 280, a bit confused

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May 15, 2009 10:15:30 PM

This is my first thread here, so my apologies if I put this in the wrong forum, here's my current situation.

My 9800 GT is beginning to show it's age, and I'd like to be prepared for future game releases I'm looking forward to (Modern Warfare 2 to name one). So as of late, I've been looking into upgrading my budget card into something a bit better.

The Ati 4770 caught my eye, crossfired it put up (apparently) impressive performance, but I am concerned about crossfire game compatibility, and the usually awful catalyst drivers... So I've also been looking at a few other options.

The GTX 275 immediatly caught my eye... Until I saw that the 280 was around the same price and apparently better... Also, Im a bit concerned about some talk I've been hearing about some non PCIe 2.0 motherboards not taking real advantage of higher end cards, should I be worried about that?

I apologize, I'm a bit all over the place right now, but I will also be needing a new power supply to go with this new GPU, as my current supply is a mere 480w PSU. I have a 120$ gift certificate for amazon, so I was thinking about just grabbing this thing :

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000X2677A/ref=s9_simx...


...Anyway, I'd just like to hear some suggestions on what would be the best course of action at this point. My system specifications are as follows

Windows XP

3g Intel core two duo

4g of Ram

MSI P35 Platinum Motherboard LGA 775 (2x PCI-e slots)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Current GPU: EVGA 9800 GT 1g

Monitor Native resolution : 1680 x 1050

GTX 275? GTX 260? GTX 280? Should I just deal with crossfire and go with the two 4770s? I've been scowering the internet in search of information to help but I cant seem to find a straight answer.
a b U Graphics card
May 15, 2009 10:28:43 PM

CoD4 scales brilliantly with crossfire/sli so you'd have to imagine MW2 will as well.

Your 480w PSU should be good enough to take two 4770's, on the other hand your mobo is 16x/4x pci-e so you will lose a bit of crossfire performance anyway on the 2nd card. It's not much but it's something you should be aware of.

You already have one 9800gt so it might make sense to sli another one. Then again, you might be able to sell it on ebay and pay for a 4770 (or close enough).

Yep it's a tough choice. The jump from a 9800gt to a 260gtx isn't that huge - I made the jump from an 8800gt to a 4870 and although noticable it wasn't 'wow'.

I'd say, see what the best deal you can find is. You can't go wrong with any of your choices really, although your best option might be simply to wait and see what the next gen cards bring. The 9800gt isn't that bad still.
May 15, 2009 10:37:06 PM

jennyh said:
CoD4 scales brilliantly with crossfire/sli so you'd have to imagine MW2 will as well.

Your 480w PSU should be good enough to take two 4770's, on the other hand your mobo is 16x/4x pci-e so you will lose a bit of crossfire performance anyway on the 2nd card. It's not much but it's something you should be aware of.

You already have one 9800gt so it might make sense to sli another one. Then again, you might be able to sell it on ebay and pay for a 4770 (or close enough).

Yep it's a tough choice. The jump from a 9800gt to a 260gtx isn't that huge - I made the jump from an 8800gt to a 4870 and although noticable it wasn't 'wow'.

I'd say, see what the best deal you can find is. You can't go wrong with any of your choices really, although your best option might be simply to wait and see what the next gen cards bring. The 9800gt isn't that bad still.


Are you serious about the 480w? Wouldnt that be a bit of a stretch, I mean doesnt one need a 550w to run two 4770s?

If my old 480w can do the job, hell I can use the gift certificate to take off most of upgrade bill and just buy two 4770s... Hell, even on games that dont support crossfire; the 4770 outperforms the 9800GT regardless.

Incidentally, this looks like a pretty good deal right here; but I'm concerned about the heating and losing performance on due to my PCI-e slot.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I own an antec 900 case, but Im still a bit concerned about the heat cards generate.
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a b U Graphics card
May 15, 2009 10:42:53 PM

550w is the recommended, in practice it doesn't need anything like that.

450w is recommended for one card and that's pretty extreme also. For example, I have been running a 4870 on a no-brand 400w supply and the 4870 recommends 550w for one card.

What make of psu is it?
a b U Graphics card
May 15, 2009 10:43:52 PM

Don't buy that 280, it's not worth it. The 275 is just as fast and a lot cheaper.
May 15, 2009 11:14:16 PM

ausch30 said:
For less money than the GTX275 you could get a faster, factory overclocked, HD4890
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thanks for your input, that seems like a remarkable deal. I'm concerned about the cooling; but I'll take a look at a few reviews on this card.

Btw, the side of my PSU has a sticker that reads "High Make Ultra" so I guess it's an ultra! (Honestly, "High Make" sounds like some depraved variation of "WEAPON GET".)...Also I should note that it's about 4 years old... I think.
May 15, 2009 11:23:37 PM

Before buying a high end video card you really need to change that PSU

Something like this, it's a very good PSU and would easily run a 4890.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You might want to look around though. I love Neweggs prices but they tend to be a little high on PSU's.
a b U Graphics card
May 15, 2009 11:32:51 PM

PSU's are totally overstated here tbh. People just add 100w with every new card that comes out and double it when crossfiring or sli.

Most normal systems don't even come close to the recommended power specs and I guarantee you that every card the OP has mentioned will run on his old 480w psu.
May 15, 2009 11:33:58 PM

ausch30 said:
Before buying a high end video card you really need to change that PSU

Something like this, it's a very good PSU and would easily run a 4890.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You might want to look around though. I love Neweggs prices but they tend to be a little high on PSU's.




Well, I traded in a bunch of old games to amazon (DS Games I have no more need for now that I have an R4), so I have a 120$ gift credit coming next week ( I should hope ). Are you sure that 500w thing can run a 4890? I was looking at this thing earlier.

( I love newegg myself, but being that it's AMAZON credit, I'll link amazon).

http://www.amazon.com/CORSAIR-750w-Certified-Power-Supp...

As far as the card you linked goes, it sounds great; but the heat... What about the heat? Is the thing like a blast furnace or can my antec 900 handle the cooling? I don't want something that's going to fry in a year.
May 15, 2009 11:45:11 PM

That is a great PSU but it is overkill for a single card, although it will allow for any upgrades you might ever want to do. I'm running a single GTX260 off a Silencer 750 so I like overkill.

The Antec 900 will be able to handle the heat coming off that card. It's a great case with very good cooling.

As for jennyh's comments. I agree that many people over estimate their PSU needs but there is no harm in that. If your PSu is running at a fraction of it's capacity it will run cooler and last longer. Also there is a big difference from one unit to the next. The PSU he has right now isn't very good so I think he should upgrade just simply to get a better quality PSU. Also I looked in the 450w range but they are about the same price as the 500-550w PSU's and there are much higher quality parts in the higher wattage ranges.
a b U Graphics card
May 16, 2009 12:07:45 AM

ausch30, I would agree with you most of the time. Of course a better psu is better and I wouldn't advocate anyone ignored it as part of their system.

In this case however, I think the OP can get away with it and really improve his system without needing to upgrade the psu right away. A new psu is practically the cost of a 4770 so imo it's definitely worth trying with 480w and going for two.

Same goes for any other single gpu, 275gtx or whatever. I wouldn't sli those on 480w, that's asking for trouble - but I'm 99% certain that you will be able to run two 4770's on 480w with no problems.
May 16, 2009 12:15:24 AM

Well what we really need to know is what model it is. Number of rails, if it has PCI-E connectors and how many. How many amps are available on the 12v rail. If your running a video using adapters with a PSU that doesn't have enough or any PCI-E connectors you need to know what rail your putting the adapters on to be sure your on a different one from the motherboard.
May 16, 2009 12:17:20 AM

Interesting points brought up, the ati 4770 seems like a good idea, crossfire it for good performance and save the power supply for later... Or the 275, still the fantastic MSI deal cant be ignored either, but for that I'd need a new PSU... Is the MSI miles ahead of the dual 4770 / GTX 275? How does the 4770 and GTX 275 stack up to one another?

Quote:
Well what we really need to know is what model it is. Number of rails, if it has PCI-E connectors and how many. How many amps are available on the 12v rail. If your running a video using adapters with a PSU that doesn't have enough or any PCI-E connectors you need to know what rail your putting the adapters on to be sure your on a different one from the motherboard.


Well, the card definitely has PCI-E connectors. er, give me a little bit; I'll take a look at the label here to see what other specifications I can find out.
a b U Graphics card
May 16, 2009 12:37:10 AM

The 4770 needs a 6-pin connector to work. It doesn't actually need it, but it has it for TDP purposes. At max it will draw 65w in a powerful system, maybe 70w with the highest overclocked card you can get.

You will need 2 6-pin connectors on your psu, or more likely you will need 2 free 4-pin connectors and you can use the 4-pin to 6-pin adaptor that comes with the 4770.
May 16, 2009 12:58:43 AM

My apologies for the delay, I hope I havent lost any of you.



I took a picture of my PSU's label, and flipped it around in photoshop so that it's somewhat readable. If this is a bad picture, I can try taking another one.

Im almost certain my psu has multiple PCI-E connectors, but I'd have to go take another look.


. . . . . .

Er, is my PSU 500w? I think it is now that I think about it, this particular PSU has an amusing story behind it...

Actually, it's not as amusing as it is tedious, anyway one day my computer dies. My crappy generic PSU was thought to be the culprit at first, so I borrowed my parent's PSU (This one they had obtained at Fry's for a fantastic deal) to test... Didn't work.

Long story short, the necessary replacement piece arrived, and I had forgotten to switch the PSUs, and at that point their gigantic, heavy case that was really difficult to remove from their archaic and nearly falling apart computer desk was already all sealed up and put away, so I ended up just paying them for the PSU, and my crappy raidmax PSU has lasted them all this time. They are very casual users, only going on their to check mail, bs around on the internet and maybe listen to music...

May 16, 2009 1:29:22 AM

500w, 1 12v rail with 28 amps. Not a lot but enough to run what your looking for. Just to give you a point of reference here is a very good quality 500w PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowImage.aspx?CurImage=1...
single 12v rail, 35amps

Ultra is a mid level brand. Not great but much better than companies like Rosewill. You should be fine with that.
May 16, 2009 1:40:05 AM

ausch30 said:
500w, 1 12v rail with 28 amps. Not a lot but enough to run what your looking for. Just to give you a point of reference here is a very good quality 500w PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowImage.aspx?CurImage=1...
single 12v rail, 35amps

Ultra is a mid level brand. Not great but much better than companies like Rosewill. You should be fine with that.



Thank you for the reference, so you're saying my PSU can actually run a GTX 275 or a crossfired 4770? No chance of it running the MSI you linked to me, huh? If I am reading this right, this is an interesting turn of events...
May 16, 2009 2:11:46 AM

No it would run that 4890 fine. You could crossfire a couple lower end cards such as the 4770 or even possibly a couple 4850's but anything higher (crossfired) I would suggest a better PSU. It should be fine with any single card.
May 16, 2009 2:20:52 AM

ausch30 said:
500w, 1 12v rail with 28 amps. Not a lot but enough to run what your looking for. Just to give you a point of reference here is a very good quality 500w PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowImage.aspx?CurImage=1...
single 12v rail, 35amps

Ultra is a mid level brand. Not great but much better than companies like Rosewill. You should be fine with that.


ausch30 said:
No it would run that 4890 fine. You could crossfire a couple lower end cards such as the 4770 or even possibly a couple 4850's but anything higher (crossfired) I would suggest a better PSU. It should be fine with any single card.


Thanks a lot for your input you two, the information I've obtained here has made this whole thing a great deal easier.

Sorry, but I have one final question. As I've noted earlier, amazon would be best in this particular instance, would this

http://www.amazon.com/MSI-R4890-T2D1G-CrossFire-Support...

card be the same as the one you linked me too earlier? A supremely stupid question I agree, but there are so many subtle variants of the same cards, I'd like to be certain.
May 16, 2009 3:39:12 AM

Yes it's the same card. I know you have that money from Amazon and that's why you want to go with them but it still hurts me to see you paying $25 more than you need to. Might just be my thrifty nature though, lol. I always buy the best and pay as little as I possible can for it. Good luck with the system, if you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask.
a c 164 U Graphics card
May 16, 2009 4:57:22 AM

2x HD4770

This is a really great value. I'd say go with this to hold you over until you upgrade your entire system. If you start going higher your CPU will hold you back anyway.

The 512MB video ram will hold you back at higher resolutions but whatever, I'm sure you know how to tweak.

These cards are the newer 40nm so your going to get the advantage of great performance vs power.

Having two cards that are 40nm apparently bodes very well for some overclocking.

Normally I say go for a single card solution but the above points in this case sway me the other way. You also don't need the very best on the market. I still have my HD3870 and I'm happy with it; I just pick games that run fine on it. Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 are going to rock on my system.

So yeah, 2x HD4770.
May 16, 2009 5:11:53 AM

Well Ausch, unless newegg accepts amazon gift credit, I'm kind of stuck with Amazon.

Believe me, if I had a choice in the matter I'd go with Newegg. Newegg is like a state away from me, and I get next day shipping: even when I select ground.

The HD4770 is a great value, but I am worried that crossfire and the frequently badmouthed catalyst drivers are more trouble than they are worth. Ive actually been leaning towards the gtx 275, but I havent decided just yet.
May 16, 2009 8:43:23 PM

Catalyst drivers are fine. When ever a new card comes out the drivers need a little tweeking. After an update or 2 their fine. A lot of people talk just because they can and really don't have a clue what their talking about. They read somewhere that someone had a driver issue and then go writing it everywhere saying that ATI drivers suck. As I said before, your best option is the 4890. I wouldn't even consider crossfired 4770's. Not that their bad it's just always a better idea to buy the single best card you can afford.
May 16, 2009 11:39:49 PM

ausch30 said:
Catalyst drivers are fine. When ever a new card comes out the drivers need a little tweeking. After an update or 2 their fine. A lot of people talk just because they can and really don't have a clue what their talking about. They read somewhere that someone had a driver issue and then go writing it everywhere saying that ATI drivers suck. As I said before, your best option is the 4890. I wouldn't even consider crossfired 4770's. Not that their bad it's just always a better idea to buy the single best card you can afford.


Don't the Crossfired 4770s outperform the 4890, while taking less power?
May 17, 2009 1:28:22 AM

It depends on the game and resolution but they are pretty even, higher res with AA and AF the 4890 starts to pull away. The point being that with a 4890 say 6mos or so down the road you want some more performance, add another card. Also in the same time frame someone comes out with a card you have to have. Your 4890 will have enough value still that you could sell it on ebay or craigs list and use the money to upgrade. Going with one card just leaves you more options and you don't have to worry about a game not scaling well with crossfire.
May 17, 2009 1:41:06 AM

ausch30 said:
It depends on the game and resolution but they are pretty even, higher res with AA and AF the 4890 starts to pull away. The point being that with a 4890 say 6mos or so down the road you want some more performance, add another card. Also in the same time frame someone comes out with a card you have to have. Your 4890 will have enough value still that you could sell it on ebay or craigs list and use the money to upgrade. Going with out card just leaves you more optionsand you don't have to worry about a game not scaling well with crossfire.


You bring about a good point, I was just thinking the same thing after doing some more reading. The heat is still a concern (ive read newegg reviews of people complaining about the heat) but I think I've decided on the 4890. As you said, the future options are better, I can keep it simple with a single card solution, and sell it off easier down the line should the need arise.

Just in case though, I'll keep my 9800GT in a safe place... MSI's RMA is painfully slow. As soon as the amazon credit appears on my account, I'll go ahead and grab the OC 4890. Btw, the deal you linked me to died about two hours after you posted it. Thanks for the effort nonetheless (also, I'm not a big fan of saphire)


This whole thing has been very confusing though, some people saying the GTX 275 is better, while others are saying the 4890 is better, is it me, are or some people just predisposed to liking one brand over another? It's so hard to find a straight answer on any of this.

For example: I look on one page, and it shows the GTX 275 outdoing the MSI overclocked 4890, yet I look at a forum post on slick deals indicating that one three other sources, the initial benchmarks I looked at were false.
May 17, 2009 2:00:44 AM

jennyh said:
CoD4 scales brilliantly with crossfire/sli so you'd have to imagine MW2 will as well.

Your 480w PSU should be good enough to take two 4770's, on the other hand your mobo is 16x/4x pci-e so you will lose a bit of crossfire performance anyway on the 2nd card. It's not much but it's something you should be aware of.

You already have one 9800gt so it might make sense to sli another one. Then again, you might be able to sell it on ebay and pay for a 4770 (or close enough).

Yep it's a tough choice. The jump from a 9800gt to a 260gtx isn't that huge - I made the jump from an 8800gt to a 4870 and although noticable it wasn't 'wow'.

I'd say, see what the best deal you can find is. You can't go wrong with any of your choices really, although your best option might be simply to wait and see what the next gen cards bring. The 9800gt isn't that bad still.

He has a P35 board. Having a complete system overhaul to allow SLI isn't a good idea, considering the NVIDIA chipsets are flakey at best.
There are numerous articles on the web showing that there is no significant loss in running 2x 4770s/4850s in crossfire using 16x/4x PCIE slots. I am not sure if this applies to PCIE 2.0 or 1.0, so more insight on this matter would be appreciated.

My advice is sell your 9800GT while the prices on Ebay are still reasonably high and buy one 4770. Wait for MW2 to release and see if it runs well on your system. If it doesn't, buy a second 4770 to crossfire.
!