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Gaming Graphics upgrade (maybe?)

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a b U Graphics card
June 19, 2009 3:19:18 PM

GA-MA780G-UD3H Mobo
Phenom II 710 Triple core
4gb OCZ 1066 ram
Sapphire 4870 512mb
Seasonic 650w PSU
Coolermaster Elite RC-330 with 4 case fans
22" BenQ @1920x1080.
Everything runs very cool (CPU 42c, GPU 70c under load).

I know this is an oft posed question, but the responses seem to vary based on the system. I had originally planned on adding a second 4870 512mb when I built this system, but didn't do my homework on the Mobo, and from what I have gathered, crossfire on 16x/4x is a waste of money, unless crossfiring two low-end cards. Since my 4870 already outperforms any low-end crossfired cards, I am debating how to go about upgrading. I bought my 4870 512 on a killer deal (about $200CAD back in march) thus saving me over a $100 on getting a 1gb model. I am regretting this somewhat, as running games @1920x1080 is significantly rougher than lower resolutions, an issue that I might not be experiencing if I had shelled out for the 1gb model.

I have a buyer for my card if I replace it, which will help with the purchase cost of a new card, but am concerned that the return on the investment might be too weak. I want to stay with ATI, so my current options are 48701gb, 4850x2, 4870x2, or 4890. Keep in mind that it is getting VERY difficult to find a 4870x2 in Canada for less than $600, and even harder to find stock in 4850x2. Every spring (tax return season) I build a new rig, so this is really only a 9month upgrade.

Is a 48701gb or 48901gb a big enough upgrade, should I wait for the 5xxx cards to be released, or should I just deal with my situation till next spring?

Thanks in advance for your input!

More about : gaming graphics upgrade

a c 330 U Graphics card
June 19, 2009 3:44:10 PM

I know this is n't an answer yet but a few tips (as if you do n't already know;))
With 512Mb AA is a framerate killer, use it sparingly or not at all. Shadows are another resource hungry feature, again, keep them under control. Keep the details within reason; Do you really need to see every blade of grass on that mountain 6Km away? I am not suggesting playing at 1024x768 and all low settings, but you'll be surprised just how much you can gain with a few tweaks.

As an upgrade I'd really only look to the GTX275 and flog the HD4870 on E-bay.
I think this is a sweet deal at
a b U Graphics card
June 19, 2009 3:56:12 PM

Thanks for the tips!

Through extensive testing in the games I play (Crysis, Fallout3, HAWX, TLR, WoW, EQ2 and Sims3 for the wifey) I have to chose between max resolution and AA. If I want to use AA, i generally have to drop the resolution to 1680x1050 or 1440x900, but I also find the AA less necessary at native 1920x1080. I am also pretty anal about framerates, as I generally can't enjoy a game without min 45+ FPS (I don't run crysis anywhere near max settings, heh) This rig will be transfered to the TV next spring (1080p sharp aquos 60hz) so I am heavily vested in making sure it can run 1920x1080 smoothly.
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a c 330 U Graphics card
June 19, 2009 4:30:31 PM

Seasonic are one of the top makers and it's got plenty of power, the only minor problem is the PSU has 2X6-pin rather than 1x6 and 1x8 which the HD4870X2 requires, but those cards come with adaptors so, no worries.
I think you will find the 4870X2 a more than slight upgrade, although it's a bit rich for my blood.
I advise you to google for a few reviews and look back here for the next few days before making the final decision, but it Looks like you're about to become $414CAD poorer;)
a b U Graphics card
June 19, 2009 4:36:25 PM

A friend offered me $150 for my card, I told him a cool 100 would take it (second hand PC hardware is not the most reliable investment, and he is a friend) so that takes a bit of the edge off the price, heh.

Will my PII triple core 710 bottleneck a 4870x2? (always more questions, hah!)
a c 330 U Graphics card
June 19, 2009 4:42:31 PM

Do n't sweat it, you need the extra graphics horsepower and memory more than a stronger CPU at that resoloution (especially with that nice AA turned on;))
a c 330 U Graphics card
June 19, 2009 4:51:50 PM

And, pre-empting your next possible question: No I would suggest you fit the new card first and look into overclocking your current CPU before considering a change.
Unlocking the fourth core may be possible as well, but most games are still running on two and higher clockspeeds would yield a better return.
a b U Graphics card
June 20, 2009 3:42:34 AM

Thanks for the help dude, the new card was ordered about 10mins ago, and I am looking forward to seeing how it goes.

On the overclocking front, I have managed to get the 710 running at about 2.9 stable on the stock air, though I wasn't very persistent on tweaking it further. Overclocking is something I haven't had very much success with in the past, and to be honest, am quite ignorant (and fearful) about. Once I get the new card I will have to delve back into it.

Have a great weekend~
a b U Graphics card
June 21, 2009 11:23:37 PM

I have my 710 running at 3.0 stable @ +.50v on stock air (39c idle, 48c under load), which has boosted my 3dmark06 score to 14561 from my last runthrough at 13782 stock. In general use I have noticed it being a fair bit snappier, and am getting a nice boost to my average FPS in games. This overclocking thing has gotten a lot easier since I last delved into 5+ years ago.

I could not find the ACC feature in my BIOS, so I have to assume that my board isn't capable of unlocking the 4th core in my cpu.