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ATI 4870x2 / 4890 2 cards or 1?

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August 20, 2009 8:55:29 PM

Well, I'm preparing to build a computer. The question of Video cards to get is puzzling me.

I initially thought I'd want the ATI 4870x2 (going for ATI for personal reasons). The price of 500$ and lack of availability means it's impossible for me to get it now. The shop suggested the 4890 from MSI at a price of 240$, which is nice. Even getting 2 cards in crossfire would be less than the price of the 4870x2.

What I really want to know is: What's different between the 2 techs? Only the clock speeds? Should I even go for 2 cards for the 4890 or is one enough? Maybe I could get 2 cheaper cards as well and the performance might be close? What say you? :) 

More about : ati 4870x2 4890 cards

a b U Graphics card
August 20, 2009 9:02:43 PM

Where are you, Australia ?
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a b U Graphics card
August 20, 2009 9:14:43 PM

2x 4890's in CrossFire will be faster and cheaper than a 4870x2.
My vote is for either the pair of 4890's or waiting another month for the next generation cards to come out.

Yeah, basically the only differences between a 4870x2 and 4890 (other than the 4870x2 having two GPU's on the single card...) is the clock speeds.
This is achieved, however, by an updated chip that is designed with higher clocks in mind.
It is not uncommon for a 4890 to hit 1Ghz core where a 4870 (and to a larger extent the 4870x2 due to cooling issues) would have issues matching stock speeds with a 4890.

As to you needing two vs one GPU, that really depends on what the rest of your system is and how desperate you are for an upgrade.
Please post your full system specs including the resolution you game at so we can help you chose your best option.
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August 20, 2009 9:30:38 PM

I am in Canada...

I wanted to avoid system specs and just talk of the virtues of the cards themselves. You accomplished that and I thank you.

Old system:
Athlon 3200+
2GB Ram
ATI x1950 pro AGP (I think it's 1950).

New system:
Phenom2 x4
4GB ram
Video TBD (ATI something)
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August 20, 2009 10:00:54 PM

hey since u ask bout the cards i got a question about it also, i have amd phenom 2 x2 550 be at 3.92ghz and xfx hd4850 1gb at 690/1188 and 4gb of ram, and a 550watt corsair powersupply, now i just bought my rig a while ago and now the 4850 card price dropped to 120, and waas wondering should i get one more and put it in crossfire? or just use one for now and in couple year update to 1 new one, otherwise id save up and buy the one for 120 right now cuz the better ones are 200 + and i already have a 4850.

How would it perform in games like fps and mmorpgs and just various games, would it help out alot? and can my psu handle 2 cards ?

also since im asking if i got another 4gb to have 8gb of ram all together would that help out it games alot too?

thanks
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August 20, 2009 10:44:36 PM

@ huntsman

The performance of two 4850s in crossfire is roughly that of a gtx 285, slightly higher in some games, and slightly lower in others.

It is unlikely adding another 4gb of ram will improve your gaming performance unless you game while multitasking, but since you have a dual core cpu that will be hard to do anyway, so I would advise against that.
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August 20, 2009 11:00:25 PM

wow 2 of 4850 same or almost same performance as gtx 285 thats sounds great to me, and think ima get one more but would that 550 psu be ok for 2 or would i need to get a better one? and thanks for the help
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August 20, 2009 11:06:31 PM

how do you tell if my 550 psu can handle 2 cards?
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August 20, 2009 11:08:57 PM

Not worth upgrading the processor yet on most games. If I recommend a new build it is usually a quad core, but if you already have a good solid dual with a great OC, I would just ride it until it doesn't do the job any more. Just be sure to shut down anything in the background before gaming to get the most out of a dual core. There are a few utilities on the market that will do that for you.
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August 20, 2009 11:11:26 PM

Your 550w is fine for two 4850s. I've ran two on those weak HP and gateway PSUs, so I'm sure you are fine. Despite what they say in the specs, 4850s just don't draw much power.
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August 20, 2009 11:15:16 PM

k thanks im thinking bout buyin another one cuz later one when i get lazy i wont feel like buyin shyt for the pc anymore so i just wanna get it to where i want it and then enjoy the ride. Works good in everygame i play but huge mmorpg can lag in towns its not that it lags but just u see it slow down. And when i turn the graphics down it works smooth again. Still ima wait a bit until the 4850 is 100 and ill get it. as after that i wont upgrade my pc until 5 + years.
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August 21, 2009 11:00:46 PM

You might want to consider having another power supply in the 750w range. Maybe plan it for later while you get the card now. Keep in mind that you might experience system crash once in a while or even hard drive problems if you stick with the 550w psu. Just remember if / when it happens in the future, then you'll know to upgrade it.
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a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2009 11:57:18 PM

eyemaster said:
...
I wanted to avoid system specs and just talk of the virtues of the cards themselves. You accomplished that and I thank you.
...
New system:
Phenom2 x4
4GB ram
Video TBD (ATI something)

Happy I could help.

Unfortunately, you forgot the part that really matters, your resolution.
The rest of your system looks like it can handle any current GPU with no problems.
Depending on your resolution, however, a 4870x2/4890 Cf may be overkill.

If you are running at a resolution under 1920x1200 (or 1080p), a single 4870/4890 should run everything on high nicely.
If you are running 1920x1200 or higher, definatly consider a dual GPU solution for optimal performance (or wait another month for the next generation cards to come out).

huntsman said:
...amd phenom 2 x2 550 be at 3.92ghz and xfx hd4850 1gb at 690/1188 and 4gb of ram, and a 550watt corsair powersupply, now i just bought my rig a while ago and now the 4850 card price dropped to 120, and waas wondering should i get one more and put it in crossfire? or just use one for now and in couple year update to 1 new one, otherwise id save up and buy the one for 120 right now cuz the better ones are 200 + and i already have a 4850.

How would it perform in games like fps and mmorpgs and just various games, would it help out alot? and can my psu handle 2 cards ?

also since im asking if i got another 4gb to have 8gb of ram all together would that help out it games alot too?

thanks

Yeah, a pair of 4850's will perform similarly to a GTX 280/285 as long as you do not run out of graphics memory (ie. a pair of 512mb 4850's may perform worse than a GTX 280 if the game needs more than 512Mb of graphics RAM).
Usually, this only happens with poorly coded PS3 ports (GTA :pfff:  ) or at high resolutions (1920x1200 and above) with AA activated.
Regardless, if you need the extra performance, and your motherboard can support it, a second 4850 will give you a healthy boost in performance.

Your PSU is a very high quality unit and it will have no issues running a pair of 4850's.
All the current High Quality 550w PSU's (Corsair, PCP&C, Seasonic, Antec Earthwatts) are underrated and are capable of delivering much more clean power than they are rated to.

While a dual core may not be ideal for a future system, yours is more than sufficient for now.
Just be sure to minimize the number of background tasks while gaming and you will have virtually no performance degradation when compared to a similarly clocked PII quad core.

Do not worry about doubling your RAM to 8Gb.
At this point, there is NO performance benifit running more than 4Gb unless you are running some PRO apps.
Stick with your 4Gb of RAM and save the extra cash for a future platform upgrade (or beer money :) )
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August 22, 2009 3:04:26 AM

hehe alright thanks man you sured cleared everything up for me and i have 4850 1gb so 2 of those should be great :) 
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