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Is it worth adding a 2nd 4870? 4870 CF vs 5870

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a c 147 U Graphics card
September 28, 2009 2:58:00 PM

My current specs are listed in my profile. I currently have an Asus Dark Knight 4870 1GB card OCed to 820/1050. I am running an i7 on an Asus P6t mobo and was curious as to whether a 2nd 4870 is worth the upgrade, or just stick with what I have until the 5870 drops in price? I am NOT buying a 5870 at this time because I'd get about $100 for my current card and I do not want to fork over another $280 for the upgrade. However, the idea of adding a 2nd 4870 does interest me. With everyone going to a 5870 I'm sure there will be even more 4870's on eBay up for grabs and they are going for just above $100. My issue is I have not seen any benchmarks that compare (2) 4870 1GB (or 512MB) cards to the new 5870. I've seen the 4870x2 however, I'd like a more accurate comparison. In the past I've seen (2) 4870 1GB cards perform differently than a single 4870x2 card. Therefore, I don't think it would be accurate to compare to a 5870.

I am not concerned about DX11, as I do upgrade my video quite frequently. It will take a while for DX 11 games to even start popping up, look at DX10. Call of Duty STILL doesn't even support DX10, hopefully Modern Warfare2 does. I am not concerned about power savings either as my electric is included in rent. I game on a 22" 1680x1050 screen. I can max most of my games, except Crysis of course, but I plan to maybe get Resident evil5 and or modern warfare 2.

What are your comments on this? Should I add a 2nd card for about $100? What would the performance be compared to a single 5870? It its not work the upgrade, I will just wait a little while longer until the 5870 price comes down and see what the 5850 has to offer.
a c 125 U Graphics card
September 28, 2009 7:15:30 PM

Hey.
I had 2 4870's (512MB) in crossfire and to be honest i was so disappointed, i even sent the second card back just 3 days after purchase.

F.E.A.R 2 no differance, because theres a FPS cap of 60 and one 4870 easily did that

Fallout 3 no differance, I have no idea why.

Crysis very small differance, but did increase minimum FPS

Now call of duty 4 was the only game i saw a differance and WOW what a differance, went from 91FPS with 1 card to 250+ FPS with 2 cards. CoD4 was the only game that had a in game graphics option for dual cards.

To be honest i dnt know why the games i play have a FPS cap, maybe its the game, maybe its something to do with my TV or maybe my E8400 is bottlenecking @ 4ghz. but anyway i'd say stay clear and wait for the price of the 5870 to come down or pick up a 5850 for £200.
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a b U Graphics card
September 28, 2009 7:25:44 PM

omgitzfatal:

You didn't mention how long ago you tried your CF setup, but it should be noted that every driver update brings more games into the CF performance envelope.

F3 has been proven to be a CPU limited game (see the 5870 benchmarks for example) and unless you are running a substantially underpowered card for the CPU, a graphics upgrade will not make a leap in FPS performance. This does, though, open up headroom for higher graphics settings (AA/AF) with an upgrade, without seeing FPS increase. I saw no increase in my FPS at the same settings with this game when I installed my 4870x2, and it stayed the same with higher details and AA/AF maxed.

I chose the 4870x2 over a second 4870 512mb for the same reason as the OP: a lack of definitive information regarding the latter in CF (and I had some extra cash burning a hole in my pocket at the time).
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a b U Graphics card
September 28, 2009 7:39:21 PM

If you go for CF make sure the other 4870 is also a 1GB version and you may see some large improvements over one 4870. That being said, there are still plenty of games out there that don't scale too well with CF (like omgitzfatal's examples illustrate) add to that higher power consumption (you may have to get a new PSU), more noise and more heat inside your case.

Additionally 4870CF almost always performs equal to or less than a 4870x2 which in turn performs equal to or less then a 5870 (which will inevitably get better with newer drivers), of course if you already own a 4870x2 you should keep it, but otherwise the 5870 is better for you.
There are also various situations in which driver issues or hardware limitations make a CF setup fail because where a single card won't. That's why I don't do SLI or CF: if there's a card out there that can compete with a SLI/CF setup I always recommend the single card, its worth the extra money (the 5870's prices will probably drop.)

With 1680x1050 you will definitely be able to max out MW 2 with your current 4870 and Crysis will run just fine on 5850 (though not stellar), so maybe you don't need a CF setup or a 5870, maybe you can just go for a 5850.

This may be useful to you: http://www.rage3d.com/reviews/video/atihd4870x2/index.p...
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a c 147 U Graphics card
September 28, 2009 7:47:32 PM

I have noticed ALOT of performance changes since I've owned my card from all of the ATI driver updates. I've followed the review on Tweaktown and tried to only update when there was a tested performance increase.

I am just looking for a cheap upgrade that will give me a nice performance boost and maybe feed my need for all the visual goodies. However, if a 2nd 4870 does not really give me what I am looking for I can wait until I am willing to pay the going prive for a 5870, or 5850 when it comes out.
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a b U Graphics card
September 28, 2009 7:49:08 PM

It may or may not... I also have to agree that given the option between a CF setup and a single card that perform the same, I would always recommend the single card.
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a b U Graphics card
September 28, 2009 8:03:03 PM

jay2tall said:
I have noticed ALOT of performance changes since I've owned my card from all of the ATI driver updates. I've followed the review on Tweaktown and tried to only update when there was a tested performance increase.

I am just looking for a cheap upgrade that will give me a nice performance boost and maybe feed my need for all the visual goodies. However, if a 2nd 4870 does not really give me what I am looking for I can wait until I am willing to pay the going prive for a 5870, or 5850 when it comes out.


I think the 5850 will suit you best, it's $260 right now and out of stock everywhere but I expect prices to drop soon, besides let's say you can sell your current 4870 for $70 you can put that towards getting a 5850.

P.S. what are you doing on ebay? Are you looking for a secondhand card (in which case $100 may be a bit much, but if it is the custom price over there why not sell your own card for the same amount, that way you'll have $200 for a 5850 already) or a new card (in which case you're probably getting scammed because 4870's cost more than $100 on newegg and zipzoomfly.)
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a c 147 U Graphics card
September 28, 2009 8:33:37 PM

^ i was looking for a used 4870 on ebay for $100. So I sell my card for $100 minus posing fees and crap, and hastle. Then fork out another $200 for a 5870. OR pay $100 for a 2nd 4870. If a 2nd card won't give me much, then I'll just sit on my one card for now and deal with it. Otherwise I'm not prepared to fork $200 and worry about selling my card. If another 4870 gives me comparable performance to the 5870, I'd do it.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
September 30, 2009 4:06:40 PM

So looking at the new reviews of the 5850's it is interesting to me to see the 4870x2 is doing pretty well and tops that solution most times. I can not find any NEW reviews of a 4870 in crossfire. In old reviews i am seeing that when in crossfire it sometimes performs with or above the 4870x2 and other times it does not. However as I see newer and newer reviews the 4870x2 has definitly improved with drivers. Is it safe to assume that (2) 4870's would do the same?

I am trying out out weight the cost of selling off my current card and getting a 5850 or just adding a second 4870.
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a b U Graphics card
September 30, 2009 4:13:53 PM

Considering the value difference:
2 x4870 about 200 bucks through your channels
1x 5850 about 260 brand new.

The 5xxx will only get better with driver updates (as you have witnessed with your 48xx card over time). Is the driver based enhancements for the 4xxx topped out? We can't know, but we do know for sure that the 5xxx isn't. The $60 dollar difference would be worth it in my eyes.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
October 5, 2009 7:00:46 PM

I went with an identical 4870 that I picked up on eBay for $125. The guy used it for troublshooting purposes and desided not to keep it. I did some research and it seems (2) 4870's run just under or just over a 5070, depending on the game. I figure it is the cheapest upgrade at this point. I usually upgrade once a year so next year i will sell them off and get something else. The 5850 just seems like alot compared to this upgrade for minimal benefit.

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a b U Graphics card
October 5, 2009 7:04:10 PM

The bottom line is that you got something that you enjoy. Talk to you next year :D 
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a c 147 U Graphics card
October 5, 2009 7:36:55 PM

Haha. Indeed. Exept next year it will be.... Selling (2) 4870's what next?
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December 24, 2009 1:36:30 AM

I gotta Sapphire Radeon 4870-1GB I will sell you for $75, it was on my great grandma's PC, She liked it to speed up her Spades Games on Microsoft, LOL. I gotta try out a Sapphire 5870.
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a b U Graphics card
December 24, 2009 1:47:09 AM

This is a OLD thread, well not that old. The OP has a need for speed and did NOT
like the crossfire 4870's. He's now a proud owner of a 5870 according to his config.

LOL at the grandma's car, with a unrolled odometer !
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