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Scrap the 5870 and just overclock the 5850?

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October 12, 2009 8:14:06 AM

Dear Community,

I am currently in the process of building my new Lynnfield PC. I would like to purchase either the 5870 or the 5850. I game at 1920 x 1080. My other components are i7 860, 4GB Corsair Dominator GTs 2GHz DDR3, Asus Maximus Formula P55, Corsair HX620.

Here, in the UK, the price difference between the 5870 and 5850 is around £100 ($157.503). I would pretty much want to use 8xMSAA and max out my games. I see that the 5850 seems to overclock well to near 5870 performance. Should I just pick up the 5850 and OC? Money is no issue however, I do not like to waste money.

What worry’s me is if I get a 5850 that overlcocks poorly or if future games such as Alan Wake just about run on a 5850, leaving me wishing I got a 5870 in the first place....

I'm looking to buy this week so any opinions to help me make my decision is very much appreciated.

Thanks.
October 12, 2009 8:23:22 AM

You could overclock the 5850 but you would never reach the same performance you would get out of a 5870. The 5870 has 1600 stream processors, while the 5850 has 1440 stream processors. In general, the 5850 performs a little better than the GTX 285, while the 5870 performs a bit lower than a GTX 295. So if possible I would try to go with the 5870.
October 12, 2009 8:53:55 AM

Looking at what the ASUS EAH is saying it can do, so soon after release, I don't see why an overclocked 5850 with good aftermarket cooling can't be pretty close to a stock 5870 regardless of the missing stream processors.

If you have the money, always go for the higher card I say (5870), but overclocking a 5850 you should be able to at least get close to a 5870 if you don't want to justify the extra £100
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a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2009 9:28:18 AM

5850 will save you some money...
And the resolution at which you play, the 5850 will perform beautifully.
So I will suggest a 5850.

You can CF anytime.

October 12, 2009 9:42:16 AM

Hello all,

I must mention that I will not be crossfiring.

Thanks for the replies so far!

Me.
a c 231 U Graphics card
a c 156 K Overclocking
October 12, 2009 11:48:38 AM

It's stricly a measure of what numbers you wanna get versus what you want to spend. Comparing the cost of the cards is a fool's errand as the card increases the performance of the entire machine. SO while £100 seems significant, it has to be looked at really as, for example, a £2100 box versus a £2000 box.

A 5870 will always be faster than a 5850....yes, eou can OC a 5850 to near 5870 specs but by the same token you can OC a 5870.

And before XMas we'll see Revision B hardware which perform a bit betetr than the Revision A cards out now. Then the manufacturer's will also be releasing non reference designs which will be faster than what you can buy today.

And the 5870x2 will be out as well as nVidia's offerings. It's the "Neverending Story" all over gain. I used to subscribe to an audiophile magazine called the "Absolute Sound" which covered hi end audio. It came out quarterly and I used to call it the "Obsolete Sound" cause whatever they called "State of the Art" in say the Fall issue, was oft determined to be "unlistenable" in the winter issue. The PC industry is pretty much the same albeit with a bit more bleeding on the "bleeding edge".

So you just gotta do one of the following:

a) Bite the bullet, pick one and lock "buyer's remorese" in the closet.
b) Wait till each generation reaches the end of it's run (ATI's 4870x2 or nVidia's GTX 295) buy a month after it hits the streets and then sit pretty for 6 months knowing you have the "top dog" .... well at least till the next generation starts the process all over again.
October 12, 2009 12:59:46 PM

Fair play about being able to OC the 5870 too.

Looking at the reviews, the 5850 seems, on average 10fps behind the 5870. That is £10 per frame lol. Just another way to look at things....

Hmmm, bite the bullet and deal with buyers remorse or play the waiting game? I would rather do neither of them!!! lol

October 12, 2009 2:04:26 PM

killtacular said:
I must mention that I will not be crossfiring.


Ever?


You could get the 5850 now... and if in the future you need more horsepower, whack another in :) 



I assume you are not intending to change your monitor in the next year or 2 either?
October 12, 2009 2:18:57 PM

No crossfire, ever. When it comes to selling your crossfire cards, you make a loss twice! I would rather loose money on one card rather than two.

I have a 23" 1080p monitor which I am very happy with so I will not be changing my monitor any time soon.

Thank you.
a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2009 2:29:37 PM

So what you will be getting/
October 12, 2009 3:00:08 PM

I'm probably going for an XFX 5850 @ £211. I will remove the heatsink, apply some Arctic Silver paste, and see how far I can take her!
a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2009 3:36:48 PM

To me it's all about how long you're keeping it?

Until Fermi or the AMD Heck-weird-name-core thing comes out next year ?

The 5850 will play with the 5870 when overclocked and when even both are overclocked... for now IMO.

It's somewhat similar, but not as bad as, the GF8800GTX vs GTS, where if you OC'ed the GTS-640 or even 320, you could get very similar performance in the then primarily DX9 SM2.0 some SM3.0 game landscape, but over time there was little overclock that could keep the GTS competitive as the games got more demanding.

Increasing memory clocks beyond spec usually increase errors, and gets you diminishing returns. And as was mentioned the HD5870 can OC too, and sometime you get better parts on some too.

If you're buying short term with an intention to replace/refresh mid-late 2010 then I'd say 5850 will be fine, but if you're planning on pushing well into the DX11 and compute future, then the 5870 will start to show its legs once the two are stressed and the advantage of more cores and faster/wider memory give it a bit more spread.

Right now I'd say we haven't been stressing them hard enough to make a difference, and they will distance themselves from the competition and each other over time.

And I say this also because money seems not to be an issue (the Irish & German in me) , but don't like to waste it (the Scottish & Dutch [Frisian] in me).

£100/$150 is alot, so it's still a few beers or a few game titles, so nothing to sneeze at, but I'd say it would become worth it, the longer the life in the rig (of which OCing tends to shorten).

Also remember that the resale will also be slightly better when/if it's time to sell, but probably on £25 difference or so at that time.
October 12, 2009 4:00:02 PM

killtacular said:
No crossfire, ever. When it comes to selling your crossfire cards, you make a loss twice! I would rather loose money on one card rather than two.


Sorry, I am not seeing your logic.



You have already stated the 5850 is all you need right now. You'd save £100 right there by buying it instead of a 5870. Then in a year* when you need more power, you buy a second 5850 for... what price is the 4850 now?... 80 quid?


That saves you buying an equivalent new single card in a year* (an upgrade that will probably cost £200-250 - saving you £100-150).


Overall, I see a cost saving of around £100(now)+100-150(later) = 200-250 over the period. Yes, you do ditch 2 cards at the end of that period for token money, but you've saved significantly on purchase costs.

I'd bet you'd never make the £200-250 difference in resale.


*or more? What is your upgrade cycle like? Yearly? semi-annually?
a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2009 4:08:00 PM

Crossfire 5850's, single 5870.
October 12, 2009 6:58:13 PM

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
To me it's all about how long you're keeping it?

Until Fermi or the AMD Heck-weird-name-core thing comes out next year ?

The 5850 will play with the 5870 when overclocked and when even both are overclocked... for now IMO.

It's somewhat similar, but not as bad as, the GF8800GTX vs GTS, where if you OC'ed the GTS-640 or even 320, you could get very similar performance in the then primarily DX9 SM2.0 some SM3.0 game landscape, but over time there was little overclock that could keep the GTS competitive as the games got more demanding.

Increasing memory clocks beyond spec usually increase errors, and gets you diminishing returns. And as was mentioned the HD5870 can OC too, and sometime you get better parts on some too.

If you're buying short term with an intention to replace/refresh mid-late 2010 then I'd say 5850 will be fine, but if you're planning on pushing well into the DX11 and compute future, then the 5870 will start to show its legs once the two are stressed and the advantage of more cores and faster/wider memory give it a bit more spread.

Right now I'd say we haven't been stressing them hard enough to make a difference, and they will distance themselves from the competition and each other over time.

And I say this also because money seems not to be an issue (the Irish & German in me) , but don't like to waste it (the Scottish & Dutch [Frisian] in me).

£100/$150 is alot, so it's still a few beers or a few game titles, so nothing to sneeze at, but I'd say it would become worth it, the longer the life in the rig (of which OCing tends to shorten).

Also remember that the resale will also be slightly better when/if it's time to sell, but probably on £25 difference or so at that time.


Hi GreatGrapeApe!

Always an honour! :) 

I am looking to keep my card for at least a year, until the next gen parts arrive late 2010 or early 2011.

You make an very interesting point about the GTX/GTS and how over time the GTX pulled away when stressed. I never considered this. This makes me want to go for the 5870, it's the paranoia in me!

Considering I will be keeping my cards until next gen, would you still go for a 5850?

October 12, 2009 7:11:02 PM

Amiga500 said:
Sorry, I am not seeing your logic.



You have already stated the 5850 is all you need right now. You'd save £100 right there by buying it instead of a 5870. Then in a year* when you need more power, you buy a second 5850 for... what price is the 4850 now?... 80 quid?


That saves you buying an equivalent new single card in a year* (an upgrade that will probably cost £200-250 - saving you £100-150).


Overall, I see a cost saving of around £100(now)+100-150(later) = 200-250 over the period. Yes, you do ditch 2 cards at the end of that period for token money, but you've saved significantly on purchase costs.

I'd bet you'd never make the £200-250 difference in resale.


*or more? What is your upgrade cycle like? Yearly? semi-annually?


Upgrade cycle is yearly. I understand your maths but I really do not like having a two card solution. It's double the noise, double the heat and double the power consumption. Oh and microstuttering!
a c 130 U Graphics card
a b K Overclocking
October 12, 2009 7:53:38 PM

I would personally go for the 5850 for now as it seems you wont be keeping it for the long run and then look to get either a revised 5870 later down the line or whatever is new and seems needed as far as games are concerned.
Its always a pain and this is why its a crying shame there is no DX11 game scene etc to see the true potential of the cards yet. I believe as TGGA does that when you start feeding these cards with DX11, only then will we see the difference. Sure 1440 vs 1600 doesn't seem to bad but when you think that 160 SP's is a quarter of whats in a 4770 so that should be around about a quarter of the 4770's performance that's going begging.

Mactronix
a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2009 10:57:36 PM

killtacular said:
I am looking to keep my card for at least a year, until the next gen parts arrive late 2010 or early 2011...

Considering I will be keeping my cards until next gen, would you still go for a 5850?


I would sya the HD5850 would be fine then, and that if you're renewing in about a year's time one the HEck-a-Core thing comes out, the LRB question is better revealed and Fermi/G3xx is clearer then the HD5850 is really a good short term solution that doesn't have major MAJOR titles coming out soon that I would be worried about (even CryEngine3 was playable on multi-monitors so that's somewhat reassuring that you won't be locked out, just maybe drop a setting at worst).

If you were looking for a 2 year build I would say HD5870, but nearer term the 5850 is a good investment of money and you can put that 100 pounds towards the next generation and worry less then hopefully, or at the very least buy alot of suds, which is always a good thing. [:thegreatgrapeape:3]
a c 231 U Graphics card
a c 156 K Overclocking
October 12, 2009 11:13:30 PM

killtacular said:
Hmmm, bite the bullet and deal with buyers remorse or play the waiting game? I would rather do neither of them!!! lol


Ok, then sit on your hands and keep your "Click to Buy" reflex in check.....my crystal ball saying nVidia gonna pop something around turkey day (That's a holiday us yanks have in 3rd week of November where we celebrate taking food as a gift from the native americans, thereby infecting them with all sorts of European brought diseases so we celebrate by getting a big ugly dead bird and eating it, then lay on the couch and watch football all day ....btw, I'm talking about the football which is pointy on the two ends).

My thinking is ATI will respond by popping out the 5870x2 or whatever name they give it which will be this generation's version of the 4870x2 which pretty much ruled the roost until the 295 GTX came along. The 5870 will be single slot, give almost twice the performance of the 5870 if it scales as well as rumors claim, and thereby addresses most of ya parnoidish tendencies :) 
a b K Overclocking
March 13, 2010 7:27:01 AM

I did the bios flash for the 5850 heres what got. Temps never went over 50C on air cooler.

Mobo- ASUS P6T SE
Processor- Core I7 920 - Overclocked to 3.8
RAM- 6 GB Kingston Hyper X 1600 (running at about 1555)
Video Card- XFX HD 5850 - Overclocked (GPU 950 MHz)- (Memory 1150MHz)
Hard Drive- Kingston SSD 64
PSU- ATX 700w

3D Mark- P18685 (GPU-17209) (CPU25160)
a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2010 7:56:08 AM

wow nate, nice thread necro, it was only 5 months old.
!