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Upgrade or Crossfire?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 16, 2009 1:45:37 PM

Here is my current motherboard and video card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I currently have a two-monitor setup and it runs ok, but it gets bogged down when I am doing a lot of graphical stuff (for example I sometimes run Windows Media Center on one display while playing a game on the other).

I have two goals:
1. I would like to be able to use three monitors at once (or possible four, counting my TV)
2. I would like to be able to run programs that are more graphically intense (high-end games and video editing, things like that).


So my question is this: is it better to

a) get a better video card (for example http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) and put it in my motherboard alongside the existing video card

OR

b) buy another card with the same chipset as my existing card (I found this one http://www.2020pc.com/ssproduct.asp?pf_id=1011757834 ) and Crossfire them.

Of course the Crossfire option is $50 cheaper, but that's not really a concern for me. The more expensive card has more memory, more "stream processing units" (whatever those are), etc, but I don't really understand Crossfire enough to know the benefits. Would Crossfiring two lesser cards equal a greater performance increase than having one greater card and one lesser card running separately?

More about : upgrade crossfire

October 16, 2009 1:52:31 PM

rest ur system pls?
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October 16, 2009 4:04:12 PM

rescawen said:
rest ur system pls?


What?
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October 16, 2009 8:12:40 PM

ati 5780. 3 screens from one card. job done.
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a b U Graphics card
October 16, 2009 8:19:49 PM

I think running Windows Media Center and a game at the same time would be more CPU intensive than GPU intensive. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Windows Media Center can't be too tough on the GPU, assuming the game isn't already killing it. Regardless, we need to know what your CPU and memory are. As far as a GPU goes, you need an ATi HD 5850/5870 which will allow you to run up to three screens on one video card and provides amazing performance to boot. With your need for multitasking however, you may want to also (depending on what we receieve about your current set-up) think about replacing your CPU and adding/replacing your memory to better suite your needs.
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October 16, 2009 8:41:20 PM

Here is my CPU and memory:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The 5850/5870's are ridiculously expensive, and from what I've read I'd need one monitor with a DisplayPort input. I don't want to get into all that, I just want to get a second video card and drop it into my existing system. My question is whether Crossfiring two cards like the one I already have would give me better performance than getting a second card which has better performance and running them independently (i.e. no Crossfire).
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a b U Graphics card
October 16, 2009 9:01:18 PM

Simple answer: The card you have is complete junk. A single 4850 will beat its CrossFire performance by a fairly substantial margin. I'd recommend either getting the 4870 or 5770.

The 4870 has a little bit more performance going for it (we're talking less than 10% usually, though) in non-DirectX 11 games, it is also around $10 cheaper (for now).

The 5770 has lower power consumption, more efficient design, has ATi Eyefinity support (the three monitor support the two more expensive cards have), DirectX 11 support and better performance than the 4870 in DirectX 11 games, and great CrossFire scaling. Also, the general performance will most likely increase as the drivers mature.

Obviously, I recommend the HD 5770.
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October 16, 2009 9:24:14 PM

brockh said:
Simple answer: The card you have is complete junk. A single 4850 will beat its CrossFire performance by a fairly substantial margin. I'd recommend either getting the 4870 or 5770.

The 4870 has a little bit more performance going for it (we're talking less than 10% usually, though) in non-DirectX 11 games, it is also around $10 cheaper (for now).

The 5770 has lower power consumption, more efficient design, has ATi Eyefinity support (the three monitor support the two more expensive cards have), DirectX 11 support and better performance than the 4870 in DirectX 11 games, and great CrossFire scaling. Also, the general performance will most likely increase as the drivers mature.

Obviously, I recommend the HD 5770.


I checked out the 5770's on Newegg, they all have a memory interface of 128 bits, whereas the 4870 has a 256-bit memory interface. Plus the 5770 still requires me to get a display that has a DisplayPort input if I want to take advantage of the three monitor set, I don't really have any plans to buy a new monitor any time soon. So taking that into account, do you think the 5770 would still be a better buy for me? How prevalent is DirectX 11, and how soon will it be before it's going to be universally required?

Also, what do you mean by "Crossfire scaling"?
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a b U Graphics card
October 16, 2009 9:36:13 PM

odel555q said:
I checked out the 5770's on Newegg, they all have a memory interface of 128 bits, whereas the 4870 has a 256-bit memory interface. Plus the 5770 still requires me to get a display that has a DisplayPort input if I want to take advantage of the three monitor set, I don't really have any plans to buy a new monitor any time soon. So taking that into account, do you think the 5770 would still be a better buy for me? How prevalent is DirectX 11, and how soon will it be before it's going to be universally required?

Also, what do you mean by "Crossfire scaling"?


The 5770 is more efficient allowing the memory interface of 128 to perform as well as the 256 on the 4870; it's a new-generation card. If it had the 256-bit memory interface that the 4870 had it would easily outperform it. The 5770 will require you to get a DisplayPort adaptor for the third monitor yes, but that's three monitors on one card, and you don't have to use more than two. You won't get any more than two out of any other singular card; no one is forcing you to use the DisplayPort attatchment.

CrossFire scaling is the amount of performance you gain when adding a second card. With the new ATi 5 series generation of cards CrossFire scaling has improved a good amount. In some games adding a second 5770 increased performance by at or over 90% (100% being double the performance which is ideal; Also, please note this easily beats Nvidia's SLi scaling). I predict DirectX 11 will become more widespread than DirectX 10 (which really, is pretty widespread based on games people actually buy), just because of the public reaction to Windows 7 is incredibly positive which will only further motivate game developers to push it on to the majority of their customer base. Two notable games that already use DirectX 11 are BattleForge and DiRT 2. More information can be found with a simple "DirectX 11 games" search I'd bet.

I can say with some certainty the HD 5770 will be a better buy for you.
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a c 231 U Graphics card
October 16, 2009 9:38:14 PM

odel555q said:
How prevalent is DirectX 11, and how soon will it be before it's going to be universally required?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_with_DirectX...

2 games released
8 games coming
2 years before it matters (then again, remember DX10 still doesn't matter)

I'm being a bit facetious but point being, it will take quite a while before anyone knows just how important DX11
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a b U Graphics card
October 16, 2009 9:39:53 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_with_DirectX...

2 games released
8 games coming
2 years before it matters (then again, remember DX10 still doesn't matter)


DirectX 11 has been available to the public (in RTM form) for less than a month or two.
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a b U Graphics card
October 16, 2009 9:48:53 PM

odel555q said:
Would this be a good 5770 card?

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

If not, please recommend one (doesn't have to come from Newegg).


Sapphire is an excellent company for ATi cards, and since they're all reference designs at the moment it is as good a choice as any of them really.
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October 16, 2009 10:40:25 PM

Once you have the new card, you might try gaming on the 5770 and run your media centre on the other card. That way your gaming card doesn't have to render the desktop.
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a c 231 U Graphics card
October 17, 2009 1:27:02 AM

brockh said:
DirectX 11 has been available to the public (in RTM form) for less than a month or two.


DirectX 10 arrived with Vista in November 2006 and it has yet to be noted for any significant impact. Again, it will take 1.5 - 2.0 years to see if DX11 fares any better.
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October 17, 2009 1:37:18 AM

I wouldn't bother crossfiring that card, it won't give you three monitors (crossfire doesn't increase the number of monitors you can use as only the primary card counts).

What you can do is buy a second, better card for gaming, and run the non-gaming monitors off the old card, non-crossfired. Save some cash and pick up a 4850 or 4870--they're great a really cheap now (and the 3850 is not total crap, as someone on this forum said; it's quite adequate for most users and even most video games). Certainly the best bang for your buck is, at this moment, a 4870.

The 5770 doesn't outperform the 4870. It uses less power and it has DX11. DX11 is a non-issue for the next couple of years, expect to be unimpressed by it until then.

The issues you are having with running so many processes at the same time are as likely to be CPU and memory bottlenecking as anything else.
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a b U Graphics card
October 17, 2009 2:44:19 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
DirectX 10 arrived with Vista in November 2006 and it has yet to be noted for any significant impact. Again, it will take 1.5 - 2.0 years to see if DX11 fares any better.


My point was two games already released and eight on the way is probably more than what DirectX 10 saw at launch. Also, with DirectX 10 came Windows Vista. What was the public opinion about Windows Vista? Bad, and by association, DirectX 10 relatively unnecessary as developers were not interested in supporting a feature set their potential/customers will not be using. The response to Windows 7 has been good, and there will probably be larger and quicker mainstream adoption by regular users. By that association, we should assume DirectX 11 capable consumers will appear faster and provide more of a incentive for developers to take advantage of it. This is all speculation of course, but I do believe through that simple consumer analysis you'll find it relatively believable.
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a c 231 U Graphics card
October 17, 2009 2:04:19 PM

Yes, consumers generally react to a bigger number with the assumption that since 11 is bigger than 10 it must be better. Despite the fact that no MS OS ever performed faster than it's predecessor on the same hardware, the lemmings happily bought "upgrades" thinking they'd see some performance improvements. Vista and DX10 did a lot to break that mindset.

But where you can look at a technology like PhysX and say, "these are the things that you will see on screen" or OpenCl and say. "this will take laod off your CPU when the GPU is needed for video processing", with DX11 "we are ....er....going to get tesselation". Come again ?

I think that unless there's a change in the user experience, the usual drive to have the latest and greatest (biggest version number) is going to wane.
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