Working on weird build, need opinions

In the next 2 months, hopefully late Nov/early Dec, I'm building a Win7/OSX/Linux box running the EFIX bootloader. Before someone rolls out the obligatory OMG,OSX,WTF!, I am a graphic designer and OSX is my workhorse, Win7 will be strictly for games (Linux, just because that nerdy voice in the back of my head tells me so).

I'm not trying for super bleeding-edge because system stability is a big concern, this rig will hopefully last me a number of years. Just for reference, my budget is somewhere between 1500 and 2k. Most of the build is already figured out with everything I need minus a good video card for gaming. Right now the price tag is around $1500 and the remaining budget is around $300.

Here's where the build gets weird, because of the EFIX/OSX choice, I have limited myself for graphics options. The actual SUPPORTED video cards for the EFIX systems are few and far between, but I just happened to have an old Radeon 3870 laying around which is the best natively supported ATI card.

Virtually any card, NVIDIA or ATI, has been made to run under the EFIX, but only with wonky homebrew drivers. Because OSX = workhorse, I can't have an unstable/unreliable system. So I've decided on Gigabyte motherboard with 3 pci 2.0 slots so that I can run my 3870 for OSX and something else for Win 7 games as the 3870 just doesn't cut it these days.

This is where I need some opinions -

What's the best choice with roughly $300 in hand:

4870 x2 - probably the fastest option, no DX11, not as fast as 5870

5850 - DX11, fairly fast, could xfire in future, IF it works with the 3 card setup...

4890 - leaning away from this, but prices really coming down on them


stick with 3870 for both OSX/Win7 and wait for post christmas/new years sales on 5870?

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  1. Hello Sam,

    Am I correct that you have 1500+1200? You said 1500-2000 also. Which ever it is decide which is more important to you a Win 7 gamer or the OSX system. Build a inexpensive system for OSX using the 3870 VC (newegg probably has a AMDX3 combo with MB, CPU and Ram for $220-250) and then build whatever your heart and budget wants for your gamer box. You will not be the only guy here with more than one system at home. A guy can't have enough computer goodies around the house.
  2. Sorry I should have clarified on the money amount, I'm building this and have some components already but the price tag on new parts will be roughly 1500-2000 when all said and done.

    My budget for the video card is $300 leaving a little room for error on the price.

    Anyways, I'm building this one singular system because I've already got four computers and the wife is going to be seriously angered by two more. Remember this is my "work" computer *wink wink*. As I need a work computer anyway and the only way I can get a core i7 into the house is by making a work/gaming hybrid; the dual or triple boot EFIX system makes sense.

    Also have to go intel as the EFIX doesn't yet support AMD, so i7 is the obvious choice anyway for a rig with longterm usability.

    In any case, the idea of this elaborate triple boot pc sounds fun to me, which is mostly the reason I'm going toward this as opposed to a separate mac and pc.

    Anyone have thoughts on which video card to opt for? I'm open to any ideas.
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