So, here's the deal. I'm in the process of assembling a gaming PC for myself. I've already bought all components, as listed below:
AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE
MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 Socket Motherboard
G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2GB RAM 1600Mhz (7-7-7-24 @ 1.6V)
Corsair 850TX 850W TX Series PSU
Antec 1200 Chassis
Corsair H50 Liquid Cooling
Samsung Spinpoint F3 Single Platter 500Gb HDD (2 in RAID 0)
Yet to purchase gfx card
For the graphics card, I really wanted the HD 5850 for its performance, price and Dx 11 capabilities. As you all know, its availability is pathetic. I managed to place an order on ZipZoomFly while the card was available, but they call me up later saying it was actually sold out. The same happened again when I ordered it from another website.
Long story short:
HD 5850 is not available anywhere.
I am not ready to wait for new stock to arrive.
My budget is $300. Whats the next best card for me out there?
I've been eyeing the EVGA GTX 275. Is it a good choice? It also comes in three different flavors: 896MB, 1792MB, 1792MB Superclocked).
Or, should I do a 4890 crossfire?
Or, should I stretch my budget a little bit and get the 285. Does the performace difference over the 275 warrant the price difference?
I game at 1920x1200 and, of course, like to have as much eye candy as possible within my budget.
EDIT: My mobo only supports Crossfire, so I'm thinking an ATI setup might suit me better so I can CF 4-6months down the line
The main problem with X firing 4890's is that if you don't get two now you may have issue's in a few months time as they are being EOL'd to make way for the 5 series, rock and stony place mate, I don't envy you at all.
I signed up for the auto-notify on Newegg and as soon as the 5870 came in stock I jumped on it. Or you can search 5850 and hit refresh every so often. It took me about 2 day to hit it just right. It looks like when the 5850's come in from a brand the 5870's do to. For example I got an Asus 5870 and the 5850 was in stock the same time. The next day XFX was in. But they don't last long, maybe 30-60 minutes.
To be honest you don't be happen with a 4890 if you are looking for a 5850. I originally tried to run (2) 4870's in crossfire, but ran into all sorts of heat issues. The top card just didn't get enough air and crashed my games when it hit 100C. The cards were right up against each other and had good coolers, but didn't expel the air out the back.
Wait for the 5850, TRUST me you will be much happier. I sold my (2) 4870's on ebay, took a little bit of a hit on the one since I recently purchased it, but the pain in setting up crossfire, and the advantages of DX11 were worth it. They also just released the DX11 update for Vista.
don't settle for the old stuff in your new rig man. I've done it before and regretted it.
PS 850 watts is TOTAL overkill for your rig. drop that to a 700-750 watt (even a solid 600-650w), save $100, and get the 5870 :-P
@pauldh: if i go for a pair of 4870s now, I have no scope for upgrading down the line. that is why i was considering going for 4890, so I can add another in a month or two
@jay2tall: i did what you suggest to get the 5850. I got lucky with ZipZoomFly only to have them call me up saying its out of stock. and then the same happened with extreme-pc.ca too. My entire PC is ready, and its just sitting around waiting for a graphics card. I think i'll go for the 4890 now, and then after a month or two, I can sell it and get the 5850, if availability is any better by then.
as for the PSU, the 850W PSU didn't cost me much ($130 for Corsair seems a decent price), so I thought, why not? Anyways, already bought it now.
According to them, and huge number of tests they ran, 2 4890s in CF perform better than even the GTX 295. That does mean that 2 4890s perform as well as 2 5850s at a significantly lesser cost. So, if I go for 4890 over 5850, am i only losing out on Dx 11 support?
Although the 4890 XF setup is not included, single card to single card, depending on the game, you get ~10-20% performance increase with a 5850 over a 4890. That means that with 2 5850's (assumming you wait and then upgrade to a Xf setup later) you would be getting a much better experience. Also remember all of the 5XXX series cards are on very new drivers and will only get better within the next 6 months.
I would say wait it out. I know it sucks not having a card for a new build but just do as others have said and check as often as possible and be put on auto notify for every single website that stocks them at a reasonable price.
(2) 4890's in CF do a great job, but like I mentioned before I had heat issues. They suck more power, and a single 5870 is pretty much equivalent and has DX11 and an upgrade path. Just my own thoughts.
Look, if you're going to upgrade soon, you just need a holdover card. Really, anything from a 8800GTX is plenty in the short term, and anything over a 275 can more or less max everything short of Crysis to begin with.
When I bought my 5870 the Asus one was in stock but when I checked out it was gone. the next day Asus was in again and that's when I got it. The very next day XFX had stock in at Newegg. Both times it was the 5850 and 5870. This was last week. I believe around 2-3pm EST. Not sure if that helps any.
^I must have been pretty lucky then. I saw the ASUS 5850 and 5870 come in one afternoon but just missed it because I was able to ADD it to my card but the next screen was an out of stock message. A day later the ASUS cards were in again and I got my 5870. The next day XFX was in with the 5850 and 5870, but they lasted about 20 minutes.