Hello. I was wondering how much of a pc would be needed to utilize a 5850 properly?
I'm currently running a 4870 in a p35 based system with a 3,4ghz c2d. Would it even make a difference to upgrade (other than power savings)? After all I have pcie v1 and only two cores.
Another slightly unrelated question - would it be possible to run sli with a 4870 and 4890 (in an x58 system)? (I assume not) They're almost the same after all....
Unless the games you are playing are very CPU bound (like GTA IV for example), anything above the equivalent of an E8400 (3GHz C2D) is mostly superfluous. However, if you add more cores you would get fewer FPS drop because if any process starts-up in the background, they will be able to run on other cores than the ones used for your games.
As for the GPU questions, based on ATI's compatibility chart (see below), yes combining 4870 and 4890 would work, but note that the 4890 will downgrade itself to a 4870.
1) To utilize a 5850 properly? Honestly, a PCI-E x16 slot and a PSU that will run it. The better CPU you have will just allow it to perform better. Regardless it will be a big improvement over your 4870. A single PCI-E x16 1.1 slot has enough bandwidth for a single GPU card. You won't have any issues.
2)You can run a 4870 and 4890 but the 4890 will clock down to the 4870 speed. You may as well get a 2nd 4870. (2) 4870's will draw quite a bit of power, but will perform better than a single 5850.
-A side note, I had a 4870 and tried doing crossfire but had ALOT of heat issues. There was only a single slot between the (2) PCI-E x16 slots so the cards were right up against each other. The top card would hit 100C and crash my games. I could have rigged up some kinda of crazy cooling system with a fan or two, but I decided to sell both cards and get a 5870. BEST decision I could have made. I just wish I did it right off the bad and didn't take the ebay and paypal fees to sell the cards.
As for getting a second card - I was asking because I put an 4890 in my parents computer when I gave it to them earlier this year. And I was thinking of getting a 5850 and then giving them my old 4870. Their i7 system can easily cool both cards no biggie (huge lian li thing with 7 arctic cooling fans). I don't think it much matters if the 4890 looses a few megaherz and half the memory. Memory isn't an issue anyway.