Hey so Ive read the other 5870 vs 5850 threads but I have a bit different usage than those guys (plus the replies are allll over the map on the existing threads)
I am not a hardcore gamer, I update my system rarely and try and do a skip a generation on CPU but do a graphics refresh part way through. I play cod4 and hardcore racing sims on 3 monitors, plus photoshop etc. I will not shed a tear if I cant play Crysis 2 or whatever at full res a few years down the line.
For a little reference I have a P4 3ghz AGP which I bought in '03 and upgraded from x850 to x1950 two years ago; its getting a little long in the tooth.
So my plan is to upgrade to a i7-860 and 5850/5870, then push the OC and add a second graphics card when things bog down and the prices drop in a few years. I dont quite understand what you get for your extra $150; cant you basically OC the 5850 to get near 5870 levels of performance? Isnt it the same hardware? I have the same question about the i7-860/870 too, truth be told.
depends what games u play, for example if u wanna do eyefinity or crysis, then 5870 is worth the money, but i don't see y u cant save some bucks for perhaps few new games or a new mouse and keyboard and i7860 is overkill, get i5 750 instead.
THe 5870 has more texture units and streaming processors. The GPU and Memory is also clocked higher. Chances are the memory and GPU are binned higher for the 5870 as well. Chances are you can OC the 5850 to the same speed as the 5870, but you are still working with less texture units and streaming processors at the same clock speed. The 5870 should also clock higher than the 5850.
You are paying $150 more for the higher end card even though it is not horribly faster, though it IS faster. It also has a bigger cooler.
CPU's of the same model are all made at the same time. They test the CPU and see what it's max clock is, then they place them in "bins". The lower clocked ones are usually used for the slower CPU's and higher clocked for higher clocked CPU's. They set the multiplier on then to lock that in and they stamp it with the model, 860 or 870.
THe 860 multiplier would be 21. 21 x 133Mhz (the speed of the bus) = 2,793MHZ (2.8GHz)
THe 870 multiplier would be 22. 22 x 133= 2,926MHz (2.93GHZ)