Sorry, that would have been nice to include. Yes, gaming and general professional office work. I am heavily in to flight sims--both flying and designing aircraft skins and textures. After I made my post, I did some digging here at Tom's and found comparisons of graphics cards...The Nvidia 275 is also in my price range at $320. Not to be argumentative, but how do the the 5850 and 275 compare?
5850 blows it away, the 5850 is stronger than the GTX285 which is stronger than the GTX275 so it certainly isnt worth paying more for a weaker card when the 5850 has DX11 support which will let you play upcoming games in DX11 mode which willl make them look nicer.
Excellent info, thanks. This is off topic for graphics, but I have seen 'gaming systems' advertised that have a dedicated small (40-80G) solid state HD just for the game app(s). How is this configured and can most apps be installed this way?
It significantly speeds up load times but once you are in game the levels are loaded onto the RAM so it wont affect game performance during levels. For those who want a super fast system they are worth it, but for the average person a good fast HDD is sufficiently quick.
That all makes sence. Not something I think I need, though. Back to the VC issue...The 5850 is hard to find-How much different is the 5750. I am trying to utilize my company's vendors to get better prices and nobody has a 5850 right now, but plenty of 5750's. Would I be wasting my systems potential?
Onboard memory doesnt affect performance very much, up until 1920x1080 512MB of onboard memory is plenty, even for 2560x1600 1GB of memory is sufficient and only loses a few FPS to 2GB.
The important things to look at when comparing within a manufacturer is clock speeds, stream processor count, and memory bus width.
The 5750 is exactly half of a 5850, 720 sp vs 1440 sp, 128-bit memory bus vs 256-bit bus. This halved memory bus hurts it when you start throwing on memory intensive processes like AA. Crossfire doesnt scale perfectly, usually only about 80% so 2 5750s comes up slightly below a 5850 and when you throw on AA they fall behind so if the price comes out the same the 5850 is definitely the better pick.
Thanks hunter315, that's an excellent tutorial. What then, is the selling point or benefit of having large amts of on-board VC memory? Is it to compensate for lack of system mem while running graphic intensive apps?
Were you considering the GTX 275 over a better because it had more memory? Yes, you were and that is the selling point. For the same reason there's tons of low end cards that have 1gb of memory when they aren't even close to powerful enough to use more than 512mb. People see more memory, think it's better and buy it.
Well some people do run super high resolution monitors that do get a slight boost from the extra ram, but its more useful in SLI or crossfire setups where it is restricted to using the memory on the first card, when you take these setups and high resolution monitors sometimes the card cant run the game. There are several titles where the GTX295 which has 898MB of ram for each of the GPUs crashes when attempting to run at 2560x1600 because it doesnt have enough memory.
The main selling point for having lots of graphics memory, bragging rights. It also lets the manufacturers move the price wayy up, because it will still sell. Games do require more VRAM as time goes on so a 1GB card is a good investment even if you are only at 1280x1024 for now.
Take a look at this review, they do it once in a while and it shows a nice comparison between 4870s with different levels of VRAM.
but its more useful in SLI or crossfire setups where it is restricted to using the memory on the first card
This is not quite true. The memory on both cards is used it's just that if you match up two cards with differing amounts of memory, like a 1gb HD4870 with a 512mb one, then the card with more memory will not be able to use more than the other card.
The real problem is that the memory on each card is largely storing the same information because each GPU needs access to the same info in order to work together. This can cause problems for something like crossfiring 2 HD5750s or 2 512mb HD4850s. The cards when crossfired are similar in processing power to an HD5850 but the effective memory bandwidth is half of that, the same as only one HD5750 or HD4850.