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ATI 4870 vs 5770 vs Nvidia GTX 260 Core 216

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 10, 2010 11:02:52 PM

Basically I'm having a controversy here... which to go with.

I'm getting all sorts of different answers from different places, why one is better, why the other is etc. And I was wondering if I could get some quick advice on which you personally find to be a better buy and why?

I'm going to be using this comp mainly for gaming/partial autocad use for business. Other specs will be as follows.

- Intel i5 750
- G.Skill PC3-12800 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24
- OCZ 500W PSU (May increase)
- ASUS P7P55D
- WD 1TB

Gaming will most likely run in 1920*1200 max resolution. I have a 22" CRT.

For the price difference is it really worth getting the 5770 over the 4870? I've heard the 4870 performs just as well and is generally $40 cheaper.

Thanks for the help in advance.
a b U Graphics card
January 10, 2010 11:09:39 PM

4870 is the cheapest and performs the same as the other two.
5770 performs the same/slightly worse but supports dx11, uses less power, and produces less heat
Get the GTX260 if it costs the same as the 4870 and you want physX, but generally the 260 is overpriced.
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January 10, 2010 11:20:44 PM

Thanks for the quick reply.

I'm leaning towards what you mentioned because of the cost savings/virtually same performance. However what I should mention is that I plan to use this computer for the next 2-3 years. Would it be wise to go with the 5770 just for the safety of the DX11... or should I just ignore that fact and stick with the 4870.

Obviously you can't make all the decisions for me, but advice is always appreciated.

Thanks.
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a b U Graphics card
January 10, 2010 11:32:27 PM

^ In that case, get the 5770!
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January 10, 2010 11:36:22 PM

Unfortunately I can't use Newegg because they do not ship to Canada so I will be forced to use local vendors. However, the 5770 is only about $30-40 more so I think the upgrade might be worth it.
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a c 230 U Graphics card
January 10, 2010 11:41:50 PM

CAD user and rare gamer here

The 260 is the best performer of the bunch but the 5770 has "set the price" for the category and to my mind all three are way to high. The 5770 is a good buy at $140. The 4870 is good at $150 and the 260 at $155. But all of them are over $175 last time I looked (excluding no name cards)

As far DX11, none of them can do DX11 ...at least not on your 1920 x 1200 monitor. Yeah I know that the 5770 has a DX11 label slapped on it but if you read the THG review for Dirt2, even w/ the game's modest DX11 implementation, it simply can't play the game at 1920 x 1200 and maintain a minimum frame rate above 25 fps. Before there's a slew of "driver update" posts, the cards shortcoming is its bandwidth.

So you're left with DX9/10 performance and here the 260 / 4870 are about 10% faster than the 5770.

The value of the 5770 in particular is clearly not going to be in its performance. Compared to AMD’s 4870, it loses well more than it wins, and if we throw out Far Cry 2, it’s around 10% slower overall. It also spends most of its time losing to NVIDIA’s GTX 260, which unfortunately the 4870 didn’t have so much trouble with. AMD clearly has put themselves in to a hole with memory bandwidth, and the 5770 doesn’t have enough of it to reach the performance it needs to be at.

If you value solely performance in today’s games, we can’t recommend the 5770. Either the 4870 1GB or the GTX 260 would be the better buy.

Our jobs would be made much easier if AMD had either made the 5770 perform at parity with the 4870, or made the 5770 cheaper. Right now on a good deal we can swing a 4870 for $140, while the 5770 will be sticking to $160. That’s 14% more for a card that performs 10% worse. If we take a linear extrapolation, the 5770 needs to be at around $130 to win on performance alone, or at the very least $140 so that we can talk solely about the 10% performance loss versus the extra functionality of the 5770.

So here’s the bottom line for the 5770: Unless you absolutely need to take advantage of the lower power requirements of the 40nm process (e.g. you pay a ton for power) or you strongly believe that DirectX 11 will have a developer adoption rate faster than anything we’ve seen before for DirectX, the 1GB 4870 or GTX 260 is still the way to go.


But again, with all the cards in this category overpriced, I'd recommend upping the ante to the $200 category in the list below. If you want future proof w/ DX11, I'd say the entry point for 1920 x 1200 is the 5850 but even that's going to be strained with the games of XMas 2011 if not 2010. Here's the results of THG's December roundup. I'd ook at the options in bold.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-310-5970,24...

Here's the "winners" from THG's latest (December) GFX Roundup
Best Graphics Cards For The Money: December '09

$50 - HD 4650
$65 - HD 4670 / 9600 GSO
$85 - 9600 GT
$95 - 9800 GT / HD 4830
$110 - GTS 250 512 MB
$120 - GTS 250 1 GB
$155 - HD 5770 / GTX 260
$200 - HD 4890
$240 - 2 x GTS 250
$310 - No winner (HD 5850 Honorable Mention)

$330 - 2 x GTX 260 / 2 x HD 5770
$400 - 2 x HD 4890
$410 - No winner (HD 5870 Honorable Mention)
$465 - No winner (GTX 295 Honorable Mention)
$625 - No winner (HD 5970 Honorable Mention)

As for the 2-3 years, I'd be more comfortable with a i7 (920), especially for CAD, and a CPU / GFX upgrade at the 2 year mark....I think that would give you 2-4 years of productive usage.
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January 10, 2010 11:51:24 PM

Thanks JackNaylorPE I appreciate the detailed feedback.

Since I am limited by my ~$1000 budget I think the i7 920 is out of my budget. Upgrading my i5 750 to that is an increase of about 120 which puts me above where I would like to be.

This will be for the large part a gaming computer with only casual CAD use. This is my home computer and my office computer can more than handle it. I will only be using this for some part time work on the side and I think it should be able to handle it.

However, I may still look at the HD 4890 and the higher cards as you have given.

Right now I am using a AMD 2000+ with 512MB ram and a RADEON 9250 and it can minimally handle CAD, so this should be a very noticeable upgrade.

Thanks again.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
January 11, 2010 12:43:35 AM

Jack is on a one man crusade against the HD5770 for some reason. He quotes articles based on outdated pricing and beta drivers while giving pure speculation as to how future games will perform with DX11. Best ignored imo.
The two cards you should be considering are the HD5770 and HD4890. The other cards in the $150-200 price range just aren't a good buy at the moment unless you are able to find a particularly good deal. Which of the two you should buy depends on your priorities with the HD5770 being cheaper and DX11 compatible as well as very power efficient/cool. The HD4890 performs 15-20% better at your resolution.
If you are considering crossfire in the future I would lean towards the HD5770 as the power efficiency/heat factor becomes doubly important and 2 in crossfire give similar performance to an HD5870.
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January 11, 2010 2:10:57 AM

I am looking to buy now and in same boat.

right now prices are widely out of whack.

The ATI 4xxx series are all being discontinued. Once sold there are no more, so prices going up as supplies go down.

There was a article on best cards for money in december, its already incorrect.

as of tonight 10 jan 10

decent 4870 is $180-$190 with only 2 brands left on newegg even for sale now.

4890 at $210-220

Gxt260 over $200, most 210-240

the 5850 is on sale at dell for $250 and newegg for $300+

the 275 and higher no one would buy as same price as the 5850 or even higher which is just odd.


Nvidia has lost hope of selling atm given the higher pricing for comparable ati cards, in some cases tonight $100 higher for nvidia, again just odd pricing.

I am seriously thinking taking that dell deal for the 5850 even though wanted spend only $150 ish. there just isnt a decent card for higher resolution at $150 right now, per all the tons research I have done.

I have to buy tomorrow and I am still undecided yself.

good luck.
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