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GPU upgrade options. Second 4890 or upgrade to 5870

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January 30, 2010 2:18:48 AM

I'm craving more performance after building a gaming rig for a client which leaves my own system in the dust.
The clients system runs a Phenom II 965BE and 2 x Radeon 5770s.
My system runs a Phenom II 955BE and 1 x Radeon 4890.

I'm gaming at 1920x1200 at present and I feel that the single 4890 is just adequate. The two 5770s were very fluid at that resolution.

I like compact machines so have built my system around an AMD 785 m-atx motherboard in a m-atx case so cannot cheaply add a second card in Crossfire.

I have identified two upgrade options with indicative costs and would like your opinions on which to go for.

1 - Replace the 4890 with a 5870 - NZ$650
2 - Replace the motherboard and case and add a second 4890 - NZ$600

The two 4890s will out-perform the 5870 but the 5870 supports eyefinity and dx11.
The real question is whether dx11 support is worth the extra cost for less power.
January 30, 2010 7:45:01 AM

If u already have 4890 then just continue it, your card is still a monster.
But if u have money then i guess it's not a problem to buy 5870, less heat, less power consumption and dx11 ability...
With 5870, u will survive for a long enough time... :)  (i think)
U might want to upgrade your CPU to maximize the 5870's performance.
January 30, 2010 8:07:12 AM

Two 7890 will perform on-par with GTX 295.
But will use lot of Power and will give out much heat
A single Radeon 5870 is the fastest Single GPU on planet(Don't know about other planets)

I would suggest you to wait a bit
The 5830 is coming and is supposed to be in the same league of 4890/275
Adding DirectX11


GooD LucK
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January 30, 2010 8:52:27 AM

i say hd 5850 it is better than gtx 285 and cheaper
January 30, 2010 8:53:29 AM

dualblade said:
i say hd 5850 it is better than gtx 285 and cheaper


Who said anything about GTX 285
January 30, 2010 11:04:44 AM

my vote is with the HD5870, less heat less power usage, DX11 eyefinity blah blah blah.........

January 30, 2010 6:45:23 PM

Quote:
my vote is with the HD5870, less heat less power usage, DX11 eyefinity blah blah blah.........


I'm thinking that way now too, the 5870 still has a ton of power and I can then move the 4890 into my backup rig which currently has a 4850 in it.
I don't have any use for a spare case and mobo if I go the crossfire route.

But...
I've always been less than satisfied with the single midrange cards I used to buy - Radeon 9600 to Geforce 6600 to (a few years of XBOX 360) to Radeon 4850- but then still didn't get the performance I was after from the 4890.
Will I ever be happy with a single card or should I put a crossfire rig together anyway?
I couldn't believe how well the two "cheap" 5770's performed in my client's rig.

The 4890 is "OK" for now and I can wait a few months before upgrading the card, the only hurry would be to grab another 4890 before they vanish forever.
January 30, 2010 6:54:24 PM

I think you'd be happy with a 5870 its the fatest single GPU ever
January 30, 2010 7:01:28 PM

2x 4890 is what i have and its better than 5870. Its logical to go for 2x4890 if you already have 1 and would go to beef up performance at ~$200.

Starting from none 5870 is a logical direction considering the following advantages:
1) You run with a single card with close performance as 2x 4890
2) Power saving is a lot better on 5870. A single 4890 consumes ~90W more at max load.
3) In the future you still have provision for growth for crossfire(add another ATI card).

Below is the benchmark for an OC 5870 vs crossfire 4890

http://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] ,2481.html

Below is the benchmark for video card vs scaling cost(tomshardware)


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,...

Do some reading and make your decision

January 30, 2010 8:38:11 PM

Quote:
So, given the choice between the a reference Radeon HD 5870 or CrossFire'd 4890s, would you prefer smooth performance and DirectX 11 support or smoother performance and no DirectX 11? On top of that, the 4890s in CrossFire used far more power under load than the reference Radeon HD 5870. While a compelling argument can be made for either choice, this editor might choose the single Radeon HD 5870 for efficiency, simplicity, and future-proofing. However, from a pure price/performance standpoint, two Radeon HD 4890's in CrossFire can't be beat--especially considering scant Radeon HD 5870 availability.


Thanks for that, I do now recall reading that review but it wasn't something I was considering at the time.
As mentioned above the two options come at a similar cost for me as I don't currently have a crossfire capable rig so need to purchase a new mobo and case as well as the second 4890.

I don't only game on this machine the huge difference in idle power and temps is a key consideration.
I'll sit tight for a few months and upgrade to a 5870 when I need dx11 support.
January 30, 2010 11:25:03 PM

5870 power consumption on idle is much less than 4890... :) 
No need to CF 4890, it's an old tech, it will produce a huge amount of heat.
Since your mobo doesn't support CF then upgrade only your card to 5870, u don't need to wait until u need dx11...
Well, that's my opinion, it's up to u then... :) 
January 30, 2010 11:47:32 PM

Id say 5870 is the easyest option considering you are going to spend so much anyway. Though one problem could be is if the 5870 will fit into your M-ATX case...

Getting a new motherboard, case and 4890 (maybe even a bigger PSU) would be alot of work in replacing components and reinstalling the OS.
January 31, 2010 2:13:21 AM

paperfox said:
Id say 5870 is the easyest option considering you are going to spend so much anyway. Though one problem could be is if the 5870 will fit into your M-ATX case...

Getting a new motherboard, case and 4890 (maybe even a bigger PSU) would be alot of work in replacing components and reinstalling the OS.


Shouldn't be a problem, the 4890 is a big card too and fits fine in the mini-tower (Coolermaster elite 340).
For the crossfire option I have a corsair tx-650 PSU which I'm sure would cope with two 4890's. I also remembered that I do have a Thermaltake Matrix mid-tower case running as a server with a m-atx mobo so could swap the systems around to save a few $$ but the hassle probably isn't worth it and I would prefer to go for an Antec Two or Three Hundred, or try a new budget gaming case from Aywun - http://www.aywun.com/ProductDetails.asp?ID=89
January 31, 2010 6:33:11 PM

paperfox said:
Id say 5870 is the easyest option considering you are going to spend so much anyway. Though one problem could be is if the 5870 will fit into your M-ATX case...


Holy crap, the 5870 is a huge card, looks bigger than the 4890 (11" vs 9.5"?)
The Coolermaster case only has two 3.5" drive bays so has the full case depth available for Gfx slot. I'll check but it should be fine.
Otherwise the 5850 is a smaller card and a fair bit cheaper.
January 31, 2010 6:36:03 PM

wa1 said:

U might want to upgrade your CPU to maximize the 5870's performance.


Would a Phenom II 955 bottleneck a 5870 at 1920x1200?
I'm running it at 3.4GHz now at stock voltage and can overclock to 3.7Ghz without much of a voltage boost.
January 31, 2010 7:17:09 PM

Depends on the game and settings. The only way to be sure is to try the game at low OC and then at high and see if FPS improve much. In most games the difference will be negligible, in high CPU games it may help some.
January 31, 2010 10:41:40 PM

Thanks for that, I think - Fail????

I'm aware of the performance of the two systems and was looking for opinions on the relative merits of the two options specifically weighing up the cost, power and features (dx11).
Adding a second 4890 is cheaper for a more powerful system which uses more power at idle and doesn't support dx11.

BTW the link you posted doesn't work.
February 1, 2010 12:27:49 AM

That's just a quote from up above. I posted the corrected link about half way up.
February 1, 2010 1:06:21 AM

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say... just overclock the damn 4890 and save for a 5970. At 1GHz core clock the 4890 should gain about 15-20% performance, which are slightly below a 4870 X2 or 5870 and a little above a 5850.

Also, remember that 2 4890s can overclock too.
February 1, 2010 1:07:57 AM

You can always sell your 4890 for some money to go towards the 5870 to save some cash.
Replacing the motherboard and case just to add another 4890 seems kind of a hassle.
February 1, 2010 5:35:09 AM

Thanks everyone.
I've just run my system with a second 4890 through Corsair's PSU calculator and it recommends a minimun 750w.
I certainly don't want to replace my PSU as well or want a such a power hungry system so I'll stick with the single card setup, the 4890 for as long as I can and then upgrade to a 5870 or whatever is the best option at the time.

I will look to build my next rig with crossfire capabilities though.
February 1, 2010 10:59:38 AM

Niether; no point to CFing when everything can already be run at max with a single 4890, and the 5870 isn't a big enough performance jump to justify replacing the 4890.
February 1, 2010 5:47:10 PM

EXT64 said:
That's just a quote from up above. I posted the corrected link about half way up.


I Fail
February 1, 2010 6:01:52 PM

That link and this post was impressive help in a good way. Made me notice that the 5870 LCS needs a liquid cooling system. I hope thats notthe case for the Sapphire Vapor-X HD 5870. I'm wondering how much of a performance boost could you adjust to the 5870 ? I know the 5970 is able to boost up to 12-17% in performance. Aswell, I've realized that AA and AF bring down the FPS in single slotted GC's. Odd in a way but im no computer engineer, i believe with AA & AF the single GC has to work more and use more energy and has a heavier load, and on the other hand having your GC in CF, i guess both of the cards cause less load and a better ability to perform harder with the AA and AF application. I hope I wasn't to confussing there, but I hope to be notified if i'm right or wrong. Or possibly never consider being an computer engineer as my occupation.
February 1, 2010 7:22:37 PM

The Vapor X is air cooled (Its Vapor chamber is its specialty).
February 12, 2010 4:20:27 AM

Oh well, I've just confirmed my decision.
I've broken my 4890 while fitting a new heatsink to shut the noisy thing up, one of the VRM's has cracked and the PC won't POST with it installed. I'm not thrilled about it but I was never happy with the performance, heat or noise of the card and I bought it after the price drops anyway.

5870 here we come.
February 12, 2010 4:39:02 AM

Freakykiwi said:
I'm craving more performance after building a gaming rig for a client which leaves my own system in the dust.
The clients system runs a Phenom II 965BE and 2 x Radeon 5770s.
My system runs a Phenom II 955BE and 1 x Radeon 4890.

I'm gaming at 1920x1200 at present and I feel that the single 4890 is just adequate. The two 5770s were very fluid at that resolution.

I like compact machines so have built my system around an AMD 785 m-atx motherboard in a m-atx case so cannot cheaply add a second card in Crossfire.

I have identified two upgrade options with indicative costs and would like your opinions on which to go for.

1 - Replace the 4890 with a 5870 - NZ$650
2 - Replace the motherboard and case and add a second 4890 - NZ$600

The two 4890s will out-perform the 5870 but the 5870 supports eyefinity and dx11.
The real question is whether dx11 support is worth the extra cost for less power.


I vote for the 4890/mobo/case combo... a 5870 aint going to give you earth shattering results, specially in Dirt2 :lol: 

Unless you are on the lookout for the DX11 titles there is no reason to spend all that cash on a card that gets beat by dual 4890's ;)  , specially when you are upgrading the mobo/case... IDK, this is just my opinion :) 
February 12, 2010 5:10:07 AM

Since you broke the 4890, 5870 is the way to go.

HOWEVER, to put ure mind at ease:-

Sum of FPS Benchmarks 1920x1200 with anti aliasing and 8AA (High Quality)
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-card...
And it shows that:-
5870 is @ 260 FPS.
2 x 5770 CF is @ 262 FPS.
2 x 4890 CF is @ 301 FPS.
Therefore, 2 x 5770s' equal a single 5870 and 2 x 4890's are 15% faster.
However, 2 x 4890's dont have DX11, the idle power is so much more, the heat issues would've been a nightmare, ud've have to rebuild the system, etc.

IMO, NZ $50 more and 15% less performance is worth so much less of a hassle over the life of 2 x 4890's.



On a side note, a single 5970 (essentially 2 x 5870's CF) scores 313 FPS, just 20% more than a single 5870.

Not really worth it, IMO.



Good luck, u kiwi.
February 12, 2010 5:14:06 AM

1 more thing I wanted to add - with a single 5870 equaling 2 x 5770's CF, ull enjoy the same performance you loved on ure clients system. ;) 
February 12, 2010 9:51:01 AM

I've switched back to my 4850 in the meantime and even though performance is quite a bit lower (35fps vs 50fps in Dirt2@1920x1200-4xAA) it doesn't look any worse to me as the 4890 was still not smooth enough.

It looks like I really need over 60fps to get the smoothness I'm after which the 5870, or even the 5850, will provide with current titles.

I don't want to waste money and overshoot by too much either as I can't see PC titles getting any more demanding while the enines are largely being designed and optimised for 4-5 year old consoles before being ported across.
!