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I am split between GPUs... Help/Opinion needed...

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February 4, 2010 3:29:48 PM

Noob here...

Ok i recently bought a Compaq CQ5320 from OfficeDepot cheap. I will upgrade the GPU and PSU but im stuck between these 2 cards...

The Ati 4870 and the Nvidia GTX 260 (216). As of now, im using a 1360 X 768 res but i want one of these cards because i plan to get a higher res monitor amd want a smooth framerate. Just FYI, i can get both within the same price rage of $150 - 160.

Ill be doing some gaming, HTPC and some video conversion.

Here are my questions...
1 - Which one is generally more compatible/reliable? I hear some things about Ati that make me nervous, especially with the 5000 series issues.
2 - Would having a AMD CPU make a difference with a Nvidia/Ati GPU? Example: Increased/decreased performance.
3 - Video conversion: IIRC Nvidia uses the CPU along with the GPU while the Ati GPU mainly uses the GPU. Would my CPU hinder the 260s conversion?
4 - The Corsair PSU i want to buy has only one PCI-E power connector and these cards have 2 power connectors. Do both need to be connected to power the card? If so, what do i do with the other slot with the PSUs 1 PCI-E connected?
5 - Overall, which one should i get?

Thank you for your time.
a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2010 3:53:16 PM

1 - You shouldn't notice any difference
2 - See #1
3 - Don't know ... although in either case, I think the video card would be more powerful than that CPU, and the CPU would be the weak link in the system
4 - Yes, both connectors need to be plugged in for those cards or they won't run. Don't buy the Corsair power supply. Definitely get one with two 6-pin power connectors. It's possible to jury-rig two molex (4-pin) power connectors to work as a 6-pin, but that's not a good long-term solution. If you're buying a power supply new, get one that has enough connectors.
5 - Either card should be fine. Personally, I'd get the 4870 because I own one and am very happy with it, plus it's cheaper. If you get the nvidia card, you do get the bonus of having PhysX support, which some people like but I really think is just a lot of hype about nothing.

6 - whichever card you get, make sure to get one with 1GB of memory, not 512MB. A 512MB card would be OK for your current monitor, but as you increase the screen size, it starts to bog down. (Also, don't worry about a 2GB card -- they are overkill for just about every situation possible and are a waste of money.


edit: oh yeah -- for this system, you might also consider ATI's 5770. It'll give you roughly the same performance as either of the cards you mentioned, plus it'll have DirectX 11 support, which could come in handy in a couple years if you're planning on keeping the system that long. It's also in the same price range. That's actually the card I would buy if it was open to anything.
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2010 4:02:27 PM

I'd also suggest getting the 5770 as capt_taco suggests !! - It also might run fine with the old PSU since they are much lower power consumption cards (108W Max usage) depending on the PSU that the system has in it currently ! (the 5770 uses only a single 6-pin connector because it only needs slightly more than the PCI-e bus can provide !)

and they are in the same price range as well - ( This HIS card for example is $152 after a $10 MIR including shipping )
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February 4, 2010 4:11:23 PM

I would suggest a 5770 as well, I have one and the card is a monster, 1680x1050 with all max settings in far-cry 2 still nets me about 30FPS, drops down to 20 in some areas.

My 5770 also OCd to 960 on the GPU (max ATI overdrive will allow, I feel like it has more left) and 1430 on the memory, I feel like I could reach 1445 memory, but I havent played with it much more. (FPS above is on stock clocks)
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February 4, 2010 4:16:33 PM

The 5770 card was originally what i was going to get until 2 of my friends told me of the issues it has since they both own one. I threw a single Google search and it wasnt just them with the horror stories. I went forum to forum to find this issue is widespread and all similar. Its the entire 5000 series (from what i understand) with the issues which is why i directed my attention the the 4870 and GTX 260.

And TBH, i really dont care for DX11 too much. Im within the $150 - 160 price range. I shouldve clarified, sorry...

But good stuff though, thanks for the replies...
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February 4, 2010 4:25:04 PM

I have had one issue on my 5770, when I enabled ATI overdrive at first it would clock my GPU down to 137MHz and my memory to 300MHz in idle, this caused instabilities all over the place and made my screen flash, even in desktop, however it was easily fixed by editing the overdrive profile and telling it to idle core at 400 and memory at 1200 (stock idle values). The newer 5 series cards with the latest 10.1 catalyst drivers seem to be doing much better.

Of the 2 you listed I would get the GTX 260, however keep in mind that both will suck up way more power than the 5770, and you will need a PSU with 2 PCI-E power ports, which is actually the reason I went with my 5770 over a GTX 260, another power port means more cords and a messier case (modular PSU here), and I have to say I couldnt be happier with my decision. DX 11 is nice too, good to know I am future proof.

EDIT: The overdrive issue was not present in XP, it only presented itself when I installed windows 7 64 bit last week.

EDIT x2: $165 with a $10 rebate

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2010 4:35:43 PM

Not sure what problem you are talking about but I can say I've had my 5770 since the begining of Dec and have not had any problems with it and its performance is fine (runs every game I have tried at decent FPS and high to very high settings at 1680x1050 resolution) and it runs very cool so very little heat build up in the system while gaming and is very quite since the fan speed rarely goes above 60%.
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2010 5:11:57 PM

I would feel pretty confident buying a 5770 now. What generally happens is that when a card first comes out, there are random issues and bugs that people discover. Then over the course of the next several months, that all gets fixed as the card manufacturer comes out with updated drivers, other hardware/software makers come out with their own updates and patches, and computer owners figure out how to fix known issues. By the time that process is over, everyone knows how to account for the new card and you don't find too many problems going forward.

The 5770 has been out for long enough that I'm pretty sure they've solved most of the bad problems. The 5850/5870/5970 are probably in the middle to end of that debugging process now, but you're not thinking of buying them anyway.
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2010 5:34:00 PM

My brothers 5770 in his new setup seems a really good card for the money :) 

You definitely don't want less than this model if you plan on gaming on a high res monitor + this one only draws about 17watts at idle so nice and cool n quiet for HTPC mode.
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a c 177 U Graphics card
February 4, 2010 6:10:34 PM

@ Con83: There's not much between the GTX260 and HD4870 performance wise but if you plan on playing any Physx enabled games (Batman AA or Mirrors Edge to name two) I'd go for the GTX260, if not, the HD4870 is less expensive.
Be very careful about the cooler, OEM cases are not usually very well ventilated and both the GTX260 and HD4870 can produce quite a lot of heat under load, try to find one that exhausts its heat outof the case to avoid potential issues.
Either card needs dual 6 pin PCI-E connectors to work and molex/PCI-E adaptors are a far from ideal solution and should be avoided.
If you are unhappy about a HD5770, do n't get one! You'll be constaintly worrying about every tiny glitch the system throws up until you are blaming it for all the worlds ills!
That said, mine has not missed a beat in a month. And it's very quiet. And it only needs a single power connector :) 
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February 4, 2010 6:16:41 PM

Concerning the 5770 issues - http://www.google.com/search?q=5770+ati+issues&ie=utf-8...

But i do understand that people with working cards arent gonna be complaining online about it. Its just, thats the most complains on diff forums ive seen for a card and its series brothers.

In anycase, would a 5770 be sufficient for 1920 X 1080 @ good framerates? Im still leaning towards GTX 260 BUT now that ive seen the power consumption numbers for the 5770 as well as the ability to stream TrueHD and DTS-MA via HDMI its become a contender. I may just bite the bullet on the 5770. Just need more input from other members.

Thanks for your replies!!!
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a c 177 U Graphics card
February 4, 2010 6:26:43 PM

To be brutally honest, the HD5770 is slower than the GTX260 or HD4870 at higher resolutions, see here:

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Powercolor/HD_5770_P...

Like most decisions, you will have to balance out what you need: Is the HD sound/DX11/Eyefinity/quiet/cool more valuable to YOU than a little more performance in games and/or Physx?
For me the deciding factors were noise and cooling: Mine never sounds louder than a humble Church mouse and is as cool as sunglasses-Critical for someone who works late and is often playing games at 3 A.M. :( 
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2010 6:39:23 PM

Just to throw a spanner in the works...

I had vaguely heard that the new 5830 is being released tomorrow. Maybe is worth hanging on a few days to see what it throws up. I understand it is meant to perform better than a 4890 for gaming.

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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2010 6:44:01 PM

Pailin said:
Just to throw a spanner in the works...

I had vaguely heard that the new 5830 is being released tomorrow. Maybe is worth hanging on a few days to see what it throws up. I understand it is meant to perform better than a 4890 for gaming.


Nope it's been pushed back to at least the 16th and even then will probably get pushed back again !! - besides with a price of $230 it is a bit out of the OP's mentioned budget !
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2010 6:49:28 PM

ah, ok - thanks for that.
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