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Best graphics card for my system?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 18, 2010 4:06:41 AM

Hi guys,

I have a Q6600 Dell machine with 8GB of DDR2 ram. Recently the 8800 GTX that came with the machine died and it is out of warranty so I'm looking at replacement options.

They are:
5850
5770
5750
5670
4870

Whatever the card is, I would like it to be at least as fast as the 8800 GTX, but preferably twice as fast. I would like to game at 1800x1440 on Max details as that is the resolution of my old school 21" CRT beast. I have a pretty limited budget and I'm pretty sure 5850 is going to be pushing it a little.

Other considerations:
-Fermi release date? Should I hold out for a fermi? Get the cheapest card ($20) now and wait until Fermi is released and for the midrange derivative to come out?
-CPU bound? Don't want to get a card that is CPU bounded by the Q6600.
-DirectCompute? I know AMD has OpenCL, but no CUDA and unsure about DirectCompute after some googling. I would prefer to get NVidia so I can learn and play on these languages but probably OpenCL is good enough.
-Linux support? Is it good now?

Thanks in advance.

More about : graphics card system

February 18, 2010 4:17:46 AM

At those resolutions, the HD 5770 wouldn't perform as good as the HD 5850. So the 5850 for sure, or if possible the 5770/5750 either one crossfired could come close to the HD 5870 or a bit faster.
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a b U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 4:50:00 AM

4890 or 5830 (don’t know when it’s supposed to come out, was Feb 5th but got held back) would be a good choice. 5850 has the best bang for the buck out of all the high end cards and should be good for your resolution and CPU.

Fermi is supposed to come out at the end of March, last I’ve heard. Most likely they won’t be cheap compared to ATIs cards for a few months as supply will be very low and demand for the cards will be high because of everyone else that have been waiting.
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a b U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 5:02:25 AM

Fermi is having massive issues... i mean seriously massive, theres a thread on it somewhere... yields in single digits, and chips not even reaching original expected specifications... expected to launch around point of 5970, and still get its arse spanked...

Out of those cards go with the 5850, if you can afford, otherwise the 5770
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a c 175 U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 5:31:30 AM

OP, you talked about coding, so if you want to be doing that you'll need an Nvidia card. More expensive then the AMD cards, but if you have to you have to right? GTX260 216 minimum, the GTS275 if you can.

Pineapple, I believe the 116% figure was comparing it to the 5870, not the 5890. (reading now I believe you meant the price point of the 5970...) I'm also not convinced that the Geforce cards will come with 448 shaders. The workstation cards will come with those, but thats because they will run CUDA most of the time and get to hot. I still expect the Geforce 480 to come with 512, unless things have got a lot worse.
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February 18, 2010 6:08:22 AM

I think the 5850 is the best way to go. I have one and it runs awesome! Beats the GTX 285!
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a b U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 11:22:48 AM

@OP openCL is not an ati thing, it is a cross vendor, cross platform sdk for GPGPU

i would recommend the 5850
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February 18, 2010 11:45:34 AM

4745454b said:
OP, you talked about coding, so if you want to be doing that you'll need an Nvidia card. More expensive then the AMD cards, but if you have to you have to right? GTX260 216 minimum, the GTS275 if you can.

Pineapple, I believe the 116% figure was comparing it to the 5870, not the 5890. (reading now I believe you meant the price point of the 5970...) I'm also not convinced that the Geforce cards will come with 448 shaders. The workstation cards will come with those, but thats because they will run CUDA most of the time and get to hot. I still expect the Geforce 480 to come with 512, unless things have got a lot worse.


I don't know why you say I need an nVidia card, and a GTX260 216 at the minimum? I think AMD runs OpenCL and maybe DirectCompute just fine. No CUDA though, but that's a proprietary language anyway. nVidia cards are still stuck at DX 10.1 which means no DirectCompute. Most likely I'd write code in either OpenCL or DirectCompute because that would be hardware independent, unlike CUDA.

If Fermi was available today I would purchase one over AMD, probably, because I do like nVidia's CUDA for all the CUDA and physix enabled games out there. But today, I'm not willing to go to a technology that dates back a few years all the way to the introduction of 8800 GTX, and that is why I've only included AMD on my list.

Okay, so it looks like 5850 is what everyone recommends. Should I get that or get a pair of 5770? It looks the 5770s beats 5850, but also costs a bit more too. I'm leaning towards a 5770 to start with the flexibility to upgrade to a second one later. Although, I said the same thing when I had my one 8800 GTX but never found it worth while to "upgrade" by buying a second one at some obscene price, like $300 back then.

decisions, decision... :pt1cable: 
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Best solution

a c 175 U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 12:59:03 PM

I wrote what I wrote because of when you said this.

Quote:
I know AMD has OpenCL, but no CUDA and unsure about DirectCompute after some googling. I would prefer to get NVidia so I can learn and play on these languages


This made me believe you want to try programing CUDA apps. If you don't want to program CUDA, then don't worry about Nvidia. AMD will run OpenCL and DC just fine.

I'm never sure of CF/SLI. Yes for gaming the CF setup of 5770 can outperform the 5850, but will your apps show the same scaling? Does it matter if they do/don't? Your apps might be better off with the faster single card. You might need to research this.
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February 18, 2010 1:24:40 PM

Best answer selected by poached.
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February 18, 2010 1:30:51 PM

Thanks! That really helps with the single vs dual cards dilemma. Yeah, I need to look into if there are any difficulties with two cards with programming, though I think the drivers will just take care of it. Otherwise games will have to be made CF aware (humm maybe that they are.)
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a b U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 5:55:53 PM

well with opencl its a little different, you actually poll to see what devices you have that can use opencl

the 2 gpu's, even in crossfire, would look like 2 separate gpus (this includes X2 cards), so your program would have to know how to use multiple cards, though it is a little obscured by opencl

not sure about DirectCompute, haven't looked into that
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February 22, 2010 7:55:41 PM

Does anyone know if the nVidia 630 chipset supports crossfire?
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a c 175 U Graphics card
February 22, 2010 11:00:51 PM

Nvidia 630? Is that something below the 650? No Nvidia chipset will support CF. They only support SLI.
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