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Hardware Opinions for upgrade

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 18, 2010 4:28:33 PM

All,
I wanted to bounce a scenario off of you guys, and see what your opinion is. It’s been since April of ’08 since I preformed my last update and I very noticeable jump moving to the 8800 GTS (G92), but not so much with the SLI. Lately when playing STALKER call of pripyat (the 1st Direct X 11 game) I started noticing frame-rate drops. So, lately I have been scouring the Anandtech, and Tom’s Hardware boards reading up.

Anywho, to make a long story short, I think I may be moving to upgrade my video card when I get my tax returns. This may also include the purchase of a new tower due to the length of the cards, but I am at this point not moving on that.

Currently I am still running the ASUS P-5D motherboard with the 750i chipset. And I am considering moving to a single card solution with the Radeon 5850 or 5870. Right now I am looking more towards the 5850 due to its price point, but mostly all of the reviews I am reading the benchmarks just are not falling in line when compared to the 8800 GTS (G92) when in SLI mode. I want to know if any you know anyone who is currently running the 5850, 5870, or even the 5970 and if you have any thoughts on it. Personally the 5970 would be the way to go I think, but there is no way I am going to drop $700+ on a card, so I am looking at the Sapphire Toxic. Note: I don’t overclock usually, so I am ok with spending the premium on a stocked over clocked video card.

Also I wanted to know your thoughts about running an ATi product on the 750i chipset, and if I will be looking at experiencing issues. Pretty much I have ruled out upgrading to a NVIDIA card unless I move my plan to May. I have also been looking at switching out the motherboard as well to match the chip set, and also solve the issue of one of my graphics cards covering the SATA ports (Though if moving to a single card solution this will not be an issue).

Note: The only thing keeping me from a full system overhaul is pricing. Everything I am coming up with is around the $1300 mark, and with my current quad core CPU, the price to performance ratio just isn’t there. Though the DDR3 memory is having a pull on me; though going with a memory upgrade, I would have to look at upgrading my mother board as well. Doing so quickly launched the price up another $400-$600 dollars. And I still may be left holding that DDR3 memory in my hand if later I decide to move upgrade my, CPU next year.
a c 376 U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 4:44:30 PM

Definitely don't bother with DDR3 until you upgrade the processor. The performance difference will be marginal on a core 2 quad.
Personally I think you should change your mind about overclocking. Both the C2Q and the HD5850 can OC like crazy and it should greatly increase your gaming performance over the stock settings. It's not particularly hard to do.
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February 18, 2010 4:56:37 PM

Yeah I have not overclocked since the k6-2 days when it was all jumper based. I know there are tons of guides for it, but running at faster than factory settings can lead to instability and shortening of the life of your hardware, so I usually shy away from it. Basically I am more concerned with the move from 8800 GTS (G92) in SLI to a 5850 or 5870 and if it is worth it, I mean will I see a difference (running at 1650X1080 Res). And if the card will run ok given the 750i chipset.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 5:05:10 PM

Overclocking is worlds easier these days and all done through the BIOS(for the cpu) and OCing a video card is even easier. It's also much safer and shouldn't be avoid because you are worried about your hardware. The only thing that will cause a problem is pushing things too far voltage/heat-wise and you have to purposely be reckless to do that so it is easily avoided. Even if you try to damage your CPU it is almost impossible these days as the chips have a built-in shut off temperature. It's just wasteful not to OC at this point really.
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February 18, 2010 5:17:35 PM

ok good point but I think talking about overclocking is skirting the issue hear and doesn't answer my question. I realize I can overclock, and I may do this. Even so, what are your opinion of performance of a move from 8800 GTS (G92) in SLI to a 5850 or 5870 and if it is worth it, I mean will I see a difference (running at 1650X1080 Res). Note: I am also running Win 7 - 64bit.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 5:44:39 PM

At 1680x1050 I doubt there will be a very noticeable difference except perhaps in Crysis. What you have now should be rather great for that resolution.
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February 18, 2010 5:53:25 PM

Hmm.. Dang Wonder why I am getting the frame rate drops in STALKER Then. Anyway thanks for the help. I guess now I look into overclocking instead of dropping $300 on an upgrade that will not help. Thanks.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 6:01:37 PM

Stalker is the most intensive game around short of Crysis I wouldn't worry about it too much. Try turning shadows or AA down a tad. Alternately play in DX9 mode rather than DX10. Here's some benchmarks on an HD5870;
http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,700136/Stalker-Call-...
The first chart is at your resolution and even that card drops below 30 fps in DX10 mode.
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February 18, 2010 6:13:46 PM

Thanks, I have AA off right now, and in DX9 mode and I see drops while moving around in day and night time. The game was still playable though, but with Metro 2033 around the corner, I thought a move to a better GPU might fix my issue.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 6:21:09 PM

I wouldn't expect Metro 2033 to be anywhere near as GPU intensive. Stalker and Crysis are the most intensive games around because they are PC only while almost all other games(including Metro 2033) are also on consoles and are designed with that limited hardware in mind.
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