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ATI HD5970 Choice? XFX or Sapphire?

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Overclocking
  • Sapphire
  • Software
  • Graphics
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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 23, 2010 9:00:26 PM

Hi guys, I now have a Gigabyte 5970 and I am planning to buy a second one to go X-fire. I don't really like the Giga 5970 because it doesn't have any game bundles or overclocking software. Instead, I am thinking the Sapphire 5970. Appearently it uses the Vapor-X technology. Is this true? I might also go for the XFX 5970 Black Edition, because it seems that they use hand-picked chips for the black edition which will increase the limits of overclocking. Both cards have overclocking software. Which one should I choose?

More about : ati hd5970 choice xfx sapphire

a b U Graphics card
a b K Overclocking
February 23, 2010 9:17:59 PM

XFX usually offers lifetime warranty. I have an XFX HD 4850 however I found their support to suck massively. The waiting period for a response is 1-2 days or longer, and often is met by a incompetent tech support member.

Issues I have had with my XFX HD 4850:
* Black and White display after driver update. Goes away sometimes then comes back for no apparent reason, I suspect it to be a bad driver configuration. Usually running driver sweeper, installing a previous version of the display driver will do the trick. Then re-updating the driver.
* Bad overclocking (Only overclocks 20 mhz for core, and around 50 mhz for memory)
* Shows up as 2x width link (out of a possible x16). A sappire HD 4850 I used to test confirms it's the XFX HD 4850 since the Sapphire card runs at 16x width link.
* Performance is slow considering clock speeds. Around 5%-10% slower then other GPU's with the same clock speeds.
* Does not crossfire. I have yet to confirm it is the XFX HD 4850 that is failing, but appears it probably is. (I get another HD 4850 tomorrow, so I will update you then if this problem is attributed to the XFX HD 4850.

Everytime I contacted XFX about an issue they gave me completely unthoughtful advice.

When I reported the lowered performance, they asked me run 3dmark06 etc when I had already told them I had run 3dmarkvantage and gave them the score.
They proceeded to ask me to reinstall drivers, which once again I had told them I had used driversweeper/windows uinstall system to remove the drivers.
Never once did they listen to my diagnostics.

When the 2x width link issue came up, not once was an RMA offered, I noticed performance decreases since I first had it.
Before it used to run fallout 3/oblivion among other games very easily and well. Now a days it lags with oblivion/fallout 3. Something which is bizarre considering my CPU/RAM/motherboard were all upgraded from before.. With the sapphire HD 4850 I notice none of these performance issues.
What was I told? reinstall drivers.

bleh I could go on but thats enough.

On better news Sapphire's support is pretty good. 3 hour average responses, 2 years warranty, and really good support that listens to their customers.

I brought up the crossfiring issue, and they led me step my step to things I had not checked before.
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February 23, 2010 9:25:02 PM

Thx for the reply, but that's a 4850.
Anyone here is using a Xfx or Sapphire 5970?
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a c 241 U Graphics card
a c 167 K Overclocking
February 23, 2010 11:02:23 PM

I don't think the quality of the tech support that you get varies by product. XFX has a great warranty but apparently, at least in the above user's experience, TS was rather ....shall we say '"slow and uninformed".

Saphire OTOH has a cozy relationship w/ ATI ... they get their hands on stuff first and have tweaked designs w/ special cooling available as a result.
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a c 180 U Graphics card
a b K Overclocking
February 23, 2010 11:19:12 PM

First, there is no Vapor-X version of the HD5970 yet.

Don't get another HD5970. If you read benchmarks you'll see very little performance gain, in fact you can often get a LOSS OF PERFORMANCE.

The money, noise and heat are a lot to sacrifice for a possible very small increase in performance.

Most games on the market will run at maximum detail with a framerate higher than your monitor can show anyway.

You do NOT need anything better (assuming your CPU is fast enough etc.)
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a c 180 U Graphics card
a b K Overclocking
February 23, 2010 11:25:58 PM

About Crossfire.

In case it's not perfectly clear, the HD5970 has two graphics chips. It is already running in Crossfire internally. If you add another HD5970 you have four graphics chips. Games don't handle this very well yet. Performance varies wildly because of this from one or two games with a big gain, to most with very little or no gain to games with a loss in performance.
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a c 180 U Graphics card
a b K Overclocking
February 23, 2010 11:30:43 PM

Overclocking.

When you have two cards in SLI or Crossfire, they have to overclock at the same rate. If one overclocks better (such as a Vapor-X model) it is held back because the other card would crash trying to get to the same level.

Crossfire or SLI will go with the LOWEST speed card so things are synched properly.

(There is a chip out that does split the information between cards and doesn't care that one is faster. It can mix NVidia and ATI. It's on the motherboard. MSI is testing it and the name escapes me. It is promising technology but it's a little too soon. A few more months and driver updates will make a difference. Unfortunately you need a new motherboard so that doesn't help this poster.)
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Best solution

a c 180 U Graphics card
a b K Overclocking
February 24, 2010 12:02:28 AM

If you have money-to-burn, here's my advice:

1) Get the U2711 monitor (new 27" 2560x1440, awesome reviews)
2) learn how to use a high resolution monitor (below)
3) Know that higher resolution monitors don't need AA as much. I found that 2XAA at 1600x1200 looked roughly the same as 4xAA on a lower resolution. Higher than 1600x1200 may not even need AA.
4) Aim to run games at just above 60FPS at least 80% of the time in benchmarks. Most monitors can only show 60FPS. You should have VSYNC enabled which means the game only processes at the screen frame rate. I've had older games running at 300FPS which is 5x what the screen can show! For these, I used ATITraytools and FORCED them to VSync. My CPU dropped (and GPU) to 25% from 100%!

High-res monitors:
-set monitor to its HIGHEST resolution such as 2560x1440
-Adjust DPI settings in Windows to scale up things (Windows 7 works best). For 1600x1200 or 1920x1080 the optimal is 144%.
-some games and programs need you to disable DPI for them. Right-click the main EXE file, Properties->"disable DPI..."
-it's better in most games to choose a higher resolution rather than AA. Experiment. At 2560x1440, Anti-Aliasing likely isn't needed.

The U2711 is expensive, but truly an awesome monitor. It's the best one on the market and the only one currently at it's price range. If I was considering a second HD5970 I'd put my money towards this monitor instead. Just awesome.

U2711:
- great contrast (deep blacks)
- great viewing angle
- colour is awesome
- response time/ghosting is great.
- the only negative in the reviews was the price and the fact you couldn't turn it 90degrees.
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February 24, 2010 6:03:09 AM

Wo, thx a lot, I'll be getting that Monitor then!
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February 24, 2010 10:37:18 AM

photonboy said:
If you have money-to-burn, here's my advice:

1) Get the U2711 monitor (new 27" 2560x1440, awesome reviews)
2) learn how to use a high resolution monitor (below)
3) Know that higher resolution monitors don't need AA as much. I found that 2XAA at 1600x1200 looked roughly the same as 4xAA on a lower resolution. Higher than 1600x1200 may not even need AA.
4) Aim to run games at just above 60FPS at least 80% of the time in benchmarks. Most monitors can only show 60FPS. You should have VSYNC enabled which means the game only processes at the screen frame rate. I've had older games running at 300FPS which is 5x what the screen can show! For these, I used ATITraytools and FORCED them to VSync. My CPU dropped (and GPU) to 25% from 100%!

High-res monitors:
-set monitor to its HIGHEST resolution such as 2560x1440
-Adjust DPI settings in Windows to scale up things (Windows 7 works best). For 1600x1200 or 1920x1080 the optimal is 144%.
-some games and programs need you to disable DPI for them. Right-click the main EXE file, Properties->"disable DPI..."
-it's better in most games to choose a higher resolution rather than AA. Experiment. At 2560x1440, Anti-Aliasing likely isn't needed.

The U2711 is expensive, but truly an awesome monitor. It's the best one on the market and the only one currently at it's price range. If I was considering a second HD5970 I'd put my money towards this monitor instead. Just awesome.

U2711:
- great contrast (deep blacks)
- great viewing angle
- colour is awesome
- response time/ghosting is great.
- the only negative in the reviews was the price and the fact you couldn't turn it 90degrees.


The only negative? I suggest you change reviewers. 2560x1440 isn't a standard resolution and is relatively new hardly any games support it natively.
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February 24, 2010 4:15:12 PM

When it comes to ATI chips, Sapphire is KING.
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February 24, 2010 4:43:37 PM

Are you sure? Because I will mainly go for overclocking. According to XFX's site the Black edition GPU can be pushed to 1GHz for the core and 6.0GHz for memory, this sounds promising....
What about Asus?
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February 24, 2010 5:23:58 PM

The Sapphire Vapor-X is an EXCELLENT hand-picked overclocker. I dunno if there is a 5970 Vapor out yet, tho...
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February 24, 2010 6:32:23 PM

No, I dont think there will be one coming out..
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a b U Graphics card
a b K Overclocking
February 24, 2010 6:42:53 PM

overclocker said:
Hi guys, I now have a Gigabyte 5970 and I am planning to buy a second one to go X-fire. I don't really like the Giga 5970 because it doesn't have any game bundles or overclocking software. Instead, I am thinking the Sapphire 5970. Appearently it uses the Vapor-X technology. Is this true? I might also go for the XFX 5970 Black Edition, because it seems that they use hand-picked chips for the black edition which will increase the limits of overclocking. Both cards have overclocking software. Which one should I choose?


Why would you need dual 5970's??

This smells like e-peen to me :lol: 
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February 24, 2010 7:34:27 PM

I agree, do NOT get another 5970, if you want, get a 5870, and even then the 3rd GPU really is almost a waste, but I found it bumps my min FPS which helps a lot. I agree with the monitor thing though, get a good monitor before you dump $700 into another card that isn't going to help that much. The U2711 is an excellent choice. I have a 300WFP and the 2560*1600 is awesome, I also have 2 26" VP2650wb monitors, and Eyefinity is UNREAL, it's awesome. You will be using the monitor long after the card is nothing but a paper weight.

PSU, CASE, and Monitors & speakers are the only 4 things that hold any kind of real value that you can put your money into computer wise so keep that in mind.

BTW, I didn't see what kind of monitor you have now. (I'll feel real stupid when you post a pic of 3 300wfps lol)
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February 24, 2010 7:42:00 PM

Quote:
XFX

Why?
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a b U Graphics card
a b K Overclocking
February 24, 2010 7:53:05 PM

If you are going to spend 700.00$ on a GPU it might as well be an XFX or Visiontek... You would not want to see that GPU die after the warranty is over...
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February 24, 2010 7:55:15 PM

I have a question, WHERE are you seeing these choices of 5970s?? I can't find ANY anywhere in stock.
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a b U Graphics card
a b K Overclocking
February 24, 2010 8:04:08 PM

microterf said:
I have a question, WHERE are you seeing these choices of 5970s?? I can't find ANY anywhere in stock.


The 5970's in general are out of stock ;)  , my questions still remains... Why dual 5970's??
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February 24, 2010 9:36:55 PM

yeah, get a 5870
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March 4, 2010 5:25:06 AM

Best answer selected by Overclocker.
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