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Best chipset and processor for Crossfiring dual HD5870 graphics cards?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 6, 2010 12:50:23 PM

I have a bit of a problematic situation here.

I asked on another forum for a recommendation for a system upgrade. I'm still considering whether to go for it or not.

At the moment I'm using a Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66Ghz 1066FSB processor on an ASUS SKT-775 P5B S/L 1066FSB.

It was suggested that I upgrade to a Core i5 750 2.66Ghz quad on a Gigabyte motherboard. The cost including 4gb of DDR3 ram would be about £370.

I had also considered purchasing a bundle deal containing a Core i7 920 on an x58 motherboard with 6 gb of DDR3 ram. The cost for that would be £500 or so.

Now, the issue is that I read the Tom's Hardware CPU guide.

"Also, since the CPUs hold the PCI-E controller, it is currently impossible to have a 16X-16X SLi or Crossfire array, which will likely bottleneck high-end graphics solutions well before the CPU performance does."

Specifically that part, referring to the LGA-1156 socket.
So if I understand correctly, I'd have problems with Crossfire. I plan on getting a HD5870 graphics card. Then later on getting a second one and crossfiring them.

I believe the HD5870 requires a x16 PCI-e 2.0 slot. Would that not mean that I'd need TWO x16 slots for a proper crossfire arrangement? And also it seems it wouldn't work with that Core i5 even if I did have two such slots!

So, should I get the Core i5 or not? Should I get Core i7 920?

Or... should I perhaps get the Core i5, but instead of 5870s, get a single HD5970? Would that be fine with a Core i5, LGA-1156 socket type, and motherboard with only one x16 slot?

What's the most cost effective solution that would last me for a few years with excellent gaming performance?
a c 376 U Graphics card
March 6, 2010 12:57:48 PM

An i5 would be fine, although OCing it would be a good idea. If I remember properly a x8 crossfire setup only marginally affects HD5870s, under 5% performance difference.
March 6, 2010 1:07:47 PM

But if I wanted to be prepared for the next gpu upgrade after that? Hopefully that wouldn't be for a few years, but just in case...
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a c 376 U Graphics card
March 6, 2010 1:19:12 PM

I guess i7 then. Make sure the motherboard is actually dual x16 though. Those boards tend to be expensive.
March 6, 2010 6:29:13 PM

Thanks for that.

It's been suggested in another thread on here that I should get an AMD Phenom II X4 instead. What do you think of that? Apparantly it wouldn't have the PCI-e controller problem of the Core i5 but I'm not sure how it compares in terms of performance. Roughly similar, I think...
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