I wanted to get some opinions on which route to take. What would be my advantages in crossfiring a pair of 5770's as opposed to getting a 5850? I've even entertained the idea of going with a 5870, but I don't really want to do that yet until I see the new nVidia line.
I don't like that the 5770 is a 128bit card, but I don't really know how much of a difference that is going to make.
So, if you had the option, which route would you choose and why?
While crossfiring two 5770s is technically going to be a little faster, it'll be more expensive, and you'll be more prone to random "issues" such as games not liking a dual-GPU setup. You'll also be using more power and generating a lot more heat. And if you ever want to upgrade, you have no option but to get rid of both 5770s and get something new. With the 5850, at least you'd have the option of adding a second one in crossfire OR getting a new single card.
Basically, any time you're starting from scratch and you can get comparable performance/price with a single card vs. two cards, go with the single card.
If you're considering the 5870 but the only thing stopping you is waiting for Nvidia, don't. Unless the pricing reports and specs have changed dramatically in the last week, it really sounds like all Nvidia did is build a $500 version of the 5850 and a $700 version of the 5870. If you want a 5870, the only real issue is whether you think it's worth $400 or not.
Just depends on your upgrade plan. Two 5770s will generally be faster than a 5850. The 128-bit interface is not as limiting as you think since the GDDR5 memory essentially provides twice the bandwidth as GDDR1/2/3/4 at the same speed. The higher core speeds helps to offset that somewhat and that's why it's about as fast as the 4870 which has GDDR5 and a 256-bit interface.
Anyway, I would go with a 5850 if you have the intention of adding another 5850 latter for even more performance. The trouble with me is, I didn't want to just go with a reference 5850 and was looking at the toxic (custom PCB and cooler), but it was priced the same as the cheapest 5870, so I started looking at the 5870s, and bought myself the Gigabyte Ultra Durable 5870. Yeah, spent more money then I was originally looking too, but it's such a shiny box and I'll be installing it tomorrow .
Anyway, two 5770s in crossfire makes pretty good financial sense as it's faster than a single 5850 most of the time, and even faster than the 5870 depending on the settings and setup. So it just depends on you.
Ahhh thanks for the help guys! I was looking at this chart, and saw that two 4890s are a better option than any of the three I was looking into. However, I think I also have read that the 4xxx series is pretty much an older generation and that it would be better to stay in the 5000 family.
I had to RMA one 5770 already, but ordered another one last night and was close to going with the 5850, but for some stupid reason I didn't. Anyway, I may sell this one and go with the 5850/70 like I should have done! Thanks!
I'm running 2x5750 and they are faster than a single 5850, so if you are going for pure speed and are willing to deal with whatever issues crossfirex can cause, its a good deal to get the 5770's as they'll generally be even with, or a bit faster than a 5870. However, the 5850 is easier, will use less power and have that second slot open for a later addition of a second one for an upgrade. If it were me, and I had the option, I'd probably go for the 5850, but either one is a great option. I've really had no problems with crossfire thus far and for the price I got it for, its been amazing (got 1 of the 5750's as a gift and dropped in the second)