Hi guys, which do you think I should go for? The crossfire choice is about £90 more expensive than the single 5970. Will I see much of a gain? Also can you think of a good case that will fit either of these cards with sufficient cooling. I like the Antec 902 and the 1200, are these sufficient?
Also the mobo I plan to use is the Asus p6t SE is that sufficient for crossfireing these beasts?
Get the single 5970. The card is technically the same as two 5870s in Crossfire, just that the cores have been downclocked slightly. That can be undone very easily, so you'd be getting the same power for much less. Also, you won't lose an upgrade path as you can still Crossfire the 5970, not that you should ever need to. You could also save some money by getting a slightly smaller PSU, as two 5870s will require more power than a single 5970.
As for the cases, the two Antec cases are nice, but they'll be a little cramped for the 5970. I would highly recommend getting one of the following: Coolermaster HAF 922, HAF 932 or Coolermaster Cosmos. The last one is the most expensive, but it a very good looking case. If you want to see some in depth pictures of it, check out the latest System Builder's Marathon article. It was used in the most expensive build.
As for the P6T SE, it would be fine for Crossfiring either card. However, I would look at the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R. It's about the same price and has USB 3/SATA III support making it much more future proof.
Simply put, It really comes down to your preference. I will lay out some pros/cons on both sides to try to help you though.
Slightly faster Cheaper
Temp (not sure though)? Single card.
Shorter length Upgradeablity in the future.
It really come down to preference, You will get about 10% peformance increase with the 5870s, but harder to upgrade later. With a 5970 you can crossfire it with another 5870 or 5970, or even 5850. I would personally go with the 5970 for those reaseons (although in my rig I have 3 5870s) this is due to the availabilty of the 5970s.
The 5970 performs like dual 5850s at stock. That's because the 5970 has two 5870 cores on a single card, only that the cores have been downclocked to the speeds of a 5850. So technically the 5970 is Crossfired 5870s, but performs at stock like 5850s. This slight downclocking is easily undone through ATI's Overdrive software with three clicks of a mouse. Therefore, if you buy a 5970, you are buying Crossfired 5870s for less once you have taken the few seconds to overclock. Or you could save yourself an insignificant amount of time and spend the extra money.
EDIT: Technically, you can Crossfire the 5870s with a 5850. You can Crossfire any higher card with a lower one, but the higher card is downclocked and any special features are lost.
10% performance increase with less upgradeability options for an extra £70. Doesn't sound worth it so I think I will go with the single 5970. So the cases mentioned above would be fine and the gigabytte mobo is obviously better option?
And of course going for the single card I can get a cheaper power supply
Yeah I will most likely want to crossfire the 5970, at a alter date of course.
The PSU I had in mind was the Corsair HX1000W, from what you have shown me that looks like overkill maybe? I am going to have 1 HDD and two optical drives aswell but that maybe still overkill?
I just looked at the cases you showed me I like the HAF series I don't really like the look of the Cosmos. Is it worth getting the bigger 932, I'm not really budget orientated.
1000W is overkill for everything. That would be powerful enough for three 5970s or five or six of any other video card. The extras add very little to the power demand.
I don't personally think the 932 is worth the extra cost. It's a little bigger, but doesn't have some nice features such as dust filters, a great cable management system and the ability to turn off the LEDs. I'd save the $80 bucks and get the 922.
The PSU's are a match electrically but the CP-850 edges out the Corsair on quietness. Both get a 10.0 performance rating from jonnyguru.com but only the CP-850 makes silentpcreview.com's editor's Choice Listing
If you are not overly concerned about acoustical performance, it would be a very difficult choice. It will come down to one of the following:
a) You just like the styling of one of of the pairings
b) The almost $100 price difference makes the decision for you.
As for the video card choices, yes you have a dilemma. Lot of reasons to go either way. One not mentioned in favor of the 5970 is it leaves more room if you want to add a dedicated PhysX card. A GTS 250 can be had for as little as $39 if you credit the cost of the free game towards the $89 price tag.
Another thing I am curious about is I have read a lot about how many reviewers were Wow'ed by the 480's SLI performance. What I really want to read about is twin 470's and how they compare with twin 5850's, 5870's, and most of all the 5970 which is at the same price.
Right from listening to what everyone has said I have decided on what I am going to do with my rig, the specs are as follows:
1TB Western Digital Caviar Black
850W Corsair CMPSU-850HXUK
Coolermaster HAF 922, Black ( I must say I am really loveing the look of this case)
2GB XFX HD 5970 Black Edition
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R6GB (3x2GB) Corsair XMS3 Classic, DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600) Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 7-7-7-20, 1.65V
Sata DVD rw DL
Switch the WD HDD for a Seagate 7200.12 1 TB or Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB. They'll both be faster and cheaper.
Rest looks good.
An aftermarket cooler is a must if you plan on overclocking. Also, some people have complained about Intel's stock cooler being very loud. So at the very least, I would wait and see what the stock cooler sounds like. A great HSF is the Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus, and it's fairly cheap at $35.
Hard Drives - Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The 2 TB WD Black and XT from Seagate are good choice but at smaller capacities, you are limited to the Seagate 7200.12 or the Spinpoint F3. The 7200.12 excels in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):
I've decided to go with the Samsung Spinpoint f3 its £17 cheaper that the WD HDD I was going to get. The price difference between the 920 and 930 over in the USA seems to be a lot less than what it is over here the difference is £45 which is around $80, so it isn't worth me getting it and don't get a game with it over here