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$200-300 Budget, looking for new card solution

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April 21, 2010 5:10:16 PM

Hi guys,
I've had a pretty crap week.

I came home to find a drink had been spilt on my desk by one of my dogs which leaked through the desk into the computer case sitting on the floor.

Yes, I've moved the case now onto my desk, but that's besides the point.

It wouldn't turn on. It would do a short *buzz* then nothing. Just a few lights on the motherboard which is a Gigabyte EP45-DQ6.


Anyway, I had a look at it. Eventually, after just taking everything out and putting it back together, I had success. The liquid only really got a bit to the power supply but...nothing majorly wrong.

I don't really get it.

Moving on....

I then put everything back together, did one more power test. My 8800GTS buzzed at me because I forgot it's power lead that goes into the back of the card. So I powered down.

This is where the problem started. The modular cable had 2 PCI-e power connections that branches off one modular connection which goes to the power supply. But I screwed up.

I accidentally connected the other end of the modular cable to the output of the power supply. Now, I don't see how this would have fried my card, maybe it was just coincidence, but either way some smoke rose from the card and my gut sank.

It was screwed. I had a look around, realized my fault, and tried again. In the past, hardware has still smoked but not completely burned out. I figured it was worth a shot. So I fixed the power, went to try again. More smoke, from 2 different areas. Okay, well, no loss, something already fried which probably protected other circuits.

So the cards done. It had a good 5 or so year run. I've had that thing for ages.

Plus, I have been in the market for a new card, so despite the bad luck, something good shall come out of it.

A new card/set of cards!

I've been an Nvidia guy just out of choice, but my motherboard is crossfire compatible and this time I'd like to venture into getting 2 cards as appose to 1 card.

So, between $200-300 (possible a LITTLE bit more), what 2 ATI cards would you recommend?

OR! What single ATI or Nvidia card?

I've checked out Tom's hardware for April and all that jazz, but I'd like input from more people, you guys.

Let me know, because I stole the graphics card out of my mothers computer and her computer...kind of needs it.

So the sooner I purchase some new cards the better!
a b U Graphics card
April 21, 2010 5:22:11 PM

@ $300 or so HD 5850
@ $240 HD 5830
@ $150 HD 5770
And for the Crossfire setup - two of the 5770s.
April 21, 2010 5:27:02 PM

Is it better to SLI or have a single card config?
Related resources
April 21, 2010 5:31:26 PM

Single unless u plan to CF or SLI something in the future
a c 130 U Graphics card
April 21, 2010 5:52:16 PM

If you're going to upgrade in 2 years, HD5770 crossfire.
If you can spend $300 in another 8 months, HD5850 crossfire (buy a second one later).

HD5770 OC CF will outperform an HD5870 by ~10%.
April 21, 2010 11:08:33 PM

Hmm, well I've never done any over clocking at all. Is it that difficult?
April 21, 2010 11:14:38 PM

I just bought the MSI R5770 HAWK,and it is a true BEAST.Also as i ve heard it is awesome for OCs,but i dont mess with these things.
a c 130 U Graphics card
April 21, 2010 11:33:26 PM

KyleGP said:
Hmm, well I've never done any over clocking at all. Is it that difficult?

It's simply as sliding bars, my friend.
a c 130 U Graphics card
April 22, 2010 2:16:38 AM

Real men push it to the max for BSODs, then slide it down, xD.

And I don't trust autotune. It put my HD4650 at 660Core and 480Mem, which causes artifacts and BSODs.
a b U Graphics card
April 22, 2010 3:34:27 AM

He did ask how easy it was to overclock. You mentioned the 'complicated' way. ;) 
April 22, 2010 4:21:16 AM

I'm leaning towards the 5770 (Dual, crossfired).
Any suggestions also for single nvidia cards?

and whats the best manufacturer to go with in terms of quality and also warranty?

Thanks for all the help guys, tops!
a b U Graphics card
April 22, 2010 4:42:07 AM

XFX has the 'Double Lifetime Warranty' (for you and the person you re-sell it to). XFX Radeon HD 5770 HD-577A-ZNFC
I also like Sapphire and Powercolor brands. They have the usual 2 yr warranty.
You have a choice between stock and factory overclock models. But most here would suggest a stock clocked unit, save the money and OC' the card yourself.
You also have the option to select video cards that are 'Eyefinity' ready, like the XFX model I liked above.

THG: AMD's Eyefinity Technology Explained
THG Part 2: AMD's Eyefinity Technology Explained
April 22, 2010 7:52:49 AM

Sweet. How do you connect 3 monitors like they show in the eyefinity demo?
Does that require 2 cards in crossfire?
a c 130 U Graphics card
April 22, 2010 10:01:41 AM

No, but a lone HD5770 won't handle it. And the bad part of eyefinity is that you need a displayport monitor or an adapter, which is $100.
April 22, 2010 2:19:29 PM

Sorry, I'm confused about your post shadow.
If a lone 5770 wont handle it, wouldn't that mean I have to crossfire at least 5770's?

I still have no idea what to do but I need my pc back to health =/ ahhh, choices!
a b U Graphics card
April 22, 2010 3:54:26 PM

I think you're going in a good, safe direction.
A 5770 now to get you up and running, with the possibility of a 2nd 5770 in CF, and keeping the possibility of a future dual or triple monitor setup.
Don't think you should be concerned about all the future possibilities, especially as you're going down a path where you still have those options.

A single 5770 will handle a 3 monitor Eyefinity setup. At least one of the 3 monitors will require a Display port connection.
You can get a DisplayPort to DVI Video Adapter Converter for about $25.
If you have a Crossfire 5770 setup all 3 monitor cables will still need to come out of a single 5770 card.
I think a single 5770 will handle a 3 monitor Eyefinity setup fine - in 2D mode. In 3D (gaming) a single 5770 will probably struggle. CF 5770s should do OK.

This THG explanation might help you understand Eyefinity: A Tangible Benefit, Today. The latest Catalyst drivers have bezel compensation so no part of the display output is hidden by the monitor bezel.
April 23, 2010 4:43:35 AM

Yeah.

The real issue for me is I've always used nVidia and my 8800GTS 640mb lasted 5+ years.

Can you suggest a single card nVidia that I can compare with?

and if I went ATI, would you recommend 2x 5770's CF or a single 5850?
a c 130 U Graphics card
April 23, 2010 9:56:49 AM

HD5770 = GTX260
HD5850 ~= GTX285 (it's the closest to it, the 5850 beats the 285).

2x HD5770 would be a little better than an HD5870, and would last quite some time.

Kyle, you asked if you can connect 3 monitors, and if you needed Crossfire. An HD5770 won't play well at 5K resolutions, and no, you don't need crossfire.
April 24, 2010 3:20:46 AM

So if I can go for 2x HD5770s that would be my best bet?

I use 1680x1050 but in near future might upgrade to a 24" monitor and that will increase.
a c 130 U Graphics card
April 24, 2010 3:53:43 AM

2x HD5770 CF will perform about a heavily OC'd HD5850 (~5% better than a 5870).
April 24, 2010 6:23:03 AM

WR2 said:
XFX has the 'Double Lifetime Warranty' (for you and the person you re-sell it to). XFX Radeon HD 5770 HD-577A-ZNFC
I also like Sapphire and Powercolor brands. They have the usual 2 yr warranty.
You have a choice between stock and factory overclock models. But most here would suggest a stock clocked unit, save the money and OC' the card yourself.
You also have the option to select video cards that are 'Eyefinity' ready, like the XFX model I liked above.

THG: AMD's Eyefinity Technology Explained
THG Part 2: AMD's Eyefinity Technology Explained


According to this, it's only 2 year warranty.

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/2x-XFX-Radeon-HD-5770-XXX-Video-...
April 25, 2010 4:42:57 AM

Damnit!
Well I'm still not sure weather to Get 5770 CF or a single nVidia card. My friend tells me for graphics acceleration in Photoshop, 3D aps, design all that jazz that nvidia is a better way to go. I don't know.

I've had issues with ATI drivers in the past and even recently with Ubuntu and my laptops ATI inbuilt card.

What would be the single card nVidia equivalent to 2x 5770 CF?

And even if I do go ATI, there's so many manufacturers I can't really decide who to go with.

Then there's the power supply issue (in a separate post).

=/
a b U Graphics card
April 25, 2010 1:12:35 PM

Price wise a GTX 470 would be the nearest equivalent. US$350 vs US$300 for 2x 5770.

In gaming performance a GTX 470 generally falls between the 5850 and 5870 and so does its price. 5850=$320 470=$350 5870=$400
So at 2x 5770 and US$300 with gaming performance near (or exceeding in some cases) a 5870 you can see why the CF 5770 comes recommended.

Just keep in mind while there are gaming performance differences anything mentioned here will do a very good job gaming at 16x10 resolution. There won't be any 'significant' difference in play-ability. By that I mean that one card would give enjoyable game performance while another card won't. In other words, don't sweat the small differences.


April 26, 2010 8:02:29 AM

Okay, I've decided to switch to ATI.

It's a toss between CF 5770's or a 5850.

Future proofing is my main focus.

Also, whats the diff between PCI-E 2.0 and 2.1

I have a 2.0 PCI-E motherboard. Does that mean a 2.1 card won't work with a 2.0 motherboard?
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2010 9:20:16 AM

KyleGP said:
Okay, I've decided to switch to ATI.

It's a toss between CF 5770's or a 5850.

Future proofing is my main focus.

Also, whats the diff between PCI-E 2.0 and 2.1

I have a 2.0 PCI-E motherboard. Does that mean a 2.1 card won't work with a 2.0 motherboard?


For future proofing get the 5850 Then. Later down the road you can add another 5850 when a single starts to lag behind ( Currently there is only two games on the market iirc that a 5850 struggles with at 19xx+ resolution, crysis, and metro 2033 ) everything else should pretty much play at max settings. So when the prices drop to 150 dollars in a year or so for the 5850 pick up another ;) 
a c 376 U Graphics card
April 26, 2010 9:56:49 AM

Yeah, the HD5850 is the obvious choice if you have $300. It's always best to start with a single card and leave crossfire for an upgrade. At stock 2 HD5770s may beat it but the HD5850 overclocks to an almost absurd degree, 40%+ and easily surpasses them.
That said for your current monitor a single HD5770 should be very good so you may just want to save your money for now. Get one and then perhaps another when you do get a larger monitor.
a c 130 U Graphics card
April 26, 2010 11:54:17 AM

A 5850 at 1000/1200 will be on-par with 2x HD5770, as they're both 5% better than an HD5870.

But yeah, always want to start with a single, strong card, than with 2 weaker cards.
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2010 1:58:11 PM

KyleGP said:
What do you think of this?
http://www.mwave.com.au/newAU/mwaveAU/productdetail.asp...


and is the 5870 much better? I might be able to stretch to the 5870 if it's worth it. (and if 5870CF will be better too later down the track).


im not sure what that price is in US dollars, but you can get a 5850 from newegg for 310, and i think they DO ship internationally? Or do they not?
April 26, 2010 1:59:32 PM

They do not.
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2010 2:05:49 PM

KyleGP said:
They do not.


Well, Personally for those prices i would get a 5770 and wait for next gen which should be out in a year/2. A 5770 as your resolution will play just about anything but the most demanding games on high.
April 26, 2010 2:08:50 PM

Should I crossfire 2 5770s or just the one?
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2010 2:12:30 PM

KyleGP said:
Should I crossfire 2 5770s or just the one?


Just the one. Really you should be able to play just about any game with 1. The only 4 games i know it has a problem with are Metro 2033, Crysis, Dirt 2 in dx 11, and AlienVPredator in dx11 at that resolution. I mean if you really want to you can swing for the 5850 and it will last quite a while and play all of those games. I Just think your getting screwed in pricing and considering ATI has put out most all of the low end models for the 5x Series, 6x will be coming around the in a while.
April 26, 2010 2:16:07 PM

That's just Australian prices for you man. It's expensive. I think I might try for a 5850 and CF it later. If I can't do that, I'll either CF 5770 or single it. I'm not sure how far I can stretch money. It also depends on weather I can replace my power supply, it's still under warranty so should be able too.
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2010 2:40:34 PM

Will going with a single 5850 allow you to NOT have to buy a new PSU now?
Being under warranty is not the same as being able to return it for a refund.
You never did say in your other post what PSU you're currently working with.

That can factor into the budgeting equation.
A new PSU and 2x 5770s $490AUD ($130 + $360)
Or a single 5850 with a bit of an overclock and keep the current PSU. $370AUD
Or a new 5770 now $180AUD and keep the current PSU. Leaving the door open for a new PSU and 2nd 5770 into the future.
April 26, 2010 2:46:00 PM

The PSU is a risk. It's working (Seasonic 700w) but it could be partially faulty in what caused my card to fry to begin with.

I never said I wanted a refund, rather a replacement. They don't do refunds but they may repair or replace it. Warranty has to cover something after all.

Depending on if I can replace the PSU will depend on which card I also get.

Either way, I'm not confident I should continue using this PSU.

(P.S, to clarify, my system is working atm because I am borrowing a low low end card from another comp in the house. It doesn't require additional power and I wouldn't have trusted this power supply with it anyway. However, the PSU is functioning but considering what happened, I don't wanna buy a new card(s) and have something go wrong again. I have to replace the PSU for peace of mind and I have to replace the card because the other one is totally gone.)
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2010 3:52:38 PM

Quote:
It doesn't require additional power and I wouldn't have trusted this power supply with it anyway
Don't overlook that PSU is actually powering the graphics card through the PCI-e slot.
Seasonic is one of the better MFGRs of PSUs. They make many of the Corsair PSUs, for example. Video cards sometimes fry for reasons that have nothing to do with the power supplies.
April 26, 2010 4:37:34 PM

So it could have just been time up for the video card?

What should I do? I mean what if on the off chance I got the new card and it blew it?

I don't have a shitty card to test with or anything. It's a small risk.
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2010 5:12:09 PM

You can carry on trying to get Seasonic to repair or replace the PSU, for the reasons you mentioned - it might have been the PSU.
Just don't be surprised or uncomfortable if they return the original unit saying they had it tested thoroughly and found it in spec. If that happens I'd keep the Seasonic and get a 5850. If it blows after the PSU is tested - it's time to look at a problem with the motherboard - maybe a PCI-e x16 slot fault.
a c 376 U Graphics card
April 26, 2010 8:27:19 PM

shadow187 said:
A 5850 at 1000/1200 will be on-par with 2x HD5770, as they're both 5% better than an HD5870.

But yeah, always want to start with a single, strong card, than with 2 weaker cards.

Those aren't the numbers I've seen.
Also while crossfired HD5770s are slightly superior to an HD5870 on average they suffer in terms of minimum frame rates because of the limitations of the 128-bit bus. Minimum frame rates are actually a better standard to go by when judging cards imo.
April 27, 2010 3:29:41 AM

jyjjy what do you recommend?
a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2010 4:37:40 AM

Here is a ATI Crossfire review from the guys over at Bit-tech about 5 months ago. It included 5770s and 5850s and will give you an approximate idea where the cards stand. As always - your mileage may vary: Catalyst drivers are different.....those games aren't your games, probably.
April 27, 2010 9:01:25 AM

Hmm, interesting.

My friend just raised the point of PhysX. He says more games today use it over DX11 supported games.

What's better to have, PhysX or DX11?
a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2010 11:42:06 AM

What games are you interested in now? What game(s) do you want to build your system for?
Looking ahead at the games in development what game(s) do you want to build your system for?
April 27, 2010 11:56:35 AM

I play whatever we play at lans. Most of the latest FPS games.

Other than that, I'd use it for 3D modeling, Photoshop, After Effects...
a c 130 U Graphics card
April 27, 2010 12:10:33 PM

jj, I'm not sure if it's because of low bit or because crossfire always has min frame issues (as does SLI).

You'll definitely want an HD5850 KyleGP, especially for the upgradeability in the future.
April 27, 2010 12:21:29 PM

According to a computer store here, the guy said don't even bother with dual cards. He reckons that I should get a 5850 but when the time comes just get a new card because apparently they discontinue the cards these days now and they are harder to find so if I wanted to crossfire a 5850 later, it won't be worth it and I'm better off just getting a newer card when this ones old. True?
a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2010 12:26:30 PM

Possibly true.
It's also about how often you plan to do upgrades and what drives the reason you upgrade.
If you the type of game who demands the utmost in graphics goodness you're more likely to 'find' reasons you 'need' a CF/SLI/Physx setup.
If you're more of the relaxed type gamer the computer store guy is likely to be right. You'll upgrade your video card when the game you want to play don't run as well as you like.
!