Should I get 5870 or 5850 (or something else)?

I've decided not to build a new computer just yet, but instead will try dropping in a new video card and see if that makes an acceptably big difference for now. This is for gaming.

My idea is to buy the card that I would put into a new computer if I we're to build one, and then continue to use it when I do build another, probably ~ Q1 2011.

Happily, I just found out that I'm getting a raise, so the cost difference between the 2 cards is not as much an issue as it was yesterday. So my question is: is there any other reason that I should not just get the 5870? I would want to use as single-card for as long as possible and then xfire when compelling (in the new build).

This is current system is:

Core 2 Duo E6600
8800 GTS 512 Vid
975X mobo
2gb RAM
XP 32bit (but then Win 7 64 in new build)
1080p Monitor

I understand the CPU will bottleneck to some degree, hopefully not a lot. But I am still concerned that the xtra $ I'd spend on 5870 would be completely wasted given the CPU, and that when I do build another computer next year I'd be tempted to buy a 6000 series card rather than xfire.

I guess my other main concerns would be heat generation and power consumption if xfire later, compared to the same for 5850 xfire. But is there really a big, real-world difference between the two cards?

Anyway, this has been a tough decision for me. Sorry if its already been discussed to death, just need a little help with specific situation and specs.

Thank you
17 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about should 5870 5850 else
  1. Performance difference around 15% can be made up with overclocking. I would get the HD5850 and you would have to put some overclock on your CPU to minimize bottleneck
  2. ^+1 to rolli59.

    To ramble235,
    Your plan is most sensible. The 5850 should be more than enough for the 1080p even at stock if you are using just a single 1080p monitor. It will be very decent to bring to your next built. But you got it right that when you got money to buy a 2nd card, you will surely be torn again whether to get a 2nd same one to crossfire with your existing or move on to the new series.
  3. Thanks.

    Will I become forum pariah if I admit I've no idea how to OC a video card or CPU (though I know guides can be found) and that the idea of either is rather scary?

    Is it considered close to a given that it can be safely done with air cooling?
  4. It is save with air cooling! It is just a matter to monitor temperatures, start with your CPU. Like you said plenty of guides out there
  5. Heh, I'm just skimming thru that link, but that does seem daunting. But I'll take a closer look later. Thank you for providing it.
  6. Best answer
    I would suggest you get a 5770 so there would not be any significant CPU bottlenecks.

    It performs equal to a 4870 or GTX260, and is a greater performer for most games. It can max out most games at 1080p.

    It also costs half the price of a 5850.

    By Q1 2011, new video cards will be out anyways...
  7. Quote:
    I would suggest you get a 5770 so there would not be any significant CPU bottlenecks.

    By Q1 2011, new video cards will be out anyways...

    That's not a bad idea, given the temptation to buy again in the relatively near future.

    My question about that is will it provide a significant enough improvement with the current set-up, enough to last till Q1 2011? Part of the beauty of the original plan to buy a 58xx is that if I'm not satisfied (likely b/c the CPU is holding it back), then I'd just build a new computer right now, using the same card.

    I just don't want to find myself wanting to build a new system anyway, with another new card b/c the 5770 doesn't cut it. I've not yet looked at benchmarks for the 5770, but I will.

  8. I've almost decided to follow the route of buying 5770 now, and then build entirely new later. I have looked at benchmarks and other info and have a new question:

    Why the 5770 and not 4890 or the gtx260 216, both of which should be faster for about the same price. If DX11 was on the table, then yes, the 5770 for sure. But its not since I'll still be using XP until next build, at which time I'd buy a new card too.

    Are there considerations other than somewhat greater heat/noise with the 2 other cards that I should take into account?

    Examples with some OC:



  9. They are generally not considered worth the price difference. The GTX260 is about 1% faster and the HD4890 about 15%.
  10. I thought I saw the 260 was a bigger difference, but guess not. And yeah 15% for the 4890 isn't exactly compelling either, but it is better, in fact its ~ 15% more expensive for 15% more power, so that seems reasonable.

    But screw it, I'll get the 5770 since it cooler, uses less energy, costs less, and will probably be easier to sell later ... and will probably handle everything it needs to handle for now, anyway.

    How does the 5770 I linked look? Should I get a different one?
  11. The biggest plus with XFX cards is their dual lifetime warranty. (if registered within 30 days from purchase).
  12. That would certainly help with resale.
  13. yep!
  14. Best answer selected by ramble235.
  15. Aye, also, make sure you overclock your CPU if you can. (not absolutely vital, but will also give you a nice boost in performance)

    Adding 1-2 GB of RAM and 'obtaining' an OS that allows you to use dx10/dx11 and recognize more RAM would also be good.
  16. Yeah, I think I will try OC the GPU and the CPU. Will be a couple of firsts for me, but assuming it turns out well, I'm sure it become my norm.

    Also I thank everyone who replied, but especially rolli59. Tho I didnt give you the "best answer" since the 5770 wasn't your original suggestion, I appreciate the extra time and effort you spent helping. Thanks man.

    And thank you everyone else.
  17. Update for Posterity:

    I got the 5770 and its about what I expected. That is to say, my FPS is lot better than what I had but not phenomenally better. Still have to keep graphic settings at a reasonable level.

    All in all a good choice given the other limitations of the system and money spent.

Ask a new question

Read More

Graphics Cards Computer Build Graphics Product