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5850 vs 5870 and my current bottleneck?

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May 3, 2010 4:07:15 PM

Trying to decide which card I should upgrade to, and hoping that my Video Card is the bottleneck for FPS and not my CPU. It's basically 4 choices.

I noticed there are 3 different 5870s from Sapphire. A normal one for $389, Vapor-X cooling for $459, and then the 2GB 5870 for $509. Is there any large difference in performance worth the price for the 5850 vs any of these models?

Background:
I recently got the new Acer 120hz 1080p monitor. Coming from my old 1650 max resolution 22" Acer, I could run TF2 at a constant 100fps @ 1440x900. Now I'm forced to run it at 1920x1080 with this new monitor to make it look good. I'll stay at ~120fps in enclosed areas, but in certain outdoor areas and with lots of people on the screen I can fall as low as 60fps. The odd part is, changing my graphics settings and even changed to directx8 has very small effects on my fps. I can go from high everything to low everything, and it'll improve my fps by maybe 5-10 at the most. I'm aiming to stay at a constant 100+ fps.

Current Rig:
e8400 @ 4.0ghz
4870 1gb
4 gigs of OCZ Reaper
Windows XP

Best solution

a b U Graphics card
May 3, 2010 4:23:02 PM

I'm going to assume you ment 5850 since tha twould be a downgrade form a 4870
IMO, the 5850, is about the best buy you can get for a GPU. at 315ish you get alot of bang. If you were to upgrade to a 5870 i would simply go with the cheapest one. Sure with a Vapor-x you can get slightly cooler temps, but that'll only translate into a very small overclock advantage, if really any at all. as for the 2gb i wouldn't go for that unless your running an eyefinity setup where the extra memory can really help. So stick with the 5850
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May 3, 2010 4:49:29 PM

Whoops you are correct, 5850. I edited it.

So it's basically 5850 vs 5870 normal.

I was looking at the Q4-2009 Benchmark charts and I noticed that the 5870 vs 5850 for L4D2 @ 1920 with 4AA is 124FPS vs 108 FPS.

Since TF2 runs on the source engine I was kind of using that as a benchmark, and I'm worried about hitting a constant 120fps with the 5850 which is my only issue. I play competitive TF2 and that's the main game I play right now, but I'm really hoping to never drop below 100fps, where my current 4870 drops as low as 60fps, especially on snow maps. All has to do with this new monitor, never dropped that low @ 1440x900 obviously.

Also is there anyway to know if it's a CPU or GPU bottleneck? Some people were saying it could be CPU since TF2 is very CPU intensive. I would think e8400 @ 4.0 would be good enough, but who knows. I'd much rather just buy a video card then deal with a whole new system obviously.

From the benchmark graphs it looks like the 4870 just can't handle 1920x1080 very well, so I'm really hoping it's just the video card.

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a b U Graphics card
May 3, 2010 4:52:02 PM

It depends on what game you want to play. If you want to max out Crysis at 1080p, then the 5870. You will have a CPU bottleneck in some games.

If you are ok with playing Crysis on high with lowered settings/resolutions, then a 5850 will do you just fine. A 5850 will basically max out any other game at 1080p.


Overall, I suggest a 5850 since it would be a good matching for your OCed CPU.
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a b U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 12:07:50 AM

Bluescreendeath said:
It depends on what game you want to play. If you want to max out Crysis at 1080p, then the 5870. You will have a CPU bottleneck in some games.

If you are ok with playing Crysis on high with lowered settings/resolutions, then a 5850 will do you just fine. A 5850 will basically max out any other game at 1080p.


Overall, I suggest a 5850 since it would be a good matching for your OCed CPU.


If you looked at his posted you'll notice he's primarily interested in TF2, Those comparisions are at stock speeds, and from what i've heard all over these forums the 5850 can overclock quick a bit to at least the performance of a 5870 stock, so you probably won't have to worry about it dropping below 100fps
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a c 230 U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 12:24:11 AM

Gotta start w/ question ... why the 120 Hz monitor ? I see 120 MHz most often mentioned with NVidia's 3D vision. Do you have one of the DDD or iZ3D 3rd party solutions to drive stereoscopic images under ATI's 10.3 drivers ?

http://news.softpedia.com/news/AMD-Graphics-Cards-Final...

Both the 5850 and 5870 will do just fine on any DX10 game except Crysis....DX11 at high settings is gonna put a crunch on the 5850 in the newer games like Metro 2033 where it will drop below 30 fps on a 60Hz monitor ..... how that translates to performance on a 120 Hz monitor, I can't tell ya.
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a b U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 12:38:55 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
Gotta start w/ question ... why the 120 Hz monitor ? I see 120 MHz most often mentioned with NVidia's 3D vision. Do you have one of the DDD or iZ3D 3rd party solutions to drive stereoscopic images under ATI's 10.3 drivers ?

http://news.softpedia.com/news/AMD-Graphics-Cards-Final...

Both the 5850 and 5870 will do just fine on any DX10 game except Crysis....DX11 at high settings is gonna put a crunch on the 5850 in the newer games like Metro 2033 where it will drop below 30 fps on a 60Hz monitor ..... how that translates to performance on a 120 Hz monitor, I can't tell ya.


What 120 Hz translates into, is that the display is capable of showing 120 lines or a second, also called the refresh rate. On a normal display that runs at 60 Hz that display is capable of only displaying 60 or so frames per second. A 120Hz display is capable of displaying 120 frames per second. That is why when you have VSync enabled in games, it prevents tearing because the card is not outpacing what the monitor can show.
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May 4, 2010 12:50:21 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
Gotta start w/ question ... why the 120 Hz monitor ? I see 120 MHz most often mentioned with NVidia's 3D vision. Do you have one of the DDD or iZ3D 3rd party solutions to drive stereoscopic images under ATI's 10.3 drivers ?

http://news.softpedia.com/news/AMD-Graphics-Cards-Final...

Both the 5850 and 5870 will do just fine on any DX10 game except Crysis....DX11 at high settings is gonna put a crunch on the 5850 in the newer games like Metro 2033 where it will drop below 30 fps on a 60Hz monitor ..... how that translates to performance on a 120 Hz monitor, I can't tell ya.


Like sk said, the 3D vision is the selling point these days, but the main reason for me for a 120hz monitor is it maxes at 120fps and their is no screen tearing. Everything seems much more smooth and crisp also.

I've been playing competitive fps back to CS 1.1 days, and CRT were always 120hz refresh rate, tons of players swear by it. Some continue to use CRTs until the 120hz LCD started coming out.

So when the new Acer 2ms 1080p 120hz monitor came out I wanted to grab it for sure. The problem is the higher resolution now and not being able to get a consistant FPS at max load.

That what prompted my other posts because I'm thinking of just building a whole new system now :o 

I have it all priced out, gonna post it tomorrow to see if there are suggestions.
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a b U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 1:25:37 AM

jonnyboyC said:
If you looked at his posted you'll notice he's primarily interested in TF2, Those comparisions are at stock speeds, and from what i've heard all over these forums the 5850 can overclock quick a bit to at least the performance of a 5870 stock, so you probably won't have to worry about it dropping below 100fps


If he mainly plays TF2, then a $150-$160 ATI HD5770 would be more than enough.
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May 4, 2010 1:31:46 AM

Bluescreendeath said:
If he mainly plays TF2, then a $150-$160 ATI HD5770 would be more than enough.


Isn't that pretty close to the 4870 1gb though?

Still might be a CPU bottleneck, but I can't get constant 100fps even with AA off and lowering settings to medium @ 1920x1080.
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a b U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 5:36:25 AM

strife025 said:
Isn't that pretty close to the 4870 1gb though?

Still might be a CPU bottleneck, but I can't get constant 100fps even with AA off and lowering settings to medium @ 1920x1080.


Yes a 5770 is actually a bit weaker then a 4870, So it looks like people are reading through you post throughly, But another option to possibly save money would be to simply buy another 4870 for crossfire if your boards support it ti save some cash if you don't card about dx 11 goodness
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May 4, 2010 6:33:31 AM

Why do you want to have a steady 100 fps?

I have a laptop and I play TF2 maxed out at 1440x900 with about an average of 40 fps and it runs smooth as hell and looks GREAT.

Core 2 duo p8400 @ 2.26GHz
Geforce 9800m GTS 1GB

Hell I play Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on it with only 30-50 fps and I play competitively. No need for 100+ fps.

IMO you are wasting your money upgrading if your only intent is to maintain 100+ fps on TF2.

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a b U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 7:26:49 AM

^1+ what your trying to do seems a bit overdue, i don't think the eye can really even perceive much difference in fps after like 75 fps or something like that
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May 4, 2010 4:25:37 PM

Well it was fine @ 1440x900, it's just things are starting to bottleneck @ 1920x1080.

And I agree somewhat at the 75fps +, but like I said, it can drop to 50 fps and it is very noticeable.

That being said, I'm just going to order the video card first, if that improves it I won't need to build a system.
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May 4, 2010 7:33:01 PM

strife025 said:
Well it was fine @ 1440x900, it's just things are starting to bottleneck @ 1920x1080.

And I agree somewhat at the 75fps +, but like I said, it can drop to 50 fps and it is very noticeable.

That being said, I'm just going to order the video card first, if that improves it I won't need to build a system.



I'm willing to bet if I showed you gameplay of TF2 side by side monitors one monitor being 75 fps and one monitor being 50 fps you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Just because your fps is dipping in game doesn't mean your bottlenecked. That is a normal occuring thing in ALL games when your in more intense game situations. I bet when your in spawn with nothing really going on around you your fps is 100+ right? But then when you run into the heat of battle going ape as a scout with a 100 things going on around you, your fps dips to what you think is bad but is really still a great framerate.

From what your telling us you should be just fine at 1920x1080, if your averaging 75 fps and it only dips to 50 then your still achieving a great framerate. You shouldn't upgrade until you play a game where you start dipping below 30. I play games competitively and win with only 30-40fps and I don't feel like my opponents with 100fps have any advantage over me.

I have a suggestion for you, whatever you use to check your fps, weather it be net_graph or fraps or whatever, turn it off.

Don't check your frames unless you feel and see for yourself that the game is running slow. You'll be able to not worry so much about frames and focus more on enjoying the game you're playing.
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May 4, 2010 8:53:31 PM

I can tell there is a frame drop or I wouldn't be worried though.

And I don't see the use of my 120hz monitor if I can't even get a constant 80+ fps during firefights.

I'd be better off going back to my 60hz monitor @ 1440x900 where I wouldn't even drop below 60 fps.

I had to drop some of my graphical settings to play @ 1920x1080 also, I'd like to put them back up. I already ordered the XFX 5870 anyways from TigerDirect today, so gonna see how that goes. I kind of want to just build a new rig with Win7-64 and an SSD anyways. It's been 3.5 years since I've built one.
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May 4, 2010 8:54:41 PM

i agree with amk09.

Honestly, i can't tell the difference between 50 FPS to 100 FPS and beyond.

But, yes, i can tell 30 to 50. but still, any GPU that can go over 50 FPS is good.

And besides, Source games like TF2 are like, the easiest thing to run on the planet. even old crappy single-core mom's dell can run it.
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a b U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 9:05:22 PM

Changing video cards just to get up to 120FPS is a waste of money. Now, if you wanted the ATI 5870 or 5850 so you can get 30-60FPS in Metro 2033 I'd understand. But just upgrading to push 120FPS is entirely pointless. Literally.

I don't think the human eye will benefit from the difference between 60FPS and 120FPS. *shrugs*
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May 4, 2010 9:14:58 PM

Well I'll get to up FPS, but also put all my settings back to high and turn back on AA.

I just get really annoyed when I have to downgrade stuff to hit higher resolutions.

Over the 3.5 years of my current build, I've changed nothing except my video card. Went from a x1900gt, to a 4850, to a 4870 1GB. The e8400 has served me well but it's getting close to change to an i7, SSD, and Win7 anyways. I'd rather just do all of that at the same time.

I don't care about having the absolute max settings, but I do like relatively high settings and some AA still.

When I was @ 1440x900 I had models and textures at high, AAx2, and HDR on. Now that I switched I had to turn settings to medium and turn off AA and HDR.
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May 4, 2010 9:24:32 PM

strife025 said:
Well I'll get to up FPS, but also put all my settings back to high and turn back on AA.


The thing is that you don't need a $400 graphics card to do so in TF2.

Like I said I max out TF2 on my laptop with a 9800m GTS.

Your 4870 is FAR superior to my graphics card and can easily max TF2 out, yet you feel the need to buy a $400 card to max out a dated source engine game, because 75 fps isn't good enough for you? Why do you need 80 fps constant in a firefight? Thats so pointless.
In Battlefield: Bad Company 2, one the newest games out, I get a constant 30 fps during firefights, and I win the majority of them, a person with a constant 80 fps has no advantage over me. So why waste $400, wait until you actually NEED an upgrade.

Well apparently you have already bought the 5870, I hope you intend on buying a game that will utilize it because if you got it solely for TF2 then I've lost all hope in the world.
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a b U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 10:55:16 PM

We already explained our point not need to harass him about his decision, if he wants 100+ fps then that's his decision we should focus on his initial question which i believe has already been answered, unless of course you have any further questions
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May 4, 2010 11:28:44 PM

Best answer selected by Strife025.
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May 4, 2010 11:37:40 PM

Yep think I got the initial question answered a while back, thanks for the help. I took your suggestion of just getting the base 5870. Decided on XFX over Sapphire for the lifetime warranty. Final price was $369 after cash back + $1.99 shipping.

amk:
I tried fps_max 30 just to test it and you could really tell at that level, so doubt I could ever play like you do. Battlefield is a less twitchy game then Quake or TF2 also, so it probably doesn't matter quite as much either. I'd probably be happy if I never dropped below 75fps, but like I said, I can drop down to sub 50fps in certain situations and I had to reduce some settings. I can tell that my graphics dropped and my frames are effected at sub 50fps.

I mean sure, TF2 isn't at Crysis level, but I would say it's still somewhat intensive at 1920x1080 levels. I mean it's no CS 1.6.

Overall, I'm used to playing with constant smooth framerates, and I can definitely tell when it drops down to 50fps. Personal preference really, especially for twitch games. It's harder to airshot a RJing soldier or a scout at the ESEA level with fps lag. Some other games it may not be as critical.
Like I said, alot of people use highfps configs just so they can make sure they never drop below 60 fps on a 60hz even in the most intense settings. I prefer having nice graphics still so I'd personally rather just upgrade instead of going that route.
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