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What graphics card? 5870/5970/480

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May 3, 2010 8:25:06 PM

For a new PC with a X6 1090T CPU 4gb RAM and only a single monitor 24" or 26", mostly for gaming.

For that I want only a single gfx card for now, maybe a second card later, if necessary. The gfx card should be able to run all current games at highest settings.

The Gtx 480 is with 500$ about the same price as the 5870 and seems to perform better in game benchmarks and even better than the dual gpu 5970 in the in the Unigine Heaven 2.0 benchmark, I guess because of its better tessellation performance.

Furthermore the 480 has features the ATI cards do not have, like CUDA, new tessellation engine, PhysX and the possibility for 3d Vision(with a 120hz monitor), which sounds very cool to be honest.

The downsides seem to be the noise, heat and power consumption.

Besides that the GTX 480 seems pretty sweet.

So please give me your opinions, what gfx card would you suggest?
a c 130 U Graphics card
May 3, 2010 8:28:09 PM

First off, the HD4870 is $400.

The HD5870/5970 offers something similar to CUDA (which isn't useful for gaming), ATI does do 3D as well.

Especially since you're going phenom, get an HD5970. AMD fusion is the best. I use it with my Phenom II x4-920 and HD4850.
May 3, 2010 8:44:55 PM

shadow187 said:
First off, the HD4870 is $400.

The HD5870/5970 offers something similar to CUDA (which isn't useful for gaming), ATI does do 3D as well.

Especially since you're going phenom, get an HD5970. AMD fusion is the best. I use it with my Phenom II x4-920 and HD4850.


I looked at newegg, there were 5870 cards from 390$ to 510$.

What is with the other features like PhysX and the better tesellation? More features which the ATI cards don't have.
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a c 130 U Graphics card
May 3, 2010 10:33:00 PM

PhysX isn't used by more than ~5 decent games, and you'll need SLI to pull it off nicely. Tessellation only affects the game when you turn it on.
May 3, 2010 11:12:06 PM

shadow187 said:
PhysX isn't used by more than ~5 decent games, and you'll need SLI to pull it off nicely. Tessellation only affects the game when you turn it on.


Maybe now there aren't a lot more than 5 decent game with PhysX, but that doesn't mean that there won't be any more.

Sure, you don't need to turn tessellation on, like you don't need to turn AA on or a high gfx setting in general, but it is supposed to make the gfx look better.

So my question is what if you turn tessellation on, is it a big deal, do the graphics look a lot better? I have found those pictures: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/11/06/unigine_heave...

According to those tessellation does make a huge difference. The pictures with tess on look a lot better and far more detailed.

What about the 3D Vision, have you ever tested it? You said before: "ATI does do 3D as well". What do you mean by that. Is there anything similar to nvidia 3D Vision from ATI, for the current gfx card lineup? I haven't heard of it.
a c 230 U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 12:04:43 AM

Here's the thing ..... the ATI Cards and the nVidia cards are very competitive. If you're going to be playing mostly old DX9/10 favorites, the benchies favor ATI. If you are going to be playing new DX11 games at high settings, the benchies favor nVidia.

Here's a summary of price / performance of each of the cards suitable for 1920x 1200 DX11 gaming. Numbers are "dollars per frame" (fps) based upon an average of nine DX11 benchmarks w/ DX11 and high settings:

ATI 5850 - 9.04
nVidia 470 - 9.08
nVidi 480 10.01
ATI 5870 10.59
ATI 5970 11.93

The 470 and 5850 are neck and neck here and given the closeness, I gotta give the edge to the 470 as it wins 8 outta the 9 hi settings benchies. The 480 wins 10/10 Dx11 hi settings benchies over the 5870 and given that it's price per frame is lower than the 5870, that one seems an easier choice.....it also scales better w/ a second card.

However, it also needs more power and generates more heat so if you don't have a full tower (or decent size mid tower like the HAF 922) w/ decent cooling and capable PSU, this may have to be factored into the cost equation.

The 5970 is in a class by itself and I am not opposed to paying $1.92 per frame (almost 20%) over the next fastest card.....however, on principal, I just refuse to pay $100-150 over MSRP for the 5970....when the card gets down to $0 - $25 over MSRP, I might spring for it.

As for PhysX .... yeah, I'd spend $50 for a dedicated PhysX card if I bought a 5xxx card .... CUDA is very cool if you're into movie making or use any Adobe products. 3D is very cool but requires a substantial investment in a capable monitor and glasses.

In short, if budget is tight, you have case and / or PSU issues or are mainly into playing old favorites, the ATI cards look like the better choice ..... if the extra $50 - $80 per card is not an issue, your goals are more focused on new DX11 games at high detail, or you have other uses for the PC such as movies, Adobe CS5, etc, then nVidia is an easy choice.




a c 130 U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 12:51:49 AM

Naylor, I wonder what those benches would be without Unigene, which, as you know, offers a huge favorite to nVidia. 5
a b U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 1:41:40 AM

Tesselation isn't applied nearly as much on real games. If you like to roam around in Heaven Benchmark for hours, then go ahead.

Also Physx is a load of crap. You can get over 200FPS but turning on Physx gives you 80FPS. If you have 80FPS, turning it on drops you below playable. Not to mention online games will NEVER feature physx since it isn't cross platform, it would be as stupid as releasing a game only for intel processors. Single player games aren't worth playing more than twice and theres like 2 good games like physx. During all this time there are things like Havok physx which doesn't use graphics computing power which drops your frames like crazy and instead uses CPU. With quad cores around and most games only use 2 cores, theres pretty much always 2 cores to go around to render physx and doesn't drop frame rates what so ever.

It is ALL just marketing gimmick. Though I have to say Nvidia is still a very attractive option if you want SLI since they have much better scaling. Though the GTX 480 price is quiet steep at $500 when an ATI 5870 is available for $400 and the extra $100 doesn't give you 25% more performance. More like 15% extra performance.

The GTX 470 is a great price performer on the other hand. I would get this over a 5850.

A 5970 is in a class by itself. You shouldn't get such a card unless you have a larger screen since neither crossfire or SLI scales good on small 1080P screens.

Most people don't care about heat and noise but IMO it can be a deal breaker since my room is on the second floor and it is consistently hotter than the rest of the house. Also I like to torrent while I sleep, a loud card is not feesible. The Nvidia cards fits every definition of hot and loud.
May 4, 2010 5:37:49 AM

the 5850 is better than GTX470 because its cheaper and better bang per buck
May 4, 2010 6:13:45 AM

The 5870 is the Choice ! It uses less power and Heat then the 480 and only slightly less performance and cost a lot less plus you can get a Vapor-X 5870 on New Egg for $430 and in 2 or 3 years just upgrade to newest Flavor of the month
May 4, 2010 8:11:54 AM

TheAnyKey said:
Maybe now there aren't a lot more than 5 decent game with PhysX, but that doesn't mean that there won't be any more.


Stop. Just stop with the PhysX comments until you actually do some more research on it.

Read this thread for a start: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/279320-33-fans-ofphys...

Otherwise, here is a summary:

PhysX is a hardware engine for handling physics (particle/body actions) by NVidia. Virtually no game companies use it.
Why? Because it sucks. While it gives you nice effects you are destroying your FPS/framerate because you are having the card do it, instead
of the CPU. If we were sitting 15 years ago with single CPU machines then it makes sense. With multiple core CPUs, it doesn't and there are
other ways of handling physics effects that don't destroy the framerate.

So the answer is yes, there really aren't going to be any more. Why? Because they haven't come out yet. NVidia got some friends to buy on to it a while ago, but that isn't happening anymore.

Its like waiting for the tooth fairy to give you money after you are living on your own.

PhysX is an excuse for buying an NVidia card, not a reason, and a bad one at that.

As for tessellation noone knows how much it will be adopted yet and the pretty pictures you are seeing are a benchmark, not a real game. Some benchmarks are fixed and both graphics card makers game them to one degree or another (customizing cards to work well with specific benchmarks).

So you are down to Tessellation. You are also down to how much heat you want to generate and electricity you want to burn.
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