Ive been in a pickle about which card to get.... Sli 480's or Xfire 5870's........ I know, I know........ the 480's preform better, no doubt. They also run hotter and use a lot more power... Would need to go with a 1000watt psu for my 480 build...... 5870, would go with a 850watt and they also would cost almost $400 less total than SLI'ing 480s....... And From all the comparisions ive seen, while running a 2 card set up, in most games, over all... the 480's are anywhere from 3-13 fps above the 5870's....
That seems like a nice jump, but looking at each cards FPS's........ the 5870's are still getting over 45-60 in most games with maxed settings, on a 24" monitor, which is still pretty damn good.
Would it be better to run 2 5870's, save $375, and another $60-$75 for getting a smaller PSU or spend the extra cash and get the 480s
I would personally opt for the 2x5870 simply because the added performance isn't worth the $375 to me, and I'm not going to pay now for possible driver improvements down the road. Having said that, I think the anti-480 stance at sites like Tom's is misguided. The heat and noise issues issues are totally overblown. If I had unlimited resources, I would buy the Nvidias.
the nvidia fanboy in me wants to say go with the 480's, but sli 480 is just a total waste of money, 1 is more than adequate for anything in the forseeable future.
but to answer your question, i'd go with xfire 5870's and use the cash saved to buy another monitor, then 1 more down the road, for eyefinity. as iswould be awesome, and thats really the only way your gonna use any of that rendering muscle.
Having said that, I think the anti-480 stance at sites like Tom's is misguided. The heat and noise issues issues are totally overblown. If I had unlimited resources, I would buy the Nvidias.
I don't think there's necessarily an anti-480 stance here. To be certain, there are some people that are anti-nVidia (or anti-ATI or whatever), but you get that everywhere...strongly-opinionated people will tend to stand out from the rest.
Posters on Tom's do tend to confuse "best value" with "best overall" pretty regularly.
I think that generally what you see is that most people here place a high emphasis on value rather than straight-up performance. In almost every case, the newest, best component is never going to be a good value buy. Most everyone in this thread has recommended CrossFire 5870s, as paying the price premium for SLI 480s isn't worth the added cost for most people.
EDIT: CrossFired 5870s perform better than a 5970, though it may be possible to overclock the 5970s to catch up.
I'm not gonna' drag this out any longer than necessary by adding quotes from so many different posts, but there are a few counterpoints I'd like to make to some of the opinions expressed on this. First of all, dual 480's don't need a TX-950 at minimum. Any quality 850w unit will handle them fine, along with an OC'd processor and a bay full of HDD's. The amount of power needed for a high-end system is one of the most misunderstood things in the field of PC building. Sure, it never hurts to have more than you need, but trust me, 850 watts is more than you need. Factor in efficiency and you'll discover that most good units are actually much higher wattage than they're marketed as. That said, the TX-950 recommended previously is priced lower than many quality 850w units, and it is a fantastic power supply. For $150, you can't really go wrong, especially since it's a Corsair. So cast aside your PSU concerns. Personally, I'd go for dual 470's like another poster suggested. But if you're really hung up on 5870's vs. 480's, it comes down to whether or not you really want the 10 or so extra frames (on average - the difference can be much bigger in some games), how you feel about the differences in their drivers, whether you worry about power consumption (I wouldn't worry about the heat unless you have a poorly ventilated case), etc. In the end, both cards are great, and you'll have a fantastic build either way. Oh, and one other thing - to the guy who said a 5970 > 470 SLI... You're wrong.