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5970 and GTX 480

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May 19, 2010 5:30:05 AM

I'd like to know which card I'd be better of getting. Now, the difference here is not performance, but reliability and future-proofing. I'm aware that the 5970 would be an amazing choice for future proofing, however ATI worries me as their cards generally have lower user review results, due to "driver issues," BSODs, lockups, crashes after a few minutes, and running hot.

I do not like when video cards run overly hot, however both of these seem to be notorious for it.

Which card do you guys think would be a better choice? Which will provide more consistency (e.g. games playing for longer periods of time, better drivers with less issues, game compatibility -- apparently ATI seems to fail to play some games completely, albeit a driver issue most likely, still a big issue--less heat, and longer usage down the road). I am afraid the GTX 480 might die out sooner down the road, since it's maxing on 1900x1200 with 60FPS.

Hopefully I can get some unbiased opinions. I am looking for people who've had experience using these cards, not just links to reviews. I'd also like to know which specific brands offer better heatsinks (for better temperatures) and more reliable cards (e.g. HIS, Diamond, EVGA, etc.).

As an added note; I am also considering two GTX 470s SLI. I feel NVIDIA has more reliable drivers more often, and two 470s = the price of one 5970 with nearly the same performance. However I fear that SLI will cause stability issues and even slow performance, because I hear of SLI issues that cause games to lag or not play properly.

More about : 5970 gtx 480

a c 169 U Graphics card
May 19, 2010 7:32:32 AM

HD 5970 performs better than a GTX 480 and runs cooler and quieter too.
I don't know where you have read that ATI fails to play some games completely,so provide a link please.
I currently have a HD 5970 and aside from some minor 2D problems in startup(which are getting better with newer drivers),it performs very well and handles games fine.
Also,SLI doesn't cause instability or lowering performance(unless the game is old and isn't optimized for SLI).
Some games don't benefit from SLI/CrossFire so you have to disable them for the best performance.
And remember that 5970 uses CrossFire too,because its actually 2 5850 cores on one card and i have to disable CrossFire in some few games in order to get a smooth performance,but in new games,its fine with it
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a b U Graphics card
May 19, 2010 8:51:23 AM

The GTX 480 produces more heat and uses more energy than the HD 5970. I think you may have a point with ATi drivers there, but then again I just tried installing ForceWare 197.45 on my old GeForce 6800 and it just crashed. :??:  Just like my HD 4770 with Catalyst 10.2, both companies aren't perfect.

Quote:
because its actually 2 5850 cores on one card


It's actually two cherry-picked high binned HD 5870s downclocked to HD 5850 speeds. ;) 

The GTX 480 is actually faster in some heavy tessellation based games like DiRT2 than the HD 5970 IIRC, but anything outside of games like that and the HD 5970 will beat the GTX 480.
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a c 169 U Graphics card
May 19, 2010 3:53:56 PM

I know that its 2 5870 cores down clocked to a HD 5850,so that's why i said its pretty much like 2 5850 cores on one :D 
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a b U Graphics card
May 19, 2010 4:00:25 PM

phasmantis said:
... however ATI worries me as their cards generally have lower user review results, due to "driver issues," BSODs, lockups, crashes after a few minutes, and running hot...

...Hopefully I can get some unbiased opinions.


Yeah looks like you're coming to the discussion without bias. :sarcastic: 

Get an intel, it has none of those problems, and since it's not about the performance it's your perfect choice. :kaola: 
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May 19, 2010 4:38:50 PM

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
Yeah looks like you're coming to the discussion without bias. :sarcastic: 


Well the post is not about my opinion, it's about yours. If I trusted what I have read throughout reviews I wouldn't ask the community. I've used ATI and Nvidia, and I said negative things about both cards. I am merely repeating what I've read through customer reviews, hence my use of quotations on driver issues.

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
Get an intel, it has none of those problems, and since it's not about the performance it's your perfect choice. :kaola: 


Well this doesn't help me since Intel doesn't offer the 480 or the 5970 :/ .

I'd appreciate it if we kept the posts constructive.



Quote:
Some games don't benefit from SLI/CrossFire so you have to disable them for the best performance.
And remember that 5970 uses CrossFire too,because its actually 2 5850 cores on one card and i have to disable CrossFire in some few games in order to get a smooth performance,but in new games,its fine with it.


Is it a simple software option in the catalyst to turn off crossfire?

Quote:
I don't know where you have read that ATI fails to play some games completely,so provide a link please.


http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

That's why I said it, just looking for clarification really, not sure why the 5970 says "Fail" and "1 FPS" in that benchmark. I play AVP so I'm sure it's just a driver issue since the game is pretty much a console port.

I am overly impressed with the 5970, but since it's the first of its kind, I'm hesitant to buy it with the speculation that they might rework similar cards to be much better. However, ATI has been ahead of the game for quite some time when it comes to GPU power.



I've also heard you need to flash the bios in order to get control of the fan speed, and since the card can get pretty hot, this process worries me since I might end up bricking a 700 dollar card. Is this still a problem/can it be fixed with drivers?


Also, what's your opinions on two GTX 470s? Since they appear to run nearly as fast as the 5970 if not faster in some occasions. Considering that the 5970 is two 5850s, and the 470 outperforms the 5850... wouldn't a GTX 470 outperform a 5970 with crossfire disabled?
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Best solution

a b U Graphics card
May 19, 2010 5:09:43 PM

Hello there Phasmantis!

Regarding your options on the 480, the 5970, and two 470's in SLi, there's a lot of things to consider:

The 480 runs hot. Really hot. Like, it really runs really hot. However, it's made with heat in mid, so even though it'll get to 90 degrees C, it's still stable. You just want to make sure you have excellent air flow in your case, or get liquid cooling, in order to really make sure that you get the longest and most stable life out of your card.

The 5970 also runs hot, and not to mention as stated above that it's already in a sort of crossfire mode. A 1 gpu solution is always more stable than 2, no matter what anyone says. Also, it gives you a better scaling option in the future to be able to add a 2nd card and not have to worry about 4 gpus (the 5970 that is) which can definitely cause compatibility issues up the bum.

The two 470's in SLi option is definitely a good choice too. However, now you're looking at almost double the energy and double the heat of a single card which can definitely screw up longevity if you don't have adequate cooling.

In regards to drivers, support, and compatibility, both Nvidia and ATI are perfectly compatible with 99% of new games that are released. The compatibility issues you'll generally run into and see online are people who have SLi or Crossfire setups. It is an unfortunate fact that SLi is supported more, and has less issues, than Crossfire.

So a recommendation then? Do not get a 5970. If you are set on getting an ATI card, get a 5870 instead which will leave the option open to get a 2nd later. If you want an opinion on a 480 or two 470's, both are good choices and the SLi option will obviously net you more performance, at the cost of heat, energy, money, and possible issues with compatibility in SLi mode. If you have adequate cooling, especially liquid cooling, you can overclock a 470 to match a 480's output, which can save you lots of money and still net you excellent performance
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May 19, 2010 5:12:51 PM

Great! Do you think a HAF 932 case would provide sufficient cooling for two 470s? They appear to run quite cool under load, I've heard 65C normally.
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May 19, 2010 5:34:16 PM

Best answer selected by phasmantis.
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a b U Graphics card
May 19, 2010 5:40:50 PM

phasmantis said:
Great! Do you think a HAF 932 case would provide sufficient cooling for two 470s? They appear to run quite cool under load, I've heard 65C normally.


Two 470's in SLi under load, with stock coolers, will reach about 87 degrees C. While this may seem high, a single 470 under load gets to 84, so it's not a huge difference.

Regarding the case, it would be definitely be fine. Just make sure it's a full tower and not a half (although I don't even think the 932 comes in a half tower anyway).

Something to consider though about cases with fans on top is that a power supply can sometimes get in the way and you'll end up having to remove the fan, cutting out some of that air flow. EX: I have an NZXT Zero which has 4 x 120mm fans on the side, 2 x 120 mm fans on the back, and it was supposed to have an 80 mm fan on the top but my OCZ 750 watt silencer PSU was too big by JUST a sliver and it wouldn't fit. Had to remove it!



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a c 169 U Graphics card
May 19, 2010 6:56:41 PM

phasmantis said:
Well the post is not about my opinion, it's about yours. If I trusted what I have read throughout reviews I wouldn't ask the community. I've used ATI and Nvidia, and I said negative things about both cards. I am merely repeating what I've read through customer reviews, hence my use of quotations on driver issues.



Well this doesn't help me since Intel doesn't offer the 480 or the 5970 :/ .

I'd appreciate it if we kept the posts constructive.



Quote:
Some games don't benefit from SLI/CrossFire so you have to disable them for the best performance.
And remember that 5970 uses CrossFire too,because its actually 2 5850 cores on one card and i have to disable CrossFire in some few games in order to get a smooth performance,but in new games,its fine with it.


Is it a simple software option in the catalyst to turn off crossfire?

Quote:
I don't know where you have read that ATI fails to play some games completely,so provide a link please.


http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

That's why I said it, just looking for clarification really, not sure why the 5970 says "Fail" and "1 FPS" in that benchmark. I play AVP so I'm sure it's just a driver issue since the game is pretty much a console port.

I am overly impressed with the 5970, but since it's the first of its kind, I'm hesitant to buy it with the speculation that they might rework similar cards to be much better. However, ATI has been ahead of the game for quite some time when it comes to GPU power.



I've also heard you need to flash the bios in order to get control of the fan speed, and since the card can get pretty hot, this process worries me since I might end up bricking a 700 dollar card. Is this still a problem/can it be fixed with drivers?


Also, what's your opinions on two GTX 470s? Since they appear to run nearly as fast as the 5970 if not faster in some occasions. Considering that the 5970 is two 5850s, and the 470 outperforms the 5850... wouldn't a GTX 470 outperform a 5970 with crossfire disabled?

Yes there is a simple option which can disable CF in CCC.
2 GTX 470s are good too but i prefer to have one of my slots empty for future use,but its a matter of opinions.
And about AVP,well as you said its a driver issue and it isn't very optimized either
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May 19, 2010 7:58:58 PM

borisof007 said:
Two 470's in SLi under load, with stock coolers, will reach about 87 degrees C. While this may seem high, a single 470 under load gets to 84, so it's not a huge difference.

Regarding the case, it would be definitely be fine. Just make sure it's a full tower and not a half (although I don't even think the 932 comes in a half tower anyway).

Something to consider though about cases with fans on top is that a power supply can sometimes get in the way and you'll end up having to remove the fan, cutting out some of that air flow. EX: I have an NZXT Zero which has 4 x 120mm fans on the side, 2 x 120 mm fans on the back, and it was supposed to have an 80 mm fan on the top but my OCZ 750 watt silencer PSU was too big by JUST a sliver and it wouldn't fit. Had to remove it!


Fortunately the PSU in mounted on the bottom in the HF 932. Bottom is much more convenient, and easier to set up IMO, I don't even know why they do top anymore to be honest.

Quote:
2 GTX 470s are good too but i prefer to have one of my slots empty for future use,but its a matter of opinions.


This is definitely a concern for me. I am going to be using the ASUS P6X58D-E LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and SLI would leave me with no PCI slots, therefore forcing me to stick to onboard sound. However, I hear this board has very good onboard... Not sure why they set it up that way to be honest.
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