3 quick questions as I'm looking for a ATI 5850 (and also considering a FX470, but that's a separate story).
1) What's the difference between cards that say PCI-E 2.0 vs those that say PCI-E 2.1?
2) Is there any benefit to a factory overclock (i.e. Gigabyte's 765mhz v 725mhz)? Or can the same result be achieved with tuning software?
3) How does one tell how good the video card's fan system is?
Here are some cards I'm considering; would like to hear any good or bad experiences with them:
XFX and sapphire are my favourites, you can usually tell how good the fan system is depending on the size, but also they make more noise. Factory overclock is useless, you can get the same results safely using MSI afterburner, you basically pay them to OC it for you because you have no common sense.
1) Their performance will not too far away, don't mind it unless you have a 1.0 motherboard, because many issue with 2.1 card running on 1.0 motherboard.
2) Personally, i would say no, cause you can OC it for yourself and get the same speed of Factory overclocked card.
3) Just look at their cooler, usually, big cooler are more effective than a small one. Vapor-X from Sapphire are good if you want to OC, IceQ from HIS are good cause it blows the hot air out of the case from the back of the card.
Thanks - from looking at the pictures of the four, it seems that the XFX has the biggest single fan (and the Sapphire looks like the reference fan?). The Gigabyte, though, has two fans, and it also claims that it is "up to 27% cooler than standard 5850". Does that claim make sense, given its two vs one fan?
Also, how good is the Gigabyte brand compared to the others that make the card, which include XFX, Sapphire, HIS, MSI, Asus, and Biostar.