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Ati 5850 or FX470, going to Crossfire/SLI in a few years

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 31, 2010 3:12:30 AM

Hey all - hoping to get some opinions on which card I should go for on my new i5-750 build, which I posted about in detail here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/287076-31-1000-build-....

I'm building a gaming PC for about $1000 with one of these cards, and then buying an identical one in perhaps 2 years to Crossfire or SLI. Since ATI raised its prices after launch, the difference in price is not much - for example, between a Gigabyte ATI 5850 which costs $318 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...), and a Gigabyte FX 470 at $350 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...). Yesterday there was also a deal that made several of the FX470's $330, so if that happens again the price difference is even less.

So I would go with the FX470 given its generally faster speeds except for my concerns about overheating and power capacity (I have a 700W OCZ slipstream). With the case I just bought (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) would having two FX470's cause significant heating issues? And would I have to get a more powerful PSU to handle two of them, along with the i5/p55 chipset? I also want to keep things as simple as possible and I have not done a dual GPU setup before, so is either one known to be easier to set up in Crossfire/SLI?

Thanks!
May 31, 2010 3:41:49 AM

5850 is your best bet, cooler, and when xfired = a BEAST. You can also overclock it to match speeds of 5870! Just make sure you have a good aftermarket cooler.
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May 31, 2010 4:09:58 AM

Well, in 2 years there will probably be cards twice as fast for the same price. It all depends on your resolution... lower resolution i would recommend the 5700 series cards, for medium resolution the 5800 series cards / gtx 470, and the max resolutions the 5970 and the gtx 480. Hope this helps!
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May 31, 2010 4:34:03 AM

lol, that gave no information whatsoever @^
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May 31, 2010 4:36:54 AM

How did that not give him any info? I just recommended multiple solutions to all of his possible resolutions so he wouldn't pay extra for performance he doesn't need for his resolution...
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June 1, 2010 1:11:47 AM

Thanks for the comments - my monitor will be a 23" running at 1920 x 1080. In maybe two years the price for either of the cards should be around $100-$150, and I figure I will get another one so that my dual-GPU setup can still match the better single GPU cards available by then. So I definitely want to make sure I make the right choice with the first card (and will be of course using it to play new games until then).

I figure that the ATI 5850 should be able to Crossfire with even standard coolers, and work fine on a 700 W PSU w/ an efficient i5, as its voltage and heat seem to be quite low from the reviews here. I'm guessing, though, that SLI'ed dual FX470's will require more than a 700W PSU and probably a very good air cooled case or liquid cooling to run safely. If anyone here has a FX470, I would definitely like to know your experiences with its cooling and power requirements, mainly so I can rule it out :) 
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Best solution

a c 376 U Graphics card
June 1, 2010 1:59:33 AM

Indeed, if you are planning a dual card setup in the future then the HD5850 is a much better choice. SLI GTX 470s are going to need some serious case air flow and a ton of power. In fact a single GTX 470 uses about as much power as 2 HD5850s
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June 2, 2010 10:26:20 PM

Best answer selected by wilytilt.
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June 2, 2010 10:26:29 PM

Thanks for the information - this just confirms that I'll go with the 5850, despite the tempting prices of the FX (and ATI's price raising ways ^^).
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a c 376 U Graphics card
June 2, 2010 10:40:36 PM

I would recommend this card if you are going for HD5850s;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It is generally considered the best HD5850 around. Here is a review;
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1273/1/
It's out of stock at the moment but should come back in stock soon. The factory OCed version of the card is in stock but it is $20 more and the OC is tiny compared to what you should be able to manage on your own on either card.
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