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Can't decide on a high end video card =o

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June 2, 2010 12:37:52 AM

Can't decide which to get. My eyes are set on the 5870. However, if it's much better performance wise, I will gladly shell out another $100-300.

Here is what I have ordered so far:

i7-930
ASUS P6X58D-E X58 ATX LGA1366
Coolermaster Haf 922
Noctua NH-U12P
G.SKILL F3-12800CL6T-6GBPI Pi Series 6GB 3X2GB DDR3-1600 CL6-8-6-20
2x Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB SATA2 7200RPM 32MB

What would you do? I am fine with a single power-house card. I am also fine with SLI/Crossfire, whatever has better performance.

Thanks <3
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June 2, 2010 1:13:01 AM

Vinceisg0d said:
Sigh =o Forgot I can't edit!

What does everyone use to research benchmarks and such, this was the best I could find:

http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

This benchmark seems to put the GTX480 way above the 5870.


If you're interested in running SLI down the road, then the GTX480 could be an awesome card now that could become a pair of awesome cards later. There was a recent THG article that showed the GTX480 scaling incredibly well in SLI, but they've since taken it down. The performance gains were consistently higher than that of the compared 5870 crossfire solution.

If you're looking for best value though, the 5850 really can't be beat in the top end, and as timop said 2 of them will run you $600. The performance of 2 will be close to that of a single 5970 with a slightly lower cost. I recommend this if you want to get the most out of your dollar and aren't really concerned with keeping your system open to upgrades.

Mind you, if you're not going to be playing at high resolutions, these options might be overkill. I only brought up the GTX480 because you did.
June 2, 2010 1:51:12 AM

Resolution is 1920x1200, but may be upgraded in the next year or two when I decide to get a bigger monitor (24" right now).

I doubt I will be upgrading much else in the future, if I do it would be video card though, and possibly another 6gb of RAM.

What benchmark should I be looking at for all of my possibilities? EG 480, 2 480s, 5870, 2 5850s, fermi SLI...


The other thing to keep in mind is I currently have a 750W Corsair PSU. I can get a better one if need be as well, but if it's only a marginally graphics upgrade but requires a better PSU, then I will stick to the less power hungry card.

June 2, 2010 1:59:49 AM

Am I going to be able to run every game on 'max' settings with an OC'd 5850? Are there benchmarks I can look at that have all the video cards in question on them?
June 2, 2010 2:00:09 AM

Also, am I going to have problems with FPS when I go to 2560x1600? Sorry for the double post, it wont let me edit -_-

I also meant to ask if it would be worthless to Crossfire 2 5850s while in 1920x1200, seems like what you were saying.


Also, there is this possibility:

Get one high end card now, 5870, GTX480. Then, in the future (christmas time would work for me, this or next christmas), when the price has dropped a little I could grab a second GTX480/5870 and another PSU. I still need another PSU for my secondary computer anyway, so buying a new one isn't that big of a deal.

How does that option sound?
June 2, 2010 2:13:13 AM

Quote:
Heres how a 5850 @950Mhz going to perform like, give or take.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/HD_5870_Matrix/...


Hmm, that benchmark kind of bothers me. Also, it doesn't include any crossfire/sli solutions, are there none that have them both?

I would much rather pay another $100 and get a GTX480, they seem to be overall a lot better of a card. Can my PSU handle a single GTX480 right now?

Looking at this, it seems like my best option would be to get a GTX480 now, and then around christmas time this year, or a couple months into 2011, get another PSU and a second GTX480.

How does that sound? Also, if this idea is fine, which 'brand' of 480 would I aim for on newegg or NCIX, preferably NCIX.

PS: I edited the above post just as you replied, so you may not have seen the bottom.
June 2, 2010 2:31:00 AM

I am confused, Timop, it bothered me because it didn`t show crossfire/sli, and the 5870 is rather low on the list

in the URL you gave me in the two resolutions I was aiming at, the following is shown:

5870 72 FPS
GTX480 100.5 FPS
5970 108.6 FPS
2x 5850 108 FPS not OC'd

You say that two 5850s would perform at about the 5970, so I just assumed a value for that. That implies that OC'd 5850s would be a much better value than a single 5970.

Are SLI 470s an option?

It would be better to just SLI two mid-range cards now, then get a high end one and SLI it later?

Again, sorry for repetition. I'm really trying to grasp all this.
June 2, 2010 2:49:40 AM

Ahh, yeah, I was looking at Far Cry =o

You said 2x 5850s would run on my 750W, right?

Also, are there any benchmarks with the SLI/Crossfired versions of the cards I can look at? You seem to just know, but I obviously don't =P

This is such a tough decision.

Out of curiosity- why are you so against the GTX480 for example. It's ahead of everything but the 5970 on all of the benchmarks, and on top of that, doesn't it scale better with SLI, compared to the crossfired alternatives?
June 2, 2010 3:22:17 AM

Heheh,

After all of this still not certain, you think I should go dual 5850s? Is that enough? There is no expandability in that setup which is what I am afraid of.

Since you are not a fan of the GTX480, you say the 5870 and then another 5870 at around christmas time?

Is the 5970 too much, or not an option?
June 2, 2010 6:18:32 AM

Vinceisg0d said:
Since you are not a fan of the GTX480, you say the 5870 and then another 5870 at around christmas time?


I think he was saying go with 5850s because you'll be able to OC them to the level of 5870s without paying the price of a 5870. If you don't have the money for 2 now, a second 5850 will likely still be a good upgrade at the end of this year.

Vinceisg0d said:
Is the 5970 too much, or not an option?


This is really a question you should be asking yourself. The benefit to having a 5970 is that it's one card. This gives you overall more options when it comes to upgrading, be it buying a second card or selling the current one to help fund the next. The benefit to the 5850s in crossfire is that they're considerably cheaper than the 5970 buy with similar performance.
June 2, 2010 6:23:50 AM

Two 5850s would cost me roughly $650.

One 5970 would cost me roughly $700-800.

From what I see, the 5970 will out-perform crossfire 5850s, not by much, but it still does.

What about heat and power consumption? I am only a 750W, will both choices be fine on the PSU?

I will definitely pay an extra premium for the ability to expand in the future and a slight performance upgrade.

I am definitely leaning towards the 5970 now.

What version would you get, either on ncix.com, newegg.ca or directcanada.com- preferably one of the first two. NCIX will also price match any of their pricing, so preferably there. I have no idea the difference between the XFX, Sapphire, etc options are.

EDIT: Will a 5970 fit in the Coolermaster HAF? Also, am I going to be able to OC this at all with the cooling I have?
a c 376 U Graphics card
June 2, 2010 7:19:56 AM

Two HD5850 is the best value for the money but you could go for the HD5970 instead. What an HD5970 is is two HD5870 processors in one card but they underclock the cores to stock HD5850 levels. The stock speed of the HD5870 is 850 mhz while the stock speed of the HD5970 and HD5850 is 725 mhz. There is also a difference in the number of stream processors. The HD5870 has 1600 and so does the HD5970 on each core while the HD5850 has 10% of them disabled for 1440 stream processors. The other difference that comes into play is overclocking. These cards in general allow for voltage increases of the processor and have a large amount of overclocking headroom. The limits of the architecture tends to be in the 1000-1050 mhz area. The problem with the HD5970 is that it shoves two processors on to one PCB with one fan and is technically limited to 300w total power. Usually both the HD5870 and HD5850 can reach the 1000-1050 mhz but the HD5970 tends to get around 900-950 mhz. Basically when fully overclocked I would say crossfired HD5850s and an HD5970 while be quite similar in performance while dual HD5870s will be slightly better than both. None of this is likely to matter much at your current resolution. As people have said above a single OCed HD5850 should be great for your resolution already. At 1ghz+ it should give performance similar to a stock GTX 480. That is what I would recommend. When you upgrade your monitor then add another HD5850 for crossfire. For a specific card I would recommend this one;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's got a very quiet and effective cooler and tends to OC very well. It's out of stock there and I'm not seeing it at all on newegg.ca but it is available elsewhere starting at $330;
http://www.shopbot.ca/pp-asus-eah5850-directcu2dis1gd5-...
Here is a review;
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1273/1/
June 2, 2010 7:22:49 AM

Why do people not recommend the dual 5870s at all? Not worth the price increase?

Also, do you have any idea on the main 5970 questions I had:

Will a 5970 fit in the Coolermaster HAF? Also, am I going to be able to OC this at all with the cooling I have? And is 750W enough?
a c 376 U Graphics card
June 2, 2010 7:57:11 AM

Well when the cards are fully overclocked the HD5870 only tends to beat the HD5850 by 5-10%. When purchasing a single card it's very questionable whether that is worth $100 more but with two cards it goes to $200 so... yeah. If you aren't going to overclock then it becomes a reasonable choice.
As for the HD5970 fitting it is quite long(slightly over 12") so I would recommend measuring how much room you have before buying to be certain. If the fit is questionable the HD5870 comes in at 11" and the HD5850 is just 9.5".
Also you may want to consider Eyefinity instead of a 2560x1600 monitor when you go for an upgrade. 2560x1600 monitors tend to be $1000+ so two more 1920x1200 monitors would be significantly cheaper and Eyefinity is pretty neat;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6ooGnBK2K0&feature=rela...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPCJh8tYri0&#t=100
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UeHJEeuLc8&feature=rela...
June 2, 2010 8:22:54 AM

Eyefinity looks awesome. I guess that doesn't really work with two Monitors eh? =o

According to another user, the 5970 would fit in the case just fine.

Hmm =o People say 5850s, but I just really want the 5970.

One thing no one has ever mentioned is:

Will the 5850s, OC'd, perform better than a single OC'd 5970?
a c 376 U Graphics card
June 2, 2010 8:38:50 AM

Like I said earlier when the cards are OCed crossfired HD5850s will usually be able to achieve a higher core speed than the HD5970 but the HD5970 does have 10% more stream processors. They should basically perform about equally. If I had to guess the HD5850s are maybe very slightly faster but it would really depend on what exact speeds the respective cards can achieve and you can never tell that until you try to OC whatever individual card you end up with.
June 2, 2010 8:42:57 AM

Well then the two 5850s are cheaper by a large margin. And I am assuming since no one has mentioned it, they will be fine under a 750W system.

Then the question is:

How well will the 5850s hold out? I mean, that is what I am scared of the most. In the forseeable future, do you see myself needing anything more than that? Will Eyefinity, or 2560x1600 require more than 2x5850s to run on some games with max or near max settings?

Basically: Will I ever, in the next year and a half to two years, actually find myself in the position where I am wanting/needing to buy a second 5970?
a c 376 U Graphics card
June 2, 2010 9:08:27 AM

Your PSU is fine for any of these setups. It would be questionable for 2 GTX 470s, especially when overclocked and you would definitely need something better for 2 GTX 480s. or two HD5970s.
As for whether you would need more than a single HD5970/crossfired HD5850s over the next two year I doubt it. However your motherboard has 3 PCI-E x16 slots so you can in fact use 3 HD5850s if you find it necessary. It scales quite well from what I've read(when you don't run into a CPU bottleneck.)
June 2, 2010 9:10:16 AM

Okay, so you have pretty much convinced me.

2x5970 > 3x5850s though, lol =)

Will my CPU be a problem if I end up with 3x5850s? (i7-930)
a c 376 U Graphics card
June 2, 2010 9:27:02 AM

At your current resolution yeah it would. 3 HD5850s is simply more than necessary for that resolution so the processor will end up holding back frame rates in the end. For eyefinity/2560x1600 I doubt it will be too much of an issue but in general it depends on the individual game and the specific resolution you are on. Different games use both the CPU and GPU to different degrees and it even varies depending on what is specifically is going on in the game at the moment. The higher the resolution the more it pushes the video card making a CPU bottleneck less likely. In the end something is going to be a bottleneck; either the card or the CPU. It honestly doesn't really matter which as long as they combine for reasonable frame rates at your resolution. Generally frame rates over 60 are entirely pointless so if your CPU is bottlenecking the card but you are getting 110 fps anyway then it really does not matter. Most LCD monitors have a refresh rate of 60hz in any case and physically cannot even display over 60 fps.
BTW you will want to OC that i7. You should be able to put it up another 1ghz pretty easily and at stock it probably actually would limit 2 HD5850s a bit.
June 2, 2010 9:34:08 AM

Thanks!

Out of curiosity, if I were to get a 5970, which one would I get?
a c 376 U Graphics card
June 2, 2010 9:41:22 AM

Apart from the crazy expensive Sapphire ones all of them seem to be the reference design which means they are exactly the same essentially. So choose based on price and warranty.
June 2, 2010 9:44:46 AM

Ahh, okay. Also...

On Newegg:

HIS is 829, Sapphire 742, MSI 699, XFX 763

On NCIX:

Diamond 750, Sapphire 711 or 724

So many different versions of every card =o So confusing =o
June 2, 2010 10:33:37 AM

Bah. I'm going to give in to the dual 5850s unless someone wants to convince me otherwise (please?)

The main thing that steered me away is everywhere I read people were complaining about subpar drivers. Has this issue been fixed yet?

This version:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

My dreams of 5970 are ruined! =o I decided to use XFire 5850s, and if it came down to it let my girlfriend use these and grab an upgraded setup then.
June 2, 2010 11:58:56 AM

Vinceisg0d said:
Bah. I'm going to give in to the dual 5850s unless someone wants to convince me otherwise (please?)


There's really no reason to convince you otherwise. Dual 5850s is a great setup and will serve you well for at least the next couple years, and definitely longer if you let your standards for visual fidelity to go down over time. I really think you should take a moment, pause, and reflect on the advice you've been given. I know it's always nice to get people who support the other option so you can get a valid look at the pros and cons of making your purchase, but the reality is that 3 seperate people have recommended dual 5850s as the best solution for you.

While I can tell that money doesn't seem to be an issue for you now, I also want to caution you about buyers regret. While the 5970 is a powerful card, it's just not the best value for your dollar. The 5850 on the other hand provides an incredible amount of power for its cost and is a top contender for one of the most valueable cards at stock settings. There aren't a lot of cards out there that will let you overclock by an amount of 25-35% and if you read the reviews on the ASUS DirectCU 5850 you'll see that this is actually quite commonly the case. Like I said before, with two 5850s you will get comparable performance, for comparable cost, except that you don't need to shell out $600 now if you don't want to. You could get one card now, and pick up another down the road, perhaps when it's cheaper.

As for your question of whether or not the 5970 would even fit in your case, the answer is yes:

http://www.overclock.net/computer-cases/610806-will-haf...
June 2, 2010 7:01:18 PM

Thank you, Slayer.

I have definitely read everything and tried to let it sink in, but as always, everyones main reason is the cost.

I mean, pretend the cost the same. Which do you buy? I do not care about $100 difference, if the end result is a better product, and that is what I am aiming for.

Everyone seems to say the 5970 is better, and then references price and then says the 5850s are better and to get those- ignoring price, is the 5970 the better card?
a c 376 U Graphics card
June 2, 2010 7:40:08 PM

Like I said earlier with overclocking taken into account 2 HD5850s will be basically equal to an HD5970.
If you are ignoring price then I guess get an HD5870 and buy another later(or two now if you must but it's really not necessary for your resolution.) It really isn't worth the extra money but that will in fact be better than an HD5970 or two HD5850s(probably by 5-10%)
Here is a review of the HD5850 that includes benchmarks for a single HD5850 OCed to 1ghz at your resolution;
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/xfx5850/
It is an old review based on early drivers so those numbers are actually low but they will do. As you look the numbers over remember what I said earlier about frame rates over 60 being entirely useless. In the review you'll see that with just one OCed HD5850 there is only one game that gets below 60 fps and that is Crysis. Even in that game all you would have to do is turn off AA and the fps would average above 40 fps which is considered smooth by almost everyone. There are probably 2 other games(Metro 2033 and Stalker) where a single OCed HD5850 will not provide frame rates that exceed your monitor's physical ability to display them. For those, just like with Crysis, it will be a matter of simply lowering or turning off anti-aliasing which really isn't a big deal on a high resolution monitor like yours.
One HD5850 is what you should buy imo as it's a great card at a great price and exactly appropriate for your current situation. If you really feel the need to max out AA on every game in existence then get another I guess but you may want to at least test out one before doing so. I understand you may want to go for Eyefinity or 2560x1600 in the future but considering you can easily add another or even 2 more HD5850s that is not going to be a problem.
That said if you really want the HD5970 for some reason just get it. It's your money so if that will make you happy and you can afford it you might as well.
June 2, 2010 9:38:14 PM

After all your information, which I know is correct jyjjy, I have decided to do the 5970 route. I want the simplicity of one card for now, as well as the ability to expand later. Yeah I know, 5850s are the 'better' (cheaper) choice, but oh well.

I have a couple questions if you don't mind me asking.

First:

I read I should get XFX or Sapphire 5970s, however I don't know which of either I should get. What would be the best version of it to get? Do you mind showing me a link on newegg, ncix, or any other site that ships to Canada?

Second:

The 5970 is a newer card, is it not? So the drivers for it are most likely not optimal. Whereas the 5850 drivers are probably near peak performance. Am I correct in this assumption? Once better drivers come out, wont this put a bit of a gap between the 5970 and the 5850s in performance?
a c 376 U Graphics card
June 2, 2010 10:04:05 PM

First: If you were in the US I would say XFX for the double lifetime warranty which would be nice on a complex(dual GPU) card but I don't believe that applies to Canada. The are both good brands and they are both the reference design so just decide based on price.

Second: No, the HD5970 is a bit newer(by 2ish months) but it uses both the same exact processor and drivers as the HD5850/70 cards, it's just two in crossfire on one PCB. Like I said earlier the HD5870 just has higher stock speeds while the HD5850 has 10% of its stream processors disabled. I'm pretty sure that any driver that increases the performance of any of these cards should increase the performance of the others as well(and the HD5830.)
I suppose drivers that improve crossfire scaling in general would improve the performance of the HD5970 vs a single HD5850/70 but not vs those cards in crossfire
a b U Graphics card
June 2, 2010 10:57:14 PM

So many people hate the 400 series JEEZ...

I do think 5850's are a fantastic choice, but I just don't think people give the 400 series cards a fair chance because theyre "SPACE HEATERS! COOK AN EGG ON EM!"
"I don't want to melt my computer!"

If you have decent airflow, or better yet live in a cool environment, the heat is not an issue. (Especially if you undervolt or have an aftermarket cooling solution) They overclock like CRAZY and the SLI is a nice boost.

The 480 not so much, at least for him... but why not a 470? The value is outstanding if you OC.
June 2, 2010 11:02:53 PM

Everything is new in this system aside from the PSU. I just happened to buy a PSU since my old one died 6 months ago.
June 2, 2010 11:10:44 PM

Vince im going to piggy back your thread because I am in the same dilemma,
I was looking at dual 5830's all the charts show really solid numbers and come in around 500 bucks with tax. Just a thought.
June 2, 2010 11:26:03 PM

Thanks, I'm done now!

I just said screw it. I'm tired of all this stressing and all this researching. Whatever I do is going to be well over what I need.

So, I went with the 5970.

Thanks for all the support^_^
June 2, 2010 11:29:35 PM

Congrats on the beast! Which brand did you go with?
June 2, 2010 11:36:05 PM

I went with XFX
June 3, 2010 1:30:54 AM

Congrats Vince on your new powerhouse GPU! At the very least it will last you a long time, and I don't think you're going to have any problems playing anything. Except maybe Metro with DX11 enabled, but that's cause it's Metro.
!