Need help with getting a new graphics card.

My current graphics card, a Nvidia 9600 GSO just crapped out and I'd like to get something with DX 11 capabilities. I've decided on a Radeon 5850. This one specifically looks nice:

XFX HD-585X-ZAFC Radeon HD 5850

But I've been doing some research and this card is apparently not a reference card. I originally had no idea what that meant and did more research on what that means. I've read things like some non-reference cards use cheaper parts and therefor aren't as good as a reference card. And I read that the biggest turn off about non-reference cards is the fact that they don't have voltage control. But, I have no plans on over clocking this card. I don't think I've ever tried OCing a gfx card before (and if I did it certainly wasn't by adjusting the voltage with software). My 9600 maxed all the games I currently play quite comfortably. And in this day and age, is it even necessary to OC a high end card like the 5850? I mean, other than knowing your numbers are higher than someone else's :kaola: A stock 5850 should run any game out now and in the near future, shouldn't it?

I also can't seem to find any reviews on this specific card. I like XFX for the lifetime warranties so that is why I was originally drawn to this card. Does anyone know if this specific card suffers from "cheap parts"? Fellow Neweggers all seem satisfied with it.

Normally I'd buy a reference card just to be on the safe side (and who knows, maybe I'll get into OCing sometime in the future) but he thing is, reference cards are almost impossible to find (I been searching for three days now) and when I do find one the price usually marked up incredibly high.

Any advice is greatly appreciated and sorry for all the text, but this is $300+ we're talking about here.
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  1. Lifetime warranty is nice and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that XFX card, they do not use cheap/bad components and then give Dual Lifetime warranty!
  2. Haha, I know your worries mate.

    First off, there are some non-reference solutions that overclock very well, such as MSI cards, or (my favorite) the ASUS DirectCU edition. Both allow voltage options through MSI Afterburner and ASUS SmartDoctor.

    As for OC'ing; it can yield a 15% improvement in games. A properly OC'd HD5850 can reach 1kcore/1.25kmem, which is higher than the HD5870's clocks by a lot. This allows it to surpass it in in-game performance.
  3. What you will tend to find with the 'non-reference' cards is an improved cooling solution, or a nice overclock by default, or both. XFX is a quality product with a great warranty. EVGA is another that comes to mind. It sounds like you're doin your homework on this purchase, just be sure to uninstall all the NVIDIA software/drivers completely before installing your new card and ATI software.
  4. Conrad925 said:
    just be sure to uninstall all the NVIDIA software/drivers completely before installing your new card and ATI software.

    That hadn't even crossed my mind. Thanks for reminding me.

    Thank you all for helping me understand this better. I think I'll go a head and go with the one I listed.
  5. Alright, my card should be arriving today and I was just wondering exactly what programs to uninstall from my PC. All the NVIDIA programs I see from the Control Panel are:

    NVIDIA Display Control Panel
    NVIDIA Drivers
    NVIDIA PhysX
    NVIDIA Steroscopic 3D Driver

    Do I uninstall all of these programs, or just the drivers?
  6. All of them they are all GPU related.
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