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From 4870X2 to GTX460 SLI or 5870 CF ?

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August 12, 2010 6:34:42 AM

Hi guys, I am getting confused whenever I think about upgrading my graphics card, 4870X2 which was bought about last 1 and a half year ago. My current built is like that:

i7 930 - OC to 4.0ghz with V6 fan cooler
RAM - Xtreem 2x3 6gbs
GPU - single HIS 4870X2
Mobo - Asus P6X58D Premium
PSU - Antec True Power 800w
Resolution - 1900x1020
Driver - Catalyst 10.7a

Yes, I can play almost every game with maxed out all the settings except Crysis which makes me disappointed. In Crysis, when I get under water or there is so many gun firing scenes, the fps drop down noticeably and I got minor-stuggering. Google and some threads here answer either because this game was optimized for Nvidia or because its imbalance between CPU and GPU framerate issues. Obviously I am eager to know why and so I tested with my bro's rigs which upgraded from 4870X2 with stock clockrate to GTX480 SLI with same CPU i7920 but OC 3.4ghz this time. You know what? all the problems are gone and the framerate for playing Crysis is like counter-strike fps or warcraft 3 fps or maybe even better than playing Pacman. Maxed out all the settings, x32 AA and all the possible settings up and on, he said he has finished both Crysis and its Warhead without dropping fps at any seconds.

Another experience with my rigs is Starcraft 2, during some cutscenes or some certain missions (I tried several times to ensure about this), fps drops significantly. It drops to around 22-28fps and when I play online matchmaking matches, in certain maps with detailed texture (I think Lost Temple but I am not sure about the name), fps droprate is significant than others. I wonder why ?

So my question is, happening like this is because of my graphics card? This is my first ATI graphics card and when I bought for my bro and for myself last 1 and a half year ago, this was the most powerful card in the market at that time. So we thought it would be enough for around 3years or even more for graphics and now my bro decided to switch back to Nvidia because of these mysterious issues (blame to drivers or game engines or what? I dunno). I didn't care about Crysis because it has its own bad reputation but for Starcraft 2, hmm really make me disappointed for not consistent fps throughout the game.

So, can anyone suggest whether should I upgrade my graphics card to GTX460 SLI or 5870 CF ? I do not have enough budget for both GTX480(about the same price with 460 SLI but benchmark shows lower) and 5970(dual gpu, eeeee trust it one more time ?).

Or, does anyone here want to share your experience with the 4870X2 ?

More about : 4870x2 gtx460 sli 5870

a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
August 12, 2010 12:02:38 PM

I'd recommend the 5850 CF as it would increase your performance, unlike SLI 460's. Also with the 5850's you can oc it to at least 900/1200 which would turn the 5850 practically into a 5870. So in essence it'd be CF 5870 at stock. A good 5850 is the HIS 5850 iCooler V which is 290$ and has a pretty good cooler compared to stock.
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a b B Homebuilt system
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August 12, 2010 12:31:38 PM

Two x GTX460s will perform better than the more expensive 5850s due to SLI getting superior scaling. So 5850s are not worth going for if going with a two card set up.

If you suspect ATI is the issue then you may as well go Nvidia to ease your mind.
480 is inferior to two GTX460s, however this is always the case, but the GTX480 is it copes with pretty much everything so it being weaker is irrelevant, the benefit to the GTX480 is that in the future you can add a second one.
Of course, the downside is the GTX 480 is hot and not a great design, but I believe there is a brand that has a great cooling system for them.

Nvidia Fermi cards tend to deal with tessalation better, so if upgrading I would go with Nvidia.

You really cannot go wrong with GTX460 SLI or even a single GTX480
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August 13, 2010 1:47:14 AM

Thanks for the suggestions, for ATI I am still thinking and admit that I've got a little bit hesitated to try it again since my experience with their previous flagship is not good. 4870X2 is my first ATI card as well as my first high-end graphics card. Before that I was in a country where you can only get 8600gt as highest and latest card so that mean I have also never tried Nvidia's high-end and I don't know how it's compared to ATI in terms of drivers and hardware features.
I would definitely go for SLI if I happen to buy GTX 460 and what brand would you recommend for it? I know some will suggest me to buy cheapest since all will be using the same chipset but added features such as GUI software for OC or quiet fans with decent temp would be my favor.
For GTX 480, it is like more extended future proof, am I right ? What would you guys do if you are me ?
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b U Graphics card
August 13, 2010 2:15:57 AM

Well the GTX480 is the strongest single chip card. However the power draw vs the 5870 is way more. Also Check this review out.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gtx-480-amp-edition...

I honestly like the 5850 because even with your scaling argument... SLI 460s don't beat the 5870 CF, even at superclocked. Also you can pretty much OC the 5850's to 5870's very easily. I did, I have a 5850 performing at practically the 5870's performance. Also although you may OC the 460 as well after all that OCing it still won't beat 2x5870s. :p  IMO. Of course. :p 
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August 13, 2010 3:02:27 AM

With regards to SC2 remember that it has no performance increase from multiple GPUs
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August 20, 2010 2:38:35 AM

Yeah, for SC2 alone, I think I don't even need to upgrade since my current card 4870x2 can max out everything with over 60fps. EXCEPT that (yeah I hate that except) in some multiplayer maps (noticeably maps with grass terrain, at sometimes, not always) and during movie cutscenes in campaign, the fps drops significantly with no reason, not background tasks raise, not AV routine scan. A game without using Dx11 and well-rounded optimized as opposed to Crysis or GTV IV which I saw a video on youtube comparing 5970 vs 480 single card and of course fps is over 200 on 5970 while it's only over 100 on 480. But you know the end result ? Micro stuttering and inconsistent fps drop rates occur more often on 5970. The tester gave a win to nvidia himself. I feel it's like the 4870x2 dual gpu card, powerful but unstable.

Please don't assume that I am Nvidia fanboy because I am purely writing based on my experience with dual gpu card 4870x2 so I really have no idea for ATI single gpu cards like 5850 or 5870 which I know that it can go even closer to 480 without taking power and producing heat too much. Another thing is Anti-Aliasing, if it's on, ATI cards (including mine which I tested myself) suffers so much more than Nvidia (Tomshardware and BenchmarkingReviews show that). I can play Crysis:Warhead with max out all the things without AA at 40-60fps, if AA on to x8, fps drop to 20-30.

Anyways, thanks for all the suggestions and yes, I really take all the inputs into account and am trying/googling/watch at youtube about the performance and pros/cons of the following cards - comparing performance + value wise.

5850 CF, 5870 CF, 5970(CF)
460 SLI and 480(SLI)
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a b B Homebuilt system
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August 20, 2010 9:11:57 AM

The reviews I saw (admittedly I have not researched thooroughly) showed OC'd GTX460s in SLI beating the OC'd 5850s, considerably in some, not by much in others. While an Oc'd 5850 beats an OC'd GTX460, due to SLIs far superior scaling, 2 x GTX460s outperformed the 5850 XFire.

If you have a single card set up then the 5850 is a beter buy, however, if you are planning ona 2 card set up in the future, I believe the GTX 460s become a better choice
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August 21, 2010 2:12:30 AM

Thanks for all the inputs and at last I made a decision and bought 2x Palit GTX 460 1gb Platinum edition OC to 800 together with Vertex2 SSD 60gb. Right now I am installing a fresh Win7 OS on SSD and reading articles for the OS and SSD tweaks.

By the way, can anyone tell me how to check my SLI Bridge connector is confirmed working? When I searched for it, some people suggest that though SLI will work even without bridge, its performance will suffer in some cases and best way to test it, is using 3D Mark, run with and without bridge and compare the fps. This is my first time here and so, would be so grateful if you can give suggestions for SLI.
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August 28, 2010 12:51:21 AM

Best answer selected by mgph.
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