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GTX 460 vs. Radeon 5850 (also SLI vs. Xfire)

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July 30, 2010 1:54:23 AM

Okay, so I'm planning on building my first gaming rig in the fall of 2010. I've been doing a good bit of planning, and had initially settled on getting a Radeon 5850 for the video card. Down the road I would hypothetically add a second and Xfire them, as I was very impressed with the Tom's articles that showcased their power.

...Then I read their article on the dual 460's a couple nights ago. My mind was blown.

After seeing the 90% scaling and 24% INCREASE in efficiency of two of these mommas, my seemingly unshakable faith in AMD has wavered.

I'd like to know how two 460's stack up against two 5850's. I am aware that a single 460 is outperformed by a single 5850, but since I can get the nVidia pair for around 100 bones cheaper (500 compared to 600), I may just skip the single and jump right into SLI with the 460. If it's worth it.

And honestly, since the pair is a hundred dollars cheaper, I would settle for slightly lowered performance compared to the Xfire option. Just not too much.

Anyone know anything?

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a c 153 U Graphics card
July 30, 2010 2:31:07 AM
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We have been asked this question before. The 5850 will outperform the 460s in CF/SLI, but I decided the 460s 1GB in sli would be better. The price is a lot different.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3810/nvidias-geforce-gtx-...

As you can see the difference in performance isn't too many FPS. The 460's have been OCed slightly and the 5850 have not (and they OC well also) but I couldn't find another comparison to look at.

EDIT - Damn its comparing the 5870 CF, not 5850... should still give you a good idea of what you are looking at though.

wolfram23 said:
5850s are more powerful, but the 460 seems to really give it a run for it's money in some benchmarks. I think, bang for your buck, going with SLI GTX460s 1GB will be better if you're not gaming over 1920x1080 just because the performance is quite close and you'd be saving roughly $140.

But yeah the CF5850s will technically be performing a bit better under the majority of cases. As for OCing, they both have good OC potential probably rather equal.

July 30, 2010 4:13:16 AM

So, to reiterate, you're saying that while the single 5850 outperforms the single 460 (as I said earlier), you would go with the 460's because you get more bang for the buck? Can you be a little more specific?

Also, I was under the impression that 5850's didn't scale as well as the 460's. Thus, when you compare their performances, shouldn't the 460's overtake the 5850's?
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a c 153 U Graphics card
July 30, 2010 4:21:26 AM

The 460s SLI do perform better then the 5850s CF most of the time, hell they are just a little worse than 5870 CF, as you saw in that link I sent you.

Yeah I would get the 460s not only becuase of the bang for your buck but the performance difference isn't much. The 5850s will perform better sometimes, usually the 460s will be better though, especially if you overclock them.
July 30, 2010 4:25:28 AM

Okay, thank you for being so quick to respond!

How about for long term planning? I'm a mild pennypencher (which is why the 460's were so exciting), so do you think the pair will last long enough so that I won't have to run out and snag a new gpu or two in a couple of years?
a c 271 U Graphics card
July 30, 2010 5:00:13 AM

czarmurphy said:
Okay, thank you for being so quick to respond!

How about for long term planning? I'm a mild pennypencher (which is why the 460's were so exciting), so do you think the pair will last long enough so that I won't have to run out and snag a new gpu or two in a couple of years?

What game do you think you will want to play in two years time? And why won't it run on a pair of GTX460's?
a c 153 U Graphics card
July 30, 2010 5:02:21 AM

czarmurphy said:
Okay, thank you for being so quick to respond!

How about for long term planning? I'm a mild pennypencher (which is why the 460's were so exciting), so do you think the pair will last long enough so that I won't have to run out and snag a new gpu or two in a couple of years?


Well lets put it this way poorly optimized games aside (Metro 2033), my GTX 260s run everything I throw at them, max settings without a hitch at 1920x1200. My GTX 260s came out in June of 08.

If you get the 1GB 460s SLI I'm sure they will last you longer then my 260s have lasted me (and they are still doing their job today).
July 30, 2010 5:06:24 AM

The main games on my list are most likely:

(probably not an issue)
Dragon Age I and II
Mass Effect I - III
any new Battlefield games
Starcraft II

(might be an issue)
Crysis I and II
the STALKER series
any new, highly rated PC games


I've been reading some 460 SLI reviews, and I haven't found any that compare the 1GB 460's to the HD 5850's, so it's quite difficult to just get a direct comparison. But it is clear to me that the single 5850 outperforms the 460, but also that the 460 scales better. I would really just like a faceoff between the two!

EDIT: Just saw your post. That is impressive to say the least. And 1080p is the res I'd want to be playing at. So I might just keep the graphics lower on the Crysis series and save myself a 100 bucks. Maybe the prices will dip in the fall (in either card) and that can solidify my decision!
a c 153 U Graphics card
July 30, 2010 5:14:45 AM

You can max out Crysis on two 460s at 1080p...

I can max it out with two 260 at a higher resolution :p 

And Crysis 2 shouldn't be that demanding since its coming out for consoles.
August 2, 2010 1:33:23 AM

Best answer selected by czarmurphy.
August 2, 2010 1:42:23 AM

Dang, man, that is way higher than anything Tom's Hardware has done with them, much less with the current gen! Ha, do these cards have some secret potential I'm missing?
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