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New monitor - will 4870 (512MB) be good enough?

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a b U Graphics card
August 5, 2010 5:17:21 PM

Right now, I've got two computers. The "main" one has a decent display already, but I just received a new 1920x1080 monitor ... my plan is to use it on the main machine and move the current monitor over to my second machine to replace a piece of crap tube display that I literally got out of a dumpster when I was in college 10 years ago.

The 4870 has been awesome running everything including Crysis on the 1440x1050 display, but I also know that 512MB cards can start to bog down at resolutions over 1600px. The question is - in a PRACTICAL sense - is the big new display going to be putting too much of a load on it? I am not in this to be the benchmark king, just enjoy my games without sticking. Since anything over 30 frames per second is basically undetectable to the human eye, I am not really going to care if I drop from, say 42fps to 32fps. If I drop to 10fps, I will care. I've read conflicting reports on this, so wondering if anyone has some real experience with this or a similar configuration.

A secondary issue is whether the 4650 on my second machine will handle the 1440x1050 monitor, but I'm not terribly worried about that since the machine is a POS and I don't do heavy gaming on it. The eventual plan is to get rid of it and build a third machine with a six-core CPU and a GTX 470 or 5870, but that's probably not happening for at least a few months.


Relevant specs:

Machine 1
CPU - q9550
GPU - HD 4870 (512MB)
RAM - 8GB DDR3-1333
Display - 1440x1050
Uses - Heavy gaming (Crysis, L4D, etc.), photo editing, full-screen streaming video (Slingbox)

Machine 2
CPU - Pentium 4 3Ghz
GPU - HD 4650 AGP
RAM - 2GB DDR
Display - 1024x768
Uses - Light gaming (RTS, sims), Internet, office
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 5, 2010 5:21:22 PM

Answering backwards:

The 4650 on the older monitor will be fine. Shouldn't have much of a problem

The 4870 "may" be an issue. What really matters is if you're playing the game at the maximum resolution of 1920x1080. You can just play the game at a lower resolution and still be alright.

But you are correct in that once you start hitting 1680x and above, you really want to have 1gb of RAM depending on the types of visuals you want to have in your game. If you typically like all that eye candy, you will definitely see a drop in performance.
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August 5, 2010 5:24:40 PM

^+1 512Mb VRAM is not enough for that resolution. you need atleast 1Gb. there will be a huge fall in fps.
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a b U Graphics card
August 5, 2010 5:49:03 PM

Yeah, that's what I was worried about. I'm not a stickler for the absolute maximum detail or high AA settings, so I'll probably try turning them down or using the smaller resolution, at least for Crysis. Sigh.

I actually don't play Crysis as much as other games (especially L4D), and I'm coming to the conclusion that I'll have better luck with them; maybe even playing at the full resolution with no appreciable difference if these benchmarks are to be believed.

http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,667611/Left-4-Dead-G...

That sound about right?

One other thing I've considered is just buying a 5870 or GTX470 now and boxing up the 4870 ... then when I build the new machine, use the good video card on that, and return the 4870 to this machine (which will then be using the 1440x1050 monitor again). I'm just not sure if I want to spend $400 on a video card if when a) prices may come down a bit in a few months, and b) They might have something better on the market.

In other words: If a 1GB card is really only going to be necessary for Crysis at full resolution, I can live without Crysis at full resolution for a few months. If it's going to be an issue for most other games too, that's what I'm worried about.
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August 6, 2010 11:58:15 AM

If you are wanting to choose between the GTX 470 and HD 5870, i won't recommend the GTX 470 at all :non:  .

At the same price range the HD 5870 performs close to a GTX 480, and even consumes less power and emit less heat.
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