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Upgrade video card or is it time to build a new computer?

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August 24, 2010 6:49:07 PM

I have an E6600 over clocked to 3.2ghz since the day I built the pc with 4gb of ram running Win XP. I am using a Radeon 4870 512mb video card. I finally ditched my trinitron CRT a few months back and downgraded to a 1080p lcd. I miss the black level of my crt but overall I am happy with the LCD. At 1080p resolution I need to turn off AA and AF to get acceptable frame rates. I have been mainly playing COD lately.

I am debating about updgrading my video card to a 4870 X2. They sell for @200 now on ebay. I could probably sell my 4870 512mb for @100.

My question is if upgrading my video card is a viable option with my current system. I know there is no point upgrading the card if the cpu is going to be a bottleneck. I think the E6600 @3.2ghz should still be fast enough for most video cards but I am not sure.

Would upgrading to a 4870 1gb make a big difference? Is the 4870 X2 overkill with my setup?
a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 6:58:35 PM

Why don't you buy the hd 5xxx series card they are good and more capable of doing things then old cards.
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August 24, 2010 7:09:35 PM

I thought the 4870 X2 was still faster than the current 5xxx cards except for the 5870 which is extremely expensive. I would like to stay around the $200-250 price range. The 4870 X2 seems like a good deal for @200.00.
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a c 153 U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 7:11:31 PM

Your CPU should be fine at the overclock its at, its still a pretty decent one at stock.

A 4870x2 for 100 dollars (basically what you would pay for it), is a pretty good deal if you can get it for that.

I'd rather have like a 5850 myself, just for DX11.

Also the 6000 series cards should be released around the holidays this year if you can wait.

In terms of raw power, yes the 4870x2 is more powerful, I wouldn't call it better however.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 7:13:03 PM

What type of PSU do you have ?? -- the 4870x2 uses quite a bit of power so you might need to also get a new PSU in the upgrade !

Note: you might have a hard time getting $100 for the 512MB 4870 since Newegg has the ASUS 1GB version for $129 - $30 MIR new ! (another option might be to find another 4870 512MB version and xfire them if your MOBO has dual PCI-e slots)
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 7:14:37 PM

you have answer to your question itself bro...but still in games the dx 11 support is very important nowdays and buying the card still depends on the resolution you play .
The 4870 X2 is indeed faster but there are many cards that can satisfy your needs.
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August 24, 2010 7:21:18 PM

I have an Enermax Noisetaker 485w. I assume I would have to upgrade that if I got the 4870 X2. From what I've read the 5xxx series cards use a lot less power and also produce a lot less heat which is a big plus.

I have a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R mobo. It only has one PCI 16x slot. I don't believe crossfire is an option.

I've been watching ebay and the 4870 512mb should sell for between 90-100. The one Newegg was offering has a horrible cooler that was not very popular. I have the HIS card which has the reference cooler.

I don't know anything about DX11. I guess I should do so research on that. It sounds like something a lot of the newer games are going to require. If thats the case then I guess looking at the newer 5xxx series cards makes sense. Especially since I won't have to upgrade my PS.

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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 7:29:46 PM

That's a smart choice ...study a little about hd 5xxx series and see whether it's worth buying or not....but everyone's choice is this series only man...less power consumption, great performance and dx 11 ...that's really great combination ...it's good to go with it.
Hey go with the hd 5770 it's near by to hd 4870 ...and price is less than 170$.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
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a c 271 U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 7:48:29 PM

rocky41 said:
That's a smart choice ...study a little about hd 5xxx series and see whether it's worth buying or not....but everyone's choice is this series only man...less power consumption, great performance and dx 11 ...that's really great combination ...it's good to go with it.
Hey go with the hd 5770 it's near by to hd 4870 ...and price is less than 170$.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Why is it you don't mention that the OP could also buy an Nvidia 4xx series card? Fanboy much?
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 7:51:25 PM

@mousemonkey
by so much trouble he has agreed to look at the ati hd 5xxx series and now if i will suggest fermi i'm sure he will leave this forum.
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August 24, 2010 7:51:29 PM

So the 5770 1gb would be an upgrade from my 4870 512mb. I know it is hard to say but by about how much would you say? 20%, 30%, ect???
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a c 153 U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 7:53:26 PM

Its not much of an upgrade, if an upgrade at all. Those cards perform very close together.

In my opinion you want to get at least 5850, as I said, maybe a 460 1GB version. I don't even think a 5830 would be enough of an upgrade, unless you're on a budget.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 7:54:22 PM

the 5770 really isn't an upgrade at all performance-wise to a 4870... Maybe 5-10% because of the 1gb ram.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 7:57:03 PM

rocky41 said:
@mousemonkey
by so much trouble he has agreed to look at the ati hd 5xxx series and now if i will suggest fermi i'm sure he will leave this forum.

Whilst that makes very little sense I shall assume that it is just a poor attempt at trying to cover up with humour, I noticed in another thread that you questioned why Nvidia cards were being mentioned and no Ati cards were getting the same attention and yet you're guilty of doing the same in reverse.
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August 24, 2010 7:58:37 PM

I have looked at the Nvidia cards. I have not ruled them out. I have found from prior experiences that it is easiest to upgrade to the same type of card. Sometimes going from a ATI to Nvidia can create driver issues. It has happened to me in the past. I don't feel like doing a complete reinstall of windows right now. I know that it usually isn't a problem but I have ran into it before.
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a c 153 U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:01:26 PM

You will NOT have to do a complete reinstall of windows from switching between ATI and Nvidia, just use a program called driver sweeper.

Delete all ATI drivers from your control panal.
Use Driver Sweeper to remove any ATI Display traces.
Boot into safe mode and repeat the previous step.
Boot into windows and download and install the latest Nvidia Drivers.

You should not have any problems if you do that.

Regardless, I think my previous post has the information you are looking for if you want to stick with ATI.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:04:37 PM

@mousemonkey
it isn't like your thinking man the OP here have the budget of about 200$ and the best nvidia card will be gtx 460 1gb and that is way overpriced and ati cards can be good for that budget.
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August 24, 2010 8:05:47 PM

jryan388 said:
the 5770 really isn't an upgrade at all performance-wise to a 4870... Maybe 5-10% because of the 1gb ram.


I also haver my 4870 overclocked using overdrive to 790mhz and I believe 1100mhz for the ram. I have to double check that when I get home.

I am not going to spend @75-100 to upgrade to the 5770 if it really isn't an upgrade.
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a c 153 U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:07:23 PM

beekermartin said:
I also haver my 4870 overclocked using overdrive to 790mhz and I believe 1100mhz for the ram. I have to double check that when I get home.

I am not going to spend @75-100 to upgrade to the 5770 if it really isn't an upgrade.


Yeah, do NOT get a 5770, its not worth it from what you have.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:08:36 PM

The 5770 would be a slight upgrade since the newer drivers have increased the performance on them but not really enough to make it a good choice for you at this point (since the 4870 is fairly close to the same performance) -- If you are looking to upgrade the minimum I'd suggest would be a 5850 for around $270 or as Mousemonkey points out the Nvidia 460 1GB version for $230 --( avoid the 768MB versions as there is a fairly large difference in performance between it and the 1GB. models for the $20-$30 price difference)

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a c 271 U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:08:55 PM

rocky41 said:
@mousemonkey
it isn't like your thinking man the OP here have the budget of about 200$ and the best nvidia card will be gtx 460 1gb and that is way overpriced and ati cards can be good for that budget.

Not everyone thinks that the 1GB 460's are overpriced, which is why people are buying them instead of the 5830 (which is and always has been overpriced) and 5850's.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:09:40 PM

Can you just specify your budget so that we can suggest according to your budget.
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August 24, 2010 8:13:22 PM

Helltech said:
You will NOT have to do a complete reinstall of windows from switching between ATI and Nvidia, just use a program called driver sweeper.

Delete all ATI drivers from your control panal.
Use Driver Sweeper to remove any ATI Display traces.
Boot into safe mode and repeat the previous step.
Boot into windows and download and install the latest Nvidia Drivers.

You should not have any problems if you do that.

Regardless, I think my previous post has the information you are looking for if you want to stick with ATI.


Thanks for the tip! I will do that if I get a Nvidia card.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:13:28 PM

A 5770 would be a downgrade from a 4870, according to AnandTech.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:22:31 PM

@mousemonkey
hey gtx 460 is really great card but we have to look at the budget too man, and i said over priced related to the budget here...
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:24:30 PM

Mousemonkey said:
A 5770 would be a downgrade from a 4870, according to AnandTech.


Yes - but that benchmarking was done back in October 2009 using older drivers and ATI has improved the performance of the 5xxx series fairly substantially since then while the performance on the 4xxx series has also changed slightly but now the 5770 outperforms the 4870 in most games with the newer drivers (Still it is not really an option to consider here as it is not much of an upgrade and not worth spending the $ on !!)
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August 24, 2010 8:30:25 PM

rocky41 said:
Can you just specify your budget so that we can suggest according to your budget.


I haven't really given it that much thought. I was just thinking about upgrading because I saw that used 4870 x2 were selling for @200-250 on ebay. I didn't think anything that was currently available in that price range could touch the 4870 x2 in terms of perfomance.

I then started thinking about just building a new computer but I don't really have the time. If I was going to do that I would build a crossfire system as that seems to give the most bang for the buck right now. Back when I built my current pc, crossfire wasn't up to full steam like it is now. Besides my current pc does everything I need it to. I would just like a bit more performance in games at 1080p resolution.

I would like to spend @ $100-150 additional money out of my pocket. Considering I should get @100 for my 4870 i guess my total budget is @200-250. I will only bother upgrading if I will actually get an increase in perfomance. 5-10% is not worth it to me.
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a c 153 U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:33:10 PM

Unless you can get a deal on a 5850 for 250 (and I doubt you can), I think the 460 1GB version would be perfect for you, for that price range.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:42:10 PM

Ya GTX 460 1GB will be good for that range but even it's not going to give an big performance difference compared to hd 4870 unless you plan to overclock the gtx 460.Once it is overclocked then it will be worth buying and will give you an impressive increase in performance over hd 4870.
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August 24, 2010 8:47:09 PM

Let me ask a slightly dumb question. What kind of a perfomance difference is there between the 512mb and 1gb 4870 at 1080p? I wish I would have bought the 1gb at the time but back then I was still using my CRT at much lower than 1080p.
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a c 153 U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:50:39 PM

Its not a huge difference, and since you were using a CRT at the time it was a smart choice.

It would make a difference, but not a gigantic one.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 8:53:09 PM

The difference will be around 4-5 fps on 1080p in my opinion.
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August 24, 2010 9:00:51 PM

I really appreciate everyones posts. Thank you.

I guess I am going to have to do some research and think about it for a few days. I am still getting very acceptable frame rates but only with AA off. With AA at 4x the frame rate drops too low. Especially when there is fire and smoke in the scene! The overall image quality is still excellent with AA off. It does look better of course with AA at 4x though.
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a c 172 U Graphics card
August 24, 2010 9:08:10 PM

What ever you do get be sure that it has more vram than you have now and personally I would avoid the 4870x2 due to the heat alone. They are known to have scaling issues exct and nvidia gx2 are no different, it is due to the slow pci-e switch. The GTX460 is the best in slot for the money at this time for that price bracket while a 5850 would a killer upgrade over what you have now. Avoid the 5830 and you will find out why. The gtx 465 is the same way just another crap card for the price. Plus both consume more power than cards one tier up.
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August 25, 2010 5:42:54 AM

I've got a quick drive sweeper question. If this isn't the proper place to ask this question then please just point me in the right direction. Thanks.

After reading the post about using driver sweeper before installing drivers from a different video card vendor I downloaded it. I forgot that I did own a Nvidia GTX 280 card before I got the ATI 4870. I installed drive sweeper and ran it. I removed all Nvidia software, chipset, display and physx. I then uninstalled the ATI driver and removed all ATI software using drive sweeper. I noticed after unistalling all ati software that every time I ran drive sweeper it still reported some ati software. The same was true for Nvidia drivers but only a few showed up fro nvidia. No matter how many times I removed them they still show up when I run drive sweeper. I don't know why.

Anyway after doing that a few times I reinstalled ATI 10.7 drivers. Everything seems to be back to normal but I wasn't sure if I missed something since Nvidia drivers still show up when I run driver sweeper. ATI drivers showed up as well but I assumed that was because I have an ATI product installed. I don't have invidia items installed as far as I know.

Am I missing something???
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a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2010 6:43:15 AM

I don't have experience with driver sweeper, However I'd assume they may be the drivers that come with Windows XP and are subsequently 'hardwired in', cannot confirm this however.
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a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2010 2:26:12 PM

beekermartin said:
I've got a quick drive sweeper question. If this isn't the proper place to ask this question then please just point me in the right direction. Thanks.

<SNIP > I wasn't sure if I missed something since Nvidia drivers still show up when I run driver sweeper. ATI drivers showed up as well but I assumed that was because I have an ATI product installed. I don't have invidia items installed as far as I know.

Am I missing something???


IT is most likely the Chipset drivers if you have an NVIDIA based MOBO -- Those will be reloaded by windows when you boot if they are missing since they are needed for the MOBO to operate properly --- When running Driver sweeper you only want to delete the video drivers not all Nvidia drivers if the MOBO is based on an Nvidia chipset (same goes for MOBO's based on ATI chipsets when deleting an ATI video card !)
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a c 172 U Graphics card
August 25, 2010 3:30:44 PM

This is why I don't use driver cleaner. I often keep multiple driver profiles on my machines so that I don't have to go through lengthy install processes. In short I make my cards pnp. ATI and Nvidia drivers play well when there is only brand brand of card in use at that time. ATI drivers will only prompt you that there is no ati card present while nvidia will not prompt. It doesn't cause me any problems.
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August 25, 2010 4:35:56 PM

JDFan said:
IT is most likely the Chipset drivers if you have an NVIDIA based MOBO -- Those will be reloaded by windows when you boot if they are missing since they are needed for the MOBO to operate properly --- When running Driver sweeper you only want to delete the video drivers not all Nvidia drivers if the MOBO is based on an Nvidia chipset (same goes for MOBO's based on ATI chipsets when deleting an ATI video card !)


I understand that but as far as I know the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R mobo does not have a Nvidia chipset. I still have the box for the mobo and it doesn't say Nvidia anywhere on it.
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August 25, 2010 8:55:00 PM

I've been reading just about every review on current video cards that I can find since I started this thread yesterday. It looks like the 460 1gb is the best "bang for the buck" right now. I will probably keep an eye out for a good deal on one and pick one up. If I decide to build a new pc down the road the 460 should be a good option for SLI.

The only thing holding me back is I'm still not sure how much af an upgrade the 460 is from my 4870. From what I've read the 4870 is comparable to the 5770 in most benchmarks. The 460 only seems to best the 5770 by a small margin in most games. I am still not sure the upgrade from the 4870 to the 460 is worth the expense.
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a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2010 10:45:18 PM

beeker, IMO your correct. It might be that you wait it out til the southern islands come out. (oct/nov) best case scenario is nvidia drop's its prices(however unlikely), but whats more definite is that the 5xxx series will come down in price and you should be able to pick up a 5850 for cheaper than your 460 which it out performs, who knows, maybe even a 5870 at the same price point? or maybe you upgrade to a 6xxx series, either way theres quite a few options for you if you wait a month or two.
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August 26, 2010 12:03:07 AM

I guess it is a catch 22. If I wait then the value of my 4870 is also going to drop. The more I read about it the 460 does seem to be a nice increase in perfomance over my 4870 especially if I overclock it. Of course I've been running my 4870 at 790/1100 so I don't know how much of an increase it will actually be.
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August 26, 2010 2:29:04 AM

I decided to stop reading reviews and just buy one. I came across a good deal at TD for a MSI Cyclone 460 1gb card. I know it won't be that much faster than my 4870 but it should be fast enough to keep me happy until I am ready to build a SLI rig.

My only concern is the extra heat in the case since the Cyclone doesn't exhaust it out of the case. I am not that concerned since the 460 idles at such low temps and I always turn my case fans up when gaming. I am excited to get it installed and test it out.
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a c 153 U Graphics card
August 26, 2010 2:32:34 AM

beekermartin said:
I decided to stop reading reviews and just buy one. I came across a good deal at TD for a MSI Cyclone 460 1gb card. I know it won't be that much faster than my 4870 but it should be fast enough to keep me happy until I am ready to build a SLI rig.

My only concern is the extra heat in the case since the Cyclone doesn't exhaust it out of the case. I am not that concerned since the 460 idles at such low temps and I always turn my case fans up when gaming. I am excited to get it installed and test it out.


Did you buy it yet? becuase the MSI Cyclone on TD has a promo code right now to bring it down to 209 dollars.
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August 26, 2010 5:25:46 AM

I used the promo code Heltech. Thanks for looking out though.

Before I buy anything online I always search for it on slickdeals.net. I saw the code there for it and I also saw a post from you in a different thread about it.

Thanks again.

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September 1, 2010 6:09:30 AM

I received and installed my MSI GTX460 today. I used driver sweeper to remove all ATI software. For some reason 2 things still show up everytime I run it but I have uninstalled all ATI software that I know of.

Anyways, I ran 3dmark06, which is all I can run since I am still using XP. I went from @13400 using the 4870 512mb to 14300 using the 460. Not exaxtly the increase I was hoping for.

Of course the 4870 was overclocked to 790/1100. What is the best program to use to test an overclock of the 460? I can't use Kimbo or whatever its called because I am using XP DX9.

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a c 153 U Graphics card
September 1, 2010 6:46:38 AM

MSI Afterburner is by far the best you should be using. You can push 800Mhz easy.
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September 1, 2010 3:03:50 PM

I did install afterburner last night but I didn't have much time to play around with it. I see how to change the speeds but I didn't see an option to test the overclock settings. I remember using ATI tool years ago that would more or less automatically overclock and test until it reaches the maximum stable overclock.
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