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Which should I get - 4870 vs 5770

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 27, 2010 8:49:11 AM

For the past 3 years, I've been running fine with my 2.8 GHz E6550 coupled with an ATI HD 3850 256 MB. It's been enough to play all games at my monitor's native resolution of 1440 x 900, with some games in lowered settings (Crysis, NFS Shift, DiRT 2) and is able to run most not-so-demanding games at max (TDU, COD Series, AC2). I thought it'd be enough until I replace my whole rig in about 2-3 years.

However, this summer my LCD monitor broke and I had to buy a new one. As LED-backlit LCDs are now reasonably priced, I got myself an AOC e2236VW which has a native resolution of 1920x1080. Now, my card has a hard time running things at native resolution, though I can still run older games like TDU and COD4, as well as newer non-demanding titles like CODMW2 with 4xAA and 16xAF, most other games have to be run with no AA anymore. Actually, the even more demanding games (e.g. NFS Shift) have to be run at 1280 x 720.

In other words, the 3850 256MB was and is a great card for resolutions no higher than 1440 x 900. However, I think I have to make a mid-life upgrade of my rig. The choices are down to 5770 and 4870, both 1 GB versions. I don't think I should go any higher as I'll be CPU bound (my board is just a P5QL-Pro and isn't very overclockable, so 2.8 GHz is the highest stable I can go), and more importantly, financially-bound.

From what I see, the 4870 is still faster than the 5770. They say the performance differences are negligible, but 4-8 fps per game is actually significant especially once they start getting old as I'll be needing to squeeze as much performance as I can from them. Of course, most people will say that I don't buy previous-gen technology, especially as the 5770 has more features. However, I don't need any of these features. I don't bit stream my audio, I have no need for Eyefinity, and DX11 isn't much of an improvement over DX10 yet. The only significant benefit of the 5770 is that it uses much, much less power.

So right now, the issue is: significantly more powerful old card vs greatly more economical new card. Given this, I'd probably pass up the few FPS for energy savings. However, there's another issue - PRICE.

Brand new 4870s are hard to find nowadays here in the Philippines, so I'll most likely have to settle for a 2nd hand unit. A 1GB 4870 costs somewhere between $100-120, with rare $90 ones coming up once in a while. I'm not really familiar with the difference between reference boards and those with custom set-ups, so I don't know if the cooling differs much. Is it a big difference? Anyway, the 5770 on the other hand, retails for around $160 brand new, and the 2nd hand price range is around $120-$150.
From my perspective, that's a very significant price difference. I also think it offsets the extra power cost of having a 4870.

So, this is my dilemma, and I would really appreciate feedback on which I should get - a 2nd hand 1 GB 4870, a brand new 5770 1 GB, or a 2nd hand 5770 1 GB. Thanks. :) 

More about : 4870 5770

August 27, 2010 9:01:02 AM

A 1 GB ATI RADEON HD 4870 is faster than 1GB ATI RADEON HD 5770 with some reduced features you listed.Personally i feel dx 11 support is useless coz 5770 cant max them out anyway.in dx 10 and dx9 mode the 4870 is better than 5770.However i feel that if u can save some little extra cash and buy the gtx 260 core 216 which is a little powerful than them both.
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August 27, 2010 9:07:02 AM

Get the 5770, 4-8 fps is too little compared to the power savings you'll get with the 5770.
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August 27, 2010 9:14:36 AM

darthvidor said:
Get the 5770, 4-8 fps is too little compared to the power savings you'll get with the 5770.

but in games like crysis,metro 2033 even a 2fps gain is very important.To be honest these gpus can mzx out any game out there except some handful like crysis metro 2033 etc.but once dx11 is activated nothing short of a 5970 can max metro 2033.
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August 27, 2010 1:25:53 PM

5770 I think would be a better choice. If losing 2-4fps worries you, you need to upgrade more than just the video card in my opinion. The 5770 is going to seem like a pretty big step from the 3850, you'll be happy with it.
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August 27, 2010 2:10:22 PM

It's not just 2-4 fps. That's actually the usual minimum difference. Most sites publish a difference in performance of 10-15%. That can make or break the playability of the game.

I plan no more upgrades to the rest of the rig until the time it's completely replaced, so I'll be sticking with my 2.8 GHz Core 2.

Please correct my math if I'm wrong:

Electricity charges here cost an average of 0.0115 pesos (approx $0.00023) per watt-hour. The difference between the consumption of a 4870 and a 5770 is ~50W IIRC. Therefore, for every hour I run a 4870, I lose 0.57 pesos (~1 cent) as compared to if I had used a 5770. Assuming my computer is on 8 hours a day, that would mean I lose 4.56 pesos (~9 cents) per day. If I compute for the time it would take to recoup the extra 1,500 ($30) I'll be shelling out for a 5770, it would take 329 days to recoup the additional investment. That's about a year.

Given that, what do you guys think? Should I shell out extra for a 5770 or just settle for the 4870 which is faster anyway.
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