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Graphics upgrade time: Crossfire existing HD4870 512meg or new card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 8, 2010 8:05:22 PM

Greetings folks!

I'm here with a request for advice. I'm looking into upgrading my video. The 4870 is doing a pretty good job but I don't want to fall too far behind the performance curve. I've looked into adding another VisionTek 4870 (used from $75-$100) but am wondering if it would make more sense to just upgrade the card. I could see spending approximately $150 for the upgrade. I've been served well by ATI but would be willing to go to nVidia. Solid 64 bit Win7 drivers are important. I'm looking for something that would be effective @ 1920x1200 resolution for a year or so.

Here's the current system specs:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz
ASUS P5Q Pro motherboard
VisionTek Radeon HD 4870 512MB
TOPOWER ZU-850W 850W CrossFire Ready Power Supply
OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB SDRAM DDR2 1066
1.5TB of Seagate Barricuda storage (2 x 500 gig in RAID 1 mirror for system disk and 1tb for extra storage)
Hanns·G HG-281DPB Black 28" 1920x1200 LCD monitor
Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Games generally played:
Source games (a LOT of TF2)
First person shooters
Some RTS (Overlord series, Evil Genius)

Regards,
John E.
a c 1406 U Graphics card
September 8, 2010 11:08:58 PM

A GTX460 1GB would be a nice upgrade for about $200.
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a b U Graphics card
September 8, 2010 11:15:14 PM

"Do SLI or CrossFire double the memory ?
This is one the questions that many people make mistake understanding it .
The answer is NO , SLI or CrossFire doesnt double the memory , You have a 512MB card , adding another card wont make your memory 1GB, it still will be 512MB,so both cards will use 512MB of RAMs but the memory won't double.
Another example :
A game needs 512MB card to run at maximum settings , and you have a 256MB card , and you think if you add another 256MB card , your memory will be 512MB and thats not true."

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/245454-33-crossfire-f...

So you're probably better off upgrading to a 1gb card if you are going to run 1920x1200.
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a c 624 U Graphics card
September 8, 2010 11:15:33 PM

Adding another 4870 in Crossfire will get you similar performance to one GTX460. If you only have $150 to spend, that will not be enough for a GTX460 (at least not for a couple more months).
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a b U Graphics card
September 8, 2010 11:18:29 PM

And if you can sell your card for $75-100 that would put the 460 in your price range. It's really the only logical upgrade at that price point right now I think.
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a c 1406 U Graphics card
September 8, 2010 11:19:55 PM

$200 - $75 (for HD4870 on ebay) = $125 for the upgrade.
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a c 624 U Graphics card
September 9, 2010 3:22:36 PM

I have seen similar reviews comparing the 4870 in Crossfire vs GTX460 and others. The performance of the Crossfire setup is similar.

The main difference is DirectX11, which is only supported by 6 current games. Several more are scheduled for release by the end of this year. So if you want something that will last a year or so, the 4870 probably won't last you too much longer, depending on what games you like to play and are looking forward to.

Here is a list of DirectX 11 games and pending release dates:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_with_DirectX...
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September 9, 2010 3:31:08 PM

17seconds said:
I have seen similar reviews comparing the 4870 in Crossfire vs GTX460 and others. The performance of the Crossfire setup is similar.

The main difference is DirectX11, which is only supported by 6 current games. Several more are scheduled for release by the end of this year. So if you want something that will last a year or so, the 4870 probably won't last you too much longer, depending on what games you like to play and are looking forward to.

Here is a list of DirectX 11 games and pending release dates:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_with_DirectX...

Good point!

I hadn't thought of the DX11 aspect. Based on the list I don't think it will be a problem. My primary gaming engine these days is Source (big time Team Fortress 2 player). I don't expect there will be many games which won't support DX10 for some time.

Thanks kindly for the input!
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a c 624 U Graphics card
September 9, 2010 6:39:10 PM

TF2 rocks. I play a lot of TFC on my GTX480. Now that's overkill!
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a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2010 6:44:35 PM

2 4870s performs close to a 5870, which trumps the GTX460 no matter how high you OC it.

512MB is the biggest limiting factor here, which might be a little low for 1900*1200.
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September 9, 2010 6:50:01 PM

Timop said:
2 4870s performs close to a 5870, which trumps the GTX460 no matter how high you OC it.

512MB is the biggest limiting factor here, which might be a little low for 1900*1200.

I'm not familiar with how much of a limiting factor the on-board memory is. My understanding is I could put in a 4870 1meg but the Crossfire would be limited to 512 per card. It might be cheaper to buy a 1meg 4870 rather than the older 512, but there wouldn't be any performance benefit.
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a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2010 6:51:49 PM

falconeer said:
I'm not familiar with how much of a limiting factor the on-board memory is. My understanding is I could put in a 4870 1meg but the Crossfire would be limited to 512 per card. It might be cheaper to buy a 1meg 4870 rather than the older 512, but there wouldn't be any performance benefit.

For 1900*1200, you fps is going to suffer when you turn up the AA.
Unless both cards are 1GB, then it will be limited to 512MB, crossfire scales by the slowest card. Though if you manage to find a 1GB 4870 or even 4890 for cheaper than the 512 4870, go for that.
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September 9, 2010 7:00:49 PM

Timop said:
For 1900*1200, you fps is going to suffer when you turn up the AA.
Unless both cards are 1GB, then it will be limited to 512MB, crossfire scales by the slowest card. Though if you manage to find a 1GB 4870 or even 4890 for cheaper than the 512 4870, go for that.

That's for the info. I'm not too worried about AA; I usually have it turned off or low for performance reasons.
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a c 190 U Graphics card
September 9, 2010 7:01:41 PM

@ Falconeer: According to the 'net, AMD will refesh its current card lineup around November, so I'd wait and see what develops-There seems to be little need for you to upgrade just yet and you could bag a bargain later when E-tailers offload their 'old' HD5XXX stock to make way for the next best thing.
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September 9, 2010 7:06:29 PM

coozie7 said:
@ Falconeer: According to the 'net, AMD will refesh its current card lineup around November, so I'd wait and see what develops-There seems to be little need for you to upgrade just yet and you could bag a bargain later when E-tailers offload their 'old' HD5XXX stock to make way for the next best thing.

Very good point. Indeed a very good point. :p  It's not all technical, is it?
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a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2010 7:11:58 PM

coozie7 said:
@ Falconeer: According to the 'net, AMD will refesh its current card lineup around November, so I'd wait and see what develops-There seems to be little need for you to upgrade just yet and you could bag a bargain later when E-tailers offload their 'old' HD5XXX stock to make way for the next best thing.

I doubt that, stock for the HD5800 will probably be VERY limited when the HD6000 comes out because AMD needs the extra capacity from TSMC's 40nm. Besides, look at the HD 4870s, prices dropped VERY gradually after the 5770 came out.

But if you want to wait feel free to do that, the used 4870/4890 stock will probably see a spike as there a quite chunk of people who skipped the 5XXX generation and you could grab a pair for cheaper than you can grab one.
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a c 272 U Graphics card
September 9, 2010 7:34:26 PM

coozie7 said:
@ Falconeer: According to the 'net, AMD will refesh its current card lineup around November, so I'd wait and see what develops-There seems to be little need for you to upgrade just yet and you could bag a bargain later when E-tailers offload their 'old' HD5XXX stock to make way for the next best thing.

Both Nv and ATi changed the way they supplied E-tailers and retailers last year to try and combat that sort of thing IIRC.
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a c 190 U Graphics card
September 9, 2010 8:03:13 PM

Good points, but even if prices do not drop there seems little need for the OP to upgrade just yet, so I'd still advise Falconeer to hang on.
You have to love the way business can manipulate the market, though :( 
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a c 272 U Graphics card
September 9, 2010 8:21:15 PM

Couldn't agree with you more mate.
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September 9, 2010 8:47:21 PM

If he wants a real upgrade, sell his HD 4870 512MB and move to an HD 5870 or GTX 470. A pair of HD 4870 1GB usually outperforms slightly the HD 5870, but a pair of HD 4870 512MB might be a bit slower as resolution and AA increases due to the lack of VRAM. A GTX 460 1GB isn't much of an upgrade from the HD 4870.
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September 9, 2010 10:26:53 PM

I just want to understand something, why do you even need to upgrade, source games are known for very low requirments anyways and your 4870 can do the job, my advice for you is to wait it out till the next generation and buy new and sell your card.
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September 20, 2010 2:02:07 PM

Best answer selected by falconeer.
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a c 272 U Graphics card
February 24, 2012 12:55:01 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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