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What's the best value lately?

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 15, 2010 3:29:21 PM

Hey everyone,

I've been out of the GPU loop for a year or so, and I'm planning a computer upgrade for my secondary computer in the office. I probably won't do anything until next spring, but I will be trying to cut a deal on Ebay.

Regardless, I was wondering what would be the best deal for my money. I've noticed there are some "dual profile" GPUs out there, and I have no idea if I need a SLI or CF chipset to run them, or if the motherboard will detect it as one card.

My current set-up on the office PC

AMD Phenom II 940 x4 3ghz Quad
Asus M3N-HT 780a motherboard
600watts OCZ modular PSU (Will be replaced by Ulta X3 1000watts)
2x 2G Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800mhz (Will buy another dual set to max RAM slots)
EVGA Nvidia 9500GT (1GB)
Hitachi Deskstar 160GB 7200rpm (Will be replaced by WD Caviar Black 1TB 32mb cache)

I've looked at the charts of this website, but I'm not sure what would be the best VALUE for my money.

I play Starcraft 2, and Crysis, so I want something pretty powerful. No need to be one MAX settings, but hopefully something close. I currently have 2 GTX280 in SLI on my main PC, but that PC is wired to my big screen TV and my wife wishes the office PC would let me play hardcore games so I could let her use the Wii or watch TV. Those GTX280 do the trick for me, but I was wondering if I should go for a GTX295 or go for a ATI5970, or would two 5870 be a better deal for my money? Would they be good enough with my current parts to run those games? Is DX 11 really worth the extra money over a cheaper GTX295 running on DX10?

Enlighten me here...

More about : question

a b U Graphics card
October 15, 2010 5:58:05 PM

GTX 460s in SLI beats the 5970 in most games and are probably the best value in high end gaming right now, especially since you already have a SLI motherboard. There's not much point in buying more ram just for gaming, I don't think either Crysis or Starcraft 2 will use more than 4GB.
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October 15, 2010 7:22:45 PM

I agree, 2 1GB GTX 460s in SLI will be more than enough to max out whatever you play, and will cost much less than a 5970, or 2 5870s. To answer your question, a dual gpu card such as the 5970 does not need a crossfire or sli capable board, and your board is SLI and Crossfire certified. DX11 doesn't make much of a difference right now in most games with the exception of Metro 2033, but you want to future proof your rig in case it does right? And I'd go ahead and upgrade that PSU before installing the 460s, 600 might be enough but that's really pushing it. There are tons of GTX 460 SLI reviews out there, check one out, and you'll see what we're talking about.
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October 15, 2010 7:58:13 PM

Perhaps I should upgrade my main PC with 2 GTX460s and pass my GTX280's along to the Office PC? I would still prefer to keep the power GPUs on my main PC since it already has better CPU and RAM.

Another question though: If I choose to go with ATI, what are the best brands of ATI cards? I know Nvidia thrives with XFX or BFG, even EVGA, but I've been told to avoid PNY. What are the best brands and brands to avoid with ATI? (Never bought ATI before).

EDIT: MSI is a good brand for GTX460 right? Those GTX460 cyclones look pretty efficient.
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a b U Graphics card
October 15, 2010 9:04:04 PM

GPU:

MSI GTX 460 1 GB Cyclones are my favorite over all. :)  They OC well, they cool very well, and run pretty quiet. Many, many review sites have loved that particular GPU option.

And yes, the GTX 460 scales EXTREMELY well in SLI. Two 460's will beat a single GTX 480 by about 20% in some games.

DX11 isn't a huge issue right now honestly. And two 460's in games like Call of Pripyat with it's DX11 enhancements will play very well.

Your current GTX 280 SLI by the way, will outperform a GTX 470. I had a GTX 260 SLI setup and it benchmarked exactly the same as my GTX 470 does. So your 280's are by no means inadequate even @ 1920x1080. :) 

RAM:

4GB of RAM is more than adequate. Don't waste the $60 to $100 for more of it at this point, not worth it.

Monitor: What resolution do you play at? Just curious as dual GTX 460's might not be necessary (though I love having the power :)  ).
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October 16, 2010 12:23:11 AM

Well, I never doubted the power of my dual GTX280, it plays everything maxed out, except for Crysis of course, but it's pretty close. I was actually surprised to see some GTX280 in SLI keeping up with the top scores of the 2010 GPU chart, I thought those new video cards would really slam them, but I guess it was a good investment.

My main PC is on an 1080p 52" but the office PC is on a 1920x1200 PC widescreen (16:10) 25.5".

Lets set a goal to make it easier. I will still play most of my games on my living room PC. But I think Starcraft 2 on a 52" TV is really hard to play, so my office PC MOSTLY needs to play SC2 efficiently, hopefully with max settings. Of course, being a father of two toddlers, it would be nice if I could play Crysis in the office during daytime, since it's too violent for them to watch right now. However, Crysis is not a priority.

As added info, my living room PC needs a new PSU, which will be the Corsair AX1200 (1200watts) as soon as I have the money, since those GTX280 and my 3 harddrives are sucking the life out of my Ultra x3 1000watts. Once that's replaced, the Ultra x3 is going to be RMA (has a lifetime warranty), and will be put into the office PC. So I need to make sure that the next video cards in there are equal or less power demanding than the GTX280 in SLI. If I didn't have so many HDD and USB devices, I'm sure this PSU would be fine. But I guess I have to watch that 12v rail demand from the future card(s).

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