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SLI 470s VS Crossfire 5870s

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October 22, 2010 4:56:49 AM

I am planning to build a new gaming computer soon, and was wondering whether it would be better to get two 470s or two 5870s. I've created a wish list with everything I plan on getting here. I will probably use things like CUDA or maybe PhysX, but on the other hand, I've heard that the 470s use a lot of power and are very hot. Can someone help me decide?
a c 169 U Graphics card
October 22, 2010 6:48:56 AM

2 GTX 470s perform better than 2 5870s because SLI scales better than CrossFire(At least with current drivers)
However, 2 470s run hotter,are more noisier and have more power consumption.
a b U Graphics card
October 22, 2010 7:03:58 AM

get 2 ati 6870's , for $240 a card you cannot go wrong!
They were just released, and somehow they perform right up there with the 470sli and 5870 crossfire although singly they are slower than either of those (by a small amount)
And the best part is they will not require an overly beefy power supply - like the 1000watt one you plan to get is definitely overkill
also look into 6850 crossfire - that will be pretty powerful as well and they only cost $180 per card, also they require only 1 6pin pci-e connector each... pretty crazy.

here are reviews that include crossfire:

http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6850-6870-cross...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6870-rade...

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_6870_C...

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_6850_C...

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3987/amds-radeon-6870-685...



Related resources
a b U Graphics card
October 22, 2010 8:34:43 AM

I think its gonna come down to how much you need CUDA. If you don't use the programs that benefit from for a living then go with the AMD cards.
October 22, 2010 6:57:50 PM

If your not over-clocking, don't bother getting a H70, I also have a HAF-X/950/H50. I swapped out the stock fan corsair includes, and bought 2 scythe fans. That brought my cost up to $100, that keeps my 4.0Ghz i7 950 idle at low 40s, high 70s under full 100% Prime95 load. passed a 24hrs test.

Your power supply is overkill and (i'm sorry to say) a little corny. Better off with a more trusted reliable brand like corsair or antec. And with a Haf-X case, you get a PSU cable cover, which keeps everything inside looking nice and neat. I regret buying the more expensive modular design.
October 23, 2010 4:33:09 AM

About CUDA, I won't be using it for anything professionally, but I will use it for hobbyist 3D projects. Redmoon, I do plan on overclocking the 950; do you think that the money from downgrading the H70 to an H50 would be better spent of upgraded fans? Would this be a better power supply?
As for the video cards, it looks like Crossfire 6870s would be a better purchase than Crossfire 5870s. I'll change the question, then: would it be better to get two 470s, or two 6870s?
October 23, 2010 4:40:22 AM

Also, would a factory overclocked 460 be roughly as powerful as a reference 470?
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2010 5:43:11 AM

why dont you just overclock it yourself? took me a total of 25 mins to get to 920mhz using msi afterburner on my 460
October 23, 2010 4:27:42 PM

Amirp, it seems to me that almost all of the 1GB 460s are factory overclocked. I only found a few on Newegg that weren't.
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2010 7:32:34 PM

no what I mean is don't spend extra money buying the most overclocked 460, and save money and do it yourself. I think the 470 is still faster though, so if you can afford that, then get that.
Although I can tell you that on my 768mb 460 i slightly beat the 3dmark score of a 470 when I was at 920mhz core and 4300mhz memory. And the best part is my temperature is at 74 maximum with the voltage increase and all and my cpu fan is all I hear.

But tbh at $240 I still think the 6870 is a win, plus the good crossfire performance. It is as fast as the 470, cooler, quieter and lower power usage, like I said before you wont need the 1000watt power supply.
check out the reviews of the 6870 on the links I posted above.

So bottom line, If I was in your position I'd buy the 6000 series cards, either one will be great at their price point, and if you want Nvidia for some reason (like physx) then the 460 and 470 are at a great price point as well. You really can't go wrong at this time.
October 23, 2010 7:46:59 PM

Ok. Thank you.
October 23, 2010 8:25:07 PM

I though of another question: if I bought a Core i7 970 with two 6870s, would an 850W power supply suffice, or would I need a 1000W one?
a c 169 U Graphics card
October 23, 2010 8:33:50 PM

It depends on the model of the PSU, but a good rated 850W PSU is more than enough for 2 6870s.
a c 217 U Graphics card
October 23, 2010 8:55:49 PM

Maziar said:
2 GTX 470s perform better than 2 5870s because SLI scales better than CrossFire(At least with current drivers)
However, 2 470s run hotter,are more noisier and have more power consumption.


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/crossfire-sli-scali...

That may have been the case in the past, but crossfire is scaling very well now. It only runs into problems at very high resolutions, like 2560x1600.
a c 217 U Graphics card
October 23, 2010 8:58:23 PM

As far as my recommendation. I'd get the 470's due to cost and due to having fewer issues to worry about.

The 5870's can have problems with VRM's overheating. It could be they are cooling them better now, but the early versions had some issues. Also, if you are using two monitors, the 5870's will flicker occationally. It's not a big issue, but it is annoying.
a c 169 U Graphics card
October 23, 2010 9:00:03 PM

Yep you're right(About the scaling), thanks for pointing it out.
a c 620 U Graphics card
October 23, 2010 10:35:31 PM

"So over the years Multi-GPU support has improved quite a bit, AMD still isn't up-to snuff at the level of NVIDIA though, multi-GPU supports still literally and directly remains the Achilles heel of ATI's Catalyst drivers. For years now we have been requesting user-based multi-GPU profiles. See when a new game comes out, multi-GPU support will not be supported by the Catalyst driver. ATI will always need to update this through drivers or downloadable profiles. What ATI needs to do is to allow the end user to make custom profiles per game. A small tip, renaming your game-executable towards a game title that is supported can, not always but often, help out."
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6850-6870-cross...
October 23, 2010 10:45:07 PM

Another thing to consider is the size.. My 470 is 11 inches. It BARELY fits in my mid ATX case. When I say barely, I mean I had to take out all the power/SATA connectors in my bays, squeeze the card in and then run the wires under and over the card. Real PITA.. You wouldn't run into that with the ATI cards.
a c 272 U Graphics card
October 23, 2010 10:47:54 PM

dimurof82 said:
Another thing to consider is the size.. My 470 is 11 inches. It BARELY fits in my mid ATX case. When I say barely, I mean I had to take out all the power/SATA connectors in my bays, squeeze the card in and then run the wires under and over the card. Real PITA.. You wouldn't run into that with the ATI cards.

You wouldn't with the smaller GTX460 either but you would with a 5850 or 5870.
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2010 11:04:25 PM

Mousemonkey said:
You wouldn't with the smaller GTX460 either but you would with a 5850 or 5870.

Yes, Fermi's were a little more than 1/2 smaller than the two cypress models
And the gtx 460 much smaller.
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=888&type=expert

Radeon HD 5870 graphics card from AMD resting on top of the GTX 480

The reference 6870 uses the 10.5 inch 5850 pcb reportedly.
October 23, 2010 11:06:14 PM

Wow.. didn't realize those cards were that long.. Although that half inch might have made things easier.. lol
a c 272 U Graphics card
October 23, 2010 11:16:48 PM

dimurof82 said:
Wow.. didn't realize those cards were that long.. Although that half inch might have made things easier.. lol

It's a good thing you didn't get a 5970 then isn't it?
October 23, 2010 11:18:21 PM

Whoa.. That s#it is long. (Insert johnson joke here.. "That's what she said") . Would have just gotten a bigger case.. lol.. I'm going to be getting a bigger one anyway for the dual 6950's in Nov.
October 24, 2010 4:41:52 PM

17seconds said:
"So over the years Multi-GPU support has improved quite a bit, AMD still isn't up-to snuff at the level of NVIDIA though, multi-GPU supports still literally and directly remains the Achilles heel of ATI's Catalyst drivers. For years now we have been requesting user-based multi-GPU profiles. See when a new game comes out, multi-GPU support will not be supported by the Catalyst driver. ATI will always need to update this through drivers or downloadable profiles. What ATI needs to do is to allow the end user to make custom profiles per game. A small tip, renaming your game-executable towards a game title that is supported can, not always but often, help out."
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6850-6870-cross...

So let me get this straight: If a game isn't in this "list of games" that the drivers have, then multi GPU rendering is automatically disabled? And only with Nvidia cards can you add custom entries to the list? This is a HUGE turnoff from AMD for me because I will be using many application that use the GPU and that probably aren't on the list (SmallluxGPU, After Effects CS5, Blender, ect.).
October 25, 2010 11:22:24 PM

Right now, I'm leaning towards two 6870s. I remade my Newegg wish list here and unless I find a good reason why they would be worse than the two 470s, I'm going to go with them.
a c 620 U Graphics card
October 25, 2010 11:52:52 PM

Reubend said:
Right now, I'm leaning towards two 6870s. I remade my Newegg wish list here and unless I find a good reason why they would be worse than the two 470s, I'm going to go with them.

No PhysX?
October 26, 2010 1:29:26 AM

17seconds said:
No PhysX?

I don't think that PhysX is a very good reason to pick the 470s. Only a few games support it, and the same can be said for 3D content creation suites. CUDA, on the other hand, is actually enticing for me because I can think of more things that use it. The heat and power usage of the 470, however, seem to balance out the benefit of CUDA.
October 26, 2010 2:17:13 AM

For the newegg list:
Faster ram at a lower price:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, if you are mostly gaming and everyday computer use, 6gbs is more than enough.

Some people have had issues with the X58A-UD3R, I would go for the Asus P6X58D-E:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'd go for this hard drive unless you absolutely know you need 1.5tb of space:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, the h70 is expensive and loud, if you get shorter memory, the NH-D14 (it will fit in HAF X) is quieter, cooler and 20$ cheaper.

EDIT: Cuda is useful in Badaboom or whatever, I can't think of much else that really benefits from it along with physX
a c 620 U Graphics card
October 26, 2010 2:37:42 AM

Reubend said:
I don't think that PhysX is a very good reason to pick the 470s. Only a few games support it, and the same can be said for 3D content creation suites. CUDA, on the other hand, is actually enticing for me because I can think of more things that use it. The heat and power usage of the 470, however, seem to balance out the benefit of CUDA.

I know that PhysX can stir up some controversy, but in the games that I use it in, it's way cool. I really like in Unreal Tournament 3, when you blow something up, flak and debris go flying everywhere and kills have more "splat".
!