I'm laying down the finishing touches on my new gaming rig but I have been having trouble deciding which video card to get. I'm trying to decide between the following cards:
1. MSI N470GTX Twin Frozr II
2. Sapphire Radeon HD 6870
3. XFX Radeon HD 6870
4. XFX Radeon HD 6870 Black Edition
I originally intended to get the ASUS Radeon HD 6870 but NCIX is currently out of stock and as I am having them build my rig for me I need something they have in stock... or wait for more but I'm told I cannot get an ETA. I mostly wanted the ASUS brand as almost every other component is ASUS... I just felt like that would have some benefit ha. I've also had my eye of the MSI Radeon HD 6870 and the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 470 Fermi Super OC 700MHZ - both out of stock.
Soooo.. that leaves me with the list you see above (there are some other brands of the 6870 available, but these seemed to be the best choices as they're more recognized from what I could determine - plus I get either lots of extras, or a lifetime warranty).
A big concern of mine is actually heat and noise. I really don't want my system to overheat, and I'd like to be rid of the current jet engine I have running beside me. I've heard the reference GTX 470 cards get really hot and I was afraid I wouldn't have sufficient cooling for them. That's why the only GTX 470 I have listed is the MSI N470GTX Twin Frozr II. However this particular card brings up another concern for me: It exhausts the heat inside the case, which brings up the temperature on everything else in my computer. I don't think I'll be doing any overclocking, definitely not right away - maybe in the future when my system is lagging behind in the games I want to play. I will more than likely be looking to OC my CPU before the video card though; as I believe I can get better performance from that than OCing the video card (I honestly have no idea to be honest lol).
From what I can tell the performance between the two cards is pretty even. Though that was reference vs. reference. I also don't know what effect the Black Edition's factory OC would have on performance.
Anyways... I've rambled on long enough. Here's the rest of my system build so you guys can see what I'm working with here:
Coolermaster Haf 912 (With 2 extra 200MM fans - front and top - 120MM moved to the side).
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus
ASUS P7P55D-E Pro
Intel Core i5 760
XFX 750W Black Edition
G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL Ripjaws (DDR3 1600)
Western Digital Caviar Black
ASUS VH236H 23 Widescreen
Thanks in advance for any suggestions and/or opinions!
Strange, but I can't find a single review of the MSI GTX470 Twin Frozr II. There are plenty of reviews of the MSI GTX465 Twin Frozr II, so you can at least judge the cooler's performance from those. Basically, the Twin Frozr II is one of the quietest coolers you can find.
This sums it up:
"The Twin Frozr II comes with a dual-fan design that blows cold air over "big size fins." Combined with five heat pipes that run through the heatsink, MSI says the Twin Frozr II is capable of reducing temps by as much as 16C over Nvidia's reference cooler, while at the same time dropping down noise levels by up to 21.5dB. In boxing, that would be the equivalent of a mean left hook followed by a vicious uppercut." http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/msis_latest_twin_...
"When I first saw "quieter!" on the front of MSI's package I was worried that this card might be as "quiet" as other GTX 400 cards. To my complete amazement, MSI has pulled off the seemingly imposible. Their GTX 465 Twin Frozr II is the quietest card I tested for a long time." http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_465_Twin_Fro...
(The same reviewer got 42dB for the 6870, and 26dB for the Twin Frozr II.)
"The idle noise levels coming from the card are downright silent, in idle you will barely hear the card as we measured 37 dBA, which is right below the threshold of noise coming from that PC itself. Once the GPU starts to heat up the fan RPM will remain fixed at 40% RPM, meaning the noise level did not change and remain at roughly 38 DBa. You can hear it in the background noise but will need to listen really carefully. So that definitely is great cooling versus a nearly inaudible noise level. We like that very much." http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-n465gtx-twin-frozr-ii...
(The same reviewer got 41 dB for the 6870, and 37 dB for the Twin Frozr II.)
Hmm interesting read... That makes it really tempting to go with the GTX 470. Though I just discovered that the cheap prices I was looking at included a MIR. Which means now I either spend the extra for the 470 or settle on the 6870 lol..
Hmm I also just realized I can get a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 470 Fermi Super OC 700MHZ for just a few dollars more than the MSI. How does this compare as far as heat and noise are concerned?
Those two cards are very comparable with aftermarket coolers that produce very low noise. I'm not sure about the clock speed of the MSI, but the Gigabyte SOC is clocked up to GTX480 speeds and produces a similar performance level. Again, for quiet, how does this sound in regards to the Gigabyte SOC:
"We measure an excellent 39 DBa when the GPU is massively under stress. Under normal circumstances this means you cannot hear the cooler. We were shocked to find out how silent this card really is, truly amazing."
"Gigabyte balanced and fine tuned this product to acceptable heat levels hovering at roughly 80 degrees C under full stress, yet managed to create a near inaudible noise level, and that's just what the doctor ordered ! So overall we really like what Gigabyte did here with this SOC model, the custom cooler is certainly really good and you'll notice severe improvement in cooling at an absolute low noise level." http://www.guru3d.com/article/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-470-...
GIGABYTE GPU Gauntlet Sorting
Gigabyte’s proprietary database analysis system evaluates the GPU core engine, shader engine, and memory, and selects the qualified GPU processors for upcoming maximum overclocking ability and stability test using proprietary professional testing toolkit and Graphics benchmark (FurMark and 3DMark Vantage). Final power switching and stability test will pick up those GPUs with the best power efficiency and lowest power consumption, which are qualified for the Super Overclock Series. Thus, the Super Overclock Series have been factory overclocked at optimal stability point (Super OC point), an exact balance between high frequency and efficient power consumption.
Hmm well that's promising. Doesn't make my decision any easier though lol.
Right now I'm considering A Sapphire 6870 for $240, the MSI 470 for $288, or the Gigabyte 470 for $298.
Though someone else pointed out I could get an MSI 460 Hawk for $205 and OC that to 1000MHz and have something equally as good. Though I have no idea how difficult that result is, if it's stable 24/7 or if it requires insane cooling.
I'm also debating if it'd be worth paying $25 more for the XFX 6870 for a lifetime warranty. Considering I run my systems into the ground before upgrading that could be useful. I've had my current computer now for 5 or 6 years.
With the Hawk, I wouldn't expect 1000 mhz on an overclock, but you will be able to overclock it high enough to be competitive with the other options you have listed. The 6870's do not have a lot of overclocking headroom, so it's hard to squeeze out more fps from them. In only a couple days, you should be able to check for those Black Friday deals. http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-geforce-gtx-460-hawk-...