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5850 crossfire value?

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December 8, 2010 5:08:09 PM

Hey guys, I'm not an expert on computers so I'm hpoing some of you pros can give me some good advice.

I want to build a new computer next year with the sandy bridge architcture. Looking at a 2600 chip. I'm currently using a 30 inch lcd at 2500x1600 and running a 5850 vid card 1g.

Does it make sense to purchase a new vid card 699x when it comes out or would it make more sense to just get another 5850 and crossfire it? I think last I checked, newegg has it for 180.

currently, my 5850 does struggle at some spots when I try to max resolution it. I usually turn down antialiasing..and a few other things. I'd like to put everything to max if possible. Also, with sandybridge, I'm thinking a 5850 would be my new choke point.

Would a 5850 provide me enough horses to go on for another 2 years without worrying about graphics cards? Or would I be not making the best use of my new computer? I'd obviously be using this to play games...shooters and intensive graphic games.

Thanks

More about : 5850 crossfire

a c 599 U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 5:18:59 PM

I would say get the second 5850. That is why we initially bought a single video card isn't it? In order to eventually upgrade to a dual card setup? The 6900 series isn't going to blow everyone's mind into the next dimension. It will be an incremental upgrade to existing technology. A single 6900 series card will likely cost more than double the cost of the 5850, and will not come close to the performance of the 5850 in Crossfire.

The only caveat I would offer is: The 6900 series will most certainly offer improved DirectX 11 tesselation performance over the 5800 series. This will be a valid consideration as more and more DirectX 11 games come out that feature more intensive tesselation. For $180, I would get the second 5850.
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December 8, 2010 5:29:04 PM

Thanks. How does a 5850 right now stack up to say...the 5970? Based on some of toms' charts....the 5970 is double the 5850 in many spots. Seems to make sense that the 6990 would more than beat that then.

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a c 599 U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 5:45:26 PM

Debeucci said:
Thanks. How does a 5850 right now stack up to say...the 5970? Based on some of toms' charts....the 5970 is double the 5850 in many spots. Seems to make sense that the 6990 would more than beat that then.

The 5970 is actually two 5850 GPU's on one card. The performance between the 5970 and Crossfire 5850's should be pretty close. The 6990 will be a dual chip card, probably using the 6950 chip, I assume. So it should be the highest performing video card on the market (until the dual chip GTX590 comes out around the same time).

The problem with speculating about the 6990 is just that, it's all speculation. The debut next week of the 6970/6950 will undoubtedly both exceed expectations and disappoint. Apparenly yield issues are forcing AMD to scale back production of the 6950 in favor of more 6970 stock. Most people hoping to purchase a 6950 or 6970 should be prepared for stock to quickly sell out. What this means for the debut of the high-end 6990 would, I assume, also push back it's debut and restrict the amount of stock that will be available. If you are seriously interested in purchasing a 6990, you should plan on waiting... and waiting.
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a c 130 U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 5:48:21 PM

Um you do know that a 5970 is 2 5870's detunned a bit and put on one PCB right ? Thats why its better by double what a 5850 is.
The 6970 is expected to perform around about the level of the 5970 give or take a good bit either side depending on which camps rumours you follow.
Its going to cost a hell of a lot more than a second 5850 so that is really where the sensible money would be going.
Personally if i had the cash i would wait for benchmarks and get one when they come out, if they prove to be worth it.

Mactronix :) 
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a c 599 U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 6:07:49 PM

mactronix said:
Um you do know that a 5970 is 2 5870's detunned a bit and put on one PCB right ? Thats why its better by double what a 5850 is.
The 6970 is expected to perform around about the level of the 5970 give or take a good bit either side depending on which camps rumours you follow.
Its going to cost a hell of a lot more than a second 5850 so that is really where the sensible money would be going.
Personally if i had the cash i would wait for benchmarks and get one when they come out, if they prove to be worth it.

Mactronix :) 

I looked it up, and stand corrected, a 5970 is the equivalent of two 5870 chips.

The 6990 should crush the 5970, particularly if it is two 6970 chips. The limiting factor for these multi-GPU cards is the amount of power supplied through the PCIe slot + up to two 8 pin power slots on the cord. The card's power consumption must remain below the power limit supplied through those sources. So the TDP of the 6970 must be low enough to permit two on the same card, otherwise it will have to be two 6950 chips.

I'm seeing speculation that the 6970 will cost about $450.
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December 8, 2010 6:15:09 PM

What's lost when 2 cards are crossfired in terms of performance? If the 6970 is 450......then it will cost an additional 270 over a 2nd 5850. How much would a 6990 go for, then? educated guesswise?

Say I offload my current 5850 for cheap...120 bucks. The 125 plus the 180 for a 2nd card is $300. Is the value savings worth the performance difference between 2 5850s and an additional $150 for a 6970? Am i futureproofing myself as well in that matter?
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a c 599 U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 6:58:28 PM

Well, the 6000 series does scale better than the 5000 series in Crossfire. In general, Crossfire may be a little less stable, causing you to have to fiddle around a bit more.

Then there is the annoying issue with game profiles. AMD requires you to use the game profiles that they provide via driver updates in order for the latest games to be supported in Crossfire. Not all games have profiles, and there is usually some lag between a game being released and when a profile is released.

I think if you can afford ~$450, it makes sense to wait to see what the 6970 can do. It should be just one more week to go. It will undoubtedly futureproof you even more, with improved DirectX 11 performance.

Out of curiosity, are you not considering Nvidia?
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December 8, 2010 7:05:26 PM

I never thought about it, tbh. I've been on AMD now for the past 4 years and always thought they were behind. I'm wrong, aren't I? last nvidia card I had was the 8800gtx back in the day.

I also hear that the nvidia cards use up more juice and tend to come in 2nd on tom's charts. Are they a bit better on the value side?

I know the graphics wars heating up again but for a while, it seemed that nvidia was getting stomped.
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a c 130 U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 7:09:48 PM

Debeucci said:
What's lost when 2 cards are crossfired in terms of performance? If the 6970 is 450......then it will cost an additional 270 over a 2nd 5850. How much would a 6990 go for, then? educated guesswise?

Say I offload my current 5850 for cheap...120 bucks. The 125 plus the 180 for a 2nd card is $300. Is the value savings worth the performance difference between 2 5850s and an additional $150 for a 6970? Am i futureproofing myself as well in that matter?


First question,
The loss is variable which is the whole issue with Crossfire, you need profiles for specific games to be released and fully suportive of the games to get the most out of the cards. Differant games engines like/dislike crossfire or SLI in equal measure but for the record people say Sli is better in this regard. (Just repeating what i mostly read these days) Some games dont even support dual cards straight out of the box.
Second question,
Even educated guesswise i really wouldnt have an idea we dont even know what the 6970 will really cost yet but 450 seems about right, last time around the 5970 cost 1.5 times what the single card cost, depending on performance it could be anywhere from $500-$700. My best guess if really pushed would be $550-600.
This will give you an idea what to expect from the crossfired pair http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_5870_C...
This GTX 580 is roughly where teh 6970 will be aiming to perform http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_5...

Its very rough and ready as we dont really know what the 5970 will do but its the best on available info.
You can never really future proof anything with PC's and the best piece of advice and info was posted earlier.

" The only caveat I would offer is: The 6900 series will most certainly offer improved DirectX 11 tesselation performance over the 5800 series. This will be a valid consideration as more and more DirectX 11 games come out that feature more intensive tesselation. For $180, I would get the second 5850."

Thats what matto17secs posted and i fully agree. personally i wouldnt worry about the DX11 thing but thats just me.

Mactronix :) 


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a c 599 U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 7:14:02 PM

Debeucci said:
I never thought about it, tbh. I've been on AMD now for the past 4 years and always thought they were behind. I'm wrong, aren't I? last nvidia card I had was the 8800gtx back in the day.

I also hear that the nvidia cards use up more juice and tend to come in 2nd on tom's charts. Are they a bit better on the value side?

I know the graphics wars heating up again but for a while, it seemed that nvidia was getting stomped.

If you have checked any of the recent reviews of the GTX500 series, they are the cards to beat right now. They use less power than the previous generation and run exceptionally quiet and relatively cool. The GTX570 for $350 really seems to have all the reviewers excited:

"Knowing now how the GTX 570 performs means you are able to take advantage of its strengths and leverage them to get the graphics performance you need. This graphics horsepower gives you the ability to take advantage of the rest of the NVIDIA ecosystem, including 3D Vision and 3D Surround, while enabling PhysX in games so you get all the eye candy. This one-two punch from NVIDIA has brought a new level of performance and pricing right in the heat of the holiday buying season. Now all we have left is to see what the response will be from the AMD team. With delays there are always concerns, but let's see how this shakes out. As it sits right here, right now, NVIDIA is sitting in the driver's seat."
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/nvidia_geforce_...
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December 8, 2010 7:23:23 PM

Gothcha. Thanks guys for all the info. I'll look into the 570 as well. You guys have been a great help.

Much love to Tom's forums!
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a c 599 U Graphics card
December 8, 2010 7:27:15 PM

Have fun!
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!