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Best video card 'bang' for your buck?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 15, 2010 11:30:07 PM

I am looking at upgrading my video card (currently running an AMD 3870 HD). I usually go AMD - I tried to go Nvidia twice and got two dud cards in a row which kind of turned me off the brand. I waited until the 6800 and 6900 series came out and now I'm not sure what card to get. From what I read, the 5870 is actually one of the best right now, but I'm concerned about buying an older series card that if I wanted to cross fire later to increase performance that I might not be able to get one. Also, apparently 6850s in crossfire are better than the 6950 or the 6970, but then it's the same problem - no room to upgrade later.

I had been thinking of picking up a 2 GB 6950 now, and since according to the CrossFire forum two card doesn't mean double memory, I could later pick up a cheaper 1 GB 6850 and crossfire (when the need arises) but I would like some feedback from people that have a better knowledge than I do.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within a month

BUDGET RANGE: $300 Cdn before rebates

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming - WoW, but would like something that I won't have to replace in order to play Diablo 3 on highest settings when it comes out (please god let it be in 2011)

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: ATI 3870, Antec 500 Watt PSU (I know that I may have to upgrade my PSU for a new card and for sure would in order to Cross Fire)

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: 3.0 Ghz Dual Core E8400 (plan to overclock after reading up a bit more on the forums, buying a new case - HAF 922 - next week with better airflow / room for an upgraded CPU heatsink / fan), P5QL-E motherboard

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: either www.newegg.ca , www.pccyber.com or www.ncix.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: As I mentioned above, have preferred AMD after buying two Nvidia cards that were duds and had to be returned.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680 by 1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Thanks for taking the time to read all this and help out someone you don't even know! :) 

More about : video card bang buck

a b U Graphics card
December 15, 2010 11:33:57 PM

one 6950 or 6870 could easily max out that resolution.
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a b U Graphics card
December 15, 2010 11:34:55 PM

the new 6xxx series also have GREAT scaling.
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a b U Graphics card
December 15, 2010 11:45:14 PM

I'd agree with plznote on both counts.
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a b U Graphics card
December 15, 2010 11:58:32 PM

Just adding this, I bought a hd6850 and it is great! It runs BFBC2, SC2, and COD4 REALLY well. (I know COD 4 is old, but still)
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a c 172 U Graphics card
December 16, 2010 12:06:44 AM

your psu is good for a single gpu setup 6850/70 , no need to upgrade psu. Anything more powerfull than that at your resolution is not going to get you more fps.
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December 16, 2010 1:10:24 AM

So anything over a single 6850 or 6870 would be overkill for someone running at 1680 by 1050? (or even if I put it up to 1920 by 1080 on my high def TV?)

Would one of these suffice for now and run everything pretty smoothly for a couple years if I later cross fired?

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
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Best solution

a c 376 U Graphics card
December 16, 2010 1:19:04 AM

Get an HD6850. It will be great for that resolution and is a good card for the money. This card in particular for $155 after the promo code and rebate is a great deal;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 16, 2010 1:30:14 AM

That same card you linked me is $187 on the Canadian site (then a $15 rebate)

the one I linked above (sapphire toxic) comes already overclocked and has a cooling chamber that vents outside your case for $210 (and it has the same $15 rebate). would the overclock and outside the case vent be worth $23 or should I just stick with the cheaper card? Both are made by Sapphire, which I like - my 3870 is made by sapphire and I've had it for 3 years without a problem, it's just outdated.

The 'regular' sapphire 6850 for $187 Cdn:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Vs. the overclocked sapphire 6850 with the cooling chamber:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

I'm not an expert but I thought maybe the outside the case vent would come in really handy if you ran them in Cross Fire down the road?

(hehe my questions probably confirm my status as newbie, thanks again for taking the time!)
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a b U Graphics card
December 16, 2010 1:34:30 AM

I own the Toxic version and I LOOOOVE it!
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a c 376 U Graphics card
December 16, 2010 1:36:03 AM

Yeah, too bad. Didn't notice the .ca link you used. Looking on the Canadian site it is still the best deal though. The cooling on the Toxic is nice but it is a bit pricey. Your call really.
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a b U Graphics card
December 16, 2010 1:38:13 AM

^ yeah, it really depends on if you really want the most out of your card.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
December 16, 2010 1:41:17 AM

Did you ever give that Toxic an overclock? If so how high did it go?
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a b U Graphics card
December 16, 2010 1:43:17 AM

if yo like NV maybe a 470 would keep good frame rates at 1080 as well
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a b U Graphics card
December 16, 2010 2:32:09 AM

jyjjy said:
Did you ever give that Toxic an overclock? If so how high did it go?

If you are talking to me then, no not yet. I have been at my grandparents but when I get home I plan to. :D 
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a b U Graphics card
December 16, 2010 3:48:50 AM

Yes the 6850, 6870, 6950 are all excellent cards fro that resolution and 1080p too.
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December 16, 2010 7:59:50 AM

Best answer selected by hubbs_67.
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