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Need advice on system upgrade...

Last response: in Systems
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February 16, 2011 1:35:08 PM

My current system specs:
AMD Phenom II BE 720 OC to x4 @ 3.46ghz
MOBO: Gigabyte ma790gpt-ud3h AM3
8GB G.Skill DDR 1600mhz
2 Sapphire 4850's CrossfireX

My dilema is this: I don't know if I should simply upgrade my GPU's or if I should upgrade my CPU + GPU and also I'm torn between which GPU's to get. So, below I will list the upgrades I have in mind and would appreciate any feedback. I am heavily into PC gaming. I play mostly FPS and am desperately awaiting Crysis 2, Homefront, Brink and BF3! I'm trying to achieve, 60+ FPS on max settings in 1080p -- which is possible in most games with my current build but not ALL games.

GPU Upgrade:

1) 2 Sapphire Toxic 6850's CrossfireX
2) 2 Sapphire 6870's CrossfireX
3) 1 Sapphire 6950 2gb (Flashed to 6870)
4) 1 Sapphire Toxic XT 5870 2gb

I don't want to change my mobo at all and would like to keep my current CPU but this is why I am asking the TH community for their' advice! Let me know which GPU config would be best and whether or not that would constitute a CPU upgrade as well?

Thanks in advance guys/gals!

More about : advice system upgrade

a c 90 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2011 1:39:03 PM

Hello kashtr0_305;

Your CPU is still excellent over all.
Your RAM & MB is also.

What is your upgrade budget?
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February 16, 2011 2:52:30 PM

I would like to stay under $400 overall.
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a c 90 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2011 2:57:16 PM

Radeon HD 6950 will do what you want. What power supply do you have to support it?
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February 16, 2011 3:44:29 PM

Antec EarthWatts 750W. In every benchmark review I've read, the 6850 and 6870 in CrossfireX beats out the 6950 by miles. The reason I'm considering a 6950 though is that it can be flashed to a 6970 AND later on I can add another one! Then again, I'm kind of a fanboy of CrossfireX!
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February 16, 2011 3:49:24 PM

Also, 1 6950 2gb scores 20282 in 3DMark Vantage while 2 6850's crossfireX scores 24814 and 2 6870's score 28986.
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a c 90 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2011 3:53:51 PM

@ 1920x1080 2x 6850 in CrossfireX is very strong.
And your EA 750 will handle them easily.

For 2x 6950/6970, if you're OC'ing the GPUs and CPU... you might reach (and maybe exceed?) the max ability of your PSU to support that much demand. It would be tight with GPU OC'ing. You should be OK with stock 2x 6950/6970 I think.
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February 16, 2011 4:08:15 PM

I always go by TH GPU Hierarchy chart when it comes to selecting a GPU or 2. I'm thinking 2 6850's would be the way to go to get best price for performance but 1 year from now I'll be in the same boat having to replace both cards. If I get a 6950 2gb and flash it to a 6970 2gb then a year from now I can simply add another 6950/6970 and upgrade my PSU.

My fear is that I buy a 6950, flash it to a 6970, OC it and it not be able to handle every game I throw at it with max settings.
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a c 90 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2011 4:18:30 PM

More like 18 months to two years I'd say.
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February 16, 2011 6:43:57 PM

So, what do you think? 2 6850's or just one 6950 flashed to a 6970 and OC'd?
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a c 90 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2011 6:53:14 PM

I like the one GPU till you need to upgrade in 18-24months method.
But 2x 6850s cost just about $50 more than the 2GB HD 6950.
It's too close for me to call. You pick your poison.

This review will let you compare the 2x HD 6580 CFX vs HD 6970 across multiple games.
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February 16, 2011 8:47:55 PM

It seems to me, from all the information that I've been reviewing on the 68xx and 69xx GPU's, the 69xx cards are more geared towards EyeFinity set-ups. Where-as, the 68xx series in XF is more for maximum FPS at maximum settings in 1080p. Also, the difference in performance between the 6870 in XF and the 6970 in XF is a mere 5-10% performance gain AT BEST. It appears that the 68xx series scales much better in XF than the 69xx series. Now, this could simply be a driver issue that will be sorted out as more updates become available.

You are right though, WR2. It really is too close to call. My last 3 GPU configurations have all been in XF. Decisions, decisions, decisions...
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a c 90 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2011 8:53:08 PM

If you can find two HD 5850s at a good price and CFX them... wait.. I just made things worse, didnt I?
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February 16, 2011 9:50:41 PM

LOL YES YOU DID!!! LOL! I was actually considering the Sapphire Toxic Vapor-X 5850 -- dual Cypress 5850 GPU's 2gb DDR5 on a single card. The problem with tech manufacturers, they tend to stop supporting previous generations of hardware once a newer generation is released. I know there are plenty of Cypress-based GPU's on the market to be had for great prices but if I'm going to upgrade, might as well be to the latest and greatest.

The only thing holding me back from going with a single 6970 is that possibility of being disappointed. I can get much more performance out of a pair of 6850's in XF over a single 6970
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!