Recently I've been underwhelmed with my gaming performance and I've decided to upgrade my graphics card. With my current set-up, what would I benefit most from? Looking for single-card performance with the option to CF/SLI in the future, my current mobo is not setup for CF/SLI. Looking to spend no more than $300, would prefer to spend ~$200. Anyone have a suggestion?
I recently upgraded form a Sapphire 4890 to an XFX 5850 and the difference is very noticeable. For example, with the 4890 and playing StarCraft2, had all settings to "Ultimate" but had to keep the resolution to 1680x1050 or below (or else the game would freeze) but with the 5850 can run the same Ultimate settings but at 1920x1200 with a hiccup. Also with CoD:MW2, was getting great fps with the 4890 but had to cut back on the eye candy or else there was noticeable tearing or stutter when the action got busy but again, with the 5850 no such issues. The XFX 5850 overclocks well (from 725/1000 to 765/1125) and also runs much cooler than the 4xxx series.
Very helpful post, thanks a lot. Someone else had pointed towards a 5850 and your post has confirmed his thoughts. I was a bit skeptical as the numerical value of "5850" isn't much higher than my "4870", but just goes to show that my knowledge of the current video card market is limited. I've heard that the 5xxx series uses less energy than the 4xxxs, can anyone confirm this? With a 700w PSU I have plenty of room to upgrade my GPU, correct?
edit: Another question: how hot does the 5850 run and can you recommend some sort of GPU cooling?
They provide a graphics card hierarchy chart at the end and recommend not upgrading unless you are moving up 3 tiers. The 4890 to 5850 upgrade is just two tiers. Off course if you are setting it up for later CF that is another consideration.