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Cant choose between different 5870 models, need help

  • Graphics Cards
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Last response: in Graphics Cards
January 5, 2011 2:54:58 AM

Im buying this graphics card pretty soon (1, 2 months) with my first gaming PC build and i need help deciding which one to buy, sorry if it takes me a while to get to the point.
Im following the template posted on this board to the best of my ability.

My budget for the entire build is around $1500 and im putting down approximately 300 for a graphics card. I was originally going to go over budget with a 6970 because at that time the 5870s were priced around the same. But the price dropped and the difference is now around $100 so i will most definitely get a 5870 instead.

Could someone please tell me of the difference between the 6970 and 5870?
Ive seen some benchmarks but do you guys believe the 6970 warrants the extra 100 bucks?

im mainly going to use this system for gaming as well as some video rendering and watching.

Im planning on getting a corsair 850W power supply so I can eventually upgrade to dual crossfirex with these cards, is 850W sufficient?

Im planning on overclocking the cards. Not too much but enough that I think the video card should have decent cooling

My monitor is 1920x1080, and i dont plan to use eyefinity

I want to be able to play all current games and many future games on max settings, good AA etc. And i will crossfire my card when it becomes necessary

I use mainly use newegg (canada) but im also a fan of NCIX and there's a tiger direct warehouse within driving distance

My specs are as follows:

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition

which i plan to overclock. Im cooling this cpu with a XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V

CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W is a non-modular power supply but my HAF X case should be able to handle the extra cables

CORSAIR XMS 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

ASUS VH236H Black 23" 2ms 1080p monitor in case you were wondering

ASUS Crosshair IV Formula AM3 AMD for a motherboard

and i was deciding between these three 5870 cards, although it can be any other within my $300 price range, or any other worth mentioning:

Sapphire Vapor-X


and the GIGABYTE GV-R587OC

The entire wishlist can be found here:

Suggestions and recommendations are much appreciated. Although im sure I double and triple checked the compatibility with these parts, I can never be too certain so if you catch something funny please mention it.
I would very much like to overclock my graphics card so I think reference PCB's are better as I hear non-reference PCB's cant be over clocked as well, but correct me if im wrong.

Please help me out with this build and try to make improvements where you can


More about : choose 5870 models

January 5, 2011 3:14:38 AM

How about the 6950s? Are they the better buy compared to the 5870s? How do they compare performance-wise?
I heard you can unlock the 6950 so it performs like the 6970, is this true? Will this work for every card out there or only the cards out now?
Should I buy the 6950s even though their cooling isnt as good? Will the bad cooling decrease my overclocking potential compared with the 5870s?

and of course, which graphics card do you recommend

Sorry for all the questions, im just very enthusiastic about my first build :D 
a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2011 4:47:12 AM

You don't really need a six-core CPU for gaming.

As for the Graphics card question, the HD 6950 is slightly faster than the HD 5870, and yes, they can be unlocked to a 6970, the chances being around 90% in most cases.

They do run slightly warmer than a 5870, but it isn't that bad.The 6950 has 2GB memory which means that it can handle higher resolutions and AA better than the HD 5870, and it has also got much improved tessellation performance.So the HD 6950 is definitely better than the 5870.

However, there are reports that AMD might not allow the unlocking of the HD 6950 in the future, so if you get a quad-core CPU, overclock it and with the saved money get the HD 6970, it would be much better I think.
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January 5, 2011 1:26:10 PM

Thanks, getting a quad core to save 100 bucks is a great idea, but won't a quad core CPU bottleneck a 6970? Also I want my system relatively futureproof which is why I chose the 6-core CPU and 8 GB (expandable to 16) RAM. I was also planning on putting my cards into crossfire as soon as they start getting old.

But this beings me back to my original question, which card?
Since the 6000 series are all reference cards is it safe to assume they are all the same? Lots of people recommend xfx for it's warranty, but doesn't overclocking void it? If so should I just get the cheapest card?

a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2011 4:23:19 AM

Even a fast (3 GHz+) Dual core would not bottleneck a HD 6970. So a Quad Core CPU would have no problems in running it. Unless you run many threaded applications, you should be fine with a Quad Core as you're mostly going to play games on it.If you want more power, you can always OC it. Also unless you are a heavy multi-tasker , 8 GB RAM is also more than enough for you.

As far as the brand of card is concerned, all of them are the same, except for warranty, packaging, any software bundles etc.
January 6, 2011 9:44:33 AM

hd 6950 is better than hd 5870 in dx 11 games... and for now you don't really need a six core cpu for gaming... using six cores cpu instead will make your some games slower than quads...

if you haven't buy any of these above why not you try sandy bridge?

i recommend you the core i5 2500k... it is abit cheaper than 1090t..

yet... it can reach 4.5ghz+ with air cooling....

also... video transcoding is great with sandy bridge...

give it a thought....
a c 214 U Graphics card
January 6, 2011 10:33:16 AM

Their are 1G versions of the 69xx series coming out soon i would wait till then,i would bet that the prices for those would become cheaper without the extra 1g.

I think everything you've picked out looks great, except i would have to agree that a quad core will perform the same as a six core in a gaming realm.As for your cooler i would suggest the Thermaltake Frio or a Corsair H50.Both are a little more expensive but they are well worth it.

I am also impressed with how easy it is to O.C. the i5's.I would say to get one but if you already have the AM3 mobo setup don't worry about it the phenom ii x4's perform around the same.

Also what type of case do you have picked out?
January 7, 2011 9:21:38 AM

agreed with purple stank... spend a little more on cpu cooler like thermaltake frio... it is almost on par in performance with corsair h70....

if you already own am3 mobo go with x4 955 b.e.

if not you can try sandy bridge.... 5870 is good but you can get 6870 for much cheaper than 5870 while not much slower than 5870....