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Given the prices in the UK, which card would you suggest?

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Radeon
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2011 9:19:25 AM

Hi all, looking to get a new GPU for my brothers computer, the budget is fairly tight which means taking cost difference into account, which card would you recommend. Obviously if the performance jump is big enough to justify the cost difference then the budget may need to stretch. Naturally the card will be for gaming (L4D 2, Rift, Star Wars, Guild Wars 2 and any other new games coming out)

The finalists are:

GTX460 1gb - £121
Radeon 6850 - £124
Radeon 5850 - £140
Radeon 6870 - £157

Those are the options, I understand the 6850 performs 4% better than the GTX460, I also believe the 6850 handles Tessalation and stuff better than the 5xxx series, but is the GTX460 superior when it comes to tessalation? Or is the 6850 a clear winner over the GTX460 all the time? If so, then at just £3 more than the GTX460 it seems that the Radeon 6850 wins and the Nvidia card can be removed from the competition.

Now, the 5850 is more powerful than the 6850 by a bit, but it is inferior handling tessalation - does that mean with Direct X 11 games the 6850 actually beats the 5850 or due to its greater power does the 5850 still win, just in a closer competition with the 6850. At £16 more is it worth it over the 6850 or is the 6850 still a winner here for price/performance

The 6870 is more powerful than the 6850 but is also £33 more. Is it really worth the extra cash for the performance boost? (If you considered the 5850 was superior to the 6850, is the 6870 good enough to pay £17 more for it instead of the 5850?)

Thanks for any help you can give

More about : prices card suggest

a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2011 10:08:40 AM

It would help if you gave the rest of the system, and the res you're gaming at too.
For instance, if you have an older high end socket 775 board you will be limited to Sli or xfire, so that may be a consideration in the future, and lead to recommending either brand.
Based on the prices there I'd say if you are thinking about upping the budget from ~£125 to £150, skip the 5850 and get the 6870 as the tessalation will be better.
If you're sticking to £125 then it’s a toss up between the 460 and 6850 as performance is very similar - I'd lean to the 6850 but that’s just personal, and again the best choice would depend on the rest of the setup.
The only thing to note is if you can wait a while til the end of the month (~25th I think) the GTX 560 will come out and will definitely shake things up in the mid-range segement and would surely be worth consideration.
a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2011 10:44:28 AM

Good point, apologies, I forget that while in my head it is obvious what system it will be in, others are not psychic.
There are two systems actually, one is a budget one with
AMD Rana 450
4gb RAM
Corsair 650W PSU
GA 770 mobo
everything else is what you would expect from a decent enough PC

The other PC will be an
i5 760
low end Asus mobo (so no SLI/XFire)
4gb RAM

Games will be played on 1920 x 1080 resolution. The games mainly planned to be played is Rift, Star Wars, Guild Wars 2, then games like L4D2 etc.

Also, having looked more indepth at costs, it's actually different as some sites were not including VAT

GTX460 1gb - £125
Radeon 6850 - £135
Radeon 5850 - £153
Radeon 6870 - £188

So the jump between the 6850 and the 6870 is much larger now so I think the 6870 is not a choice. So it's mainly the 460, 5850 and the 6850 to choose from.
I will suggest my brother wait until the 560 release to see what costs are, but if one needs to be bought, and with the current prices would your opinion change at all?
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a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2011 11:12:49 AM

I had a quick look for the GA 770 motherboard, it would appear that it only has one PCIE slot? If so it rules out any multi-card setup down the road so we are looking just at the best single card choice...
I would wait. But if you need to get one you need to choose between the 460 and the 6850. At the lower end (price-wise) a £125 460 will be stock clocked, so the equivalent 6850 will be faster (and a little more expensive). But if you're bro is competent enough to overclock then the 460 clocks very well and would be just as fast - as x-fire is a no-no I think this might be a slightly better choice in terms of value.
Bottom line is wait if you can, the 560 should be better than the 460 and similarly priced - and this is bound to impact all the cards in the segment.

a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2011 1:23:11 PM

For the more expensive PC I believe I can get him the 6870 (As I will likely change the specs to AMD 955 with the GA mobo, so still no XFire). But, at £50 more than the 6850 and £60 more than the GTX460 is the performance gain good enough? More to the point, would it be better to spend that £50 extra on an XFire board and then having 2 6850s one day when the single card starts struggling

If I go with AMD builds I will probably stick with the Radeon cards - as in future, if I go with a cheap mobo, it mobo can always be replaced with an XFire one eventually.

Thanks for your views
a b U Graphics card
January 7, 2011 9:05:55 AM

If you're trying to decide whether to drop extra cash on a 6870 or an xfire mobo then go 6870. IMO it makes no sense to spend money on capacity you're not using, or not planning to use for a good while - opportunity cost. If you were going to drop 2x 6850 in now then fair enough, get an xfire board, but otherwise it’s a waste as you could have had the extra performance of the 6870 for all the time leading up to getting the second 6850.
Is the 6870 worth the extra cash over the 6850? Yes and no. Performance/£ gets less the higher up the range you go, so the 6850 is a better 'bang for buck', but the 6870 is faster. I would say yes its worth it. Look at benchmarks to see the games you play at 1080 and you will be able to see if the extra performance is worth the extra money to you (or your brother) personally.
a b U Graphics card
January 7, 2011 9:21:21 AM

the HD6850 and GTX460 are both great overclockers that can reach close to HD6870/gtx470 performance
a b U Graphics card
January 8, 2011 8:38:30 AM

The reason I was considering an XFire board is because two computers are being done. One is new and so would have a 6850, theother is being upgraded with a 6850 too (at least that is the plan if the new comp does not get a 6870). In a year or so, if the cards start to struggle, the upgraded machine can get a new card while the newer machine can then just XFire both the 6850s. I don't think the 6870s lifespan will be significantly longer than the 6850 which means if I buy one of each they will end up needing to upgrade both cards at a similar time
!