My current PC just died on me so while I'm pretty set on the other parts I've come to a stand still on the video card. So here is some more info.
I do a lot of gaming and and do a lot of photo editing in PS CS5 and from what I read around the forums is that if I use PS CS5 considerably then I basically have to use nvidia because it actually makes use of hardware acceleration. Normally I wouldn't have a problem but I keep reading all of these wonderful things about the new AMD cards.
Also I've been debating if I should SLI/Crossfire or not. I don't have a set in stone budget but like many people spending less is always nice. I'm currently looking at the EVGA 460 SC (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) x2 and at $165 AR it seemed great. If there is a better combo/$ out there please let me know. The other card I was looking at was the sapphire 6950 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) since I know its easy to unlock the extra shaders so essentially I'd get a 6970 for $285. I would like to somewhat future proof and spending another $300 (or less) in the future for a second 6950 doesn't seem terrible but at the same time if the performance difference isn't going to be too much then I don't see the point in dropping the money on the newer card now as opposed to later.
So if some of you could offer me some insight that'd be fantastic.
I too have heard CS5 uses CUDA, that could be a nice feature if you use that program a lot.
As far as gaming goes, both AMD and Nvidia have nice options. Nvidia has PhysX for games with GPU accelerated PhysX support. There are about 20 of those.
AMD's new cards have better AA options. SSAA isn't usable in a lot of games, but when you can use it, it really smooths things out better than other forms of AA. MLAA is also useful on games that don't normally offer AA.
I generally recommend a single powerful card over two lesser cards. While 2x 460's would definitely out perform the 6950/70, it comes with SLI baggage. Not all games support SLI (most do), sometimes they cause glitches (weird effects and/or stuttering), noisier (although 460's aren't bad I hear), and doesn't work in windowed mode. For me, I have 4 games which I don't gain benefit or have to turn off SLI to play.
So if it were me, and I used CS5 a lot, I'd look at the 570 rather than 2x 460's.
That seems fair enough. I read about games not using it, etc. but always figured it wasn't that big of a deal since everyone keeps using sli/x-fire configs.
I just took a quick look at newegg and noticed that nearly every card is $350-370 as opposed to AMD's 6950/70's $285. I'm pretty sure that with my system's setup that PS CS5 will have no problem doing whatever I need it to do. Is the near $100 for accelerated hardware and physx worth it?
That's a personal choice, but to me, no. I have 2 games that can use it. Metro 2033, which I can barely tell it's on, and is already so demanding, it's better turned off, and Sacred 2, which has good and bad points with it (leaves are nice, spell effects are bad).