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Is getting a 2nd 5870 for Crossfire worth it?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 17, 2011 8:32:58 AM

Hello!

In november, I bought a new system. I do, however, think I made a bad choice with regards to the GPU.
I bought a HD 5870 Vapor-X (which is excellent), but a few weeks later, I realised the 5870 was being phased out. So much for the whole notion of future-proofing.

I mostly use my system for games, graphics-wise. I have a i7 950/Sabertooth X58/850 W PSU/12 GB Corsair Dominator RAM, which I think is rather powerful for my use. I do enjoy good graphics, and I would like to play the forthcoming TES V: Skyrim on rather high settings come November.

The question then, is it any use getting a 2nd 5870 now before they end up as dinosaurs or should I just sit back and use my HD5870 until it starts coughing up blood and then get some new-fangled supercard (time frame: 6-12 months)?

Any input on the scaling and usefulness of the HD 5870 with 1920x1280 resolution is greatly appreciated. It is still a costly piece of hardware...
a b U Graphics card
January 17, 2011 8:45:29 AM

Get it if you can get your hands on it now......
2 of those in CF are really brilliant...... and that will future proof your system for the near future....
Also if you end up using multi monitor setups, the second one is certainly going to be a lot more helpful.....
And if you're still having doubts..... here's something from the guru....
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-5870-crossfirex...
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a b U Graphics card
January 17, 2011 2:21:04 PM

Getting another ASUS 5870 as well to CF with. I think those two will be around for awhile kind of like the 6800 were.
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a c 125 U Graphics card
January 17, 2011 2:46:11 PM

They always come out with new GPUs, can't help it. No matter when you buy a new card, within a year usually there'll be something better for the same cost. I already have two 5850s that I bought for $300 each in May. For that price I can get much much more performance now with a new GPU.

However, the question is, do you need it? I'm completely happy with my 5850s at 1080p. They have dominated every single game so far, and frankly, games aren't getting any more demanding. A 5870 is a definite step up from a 5850, and if you crossfire them I really can't see you needing to upgrade for a couple years. Yes, new GPUs will be out, but will games be any more demanding? At most they will add more DX11 features, more tesslation, in which case you might start to see some issues with 5870s but I doubt that'll be for a few years considering the majority of PC games (the "AAA" titles) are just console ports.
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January 17, 2011 3:17:28 PM

Well, I see the pros and cons here. I've seen people mentioning "multi-GPU issues" with regards to Crossfire, and I still haven't quite figured out what they mean. Also, I see the scaling with the 5870 is inferior to that of the 6800 series, and probably to the 6900 series.

As for whether I need it, I am quite frankly not sure. Which is why I ponder whether to buy it or not. I, like a lot of other consumers, buy tons of stuff I don't necessarily need, but rather consider "nice to have".

And then there's my dislike of the AMD drivers. The last version, the 10.12, caused endless streams of blue screens for me, so I had to roll back. If the drivers continue to be this bad, and especially for the HD 5870 as they are phasing it out, I am not 100 % convinced it is a good idea. The price is right for a Vapor-X (around £200 including shipping), but it is still a lot of money. Don't get me wrong, I think the HD 5870 is a marvellous piece of hardware (I upgraded from a nVidia 9800 GT), I just wonder if I could make it even better by adding another card, or if I am opening a can of worms.

Last question; go for the Vapor-X from Sapphire or the Voltage Tweak card from Asus? The Voltage Tweak is more overclocked than the Vapor-X. Does that mean both cards will run at the Vapor-X' speed?
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a c 125 U Graphics card
January 17, 2011 3:35:44 PM

Well yes a second card in crossfire will definitely be a lot better. You can expect around 70% improvement in FPS usually, sometimes more sometimes less.

But some games aren't supported with CF, some games have issues with it. Sometimes it's a pain the the butt, but usually you don't have to worry much about it. I find the games that don't use it won't really have any issues and are generally older games where the extra performance isn't needed anyway.

I'd get another Vapor X if I were you. You don't need to get identical cards tho. Running speeds, I've heard they both run at the speed of the master card (the one on top) but I've manually overclocked cards to different speeds and they ran at their independant speeds fine. I noticed an improvement by OCing just one card, but a better improvement by OCing both.

Anyway, it's pretty easy to determine if you need/want the second card.
1) Are you maxing in game settings in everything you play? If no, then CF may be right for you. If yes, then:
2) Are your framerates getting laggy at times? If yes, then CF may be right for you. If no, then:
3) Are you planning to upgrade to either a bigger monitor, Eyefinity setup, or 3D? If yes, then CF may be right for you.

Hope that helps haha :D 
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