I'm in Australia and PC hardware here is comparatively expensive. The cheaper HD 6870s (powercolor/HIS) come in around $250 and the better overclocked models closer to $310. The GTX560 Ti starts at around $309 in most of my local stores.
I'm going to buy a new card this week to replace my budget HD 5670 (all I could afford when I did the build). I'm stretching my cash here as a full time grad student, so any savings are welcome savings, but at the same time I want to build something that won't need any further gpu upgrades for a good while.
I tend to play games at 1600x900 or 1920x1080 where performance is acceptable. I have a 24" 16:9 monitor. I tend to run games for frames rather than maxed out textures, I prefer perfectly smooth at lower quality than maxed out with judders. I'm hoping a new GPU will allow me to keep fps up and increase quality at the same time.
I tend to play single player RPGs mostly, Fallout games, The Witcher, Dragon Age and Mass Effect titles. I aim to set up this machine to handle this years titles that I'm looking forward to such as Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Metal Gear Solid Rising.
CPU is a Phenom ii x2 555 Black Edition, slightly overclocked at 3.4ghz, shall push it a bit more when I'm comfortable with my reading on its voltage limits. I'm not too worried about it causing bottlenecks as it performs very well at the moment. It will be replaced with an x4 down the track. I have a 650w PSU with 52 amps on the 12v rail so I'm not concerned about that side of things.
My board only has a single PCI-E slot so I don't intend to run SLI or Xfire down the track. I don't intend to use more than one monitor. Resolutions higher than 1920x1080 are not possible for my monitor.
Would the extra $60 be worth it for the GTX 560Ti or would a cheaper HD 6870 be adequate for me?
I believe the 560 will be worth the extra expense. At the stock/factory overclocked speed you are likely to get, out of the box the 560 will be about 11% faster. Since you are familiar with overclocking, the GTX560 really shines, hitting 1000 mhz or more with voltage adjustments. With that type of performance, the 560 is then reaching GTX570 or HD6970 levels. Top all that off with a very quiet and cool card, then yes, it is worth it in my opinion. The 20% difference in price will come to about a 20% difference in performance with the GTX560.
That does make the GTX 560 Ti very tempting indeed. More future proofing as such given the 5xx series is newer than the 68xx are as best I know. Now it will just come down to how much money is available...
ok the 560 is faster than the 6870 but not worth the extra 60 in my opinion, 6870 at 1600x900 will max 90% of the games out there, and can be overclocked to achieve higher than stock 560 speeds, if the gap was closer i would of said yes go with the 560 but $60 is just too much.
here is the benchmark for the 6870 vs 560 they come really close.
if so then the 560 ti seems a good choice. in cases like this, wherein the op has a specific budget, i usually suggest to get the fastest available card that fits in his budget. like what the others said, the 560 also has oc potential.
either way you can not go wrong between the 2, as both will be a major major major improvement over your 5670, probably in the "blow your socks off" level.
As for the extra cores, they are totally unstable. Won't even boot windows at any voltage, so I'm stuck with two.
That's a shame.
As for the card at reference speeds the difference isn't much more than 5% but the GTX 560 does OC quite a bit more. Here is a review that includes OCed numbers for both cards; http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/nvidia_asus_gtx...
Here are the numbers that are most relevant to your situation from the 1920x1200 charts:
Game - GTX 560@1004mhz/HD6870@974mhz/GTX 460@922mhz
Aliens vs. Predator - 36/30/30
Metro 2033 - 36/31/29
Crysis Warhead - 47/43/40
COD:MW2 - 95/81/89
Just Cause 2 - 59/51/47
Batman:AA - 154/103/131
Battlefield:BC2 - 94/70/79
Keep in mind almost all of these are TWIMTBP games so it skews the results towards Nvidia. Even so the HD6870 fares rather well at a resolution slightly higher than yours. The GTX 560 is notably better but you need to decide for yourself whether it is worth $60 of your money. I'm not sure what the price on the GTX 460 is where you are but it very well might be the best value for the money on a card that will do well at your resolution.
Thanks guys. I think I'll shoot for the gtx 560 Ti, one other thing I didn't take into account is physx where it is available. As my cpu is my probably bottle neck, taking load off of it when doing physics calculations will be useful. If I have the dollars on the day (sometime later in the week after the bills are paid) I'll go for the 560 Ti.
If not I'll take the 6870 and will still be pretty happy with it by the sounds of things.
NOTE: I just realised that the $309 price was for the factory overclocked gigabyte model at 900mhz. Another store seems to list standard ones for $279 but I'll have to see if they have them in stock. They seem to be selling out everywhere...
GPU accelerated Physx is only used in a handful of games that are worth playing. It also doesn't shift the physics processing off the CPU but rather adds extra physics effects that are processed by the card(often at the cost of a decent performance hit.) It's an ok bonus for the 5 or so games where it matters but nothing I would use as a serious consideration when choosing a video card.