Graphics Card for Gaming

For gaming on a 24" monitor @ 1920x1080 with a 20" monitor @ 1680x1050 (for itunes etc whilst playing a game)

Which is a better option in regards to Value for money and Future proofing:

GTX 570 ~$360
GTX 560 Ti ~$270

HD6850 Crossfire ~$360
HD6950 ~$300

CPU will most likely be a i5 2500 (NOT OC)
PSU depends on what GPU I go with

Looking to play Crysis at MAX settings and BF3 at MAX (maybe minus a few things like AA) and other new release games for 1+ years.

Thanks for your advice in advance!
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  1. The pair of 6850s would prevail....substantially.
  2. Not all that experienced (first gaming rig I've built) and apparently Crossfire has alot of possible complications.

    If I did go with a GTX570 is there any specific cards that will be SLI compatible in the future if it does start to lag?

    My thoughts are if I go 2x 6850 now, I have nowhere to move in the future and get only slightly better FPS (probablt wont even notice on a 60HZ monitor). If I go with a 570 it costs the same but in 12 months I could probably grab another for under $200 and have top notch performance once more.
  3. The GTX570 is indeed an impressive card, I just consider it too expensive considering the 6950(2 gb) is down to sub-$275-ish...

    Pretty much any maker's GTX570 will be SLI-ready.

    Crossfire issues? Two years ago, perhaps....; AMD has gotten their act together, IMO, with Xfire rigs scaling nicely, mature drivers, etc...
  4. The 6950 will perform better than the 560 at higher resolutions (specifically 1920x1080 and up). Where are you seeing them for $300? Amazon and newegg have several 2GB models for $250 after MIR.

    SLI and Crossfire will work as long as the two GPUs are the same (i.e. SLI 570s requires two GTX 570s, regardless of the manufacturer).

    Crossfire used to be bad, but AMD's drivers are much better than they were a few years ago.
  5. You should fill this out:
    We'll help you get all the best parts for all the best prices.
  6. With Battlefield 3? You won't face CF problems. Battlefield games in general haven't really faced problems running dual card setups. Assuming you live in the US/CA, how about 2 5850's for 280$?

    5850 CF vs 570

    5850 CF vs 6850 CF

    Save yourself 80 bucks for similar performance.
  7. Wow! That crossfire scaling is amazing! I just compared a 5850 to 5850 CF. It scales like 90% in nearly every game. I really thought 5850's scaled worse than that. I'm now a lot more exciting about my planned future SLI'ing.
  8. boiler1990 said:
    The 6950 will perform better than the 560 at higher resolutions (specifically 1920x1080 and up). Where are you seeing them for $300? Amazon and newegg have several 2GB models for $250 after MIR.

    SLI and Crossfire will work as long as the two GPUs are the same (i.e. SLI 570s requires two GTX 570s, regardless of the manufacturer).

    Crossfire used to be bad, but AMD's drivers are much better than they were a few years ago.

    I'm abroad, in Australia. A Powercolour 6950 goes for 275 and a HIS for 276
  9. ^ What is the cheapest 5850?
  10. About $200 AUD

    But going crossfire/SLI now with 6+ month old cards may have great performance for the cost but it leaves me with no upgrade paths :/ If I go with a 6950/GTX570/GTX560 I can throw another one in down the track..

    In saying that I can get 2x HIS HD6850 for $350 which I suppose isn't so bad, I just have no idea how crossfire works and what kind of PSU I'd need..
  11. ^ I just suggested it because in the US two 5850's are 280$. While 2 6850's are about 350+.
  12. aznshinobi said:
    ^ I just suggested it because in the US two 5850's are 280$. While 2 6850's are about 350+.

    Yeah cheapest a HD 5850 would go for here is 190ish

    Would the HD 6950 be considerably better than the GTX 570 with 2 monitors running? Because its not too far behind it in terms of performance @ 1920x1080 for most games and $50 cheaper...
  13. ^ It depends, running two monitors the 6950 2GB has a bit of advantage because it's VRAM will help it out in hi-res, the 570 is overall a stronger card. But you won't notice the difference too much.
  14. It should be noted that the 6950 2GB catches the GTX 570 in dual (SLI/Crossfire). And if it is unlocked, it catches it in single mode.
  15. As far as best "value" in the single card setup, my personal opinion would be to go with the 6950, unlock it, and leave the option to crossfire in the future.
  16. I saw a GTX 560Ti on Newegg for $230 with a $25 rebate yesterday.
  17. Yeah thats pretty cheap! But Newegg don't have worlwide shipping :/

    Anyone have experience with the GTX560Ti SOC @ 950Mhz for 300 vs the HD6950 2GB for 300?
  18. I would take the 560 Ti, when overclocked the 560Ti is almost a 570. So yeah.
  19. ^ I'm liking my 6950 that you recommended (MSI 2GB Reference version - unlocked to 6970). It's very fast and I love the native triple monitor support :D
  20. ^ Haha glad you like it! How's the performance when unlocked? Sweet ain't it?
  21. It does better than what I was expecting. Unlocking it was pretty seamless (though not everyone gets a good card). It runs a tad bit hot, but it hasn't shut down like my 470s used to when they got too hot.

    It's a big card, but I'd recommend it.
  22. Nice, grats on the unlock though. You got a good card like my reference 5850. When I bought my 5850 from Fry's I knew nothing about cards. And I struck lucky and my 5850 had voltage tweak unlocked which allowed me to OC this baby up to a 5870.
  23. Did you unlock to a 6970 or use the modified 6950 w/ unlocked shaders bios?
  24. dalauder said:
    Did you unlock to a 6970 or use the modified 6950 w/ unlocked shaders bios?

    I used a reference MSI 6970 BIOS to unlock using this guide:
    You bring up a valid point though - I have no idea.
  25. I've heard the 6950 w/ unlocked shaders is safer in the long term. I just thought it's worth looking into since you don't want it dying in the future. I'm not 100% sure on this though.
  26. I don't think if I go with the 6950 I'd unlock it, no matter how easy or cost effective it was. I don't have the skills and don't want to void the warranty. Is the 6970 worth the extra money copared to a 6950?
  27. The 6950 has a dual BIOS so you can reset it should unlocking it not work or if you have any problems.

    I wouldn't spend the extra money on a 6970 - the 6950 should be fine for your purposes.
  28. Excellent, thankyouu :)

    Anyone know any good P67 mother boards for possible crossifre for the 6950 down the track? (lower price is better) this is what I had in mind so far Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3RB3 P67 DDR3
  29. The UD3 won't support crossfire because it's second PCIe x16 slot is only has x4 bandwidth. You need at least x8/x8 in both slots to do crossfire.

    I have the UD4, which is a bit pricier (got it on a forum for a good price), but it's a good board so far. Take a look at it along with the Asus P8P67 PRO (about the same as the UD4 in the US) and the ASRock Extreme4 (the board I would've bought if I hadn't found the deal on the UD4).

    make your own decision compare the cards here
  31. ^ That site isn't really worth anything. All it does is compare the specs of the cards, which does not necessarily correlate to their performance.
  32. I'll take peoples logical arguements and personal experience over benchmarks anyday friendo :)
  33. Benchmarks are great for determining the type of card (i.e. AMD vs. NVidia, model, etc), but personal experiences are great for picking the brand of the card. You get a better idea of the company (specifically, their customer service).
  34. I think the i5-2500k/MSI P67 combo on Newegg for $322 is a great option for CPU and mobo.

    And although you might not want to unlock your 6950 2GB today, I can guarantee you that Crysis 3 or something else in 2013 will make you want to unlock it.
  35. Boiler, you are wrong. Crossfire is supported in 16x/4x. It is SLI that doesn't support 16x/4x which is why all SLI certified boards for the P67 platform are 8x/8x.
  36. The 6950 2GB is about as likely to unlock as those cards Skullcrusher mentioned will be able to OC at all--both are VERY likely. That is unless someone has a new source that says 6950 2GB's no longer unlock. If so, that needs to be more widely publicized. And the unlock has a bigger performance boost than most OC's.

    I should've made that call on the 16x/4x AznShinobi, since I was 90% sure of it already.

    Either way, I think OP has the cash for whatever is the best deal--which is actually the $230 GTX 560Ti on Newegg w/ $25 rebate for $205 total right now.

    OP, you really should fill the thing out for New build advice I linked. We'll help with all the parts.
  37. It's around 90%:

    I thought it was higher. Of course, that could be skewed by people attempting to unlock a 6950 1GB, which should be included on that pole.
  38. I suppose I'm happy to spend the money if its worth it and isn't going to give me nightmares in the future :P

    I'm already pretty much decided on everything but waiting to see what Bulldozer brings (whether it be lowered Sandybrdige prices or a Sandybridge Equivilant for alot less money) seeing as I'm waiting till June/July anyway :)

    But here you go so far this is the state of my build disregarding Bulldozer:

    Approximate purchase date: June/July

    Budget: Around 1000

    System usage in order of importance: Gaming, Music, Internet Browsing, University Work/School work (which may include some lightweight CAD programs, no heavy weight 3d rendering), Movies

    Location: QLD AUSTRALIA

    Overclocking: Nah, maybe next rig when I'm a bit more confident

    Crossfire: Maybe, Maybe not can't decide, need guidance

    Monitor resolutions (2): Benq 24" E2420HD -> 1920x1080, Dell 20in LCD -> 1680x1050

    Preferred Brands: Nope

    Preferred stores, anything thats cheap and will ship to where I am I suppose, but otherwise MSY, UMART and GOCOMP are local and pretty fair priced PCCASEGEAR also is okay but shipping is about a flat rate of $15 dollars. Also MWAVE is okay.

    What I want:

    Case: CM Storm Inferno (Love the look) or a NZXT Lexa S (but I don't know if the 6950 will fit :( inside) or NZXT Guardian

    HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3Gb/s 3.5" hdd

    RAM: G Skill 8G(2x4G) DDR3 1333MHZ PC3-10666 CL9(8GBXL)


    G. skill F3-10600CL9D
    CPU: Intel Core i5-2500 3.3GHz LGA 1155 95W cpu

    MOBO: Asus P8P67 PRO V3 L1155 P67 4x DDR3 SATA3 SATA2 eSATA RAID Firewire USB3.0 GLAN CrossFire/SLI

    PSU: Coolermaster GX750W 80+ (Nice solid 60A on the 12v rail)

    GPU: HIS or Gigabyte Radeon HD 6950 2GB GDDR5

    Ends up being about $1200 give or take 10-20 dollards for sales and prices coming down between now and then

    Mouse - Logitech G700
    Keyboard - Sidewinder X4
    Speakers - Logitech 5.1 chn surround/Turtle beach headset

    Thankyou :)
  39. The GX series isn't a very good long lasting power supply series. It looks good now, but the life of them is pretty short. If you go with the Cooler Master power supplies, strongly recommend the Silent Pro series, anything before that. Hard to recommend.

    The PSU link and GPU link are dead as well as the P8P67 Pro link.
  40. You're not building until June!? Okay, well just come back with a new thread then.

    FYI: If you're gonna go P67, go with a "K" series i5-2500K. Also, at the type of resolutions you're talking about with the graphics hardware you're talking about, it's really not worth saving the $30 and risking your CPU being limiting.

    EDIT: I should say a bit more about the PSU. Make sure it has a great review from a quality site (check for examples). Without a stellar review, I'd stick to Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, or XFX.
  41. Yeah I have read a few reviews of the CM GX series and they get good reviews and I tried to find stories of them blowing up and causing havoc but to no avail, only really went with it for the extra wattage headroom if I Crossfired.

    How about the Corsair TX650 -

    Would it provide adequate power for 2 HD6950's?

    @dalauder what do you mean? The 2500 and 2500K both run at 3.3 (turbo to 3.7) would the two screens/graphics card bottleneck it or cause it to struggle?
  42. or the Antec True Power 650W How would it do?
  43. Also, alot of people talk the CoolerMaster GX serioes down, but I can't find anyone faulting it..

    In this review they push it with SLI GTX295 to the highest they can and it manages to reach 830W at 76% efficieny and hold the rails within 0.02V and thats 80W over it's rated Wattage and I only need like 650W for what I'm doing..

    The con: "questionable capacitor quality"
    It's a huge deal. The capacitors are what keep the PSU alive to my knowledge. And honestly I've heard many people complain that the GX didn't last a year or two. So that's just why I think it is bad.

    The TP650 is good so is the Corsair, both would NOT handly the 6950 in Crossfire. You need a 750w for that.
  45. Hmm I see it seems its major downfall is in warm enviroments (computers) lol, oh well, I guess it was too cheap to be any good :/

    Should I get the x8/x8 motherboard and a 750W PSU ready to crossfire in 12-18 months? or save myself $120ish dollars now and get the x16/x4 mobo and a 650W PSU and when the 6950 lags, just buy a new high end single?

    Opinions pleeease :)
  46. i5-2500K and i5-2500 have the same stock settings: 3.3GHz. But the 2500K can pretty much always do 4.5GHz on an overclock and 5.0GHz some of the time. That provides a significant performance boost, which can affect frame rates noticeably. This may prove useful in high-end gaming where your GPU is not bottlenecking.

    I know sometimes i7-950's at 4.0GHz bottleneck compared to i7-2600K's at 4.0GHz. So there's no reason to assume an i5-2500 would never bottleneck you.

    As far as the mobo...if you're waiting a month or two, 8x/8x will get cheaper. See what it is then. In the meantime, start looking for a good deal on an Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, or XFX 750W. You should be able to find one for $70 or so with two months of waiting on deals.
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