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Dual HD 6870 Crossfire vs Single HD 6950

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 8, 2011 10:31:24 PM

Hello,

I want to compare Dual HD 6870 vs a single HD 6950. I know that the performance is better for the dual 6870 but performance is not my primary issue because they both more or less deliver the performance that i need.

I will primarily be using this computer for hardcore encoding/video conversions + editing and lots of multi-tasking.

I'm not a hardcore gamer but I want to play the new Crysis, Homefront, Dead Island, Call of Duty etc at 1680 x 1020 resolution (possibly at max settings?). I don't really care if I'm not able to run some of these games at high settings or even be able to run some of them at all, because I care more about HD videos, encoding, editing etc.

Another thing is I really want to futureproof my system. This is why I am going with the 6xxx series because I need DirextX 11 compatibilities.

The reason why I'm comparing these two is because I heard there are issues with Crossfire. Putting aside cost, performance, power consumption and heat, is crossfire technology itself so problematic that I should just go with a better single card instead ? If any of you have experience with crossfire, do you really encounter so many problems or is it exagerated ?

My specs:
i7 2600 (Not K) Overclocked to 3.9 Ghz
875W Multi-GPU approved Power Supply
Dual Chan 16gb 1333MHz RAM
Windows 7 Home Premium

Video Card: Either dual 6870 crossfire or single 6950

Thank you for your input!
March 8, 2011 10:36:12 PM

you have some latest & greatest hardware, I'm guessing you upgrade more then the average gamer. FYI, a single 6870 is more then enough for 1680 x1050 gaming but none the less I would stick to the single card solution. I have a feeling you will upgrading within two years no matter which direction you choose and reselling/upgrading a single card is usually easier then two.
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March 8, 2011 10:43:45 PM

ct615, thank you for your quick response. I literally posted like 5 minutes ago lol.

But as a general question, is crossfire just a bad choice ? I honestly see more posts about how crossfire is a pain in the ass than how great it is. Is this like a software/driver problem or an actual hardware problem ? Are there certain cards which are more prone to problems when you enable crossfire ?
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Best solution

March 8, 2011 10:58:02 PM

the hardware issue with crossfire is added heat and usually added noise due to the extra heat. actually heat increase would vary depending on each case's air flow, simply sticking fans in every crevice is rarely a solution.

driver issues are a different story. often players must wait for new games to be patched in order to support SLI/CF as well as driver support from Nvidia/AMD.

there is an extra cost associated also; more expensive cases (more room for cards), PSU (single cards are easier to power then dual even with equal performance), mobo to fit the dual cards, and more fans for the case

all that being said, an SLI/CF will give you the top graphic performance and can extend the usefulness of older cards.

both set ups have their pros & cons.
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March 9, 2011 12:06:22 AM

Best answer selected by w0okie.
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March 9, 2011 12:08:39 AM

Excellent answer.

Thank you for your response.

As long as I have Multi-GPU approved power supply, I should be fine right ?

Also I used the PSU calculator for my specs, and its like bare minimum. Will 875W for my specs be ok ?

My specs:
i7 2600 (Not K) Overclocked to 3.9 Ghz
875W Multi-GPU approved Power Supply
Dual Chan 16gb 1333MHz RAM
Windows 7 Home Premium

Video Card: Assuming dual 6870 crossfire
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March 9, 2011 12:19:45 AM

I'd get the 6950.The 6870 crossfire performs way better but you can't tri or quad crossfire with the 68xx series which is what it would take to equal the performance of a 6950 crossfire.A 6950 crossfire does use a lot of power but the added cost is well worth ir for the added performance of a crossire 6950 setup.You can buy 1 now and then buy the other later.Also you can tri or quad crossfire with the 69xx series,which will create an unstopable monster.But very expensive.
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March 9, 2011 1:48:07 AM

if the PSU is SLI/CF certified then you should be fine.
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