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Best GPU for an i5-2500k build?

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  • Graphics Cards
  • GPUs
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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 16, 2011 4:55:07 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: April 1st
BUDGET RANGE: $450ish (between 2 cards)

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming , Home Theater - Games include in no particular order: WoW, Civ 5, Dawn of War 2, Shogun 2: Total War, Crysis, and Dragon Age 2 among others

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: N/A on current GPU (new build); OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W PSU, but can upgrade if needed

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS:

-HAF 932 case
-8GB G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR3-1600
-i5 2500k CPU
-ASRock P67 Extreme 4 B3

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.ca, DirectCanada.com, NCIX, MemoryExpress, TigerDirect
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: None really lol
OVERCLOCKING: No
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes; either
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Dual monitors @ 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm wanting SLI or CF regardless; I've been considering doing a 6870 CF but I wanna see what other options there are for the same price, either on the ATI side or Nvidia side.

More about : gpu 2500k build

a b U Graphics card
March 16, 2011 5:23:03 PM

I would say 560, its faster than a 6870, but also more expensive. Your choice. Personally i would go with the 560.
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March 16, 2011 5:27:41 PM

I would not go for SLI or crossfire.
I would aim as high as possible and when you feel the need to add another one you just sell this one and buy a new better mono gpu.
SLI-CFX = problem down the road.

I would get 6950-6970 or 570-580.
Concidering your budget, I would aim for GTX 570 Twin Frorz 2.
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a c 130 U Graphics card
March 16, 2011 5:29:18 PM

If you want a dual-card configuration and you can spend a bit more ($500?), I'd recommend 2 GTX 560s in SLI. This will be one heck of a setup.

I've had both crossfire and SLI on the same system (see signature) and based on my experience, there is better driver support for SLI than there is for crossfire. I had all the common crossfire issues (occasional flickering video in BFBC2 and MOH, gpu load staying at 100% after gaming sessions, HDMI/DP audio drivers not installing). With crossfire, every month brought new drivers and new hope of driver issue fixes. With the exception of the occasional flicker being removed from NBA2K11, every month the fixes did not arrive or one issue would be resolved while a new issue would emerge. I switched to an SLI setup and things worked exactly as advertised.

To be fair, all my single card AMD setups never have driver issues.

That being said, I would actually recommend you go with a single more powerful card now and then just pick up another when the prices come down in six months. You'll give up some FPS now but two better cards later are better than two lesser cards later. My suggestion is go for a single GTX 570 or 580 and pick up another one when you can.

Additionally, I'd recommend an 850W or above power supply with around 60A on the 12V rail minimum to accommodate the inefficiencies of aging. Granted my processor uses more power than the 2500k, but my system, measured with an appliance load tester commonly reaches the 750W range during gaming sessions.

Either way, though, whether you go with dual 560s or a single 570 or 580, that will be a great setup.
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a b U Graphics card
March 16, 2011 5:31:56 PM

I would go for a Radeon HD 6950 HD, flash the bios to 6970 specs (you can find a tutorial on youtube) which automatically saves you like 100$. Then later on buy another and do exactly the same, if I remember correctly both cards should come out to be about $540 on Newegg.
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a b U Graphics card
March 16, 2011 5:34:06 PM

(In case I came across the wrong way) Correction 1 card= $270 2 Cards = $540
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March 16, 2011 6:23:09 PM

You stilll don't want a crossfire/SLI if you buy a new card now.
Go for single.
570-580 or 6950-6970.
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a c 671 U Graphics card
March 16, 2011 6:34:36 PM

The GTX 580's are coming down into the $450 range. Fastest single GPU available, and a good match for a high-end Sandy Bridge system.

Here is a Galaxy GTX 580 with an Arctic Cooling Accelero Extreme cooler for $460 after rebate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Otherwise, here is a PNY GTX 570 for $305 after rebate with free shipping and lifetime warranty. It also comes with a free HDMI cable:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 130 U Graphics card
March 16, 2011 6:38:03 PM

17seconds said:
The GTX 580's are coming down into the $450 range. Fastest single GPU available, and a good match for a high-end Sandy Bridge system.

Here is a Galaxy GTX 580 with an Arctic Cooling Accelero Extreme cooler for $460 after rebate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Otherwise, here is a PNY GTX 570 for $305 after rebate with free shipping and lifetime warranty:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

^+ Nice
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Best solution

March 16, 2011 6:45:30 PM

I would nail down an overclocked 570. In 9-12 months when the 570 can no longer play games at max resolution, then add another 570. That SLI will be good for another year or so.
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March 16, 2011 7:47:31 PM

Believe me it will still be able to handle 1080p...
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a b U Graphics card
March 16, 2011 7:52:12 PM

I'm sure a 570 should be able to max most games for at least a eyar or two, in sli i bet it'd last you 3-4 :D 

its a great card, may it serve you well
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March 17, 2011 5:39:51 AM

After checking out the responses in here, I think I'm going to go for a single 570 for now, and then eventually grab a second one and SLI.
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a c 130 U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 8:28:40 AM

SageRamirez said:
After checking out the responses in here, I think I'm going to go for a single 570 for now, and then eventually grab a second one and SLI.

Definitely a great choice.
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a c 671 U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 5:05:49 PM

Great choice. It will be hard to go wrong, the reference models are excellent and the custom ones are too. Get whatever one gives you the best deal.
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March 17, 2011 7:02:47 PM

I gotta say don't take a reference card, go for direct Cu II or Twin Frozr II.
I heard Gigabyte tripple fans is okay too but I'd go for the TFII
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a b U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 7:29:48 PM

refrence vs non efrence depends on the case. in his case a HAF 932 has good ventilation so he would definatly be advantaged by a good aftermarket design

I'm more a fan of direct CU vs twin frozr just due to the reinforce pcb on the direct cu

if the case had worse ventilation though i'd go refrence due to the exhausting hot air out of the case
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March 17, 2011 8:14:58 PM

reference tend to be noisy tho.
My 5850 over 35% is a jet, no jokes.
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a c 671 U Graphics card
March 17, 2011 11:03:22 PM

abswindows7 said:
reference tend to be noisy tho.
My 5850 over 35% is a jet, no jokes.

You can't compare the "usual" reference cards to the new vapor chambers on the 500 series. They are very quiet, and most custom coolers come in right around the same Db level. The benefit of the custom cooler is lower temperatures, for the GPU, with the tradeoff of higher case temperatures.
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March 18, 2011 4:40:57 PM

I got to agree that the vapor chamber may be quiter, but if you plan on overclocking you can't go with reference, you'll have to crank the fan up and it will be audible.
I heard DCII and TFII can go past 60% fan speed and stay quiet.
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March 28, 2011 12:27:10 AM

Best answer selected by SageRamirez.
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