First Time System Builder - Should I get a 5870?

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: need an idea of what to buy by 3/31, (But the sooner the better).

BUDGET RANGE: (e.g.: USD $150-200 (however I can be a bit more flexible)) preferably Before / but After Rebates works too.

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: "Enthusiast" to "Performance" level Gaming [Games: Crysis 2 (and below, and capable of handling anything new for a while], potential to handle media editing, home theater/watching movies)


POWER SUPPLY: Corsair 750TX 750W PSU

CPU: We really like the i5-2500(k), and we are pretty sure we'll get that, but we haven't committed to anything.
MoBo: undecided (many of the new LGA 1155 boards we like are currently out of stock)
memory: CORSAIR XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
Case/Cooling: Rosewill DESTROYER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower (no additional cooling planned, but will get it if necessary)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:, Tigerdirect, Fry's, anyother that can be confidently recommended.

PARTS PREFERENCES: We don't care whether we get Nvidia or AMD/ATI, however we want a card that will provide great performance and age gracefully without NEEDING to be upgraded for some time.

OVERCLOCKING: Not Likely we'll be overclock anything, esp. graphics cards. We're new to this and don't want to get in over our heads.

Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: For the moment, we are really looking for just one card that can carry us, unless you can really recommend Xfire/SLI two lower cards to get equal or better performance without breaking our budget. However, we'd love the potential to Xfire/SLI in the future.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: For the moment we are planning to use a 19" 1080p flat panel HDMI monitor to save money, but will be looking to upgrade to a monitor in the future, or now if someone sees any real problem with it.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would really like to know if we need to look into more cooling. We are going to be using Win7 Ultimate 64bit. We plan on purchasing a MoBo and Processor the same time we purchase the GPU, so we can get the machine running and make sure everything works before we send in some of the rebates. As of now, we have everything except MoBo/CPU/GPU and (perhaps any additional cooling that maybe required, but hopefully isn't), and have spent ~$430 of our budget so far. We'd really like to stay between $150-$200, but we have some wiggle room if necessary.

I’m aiding my friend build his first gaming rig. We both know enough about computers to get by, but building a gaming rig from scratch is not topic we are very familar with. I’ve tried my best to educate myself and offer good recommendations. I’ve read dozens of reviews/articles and ~ 100 or more consumer reviews (both good and bad), but I’m still not sure about somethings.

Our goal is to build an “Enthusiast” level gaming PC that will not NEED to be upgraded for at least the next 5 years or more (if possible, if not at least the next few years).

I really like some of the reviews that I’ve found for the Radeon 5870, but its old enough that it hasn’t been compared to many of the cards out now in more recent reviews (esp. TH’s Best cards for the money JAN/FEB/MAR2011), the exception being a comparison after a year of driver updates. I’ve read countless times that the 5870 is on par with/out performs the GTX 470. Could I recommend in good conscience a 5870 for a first time system builder or should I find something newer, and if so what?

XFX HD-587X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5870 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

This is the 5870 card that we are seriously considering right now (chiefly because of price), and we’ve got until the 31st to decide if we want to get it for $170. I’ve done a lot of research on it, and while the majority of reviews are very positive, there have been enough negative reviews on newegg and around the internet to make me very cautious. My main concern is that the XFX brand might not be as high of quality as we’d like and the card is a non-reference board. I’m also concerned that there might be cooling problems. We are also cautious about it being a PCIe 2.1 x16 card. Right now all of the LGA 1155 mobo’s only carry PCIe 2.0 x16. I’ve read that it shouldn’t been a problem because PCIe is backwards compatible and there shouldn’t be much of a performance loss between 2.1 and 2.0, but I’m not sure.

We managed to let a SAPPHIRE 100290SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Eyefinity 6 Edition for ~$180-$190 slip through our fingers about a month ago hoping that we'd see something come up for a better price in vain. And then we saw this very one briefly go on sale as Open boxed and go out of sale before we could purchase it for $162. We don't want to let another 5870 slip between our grasp for under $200 (should the 5870 be the top recommendation).

We haven't absolutely committed ourselves to the 5870, yet so any other card recommendations are welcome. Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated, and if you see any other problems/concerns/recommendations with any of the parts that we’ve purchased so far or that we intend to purchase, please let me know. If anyone has any tips for a first time system builder that they feel led to contribute, I'm not too proud to admit I don't know enough, and will listen to any advice offered. I'd also appreciate any advice on which brand of Graphics cards are good and which should be avoided.
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  1. Best answer
    First, that's one well written post. Well done.

    Second, the 5870 at 170 bucks is a great deal no matter what the brand (and xfx is a good one). Any bad reviews you see of it were likely when it was 300 bucks+. There are really no brands to avoid IMO, you pay extra for a better warranty but the parts are mostly the same on new cards other than the top of the line stuff.
  2. $170 for a 5780 is a fantastic deal.
  3. Are you kidding? XFX is one of the premier GPU manufacturers. Now, if it was a Visiontek or Powercolor card...
  4. Thanks for the compliments and advice.
  5. Best answer selected by Sitting Duck.
  6. Hell even a reference 6950 is a better option.
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