I recently decided to upgrade my system that had sli gtx 260s up to crossfire AMD 6950s. How much performance gain should I expect? I looked at getting the gtx 580 ($500), sli gtx 570s ($700 total), crossfire AMD 6970s (about $650 total), AMD 6990 ($700), and GTX 590 ($700), and crunched the costs. I figured that for the money, crossfire AMD 6950s were the best deal. I got the two of them off of newegg for $470 total. Here are my specs:
As this is my first time getting any powerful AMD video cards, do you have any suggestions. (I have a laptop with a crappy AMD video card, but that really doesn't give me much experience with these things). Is the performance gain really significant? And, do you think DX11 offers significant differences over DX10? (I've never actually played a game in DX11...)
I built my system three years ago, with help and input from you all, and have learned a huge amount from you guys. I just wanted to say thanks to you folks in the Tom's community for your help over the years!
That's a sensible purchase especially since you may be able to flash the 6950's to 6970's.. Coming from a GTX 260 SLI setup, you surely will notice improvements.. How much though will depend on the game and playing resolution.. Personally, I feel that you could have just sticked on with your 260's a little more while.. DX11 is not enough of a feature to perform a video card upgrade..
Well, I agree that I could have stuck with my gtx 260's a little longer, but I actually have a logical reason why I decided not to. I actually have three gtx 260s. (Long story, but the short version is that I can't actually USE all three gtx 260s because of the way that the motherboard lines up with the slots on the Antec 1200 case...) Since the gtx 260s are an aging card, I figure that it is going to get increasingly hard to sell them. Right now, I think I can get about $100 for each card, but if I waited another year or more I would have a very hard time finding buyers for them, without selling them for close to nothing. Given that I could get a huge performance boost by selling my cards now, I decided to cough up the extra $170 and get the crossfire AMD 6950s. (When I say $170, I mean the $470 I spent on the new cards, minus the $300 I'll probably get from selling the old ones). I thought about getting some of the other cards on the market, but after seeing the newest anandtech review for the gtx 590, and noticing the really good performance that was being offered by crossfire AMD 6950s, I decided to look into that option. Since you can get each 6950 for about $235 right now and crossfire them to get better performance than the $500 gtx 580 and equal performance (in many cases) to the gtx 590 and AMD 6990, I decided that video card performance had finally improved enough to make a performance improvement viable, without spending a ungodly amount of money. I've had my gtx 260's for almost three years now and have been extremely happy with them. I tend to keep my video cards for a fairly long time, but I do upgrade when I think that videocard performance has improved enough to make the cost worth it. In my opinion, shelling out $170 for the new video cards is worth the 70% (or higher) increase in performance.
On a random funny note, I found an old q9450 that I had in its box in my closet (from when I upgraded my system to a core i7) when I was looking for my third gtx 260. I also found 4 gigs of ocz reaper 1066 mhz ram. I figure I can get at least $100 for the processor and $50 for the ram. Between selling my current videocards, the cpu, and the ram, I might not end up having to pay ANY money out of savings for the new cards.
About your saying that the card is 30 to 40 percent faster than a gtx 580, that was with the old drivers. The 6950s in crossfire are also faster in many cases than the $700 gtx 590. Apparently, AMD has improved the performance of the cards since december (when the review you linked was written). Based on the 1920x1200 (which is close to what I run my system at... 1920x1080) results from the Anandtech gtx 590 review (which also showed performance from the AMD 6990, gtx 580, gtx 580 sli, and 6950cf), this is the performance that the 6950s in crossfire get in comparison to the almost equally priced gtx 580:
Crysis Warhead: 56.9 fps vs 89.1 fps (56% faster) (also beats the 83.1 of the gtx 590)
Metro 2033: 42.0 vs 60.5 (44% faster) (also beats the 57.0 of the gtx 590)
Battlefield Bad Company 2: 82.4 vs 126.4 (53% faster) (also beats 120.7 of the gtx 590)
Stalker: Call of Pripyat: 63.7 vs 96.5 (51% faster) (This also beats the 89.8 of the gtx 590)