$375-525 (which card to choose?) given my criteria

First off.. thanks for helping.


$350-525 on video card

Here's the system I'll be putting the card in:

1) Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K

2) ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION LGA 1155 Intel P67 / NVIDIA NF200 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

3) G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM


1) Mainly for gaming with one Hi-res monitor, I dont plan on multi-monitor gaming.

2) I usually dont play on max but usually use a mid-high resolution

3) I plan on using adobe premiere (semi work related) and other CS5 programs

4) games I plan on playing: SC2, the new oblivion, battlefield 3 (when it comes out)

5) I plan on buying one "powerful card" and SLI'ing or Crossfireing down the road when more graphics demand is needed (year or two down the road)


I have no preference between Nvidia or Ati, however, here are my two top choices so far:

EVGA SuperClocked 015-P3-1582-AR GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support ...


PowerColor PCS+ AX6970 2GBD5-PP2DHG Radeon HD 6970 Call of Duty Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready ...

keep in mind that I want to start out with ONE card and I might buy another down the road. so I'm going for the best x1 right now and plan on getting another later.

My questions:

1) what card would you suggest for my needs?

2) single vs dual gpu cards.. whats the downside/upsides between the two? if I plan to sli/crossfire later?

3) would the cuda engine in nvidias cards be a worthwhile bonus for buying the nvidia card? keep in mind, this is mostly a gaming PC.

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More about which card choose criteria
  1. IMO drop the Mobo to the P8P67 Pro, and allot the $70 to something else.

    Honestly, a 6950 for you is perfectly fine. Skyrim would be the game that needs the most power out of the three, and the 6950 should run it fine on 1080P. Especially if you unlock it to a 6970.

    With dual cards, you get better per/$ for the most part, but lose out on upgradability and have to deal with little problems like profile optimization, increased heat, less space, etc. Since you plan on upgrading, a single semi-powerful card should be better for you. Though the $300 6850/gtx460 1G CF/SLI comes dangerously close to a 5970/580.

    Finally, Premiere Pro's MPE does utilize CUDA, though even if you go AMD, you should still be able to enable a bunch of OpenGL accelerations IIRC. So unless you're serious about video editing, you'll barely notice a difference. Besides, CS6 apparently switches to OpenCL.
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