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Video Card for my new build: 5850 vs. 6950 vs. waiting

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 16, 2011 3:35:23 AM

Hello!
I'm currently designing a new build and since I have a few questions about the video card, felt that it would be a good idea to open a dedicated thread to ask them in.

The current parts I am listing below would be the parts I would buy along with the video card when assembling the new build.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Before May 18th

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, movies

CURRENT GPU: GeForce 7600 GS

PLANNED POWER SUPPLY: Corsair Gaming Series CMPSU-700G 700W ATX Power Supply

OTHER RELEVANT PLANNED SYSTEM SPECS: Intel Core i5 2500K, ASUS P8P67 Pro REV3.0, G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL Ripjaws 4GB, Antec Three Hundred


PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: ncix.com - any other site that ships in Canada
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: No real preference - just a good card for the money

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, but not likely

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900



The following are two of the video cards that I have found that seem good:

Sapphire Radeon HD5850 Xtreme $132.99

XFX Radeon HD 6950 800MHZ 2GB $283.77 + MIR of $30


Now the reason I have two pretty different video cards listed is because I am wondering the best course to take for my needs. I currently have a 1440x900 monitor and am planning to keep it until at least about December of this year. From what I have seen on benchmarks, the 5850 can run most modern games at 1680x1050 with high graphics, and my monitor is even smaller in resolution. Some games I would be playing on it would be Oblivion, the STALKER games, Fallout 3 and Just Cause 2.

However, at the end of this year / beginning of next, I am planning on upgrading my monitor to hopefully 1920x1080. I have also been looking forward to playing Battlefield 3 and TES: Skyrim when they are released, which I understand no-one knows what they will need GPU wise, but look like they will be graphically demanding.

Now, would it be a better idea to:
1. Purchase a card like the 5850 Xtreme now, then sell it and upgrade to the next generation of graphics cards when they are released in Q4 2011 / Q1 2012 (I think), or;
2. Purchase a 6950 2Gb now and keep it in the hope that it is sufficient for my needs when I upgrade resolutions.


Thanks in advance!
a c 276 U Graphics card
May 16, 2011 4:12:13 AM

A very good question.

I don't think it is a good idea plan on selling a card so quickly in option one. You never get your price, and selling expenses deduct even more. Then, there is the hassle factor.

If your budget can swing it, go with option 2. The problem there is that you are stuck if you want more than a 6950.

How about an option 3?

Use your 7600GS in the new build, and see how you do. You might find that you do well enough for a while. At least untill your needs become clearer. There is supposed to be a new generation of cards out by the end of the year.

I find that when I paid too much for something better than I needed, it hurts less than when I paid less, but did not get something good enough.

Or, you could get a EVGA GTX560ti or a GTX570 which are comparable to the 5850 and 6950. The advantage with EVGA is that they offer a 90 day trade up option so that the price you paid for the original card will be fully applied to a trade up card within 90 days. Go to the EVGA web site for full details.
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May 16, 2011 11:43:36 AM

if you can hold your purchase until december... nvidia and amd should have something to be launched by that time... lets say if your budget can up until 350 dollars and 400... i guess by that time you can either pick up a hd 7850 and gtx 670 (assume both as a replacement for hd 6950 and gtx 570) you get a card that is faster than gtx 580 and surely you can play bf3 at full hd with some eye candy enabled...

note: anything about hd 7850, gtx 670, including its name and performances... only based on my personal assumption... so don't get too over about it...

if you can't wait... hd 6950 2gb is a good buy as well...
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May 17, 2011 12:25:16 AM

Thanks for the responses!

To be honest, I initially was really leaning towards the 5850 because it seemed like a great performer at 1440x900 and at a very good price-point. After reading your replies, I went and did some more reading on benchmarks on the graphics cards I am considering. I don't think the 6950 would be a good choice now because of the following:

- I think it would be quite overpowered for my current resolution.
- If I upgrade screen resolutions around the new year, there would be a new generation of cards out that would likely be a better choice for my needs then.

(These above points are just my opinion that I got when reading the benchmarks and articles)


The reason why I was thinking of upgrading now is because I haven't been able to play almost any of the games in the last four years due to computer limitations (Athlon 64 3000+, 512 mb ddr, GeForce 7600 GS). Its also on its last legs, and routinely freezes and restarts itself if I play anything better than Age of Empires 1. However, BF3 and Skyrim I would consider belonging to my favorite game titles, and I would enjoy being able to play them on full graphics which is something I haven't been able to do before with other games.

So based on this, my options would seem to be the 5850, or sitting tight and awaiting the next gen in December. I am now leaning somewhat towards just waiting and hoping my computer lasts that long, but I'll see if anyone else would like to give me an opinion on this.

(Forgive me if I am over-thinking this graphics card decision; this is my first home build and I want to get it right :)  )
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a b U Graphics card
May 17, 2011 1:13:33 AM

well that 5850 is about 80% of the performance of the 6950, at only 50% of the price, so its certainly not a bad choice. I wouldn`t wait so long when your current system is so hopelessly obsolete, but its up to you.
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a b U Graphics card
May 17, 2011 1:38:51 AM

It really comes down to money. How much are you will to pay? If you are not going to get a new monitor soon, the 5850 is a very good deal and will have no problems with you present resolution. It will play decently at 1080p. If you plan to get a monitor soon, then either wait or budget in the 6950.

I am waiting for Skyrim to be released as well. :) 
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May 17, 2011 1:45:53 AM

Quote:
well that 5850 is about 80% of the performance of the 6950, at only 50% of the price

That is actually almost exactly what is pushing me in the direction of the 5850. Even more so because I would not even have any use for the extra power of the 6950 at my resolution.
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I wouldn`t wait so long when your current system is so hopelessly obsolete, but its up to you.

That's also been bugging me because I first started looking to get a new system more than a year ago. I'm starting to feel I should just buy the system and worry about if I need to upgrade graphics cards when I decide I want to actually play those games.

EDIT:
Hi Embra.
Money-wise, I am trying to stay below about $250 so I could get a 6950 if I really needed it. But I am almost certain I will not be upgrading my resolution for at least 6 months so I feel the extra power of the 6950 would not be used until the next gen of cards are out anyways.
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May 19, 2011 2:21:24 AM

Best answer selected by Octohexite.
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a c 169 U Graphics card
May 19, 2011 6:22:57 AM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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