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GTX 580 or 2 6870's in CF

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June 15, 2011 10:31:16 PM

So, I'm planning to upgrade to either a GTX580 or 2 6870's in CF...and I'm not really sure which to choose. If I go with the 6870's, I'm going to have to get a new motherboard, and a new PSU. If I go with the GTX 580 I'm only going to have to get a new PSU, but as it costs $100 more it'll end up costing the same amount.

I've ran a crossfire setup, so I'm not really sure what to expect. I know the 2 6870's would probably be a little more powerful, but I've heard that they may not have the best minimum fps? :/  And I also know that a lot of people prefer running with a single card. If you could help me with my decision that would be great :D 

Computer spec:

AMD 965 @ 3.4ghz
4gb DDR3
ATI 5870
700 watt powersupply (A very very cheap one :/ )
The monitor I use right now is 1600x1050, but I plan on getting another 1920x1080 monitor before I head to college.

More about : gtx 580 6870

a b U Graphics card
June 15, 2011 10:44:25 PM

Dual 6870s are alot more powerful, however with any upgrade youre CPU is going to hold you back in many cases.

6870CF and the 580 actually uses pretty much the same power (~250W), but I wont run either with a cheapo PSU.

Anyhow, I dont't think you'll benefit from a GPU upgrade in your case both due to your CPU and your resolution. A 5870 should handle 1050 just fine.
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June 15, 2011 10:54:55 PM

Well, I can easily overclock the CPU to 3.8ghz if not more...I've never attempted higher. I feel like that would help alleviate much of the bottleneck, but maybe I'm wrong :/ 

You don't think I'd see an improvement even with a 1080p monitor?
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June 15, 2011 10:55:39 PM

I agree with Timop, you would require more than a GPU upgrade to have something worthwhile. Even OC'ing the cpu more would not solve the problem, and if you do get a 1080p monitor you might be better going with a 580, but if I were you, I'd stick with a single gpu (so no need to change everything just yet) and get a 6970 and get a 1100T (might help for a bit, still amd processors are not the best for gaming, cheap though) which would cost you about the same as a 580 in total.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
June 15, 2011 11:08:13 PM

I would reccomend going with a GTX580.Single cards are always less mantienece and less errors that are associated with running dual or more GPU's.Anyway when you get enough money you can always get another GTX580 for a lot more power than a 6870 crossfire.

I would have to agree with everyone else when saying that your processor will limit how well either card setup will perform.But since your processor is a BE it's effortless to O.C.
I have the same processor so if you need some help O.C.ing just ask.

What games do you play?

Do you have an aftermarket CPU cooler?

What is your CPU voltage at when your at 3.8ghz?

Here's a quick guide to O.C.ing with a BE....

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/258573-29-black-editi...
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a b U Graphics card
June 15, 2011 11:17:46 PM

tinymidget1979 said:
Well, I can easily overclock the CPU to 3.8ghz if not more...I've never attempted higher. I feel like that would help alleviate much of the bottleneck, but maybe I'm wrong :/ 

You don't think I'd see an improvement even with a 1080p monitor?

Even with a 1080 monitor and a 3.8Ghz 965, the difference between an OCed 5870 and dual 6870s would be 60fps vs 80fps in most cases, while really CPU demading games like SCII and probably BF3 still suffers.
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June 15, 2011 11:27:09 PM

I understand there's going to be a bottleneck, but I feel like it will only hinder my maximum FPS and I'll still be getting pretty great with the minimum fps. With the overclocking, the bottleneck can't be that devastating.

I play all Valve games, Witcher 2, Starcraft 2, BFBC2, BF3 (when it's out), Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, The Fallouts, Both Dragon Age games, and the Crysis games. I'm a pretty big PC gamer, so I'm hoping the GTX580 will last me for a long time :D 

I do have an aftermarket cooler, keeps it really cool. I've had my 965 on stock settings for so many months I can't remember what my voltages were. I would test overclocking it at the moment but my 5870 died and I'm awaiting an RMA :(  So, I'm on a laptop :( 

By the way thanks for the OCing guide! That should help me a lot :D 
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June 15, 2011 11:42:03 PM

I'm still saying that changing both cpu and gpu for higher demanding games will give you the best gaming performance, and at the same price as the 580gtx there's no wrong there. OC'ing your cpu will give you very minimal gains in computing power for your specific processor.
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a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2011 12:12:54 AM

You should be easily maxing games with your present system. I would recommend upgrading your PSU and then your Monitor before upping your GPU.

The 5780 is still a very good card, OC the cpu. The 5780 will handle 1080p just fine.

If you do upgrade the cpu or mobo, wait for BD and see where the best performance of the buck will be and go that route for longer term solution.

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June 16, 2011 12:41:31 AM

I suggest that you should change the psu like the most friends here advice you,because the psu is the "heart" of your system with a cheap one you can have all your other(expensive) hardware fried.Now for the graphics i think you are ok because i also had the 5870 and in 1080p and had no trouble to max out all the games(at least all those i have try) but i you still want to upgrade i think you should wait for the new series both from amd and nvidia otherwise go for something cheaper like an amd 6950-6970 or a gtx 560-570.Last i advice you to prefer a single card ruther than a crossfore-sli because it is more stable.
Hope i helped a little.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
June 16, 2011 12:49:39 AM

I don't think the OP's processor will be much of a bottleneck at 4ghz.Thats still a powerful CPU.The CPU intensive games I see are Witcher 2, Starcraft 2, BFBC2, and BF3.Yes a new processor like a Sandy Bridge will give you better performance but a phenom ii x4 965 @ 4ghz should still be able to provide ample processoing power for those games.When I was playing BFBC2 with my Phenom ii x4 965 @ 3.8ghz it was maxing out at 80% useage so that processor is still capable.But a game like Witcher 2 will need much more pwoer than the 965 can provide i'm sorry to say.

Try O.C.ing for now and hold off on the GPU upgrade.An good O.C. should give you some increased FPS.Wait till the Bulldozer chips come out and see how the prices are for the Sandy Bridge and Bulldozer.
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a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2011 2:05:38 AM

I dont think his CPU is an issue either. I am most worried about the PSU. OC the crap out of it first and see where you are at. You will not be sorry for waiting a few months, especially at your present resolution. ;) 
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a c 214 U Graphics card
June 16, 2011 2:29:31 AM

What is the make/model of your 700watt power supply?
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June 16, 2011 5:08:21 AM

Thanks guys! You've all been a great help, and I'm not sure which is the best answer :(  I think I'll be holding off until the new AMD and nvidia cards are released along with bulldozer. I'll be buying a new Corsair 850 watt PSU very very soon, and I'll be overclocking my CPU to help out a little bit! Thanks for all the help :D 

EDIT: It's an extra PSU one of my friends had after buying a computer from Cyberpower (He of course got a new one :p ). I believe it is this: http://www.buyxg.com/store/item.aspx?id=3588&catid=142
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June 16, 2011 7:37:30 AM

I don't think you have a problem with your CPU either. I have a PII 955 @ stock speed (3.2), GTX 570 and I can max out all games out there. I run the witcher 2 maxed out except for ubersampling (and that's a pure GPU hold back) and I get ultra smooth frame rates.
PII in itself is a strong processor, it almost ties with the i5 750. The real problem is that there are games out there that doesn't support the AMD architecture really well (starcraft 2 for example). However, I can still run this game super smooth as well.
My advice, your 5870 will support your current resolution for not less than a year ahead, get a quality PSU urgently for now, and save the rest of your money, and later upgrade both the monitor and your GPU
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a c 214 U Graphics card
June 16, 2011 7:47:02 AM

I have a hard time believing your maxing out Witcher 2 on a 955 at stock speeds.I've seen people with a i7 975 @4ghz bottleneck a GTX480 SLI setup.Not even able to get above 40FPS with everything maxed out.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
June 16, 2011 11:01:38 AM

Thats a really nice PSU.I'd go for 850watts just to be safe.

The 750watt is enough to power a 6870 crossfire but going with a 850 will make sure any card you decide to go for will have enough power for it and a second for SLI/Crossfire as well as any O.C.ing.
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June 16, 2011 11:25:03 AM

I don't know abt 480 SLI performance, it could be lack of SLI support, it could be they enable ubersampling (when i try this, I think i'm gettin around 20 ~ 25fps). However, I play @ 1080p with 4x AA with things maxed out and I can see no slowing down or stuttering or what so ever
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a c 214 U Graphics card
June 16, 2011 1:19:02 PM

They had a i7 975 @ 4ghz and x4 GTX480's for a quad SLI setup.They had more than enough GPU power but they were lacking CPU power.I don't understand how their i7 @ 4ghz couldn't get over 30 FPS while your 955 @ stock speeds can.Just seems a little funny.
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June 16, 2011 2:00:54 PM

Again, it could just be that they enable ubersampling (which I don't enable). Ubersampling somehow forces the GPU to render the frame 3 more times, which requires more GPU horsepower and more importantly, a lot of GPU memory frame. and of course with the totally unefficient scaling of a quad SLI setup, this could very well be the problem.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
June 16, 2011 2:54:24 PM

Even with two 6950's 2gb (unlocked and oc'ed to 6970 levels) with an i7 920 at 4.0Ghz at 1920x1200 cannot come close to handling ubersampling. FPS keeps dropping into the teens. I don't know what is holding back performance for Ubersampling.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
June 16, 2011 7:59:08 PM

Have you seen any results with a Sandy Bridge at the same speed?
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a c 217 U Graphics card
June 16, 2011 8:01:34 PM

purple stank said:
Have you seen any results with a Sandy Bridge at the same speed?


No, but from what I've seen, Sandy Bridge might make a 20% difference. 20% of 15 is only 3 more fps. While this is not the same as an actual test, I really don't think the Sandy Bridge systems will have a chance at it either.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
June 16, 2011 8:29:22 PM

One problem with that, is they didn't use a benchmark, but averaged a cut-scene. Game play can be very different. However, with my i7 at 4.0ghz, I did get some high fps and some low fps. It jumped all over the place.

Without ubersampling, it's pinned at 60 fps with everything max, including textures (Ultra does not use the largest textures, you have to do that manually). I use v-sync, so it never shows beyond 60 FPS.
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a b U Graphics card
June 17, 2011 3:47:40 AM

definitely a smart idea to wait until the next generation of video cards, otherwise you would be just throwing money away for a trivial boost in performance. Of course at that point you will also definitely need to upgrade your cpu/mobo
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