I have room for only one card. I am buying a 650 watt psu and I currently have a HP pavilion elite quad core ati athlon 2 pc (6 gig ram)
Wondering which card to get? plan on purchasing a 27 inch 1080p (max 1920x1080 res) monitor
Money is really not an issue....but I'm not sure if I should purchase a really xpnsv card when I hear that new ones are around the corner...is this true or I shouldnt expect to see a new card till nxt year?
IMO you mine as well save a little money as that Athlon will bottle neck the 580 anyway. Iuse an OC 6950 and can play what ever I want so the 6970 should be just fine. That way if new cards do come out you will have a little extra to upgrade and unless you are planing on multiple screens the 6970 will allow you to play what ever game you want and 99% of the time you will be able to max everything out anyway.
is my athlon really that bad? I thought quad core was good enough for gaming as most well-designed games dont really use quad and are only starting to utilize dual core...
Not that your CPU is realy bad for gaming it is a little old as is mine lol. But the 580 is a very powerful card so the older CPU you have will not be able to take FULL advantage of all that power, the 6970would prob be a little bottle necked as well but at least its not $500 lol. The best CPU's for gaming right not are the intel Sandy Bridge i5 and i7's and they are pretty far ahead of AMD for now. Basicly 4 cores is good but without typing some crazy long article those 4 cores and do as much work at Intels 4 cores when you add that to the power of the 580 that means getting a 580 over a 6970 would have you spending alot more wile not seeing much back in return.
Here is what I would suggest you do IMO. I would get a 6950 you will be just fine for now with that, I have one and I can play what ever game I want most of the time turning all the eye candy on just fine. A 6950 will be about half the cost as a 580 and paired with the CPU your using that 580 wont give you the added performance to make up for the extra cost right now.
It has two fans so it stays cooler and is more quiet at the same time. That will also let you overclock it higher.
A 6950 will play most games out right now at full or very close to full settings. Again a 580 is a very powerfull card. So dont think that im telling you that a 6950 is the same as a 580 its not. BUT with the cpu you have you wont see the full potential of the 580 because when you turn up thesettings all the way and are at a very high res it starts to get CPU intensive as well. So basicly by getting a $550 580 with that CPU it would most likely not be woth the extra $250 as you will be able to play games just fine with the 6950.
Then when another card comes out you can plan on upgradding your CPU. Lets say you decide to get a sandybride CPU so you buy a new mobo and CPU. You could go 2 ways at that time, 1) You could plan for a 2 card setup and get another 6950 as 2 6950's will be more powerfull than 1 580 and cost about the same. 2) By the time you upgrade your CPU there might be a new graphcs card out that is alot more powerful and you can just get that one, at least that way you would be replacing a $280 card and not a $550 card.
If money is not an object would you consider upgrading your mobo and CPU as well?