Its that time of year again where I upgrade my primary PC to keep it relevant and to prepare for Skyrim and Deus X. This upgrade cycle I am needing a new Video card and improve storage. I have storage taken care of with a new SSD. I am looking for a new video card at the moment. What I would like to know is whether I should look at a new card , or buy another ATI 4890 and put it in crossfire with my current. My budget for this card would be roughly 250. Any suggestions fellow hardware enthusiast .
Buy a stock ati hd 6950 2gb model and flash the bios with a hd 6970 2gb bios and it gives you the full 6970 features and grunt nothing short of a gtx 580 will be better from nvidia.I have owned a 4890 it was a great card not recognised for its performance.Far better than the 4870 But if you honestly think this card is still alright. I bet you that even 2x 4890 against 1xhd 6970 wuold be no comparison 6970 is far superior.
You should tell us what CPU you are using; if it's not powerful enough it will become a bottleneck.
For example, an older X2-4800+, overclocked, could handle at maximum an HD4770 which is less powerful than your current card.
A newer i7-860, non-overclocked, can handle roughly two HD5870's or two GTX560Ti's.
Now assuming your CPU is not an issue, I recommend one of the following, but not a second 4890 unless you can find one for less than $100 if you are going to wait a while for a better card.
1) GTX560Ti. An awesome card. I've carefully benchmarked many games. It can handle most games on full quality. MSI or Asus in particular have good versions of this card.
2) AMD HD7000 series (Q4 2011?; spend $200 to $300)
3) NVidia GTX600 series (Q1 or Q2 2012; spend $200 to $300)
- Crossfire of your current card could provide up to 60% improvements in frame rates in some games, but I just don't think it's a good upgrade. DX11 especially is missing, in particular Tesselation is going to be a big deal in upcoming games.
- If you can't wait get a GTX560Ti, if you can wait (and I recommend it at this point) get an NVidia GTX600 series card in the beginning of 2012. It will perform at up to 3x the calculations for the same power as the previous generation, and will have more advanced tesselation and other features.
^ Not all 6950's will be capable of the 6970 flash, but the recommendation is still good regardless. Your going to want DX11 so that counts out a second 4890, you will have decent horse power but will lack features the newer cards have. So a GTX 560ti or a 6950 is the way to go.
Unless you can get another 4890 for dirt cheap, I would also recommend either a GTX 560Ti or 6950 2GB.
At stock, either card will give you nearly the full performance of CrossFired 4890s at their best and none of the potential scaling (or other) dual GPU issues.