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2560x1600 gaming, go for best or value?

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September 2, 2011 3:50:33 PM

For my new gaming system, using the oft-recommended i5-2500K on some version of a Z68 motherboard, I'm down to choosing between three good graphics cards. I want to be gaming MW3/BF3 and many others like WoW, GW2, TERA and also RTS games in 2560x1600, tho not necessarily on high settings (I value FPS over fx.. I've done well with a GTX 295 in MW2 in 2560x1600 on low/medium settings). I do not want to go SLI due to micro-stuttering issues. Without being sure, I'm not sure anti-aliasing is a huge deal when gaming in 2560x1600 - lines are smooth enough without it..(?)

HD 6950 2gb
GTX 570 1280mb
GTX 580 1536mb

I realize the price difference does not make these cards directly comparable, and that it's a question of my budget. I am also rather interested in an SDD (120gb), but am having a hard time getting both the GTX 580 and the SDD. If I were to choose between HD 6950 plus an SSD or a GTX 580 without SSD, what would make me happier? I do some multitasking in windows and do appreciate game level load times being faster, but otoh I won't exactly be fitting my enitre gaming collection onto the SSD anyway. The advise I hear so far is to focus on FPS and go with the better card, and skip the SSD, even though they are incredible as long as they don't crash on you ;) 

Looking at http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Radeon+HD... and http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+G... the HD 6950 seems like by far the best value, but would the GTX 580 (or even 570) be "a lot" better?

If there are super fast new graphics cards coming out withint the next 18 months, maybe going with the cheaper option of HD 6950 now and upgrading it to something juicy down the line a bit would be a fine idea? This is assuming the i5-2500K can tide me over for 36 months, and wouldn't bottleneck the new card.

Bonus question: is a 700W PSU enough for my system also with a GTX 580, basically the one in http://www.tomshardware.com/system-configuration-recomm... ? 100.00% reliability at max load is critical to me.

Thanks muchly for any help =)

- Gnug315

More about : 2560x1600 gaming

September 2, 2011 4:07:31 PM

At that resolution, I think that the HD6950 2Gb will play just fine with low-medium settings , the GTX570 at medium-high, and the GTX580 at high. So it depends how much you value your money vs better graphics :) 
September 3, 2011 2:12:04 PM

I guess what I am asking, is does anyone have experience gaming with any of these cards in 2560x1600 ?
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September 3, 2011 2:25:44 PM

Go for the HD 6950 2gb and you can flash/unlock it to 6970, and 6970 is much better than gtx 570.. and it can handle that res.

And the new nvidia 600 series and Ati 7000 series are about to release later this year or early nxt year..
a c 216 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
September 3, 2011 3:08:36 PM

I don't mean to be rude here, but I'm going to ask you a few questions so maybe I can better help you.

You mention you do not want SLI to avoid micro stuttering yet say you've done well with your 295. The 295 is an SLI card. Did you have micro stuttering with your 295? Knowing that the 295 was in SLI, would that change your mind on SLI?

You mention that you value FPS over FX, yet have a 2560x1600 res monitor. If FPS was your goal, wouldn't a smaller res be better? Wouldn't a 120hz monitor make more sense? Your monitor caps out at 60 FPS, a 120hz monitor could get you to 120 FPS.
September 3, 2011 4:59:47 PM

Thanks for your inqueries, I appreciate them. You are not rude at all!

Well I revealed my cluelessness right there, didn't I!? I cannot say that I detected any microstuttering using the GTX 295. I did feel the need to run it on low settings in 2560x1600 in MW2 (coupled with a slow CPU) to maximize fps. I am assuming here that it runs in SLI (multi-GPU) mode by default - atleast, the "maximize 3d performace" box is check in the nvidia control panel, rather than the "deactivate multi-GPU setting" (my translation from danish, wording unclear).

I am also wary of noise and heat issues, and for those reasons wish to avoid SLI. If you can convince me 2 x HD 6950 2gb would outperform the GTX 580, which is about the same price, I would definately reconsider.

I use my current 30" because it is very useful for my work, as well as just being extremely comfortable for general internet use. I guess I want to game in 2560x1600 mostly because I am able to :)  but fullscreen 1920x1200 is good also (tho not native res - dunno if I'd notice much).

Quote:
Go for the HD 6950 2gb and you can flash/unlock it to 6970, and 6970 is much better than gtx 570.. and it can handle that res.
And the new nvidia 600 series and Ati 7000 series are about to release later this year or early nxt year..

I have no experienced with OC, but I suppose I can google it. I also appreciate the notion of going with the cheaper option you suggest and upgrading down the line. I find the graph at http://www.anandtech.com/show/4572/kepler-gpus-shipping... intruiging. Where can I best learn more about the next generation or GPUs?
a c 216 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
September 3, 2011 10:47:15 PM

Well, your 295 is a vary noisy card compared to most and louder than my SLI setups. Was the 295 considered noisy for you?

Going to a 580 will be faster than your previous card, but not a lot faster. I'd think for such a demanding resolution, that SLI would pretty much be the way you'd want to go. Whether it is two 560ti's (2gb versions), 590 or two 6950's, at that resolution, that would be the way I'd advise.
September 3, 2011 11:14:26 PM

Yes, the GTX 295 is definately noisy. For some reason it's noisy by default now (after a lot of use), even after I clean for dust. I think it's dying on me, which might explain my BlackSoDs I get in WoW even on pathetic settings (tho nothing else for some reason) - but that's another story.

Looking at http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-performance-... for 2560x1600, the GTX 580 gets "Great performance" and the 2 x HD6950 gets "Excellent performance".

Re multi-stuttering, looking at http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...
Quote:
CrossFire With Two Cards

If you're only judging based on average frame rates, two cards seems like a great deal for the price. We've had several readers write in, though, complaining about this micro-stuttering issue, which simply cannot be seen in the context of normal benchmarks.

Even at frame rates above 50 FPS, micro-stuttering rears its ugly head, pronounced enough to significantly detract from the gaming experience. A paradigm shift seems necessary, at least until both AMD and Nvidia are able to prevent or mask the artifact. Right now, if you asked us whether it'd be smart to "go cheap" on an inexpensive card and double-down later with another one, we'd have to suggest against it if you're the sort to be bothered by micro-stuttering. The improvement in performance would be negated by the phenomenon's impact. Currently, it seems like cards less powerful than the Radeon HD 6950 are not well-suited for dual-card CrossFire. Even if the frame rates look decent, the slower the GPU, the more pronounced you'll see micro-stuttering during gameplay.

At the same time, not everyone is equally sensitive to time-skewed frame sequences, and quite a few cheap TFT LCD displays help hide the effect. Even so, AMD has a major undertaking ahead of it in order to really improve the dual-card experience.

it looks like one may be able to get away with Crossfire HD 6950's. Another thought: if I value FPS enough to always want to keep it at my monitor's 60FPS (most of the time), preferring to lower fx to keep FPS there, perhaps multi-stuttering won't/can't happen?

There's also the drawback of having to upgrade a 700W PSU for the GTX580 to a ~1000W for 2 x HD 6950, a problem considering I'm on a budget. Assuming I can space the two 6950's 3 slots apart, and the kabinet is big enough, and since I don't really know how the two setups will perform, both in-game and noise/heat wise, I guess what I need to do is go by what I can afford and be happy that it probably is, after all, pretty sweet no matter what :) 
September 4, 2011 2:01:57 PM

HD 6970 in XF is better tham a single Gtx 580. but a sinlge 580 is bettern than a single 6970... And two 6970 will be giving better FPS at that res you have.. here is a guide to flash 6950 to 6970... http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/159

a single 6950 requires 2 6pin pcie connectors and 550 watts PSU additional 150watts for another 6950.. atotal of 800 watts psu w/ 4 6pin pcie connectors..
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