OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: Running an i7 920 off of an ASUS P6T Deluxe mobo with 6gb of RAM. I am currenly considering upgrading to more RAM as well. I have an Antex 1200 case, with plenty of airflow. Cards seldom go above 60C, so I'm not terrible concerned about it.
PARTS PREFERENCES: I'd prefer to stick with Radeon chipset, and have had good luck with SapphireTech equipment.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not initially, but want to keep options for future expansion open.
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200
ADDITIONAL: Also, while I have my preferences with ATI cards, I'm not necessarily opposed to nVidia. I have a friend who swears by them, but they've been nothing but bad luck for me. What would be some good suggestions as alternatives to a 6970?
My biggest question is whether or not my current setup will support a newer card, such as a 6970. I'm not concerned about cooling or power, but whether or not I'd need to start looking at a new mobo that would accomodate.
Your mobo is fine.It has PCI-E 2.0 slots which is really all you need for a 6970 or above.As an alternative to the 6970 would be a GTX580.It's much more powerful but it also carries a much higher price.
Been awhile since I looked at 6970's and I can't believe how cheap they are now.They used to be in the $370 area.Here's the Toxic version for $320 after MIR.
The 6950's seem to be the sweet spot right now. Personally, I'm running 6870 Crossfire right now. I had good performance with a single card in the BF3 beta, and get stunning performance in Crossfire now. I have a few clanmates that have 6950's as well. One even was able to do the BIOS update to make it a 6970. Either way, I agree that your current rig can handle pretty much anything yet.
Sinister, what settings are you using in BF3 and what type of frames are you getting?Also what CPU are you using?I currently own a 6870 and I'm planning on getting another for crossfire but i'm a little worried about the micro stuttering I've been hearing a lot about.
@omgitzfatal: Maximum budget depends on the extent of what I need to upgrade. If I can get away with just upgrading the GPU itself, I'd be willing to spend no more than $600, otherwise if a new system is warranted (and I wouldn't be heartbroken to hear the news), I'd be sitting on a budget of around $1500.
@purple: That's precisely the GPU I have on my Newegg wishlist.
For $600 you could do a 6970 crossfire but as Sinister said in the above post the 6950 crossfire is the sweet spot.Perfect cost to performance ratio.But since you have the cash I would suggest going for a GTX580.