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Debating on upgrading graphics card. Need help =)

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November 13, 2011 9:33:52 PM

I'm upgrading my graphics card from a Radeon HD 6850 1GB.

I wanna spend around $300 on the upgrade card and found this:
Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB Toxic, with Unlocking switch for $289.99

Will I notice a huge difference? Should I spend just a little more for a little more power?
I also hear nvidia cards are pretty nice. Whatever is going to give me the biggest bang for my buck.
Also if the 6950 is picked, how safe is it to overclock these things?

As for my current card until I get the money for my new card:
I have been overclocking the core clock and memory clock with MSI afterburner. I set the fan speed to 100 to compensate for heat.

Should I let the fan stay at auto? How far can I push my card without tearing it up. I play intense graphic games for about 3-4 hours at a time.

My system is also very well cooled(five fans). Not sure if this community considers that well cooled.

Let me know what you folks think and tell me if I need to be a little more specific.

Thanks in advance.
a b U Graphics card
November 13, 2011 10:00:56 PM

You will notice a performance boost: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/293?vs=291
Is it worth $300? Hard to say, but it's your money (a 2nd HD 6850 is also an option). Seeing as you do overclocking, you should also consider the GTX 560 Ti (around $220 to $250). It OCs very well and can easily match a GTX 570 for $100 less.

Five fans is great cooling, so try leaving your GPU fan on auto and see what results you get.
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a b U Graphics card
November 13, 2011 10:01:45 PM

i can get my card up to about 970mhz gpu 1375 ram before things get a lil wonky

heat isnt an issue, unless left on auto for fanspeed. the stock profile is terrible and lets the card get pretty warm. the overclocks behave badly if not ran cool. setting up a fan profile works just fine though.

great card btw, mine (and most peoples) unlocked with nothing more than the flip of a switch
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a b U Graphics card
November 13, 2011 10:02:49 PM

I wouldn't go for a new card right now, if you wait until December you'll be able to get a card that will almost double your performance for $300. I don't know too much about OCing Radeons, so I can't help you there.
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a b U Graphics card
November 13, 2011 10:07:50 PM

cuecuemore said:
I wouldn't go for a new card right now, if you wait until December you'll be able to get a card that will almost double your performance for $300. I don't know too much about OCing Radeons, so I can't help you there.


going to have to wait longer than that. for at least a couple reasons. 1) december is a paper launch, at best. 2) the first round of cards on the new process are nothing more than shrunk caymens. no way in hell you are seeing double the performance from a shrunk die.
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a b U Graphics card
November 13, 2011 10:08:49 PM

cuecuemore said:
I wouldn't go for a new card right now, if you wait until December you'll be able to get a card that will almost double your performance for $300. I don't know too much about OCing Radeons, so I can't help you there.

Waiting in the hardware world is never a good thing. The new GTX 560 Ti is to release by the end of November (the 29th I believe). More CUDA cores, higher power consumption, more power, 3-way SLI, and 1.2GB of VRAM make it a GTX 570. No point when you can get a GTX 560 Ti and OC it to GTX 570 speeds/performance for under $300.

The next series of cards with release Q1 of 2012. They may or may not double performance (though the HD 7XXX series looks to increase performance significantly). We know little about the GTX 6XX series.
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a b U Graphics card
November 13, 2011 10:17:54 PM

Ugh. I'm not talking about getting a 2nd gen 560 ti, I'm talking about the Radeons coming out (that will make people laugh at the new 560) And I stand by what I said, there is no reason to go one tier up in the same generation.
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a b U Graphics card
November 13, 2011 10:25:48 PM

The Radeons HD 7XXX series release Q1 of 2012 (in my previous post).
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a b U Graphics card
November 13, 2011 10:45:33 PM

cuecuemore said:
Ugh. I'm not talking about getting a 2nd gen 560 ti, I'm talking about the Radeons coming out (that will make people laugh at the new 560) And I stand by what I said, there is no reason to go one tier up in the same generation.


ugh, no one said you were talking about the 560 ti coming out in november. he was suggesting that card, saying waiting for the new cards (that you are talking about) will be too long of a wait, to which he is correct. read my first post. "cuecuemore" *facepalm*
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a b U Graphics card
November 13, 2011 10:49:20 PM

Series 5xx and 6xx from Amd was just beta testing for the new series. Amd thank all the beta testers for participating and hope they'll jump head in again and buy the new cards when they get released like with the 5xx series.
Cheers
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November 13, 2011 10:51:15 PM

I have to say, that an upgrade like that isn't worth it at all, a better move would to get another identical card and run it in crossfire. That is too small a jump to make unless it is only going to cost you like $50 or something. But it is your money, so feel free to ignore my comment. I am still running my 9800GTX, which plays most games maxed out (@1680x1050) still and see no reason to upgrade it yet (except maybe for DX11 down the road)
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a b U Graphics card
November 13, 2011 10:58:37 PM

ive heard the 6850s dont crossfire as well as the 6950/70s. microstutter and reliance issues? something.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
November 13, 2011 11:26:44 PM

neon neophyte said:
ive heard the 6850s dont crossfire as well as the 6950/70s. microstutter and reliance issues? something.

yes, the lower end cards have more severe microstuttering, but all have it. Its always there, but its not always noticeable to the eye.
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November 13, 2011 11:56:53 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone. I really appreciate the input! Problem with crossfiring is that I only have one PCIe slot, so i will need to buy a new motherboard. So another card plus a motherboard would add up to the cost of the card I would assume. Think I should go with a new mobo and crossfire another card?
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a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 2:13:49 AM

what cpu do you have?
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a c 88 U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 2:27:56 AM

Appears to do ok in the benches
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a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 2:56:03 AM

monsta said:
Appears to do ok in the benches

Only 1GB of effective VRAM, not being fully supported for games (SLI isn't supported by all games), and being over $500, it's not worth it. Sure, it's 30% faster than a GTX 580, but not all games support SLI, so you're am not getting the full potential out of a $520 card. The 1GB of VRAM in a dual-GPU card makes is a bottleneck. You are basically paying $520 for a GTX 560Ti and only getting extra performance in several games.

A logical route is to move onto dual GPU setups when single GPU setups have been exhausted. For example, I buy a GTX 580. Several years later, it struggles in games. I can add a second GTX 580. Heck, I can do 4-way SLI. If I had a GTX 560Ti 2WIN, it will not last long as I am stuck with the same card and will require me to get a newer card without the option of running two [GTX 560 Ti 2WIN] in the future.
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a c 88 U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 2:59:04 AM

Not many games use over 1 gig of VRAM at 1080 on a single monitor set upi, even the 2gb 560ti shows no performance increase with 2gb of VRAM.
The op ony has one PCI-e slot , it was just a suggestion as he is limited to using only one card.
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a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 3:36:06 AM

monsta said:
Not many games use over 1 gig of VRAM at 1080 on a single monitor set upi, even the 2gb 560ti shows no performance increase with 2gb of VRAM.
The op ony has one PCI-e slot , it was just a suggestion as he is limited to using only one card.

BF3 uses around 1.2GB to 1.3GB
Crysis 2 uses over 2GB
Metro 2033 uses 1.5GB to 1.8GB

Games aren't getting less demanding, especially AAA titles and popular games. The OP did mention about getting a new MoBo if he decides to. Still, $520 for a GTX 560 Ti with 30% performance boost in some games with 1GB of VRAM is not a good deal. The 2WIN is out of his budget anyway (he has a $300 budget)...
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a c 88 U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 3:58:10 AM

ooops my bad , overlooked the 300 budget!
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a c 88 U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 4:05:16 AM

By the way AbdullahG where did you get your vram figures from?
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a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 4:14:22 AM

monsta said:
By the way AbdullahG where did you get your vram figures from?

I had an HD 6970 (2GB VRAM) not long ago (eventually returned as it was a furnace in my PC and was pretty loud; also bottlenecked my CPU) which I used in several games (I used MSI Afterburner to check VRAM usage). Crysis 2 used 100% of the VRAM. I played BFBC2 which used over 1GB (BF3 does the same, though I do not own it; I went around other forums and asked people who did own it). As for Metro 2033, it's quite obvious that it's a resource hog (also went around asking people in a few other forums). A simple Google search can also bring you answers.

The GTX 560 Ti 2WIn isn't necessarily a bad card or a bad suggestion, it's just not the best out there. For about the same price, you can get a pair of 6950s with 2GB of VRAM, a GTX 580 for under $500, and much more.
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a c 88 U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 4:19:31 AM

Thanks , I just wanted to see the figures for my own reference just to have a better knowledge of the vram used in the newer games, I know Metro 2033 is a beast.
It just confuses me how some of these cards that have 1gb still perform very well compared to 2 gb cards, some not even having any performance gain in comparison.
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a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 4:37:16 AM

monsta said:
Thanks , I just wanted to see the figures for my own reference just to have a better knowledge of the vram used in the newer games, I know Metro 2033 is a beast.
It just confuses me how some of these cards that have 1gb still perform very well compared to 2 gb cards, some not even having any performance gain in comparison.

Most of the time, there's not significant performance difference between 1GB and 2GB of VRAM. However, the extra VRAM puts less stress on the GPU. This is especially important in games with high graphical quality.

Something I learned from a post by iam2thecrowe a few months back:
Quote:
once that 1gb framebuffer runs out it spills into system memory, slowing things down considerably

Framebuffer = VRAM
System Memory = RAM
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a c 88 U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 4:38:54 AM

Thanks for that, better to have more like you said.
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a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 9:17:04 AM

AbdullahG said:
BF3 uses around 1.2GB to 1.3GB
Crysis 2 uses over 2GB
Metro 2033 uses 1.5GB to 1.8GB

Games aren't getting less demanding, especially AAA titles and popular games. The OP did mention about getting a new MoBo if he decides to. Still, $520 for a GTX 560 Ti with 30% performance boost in some games with 1GB of VRAM is not a good deal. The 2WIN is out of his budget anyway (he has a $300 budget)...


+1 this, finally someone gets it. this becomes all the more true if you decide to crossfire. so tired of the "dont need more than 1 gigabyte" information from years ago. its false now.
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November 14, 2011 10:42:11 AM

Ok here is what I gathered from you folks and I appreciate the help. It looks as I must buy a new motherboard with two PCIe slots and get another 6850 but I will experience some microstuttering?
So just to see that we are on the same page:

Buy a new motherboard with two PCIe slots
Buy another 6850 and crossfire

My system specs are:
AMD Phenom X6 1100T processor (3.3ghz)
16 GB of DDR3 ram
Can't remember the name of the motherboard off the top of my head, its an Asus

My case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 14, 2011 10:46:36 AM

Anyone have any suggestions for a motherboard by the way?
I just found my out my motherboard is a:
Asus M4A78LT-M
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a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2011 7:37:40 PM

Gibberon said:
Sorry for triple post, but would this be a decent upgrade for my motherboard?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The LGA 1366 MoBos are quite expensive, and based on feedback, they do not seem promising. You'll be fine running a single HD 6950 for now. You will be able to max out your games with playable frames.
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November 20, 2011 11:41:41 PM

But in all honesty I would only be paying $40 more for a better motherboard and an extra graphics card.
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!