Hey everyone, thanks in advance for the help. I'm trying to decide on which video card to upgrade for my system. Everything I have is about 3 years old but luckily my board does support SLI and crossfire; however up until now I have strictly bought NVIDIA cards and am debating making a switch. As far as budget, well most likely I have about 600-700 USD to spend but I also need to get a power supply as mine is old and doesn't have the connectors needed for the current cards. From what I can tell it seems like a single 6950 HD is roughly in the same performance class as two GTX 560 ti's in SLI config. I have several questions on this.
1. am I assessing the performance of the cards correctly?
2. What power supply would you recommend that would support either of those choices (one that could support a second 6950 if I decide to get one in the future)
3. Is crossfire worth it for future upgrades? I plan on playing Skyrim, BF3, and SW:TOR
4. I've heard AMD cards are not always great with driver support and am afraid of getting one for gaming purposes. Can anyone dispel or confirm this?
If you have any other suggestion if you think a different card is better please let me know. I am not that concerned with cost, however I do not like throwing money away. I am looking to play the games on max settings but not 3D.
The HD 6950 performs roughly the same as the GTX 560 ti. I've linked TH's review of the 560 ti for you to take a quick look at- it's pitted against a few cards including the 6950 in a variety of games. These may not be the games you're playing, but it gives you a rough idea of where it stands.
Your budget is plenty to pick up two of these cards (either the 560 ti or the 6950) and get a great PSU like a corsair 750/850.
There is a lot of discussion about AMD's poor drivers. I've no doubt that people w AMD products have driver issues, but so do NVidia users. Whether or not it's more likely is tough to say. Still have yet to see anything quantifiable on the topic, but I will pass on that many on the forums here accept as fact that AMD has a higher likelihood of driver troubles and factor that into their decision.
I've used 5850's in crossfire for about 18 months and haven't had any signifant issues. Personally I'm a fan of AMD's strategy of smaller GPUs with a focus on very good dual-gpu scaling and would go with dual 6950's if I were to upgrade. 560 ti's in SLI is a pretty comparable config and isn't at all a bad decision. Bottom line is either setup costs roughly the same and is plenty of power to play anything at 1920x1200 or lower resolution maxed out.