To be honest im not surprised the new 7 series cards are coming out early next year. If they leave the older and plenty capable 5 series cards out in the wild people like yourself will just crossfire the older cards and not buy the new ones.
You mat have missed the boat im afraid. The cards will probably be very expensive now if you can get hold of one. For your sake i hope im wrong but i know UK prices are now just plain stupid.
Is this something ATI does often? Because I usually like to buy one card at first and then crossfire when the price drops and I don't really want this to happened again.
Are Nvidia cards any good with SLI?
Yes they pretty much both do this, Nvidia and AMD/ATI.
I honestly couldn't say if one manufacturers cards tend to stay around for longer than the other. The pattern is usually the same though.
Soon the price of the 6 series cards will increase to make the decision between getting the new 7 series card or the older card a little more difficult. With the price of the older cards being placed quite close to the newer cards the decision is do you pay over the odds for the older card or do you pay the (what appears to be slight) increase and get the new card ? The difference you are of course actually paying is the difference between the old price before the price jump and the new card.
I'm going on recent history here and things could be different this time around but I see no reason why it should.
Every now and then they do surprise like with the 4770 so there is hope i guess.
AMD wants to come out with new generation each year. the discrete 7k series suppose to be out this year but TSMC also have their own problem so they (AMD) have to push back a bit their schedule. if you're thinking of going to CF or SLI route don't wait any longer than 6 month. in a year there probably a single card that are much more faster than the one you currently own even in CF/SLI.
If crossfire 5850's is what you want to do, you can always buy a used XFX card that comes with a transferable lifetime warranty. Personally I probably wouldn't buy a used card (bought my second 5850 a few months before the 6850/6870 were released) but it is an option.
Whenever a new gen of cards come out you can bet on availability of the previous gen dwindling steadily to non-availability. AMD has replacement products lined up for every performance level of the 6xxx series. It's just a matter of when the 7xxx replacement becomes available. Some of the lower end products may just be rebadged cards marketed as a new product.
You should have bought a second one when they came out with the 5850 Xtreme for $150 =/
But yeah as stated, production basically stops once the generation comes out. So if there's no more being sold your only real option is used. I saw a 5970 on Kijiji for only $300... that would make a sweet tri CF setup lol.
I'd say if you're looking to upgrade, try overclocking it first. You can probably push around 850 core and 1150 memory no problem at stock volts. Mine are both at 870/1200 stock volts. I can hit up to 980 core with more juice (memory stays the same). Anyway the reason I suggest this is so that it'll buy you time till the GTX 600 series and the HD 7000 series come out. It sucks buying at the end of a generation cycle because before you know it, they'll be all gone.
You can wait for the 7000 series, as it will be probably faster than 6000 series. I think 5000 series are not there because the release of the next 7000 series. So it is better to wait for 7000 series.