I currently have a Powercolor Radeon HD 5870 PCS+.
It runs fine for everything I am playing right now but with the games coming in the next little while (D3, SWTOR, ME3), I am considering an upgrade as it is Christmas time and such.
I guess the only issue that I have with it is the general lack of DX11 tessellation support (there is a noticeable drop in performance when I turn on advanced tessellation on Unigine Heaven DX11 Benchmark).
I know very little about the computer technology landscape so any advice on what I should be looking out for would be awesome.
HD 5870 is comparable in performance with HD 6950, if you upgrade to HD 6970 you'll enjoy about 18-20% increase in performance which is not a big move, And the GTX 580 is not worthy the price while the upcoming series will hit the door, so better wait for the new HD 7000 GPUs, the XDR2 rambus memory offers twice the performance.
not sure how good an option this is , but your system seems to support a second 5870 for crossfire?
I dont think the 5000 series scaled very well though in dual card config.
I agree with the others tho that you should wait, and there's really no need to upgrade. And if D3 is diablo 3, a 5870 would more than likely max it out, was playing the beta on my friends computer maxed with a 5770 only.
No need, You wait for 7000 series to come out. 5870 is a very good card and leave the advanced DX11 things. It is not that really important. When you get a 7000 there should be a huge performance boost.
With the exception of a few titles that will exploit PC graphics, the gaming landscape is largely homogenized for the current generation of consoles. With that being said, it is very likely that you will be able to maintain very good performance until the gaming landscape begins moving toward "next-generation" development.
By then, who knows?? We might have 8000 series Radeons. Save your doe.. unless 3D or Multiple displays necessitates it now; in which case def wait until the debut of the 7000 Radeons. Even if you plan on buying a high end 6000 series card like a 6950 or 6970 their prices will fall as a result of the newer tech being available.
BTW, I got a 2gb Frozer III 6950 for $279 and unlocked it to beyond a full blown 6970 (890/1400mhz daily). If the 7000's drive prices down and you can get some decent coin for your current card on eBay or whatever, that could be a viable upgrade that shouldn't cost too much and would considerably lessen your tessellation woes..