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From Radeon HD 5770 to ______ (fill in the blank) on a budget

Hi Tom's Hardware Community!

A quick question for the graphics cards experts: My girlfriend recently purchased me a sweet Dell 2048x1152 (or something like that) monitor for the holidays (which I love btw). Some of the games I'm used to (Borderlands, Batman: Arkham Asylum) are stuttering a bit at the full resolution, but run pretty well at 1920x1200. I had previously been used to gaming at 1280x1024 with my current set-up:

Phenom X4 II BE 955 @ 3.6 GHz
Sapphire Radeon HD 5770
16 GB Patriot Ram (4x4 GB) @ DDR3 1600
Seasonic x750 PSU (Max at 750 watts, gold certified)
*Antec 300 case, so space isn't an issue

My questions are as follows:

1.) With the new 7970 on the horizon next year, is it a good idea to wait it out and see if video card prices drop a bit? I'm not looking at the top tier, and consulting the December 2011 "Best Graphics Cards for the Money" article, I'm leaving towards a 6950, probably 1 GB since I'm at a single display.

2.) Should I invest an extra ~$30 for a 2 GB model? It's supposed to be better at higher resolutions, and I'd rather fully utilize the monitor I got

3.) Should I be looking at any Nvidia choices? My previous upgrade was from a XFX 9600 GSO to the Sapphire Radeon HD 5770, and I'm liking how the ATI card works but am by no means attached to only ATI video cards.

4.) Would a 6950 create a CPU bottleneck? The AMD chip has been good to me so far...

Current shopping list:
HIS 2GB 6950 -
Gigabyte 1 GB OC'd 6950 -

In a perfect world, I'm not looking to spend more than $200 on a new video card (want to save for an SSD), which is putting the 6950 out of comfortable pricing, but I'm not interested in making a half-hearted upgrade and will save a bit more to make it happen. Leaning towards Gigabyte's offering (had a great experience with my last mobo manufactured by them). My apologies for the abundance of questions, slow day at work and I thought I'd just throw this thread out and get the community's gut reaction.

Any words of wisdom at all would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
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  1. Best answer
    my personal opnion...
    1. waiting is good. meanwhile, game at 1080p res. as your current gfx card will bottleneck at your display's full res. save up money for later.
    2. at your 2048x1152 res., 2 gb or more than 1 gb vram should be better than a 1 gb. among current cards, a 6950 is a good choice... radeon hd 6950 1 gb vs 2 gb
    3. at $200, you might not find good nvidia cards with strong gpus with enough vram that will not bottleneck at 2048x1152 (with all gfx settings turned high or the highest). according to rumors, upcoming 28 nm radeon hd 7850 2 gb might have msrp of $220 and 1 gb might have $199 at launch. 78xx is supposed to be performing at 69xx level.
    4. it might - especially true for cpu bound games or multiplayer modes. but if you shift gfx load on to the gfx card or play gpu bound games, you might not notice any difference. overcloking will decrease bottleneck.
    batman arkham asylum is nvidia sponsored game. if you want to use physx in that game (or any game that has physx), the current radeon cards will not perform as well as nvidia cards.
  2. de5_roy,

    Thanks for the input! I certainly hope the rumored 7850 hits the $220 mark, because that seems like a no-brainer in my situation. I think I'll wait it out and see what happens the first quarter of 2012.

    Appreciate the response, happy new year!
  3. Best answer selected by waydiddy.
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