How much are you willing to spend? The best single gpu card AMD Radeon 7970 comes out on January 9th i believe it will cost around 550$ dollars. It is the most powerful single gpu card out there. Or you could wait a while for the less powerful 7950. i am personally waiting for nvidia to release the Kepler series gpus.
If the Radeon 7970 is not a worthy upgrade then you would have to crossfire two other cards. i am a nvidia fan and i can not say that the 7970 is not the most powerful card. you could do a 6990 or a gtx 590 but those have 2 gpus inside each card.
i have yet to own an nvidia card in any of my 3 builds Ive ever done, Ive just always leaned ati but i am not oppose to nvidia, and i hear SLI scales better then crossfire. I was looking at 2 570's but again, the 5870 was a monster and 2 of them is pretty good. That's why this is a tough choice
just burning a hole in my pocket and I've had these for 2 years now id say. knock on wood but i haven't really had any issues with them. i always have had luck with ati and sapphire. but like i said its just an itch
It is only justifiable if you need the performance. The HD 7970 will be a great card and is justified by it's 550 dollar price tag. I am not sure if it will be a worthy upgrade from 2 HD 5870's though.
The 7970 is a bit better than your 5870s dependent on the game and you would not have to worry about the game supporting crossfire.
It is true, you won't have to worry about CrossFireX issues and newer games would probably run more consistently with a single HD 7970. You have to take a step back and look at the money you are spending on one thing if you really don't need it. 550 dollars or more is quite a bit to spend on a single graphics card especially if you already have two very capable cards. It would be a different story if you were building from scratch or had a pair of lesser cards.
You may see a nice bump in performance in BF3 but Skyrim is also very CPU dependent. I often see many lows as well, especially in the cities where the CPU becomes more important than the graphics card.
I kind of agree with Demar but now is a hard time to upgrade. Development on the PC has slowed down and we receive lots of console ports which barely put our graphics cards to the test. Your two 5870's should be able to play any game out there today at maximum settings depending on your resolution and should be able to handle most things you throw at it in the future.
However, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel. New consoles should be hitting the shelves by the end of 2012 which will push game development and will put our cards to the test.
I was not in a tough spot for an upgrade; I had an aging GTX 275 which could not achieve 30 or more FPS in Battlefield 3 / Metro 2033 / Shogun 2: Total War. I was not satisfied with the performance of the card so I upgraded. You on the other hand still have a powerful system which should be able to play anything out there today. If I were in your shoes, I would not upgrade until you are not satisfied with the performance anymore. Upgrading just because you can will never be justified in my book.
Im really inclined to agree with warmacblu, he has a good point but at the same time i want to get a 7970 and crossfire it in the future. in a way i know ill miss my 5870's tho. they have been very loyal
Lots of good advice in here already, anyway you got a excellent system really good choiced components especially your case Raven. That system of yours is just begging for the Radeon 7970, so please dont be cruel!
Thanks to everyone who posted in hear, i will take all of your suggestions and will make a decision. I will post as soon as i decide what I'm doing, and also can anyone please tell me the exact release date of the 7970?