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Upgrading 5850, budget around $400

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 12, 2012 1:24:51 PM

I am in the market for a new GPU setup for my desktop. Here is my existing config:

Asus M4A88T EVO pcb 16 blue 4 gray
Sapphire radeon HD 5850
AMD phenom x4 Debeb
8gb ram
Corsair 750w PS

All stock speeds. I tried OCing but the system was less than stable. 

It is mainly used for gaming. Right now I'm playing SWTOR, Deus Ex, and Skyrim. I will be playing Mass Effect 3 and Guild Wars 2 this year for sure. 

The 5850 is a little underwhelming even compared against my laptop (Asus G74SX), so I am looking to pep up my system. I am currently running one monitor at 1650x1080 but might get a second at 1920x1080 because Newegg has a few steals. 

I would like to keep my budget under $400. 

My options that I've looked at:

The HIS IceQ 2gb 6950
Dual 6850s (but I am unsure if micro stuttering would be an issue)
Ebaying a cheap 5850 to run CrossfireX and using the savings to get the new monitor, while saving for a 7900 series card later in the year. 

I don't care about being able to run games at ultra, but would like at least high with good frame rates. 

What's the best option?
a c 129 U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 1:39:43 PM

I had two 5850s and then three; not a good crossfire experience whatsoever due to stutter (while SLI works without fail on the same MB!). As a result, I don't trust any multi-card AMD setup. Based on my personal experience, I wouldn't recommend crossfire anything.

You could really get away with a single GTX 570 or 6970 in the $400 price range which would be sufficient for high details on a standard 60Hz 1080p monitor.
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 1:44:29 PM

I agree about a 6970. It's a good way to go.
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January 12, 2012 1:52:43 PM

Is it better to get the 6950 and flash the BIOS?

What about a dual-monitor setup with my 1680 and the new 1920? Still sufficient with a single GPU?
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 1:55:52 PM

I'm against getting the 6950 and flashing the bios, you're running in unsupported territory and can get unexpected results. Better to just get the 6970. For 2 monitors, I would get the 2 GB ram version.
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January 12, 2012 2:06:54 PM

Buy radeon 6970 it run 3 moniters with amd eye finity technology then supports any settings in 3 different moniters go ahed keep playing
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January 12, 2012 2:08:09 PM

Excellent. Off to the NewEgg. Thanks everyone.
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a c 129 U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 2:44:10 PM

lhaygood1983 said:
Is it better to get the 6950 and flash the BIOS?

What about a dual-monitor setup with my 1680 and the new 1920? Still sufficient with a single GPU?

You can run your basic desktop environment (browser, productivity apps, config tools, etc...) over multiple monitors with no problem using on-board, processor integrated or low-end graphics cards.

You won't be gaming across both of your monitors unless you have two or three at the same resolution. As a general (nearly universal) rule, games only run on multiple monitors with equal resolutions.

Gaming across two is not ideal and will put the crosshairs split between bezels. Multiple monitor gaming is best across three monitors with equal resolutions. This way the action in the center will be on the center monitor rather than split across monitors.
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 3:04:20 PM

lhaygood1983 said:
Is it better to get the 6950 and flash the BIOS?

What about a dual-monitor setup with my 1680 and the new 1920? Still sufficient with a single GPU?

I've heard that unless you have or can get one of the original 6950's you cannot flash the bios and get a 6970. AMD has disabled that "feature" in all current 6950's.
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 3:21:05 PM

Wait for the 7950 IMO, I heard it's coming at the end of the month.
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January 12, 2012 5:22:08 PM

Will there be a price drop in the 69xx line when the 79xx line ships?
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 5:33:19 PM

I don't have my crystal ball at the moment.....
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a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2012 5:40:17 PM

You can find a GTX 570 or HD 6970 in the $300 range. You could do what I did- went from 5850 Crossfire to 560 ti SLi. They are available for $185 per after MIR on newegg ATM (Galaxy cards). This setup is quite a bit faster than either a 570 or a 6970.
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January 12, 2012 6:34:00 PM

Nevermind. Can't do SLI on my motherboard. No dual 560ti for me. Besides, I think I want a 256-bit card. Right?
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January 18, 2012 6:00:31 PM

Ok I picked up a Gigabyte GA-990fxa on eBay, so now I can do either Xfire or SLI.

It's doable for me to get two 560ti or possibly two 6950s now. Or I can stretch my budget a little and get a single 580 (with the option to add another later). I've seen reviews that say the 6950s scream in Xfire, but I think the 560s would be better because they have a 320-bit memory interface versus the 6950's 256-bit.

Or am I totally wrong on that?
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a c 124 U Graphics card
January 18, 2012 6:40:11 PM

I'm running crossfire 5850s and they are rock solid and perform extremely well. For the price, you can't really beat that.

However, a pair of 560 Ti or 6950s would definitely be better, but obviously a lot more expensive.

IMO, maybe look at a single 570 or 6970 to avoid any possible multi gpu issues that *some* people have.
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January 25, 2012 3:52:16 AM

Best answer selected by lhaygood1983.
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a c 273 U Graphics card
January 25, 2012 7:38:48 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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