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February 13, 2012 10:47:24 PM

I have a few different systems, all single monitors, and mostly play SC2, L4D2, DOW2 and AoE3. I was thinking of upgrading my cards but not sure what the best solution is for my old 4870s. I would not get much value from selling them so my question is would I benefit from Crossfire? Hoping it will give a little more life to my others systems and save me some cash.

I have...
2x Asus 4870 1G Dark Knight
1x HIS 4870 512Mb
1x Sapphire 4850 512Mb

I do not really understand how crossfire works, what would you recommend I do?

1) Crossfire 3x 4870, the two 1Gb with the 512Mb

2) Crossfire 2x 4870 512 with the 4850 512

3) Crossfire 2x 4870 1Gb's

I know with option two it would clock down my 4870 to the speed of the 4850, but two 4850s beat one 4870, right?

Also, I'm guessing I would need to replace one or two of my PSU's. I'm using 600W Coolermaster Extreme Power Plus on all of them. How beefy do I need to go?

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a c 214 U Graphics card
February 13, 2012 10:55:16 PM

What are your full system specs(CPU,RAM,etc.) for the main system your going to be using?

Well a 4870 crossfire is still somewhat of a powerful config espically for games like the ones you play.

In crossfire both cards have to the same in every aspect,that includes the amount of VRAM and clock speeds.If one of the cards is out of sync it will be downclocked to meet the lower card's stats.So if you run a 1GB card with a 512mb card the 1GB card will be downclocked to 512mb of VRAM so it's kind of a waste.Clock speed however is different because you can O.C. the lower speed card to meet the clock of the higher speed card.
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February 13, 2012 11:56:33 PM

Well, here are the specs that matter for my potential card switch.

System 1
Asus Crosshair V Formula
AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4Ghz Black Edition
8GB DDR3 1333
1920x1080

System 2
Asus M4A89GTD PRO/USB3
AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2Ghz Black Edition
8GB DDR3 1333
1680x1050

System 3
Asus M3A79-T Deluxe
AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2Ghz Black Edition
4GB DDR2 800
1600x900

My main system will remain as is unless you think it would benefit more from Crossfire vs a single card...

MSI Z68A-GD65 G3
Core i5 2500K
8GB DDR3 1333
Asus Radeon 5850 DirectCU 1GB
1920x1200

So with these specs which way would you go?

Since you say the cards need to be the same in every aspect, does that mean you are advising against CF 4870 512 with 4850 and just run them both as single cards? Would I not benefit from downclocking the 4870 if it in theory would give me dual 4850s? I have the spare card anyways.

Does this also mean you don't think I should 3x CF because one of the 4870s is 512 and the others are 1G?
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a c 181 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 12:34:43 AM

If you cross fire the 4870 with the 4850 then the 4870 will become a 4850. You can CF the two. You would not be able to CF 6870 with a 4870. The first two numbers have to be the same in AMD cards.

And yes to your PSU's. The coolermaster extreme are on the bad list of PSU's. You want to get a Corsair, Antec, Seasonic, and XFX brand type PSU's. Now depending what you are using all of your PC's for.

I would on your main rig up grade to a what ever you could afford. You could run the best out, and run them in CF If your MOBO will let you. On your first rig use the the 4870 1GB cards. On your second rig use the 4870 512MB and on the third use the 4850.

The reason I suggested one card for 2 & 3 rig is you have a ii x 2 cores for both. You would not be able to go over a 6770 with out isssues with the CPU. But your 1st rig there you can go as high as you want.

On your personal rig well you could go as high as the new AMD 7xxx series. But that is up to you. Good luck to you and your up grades.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 12:48:21 AM

No i'm not advising against that.I was thinking that you would go for triple crossfire and add the other 4870 512mb to the 4870 1GB crossfire.That would be a bad idea because both of the 1GB cards would be downclocked to 512mb.But crossfiring the 4870 with the 4850 is a good idea.Although the clock speeds will be reduced you still get the extra stream processors of the 4870.So it's more like a slightly better 4850 crossfire.

I would say by far the best system you have besides the main one you use is the Crosshair V Formula system.When p\Piledriver comes out I really suggest upgrading that rig and you can have a high performance AMD rig and Intel.

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February 14, 2012 5:02:32 AM

So having two 4870 1G is better than three downclocked at 512? Would I not benefit as much with the extra card?

I do plan to upgrade my Crosshair V to piledriver at which point I will move the X4 965 to the M4A89 board. That gives me more flexibility right?
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a c 214 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 8:24:21 AM

The crossfire scaling of a 3rd card is not that noticable.Espically on the old 4xxx series.And if you are using a 1080p monitor you wouldn't want anything less than 1GB of VRAM.

Yah I would suggest when you do upgrade to piledriver to move the 4870 + 4850 crossfire to the 965 rig and just get a brand new GPU for the piledriver rig.
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February 14, 2012 9:05:33 PM

Ok, so just so sum up I should do this....

System 1
Asus Crosshair V Formula
AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4Ghz Black Edition
8GB DDR3 1333
1920x1080
CF 2x 4870 1G

System 2
Asus M4A89GTD PRO/USB3
AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2Ghz Black Edition
8GB DDR3 1333
1680x1050
CF 4870 512/4850 512

System 3
Asus M3A79-T Deluxe
AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2Ghz Black Edition
4GB DDR2 800
1600x900
------No changes to System 3

Right?

I do plan to make system 2 and 3 both have X4 965 in the future, as well piledriver on the Crosshair V. I will keep the 5850 on my i5 system because as it stands I am happy with my performance, until I decide on a new card.

Would a 6870/6950 be a sufficient upgrade from crossfire 4870, assuming I have made the other systems X4 965? I ask about the 6xxx series because with the release of the 7xxx I am hoping the price will drop signifigantly enough to snag in a few months.

Thanks for the input thus far, it's been a lot of help.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 9:35:26 PM

Yah that looks good to me.

You might even want to consider going on Ebay or Amazaon and see if you can find a cheap 5850 for crossfire later.

A 4870 crossfire is actually compareable to a 6870.Maybe a little faster.I would suggest going for at least a 6950 to make it a worth while upgrade.Waiting until prices drop may be a very good idea.I remember how cheap the 5850's were once the 68xx series was released it was almost a steal.Hopefully they do the same thing this time around for the 68xx or 69xx series.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 9:45:50 PM

any 1 of those cards should basically max all those games...
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a c 214 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 10:18:54 PM

Yes that's true.But with SC2 as the exception.It takes a really beefy system to not getting bogged down in multiplayer with Ultra settings.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 11:12:21 PM

purple stank said:
Yes that's true.But with SC2 as the exception.It takes a really beefy system to not getting bogged down in multiplayer with Ultra settings.

sc2 really just need a powerful dual core cpu to run multiplayer well.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 11:13:54 PM

Well my 6870 and 3.8ghz quad core have a hard time keeping playable frames on high settings in multiplayer maps in SC2.
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a b U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 11:19:57 PM

too bad your monitors aren't the same res......
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a c 92 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 11:25:09 PM

purple stank said:
Well my 6870 and 3.8ghz quad core have a hard time keeping playable frames on high settings in multiplayer maps in SC2.
yea thats the problem with the game but it really only uses 1 main thread with 2 half threads, the 6870 is good enough for ultra tho. Cpu just has a hard time with large numbers of units and such.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 11:28:19 PM

Yah I noticed that.Their's no way it should perform so poorly for how the graphics look.You think I would see improved fps with a 2500k vs my current Phenom iix 4 965?
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a c 92 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 11:31:00 PM

I'd think it would be a large improvement but even the 2500k has problems sometimes because of how the game is coded. Playing desert strike on my friend's 2500k comp with a 560 ti was only marginally better than my phenom II.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 12:16:11 AM

Yah I figured the same.Maybe a slight increase because of the better arch but the game just isn't that well coded.My guess is because they made it so long ago.Damn Blizzard.
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February 15, 2012 2:14:54 AM

Nice to see my thread has turned into a SC2 discussion board :)  I bought all of my monitors at different times, as with my systems. I am slowly working to uniform them.

One thing I do notice with SC2, even on my X2 555 with single 4870 it runs quite well on ultra in competitive multiplayer. I may have turned down a couple things like shadows and reflections, I tend not to notice those visual graphics when I'm playing as much and if it reduces lag and gives me better performance then I don't feel I'm missing anything, but everything else is set to ultra. Custom maps are a whole different story.

The CPU does make a huge difference though. I, just last week bought the i5 because my 965 was not cutting it. I was able to load and test SC2 at my local store before hand but the 2500K is a noticeable difference vs 965. With the above paragraph in mind, the 2500K can run everything in extreme without the slightest hitch, even in custom maps. It will still get laggy but that's because of other peoples poor connection/computer slowing down the multiplayer.

I will also add that in single player everything is great on all systems. When my friends come over and use my other systems, things seem to run just fine too. Even though SC2 does not have LAN, we are all playing online using my internet connection from the same room with all four of my systems and we do not have any issues with lag.
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February 19, 2012 12:14:42 AM

Best answer selected by knight_40k.
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