Help choosing first graphics card

Hey everyone,

I built my first PC over the Christmas break and am extremely happy so far. I've been using the integrated graphics and would like to step it up to discrete.
I've been looking and researching but it's all so confusing! I'm usually pretty good at deciphering all the specs but I'm at a bit of a loss here.

I think I would like to go with AMD Radeon.

I will use it for just basic everyday internet/email stuff, but I also will use it for AutoCad/Inventor drawing & renderings, and moderate gaming now and then. However, when I do play games, I wan't them to look good with high resolutions and good fps.
I like the AMD Radeon for it's EyeFinity thing. I'm a huge fan of multiple monitors, so an AMD card with plenty of outputs would be great.

Budget is sub $150.

I've been looking at this:

What do you think?

Also, I'm confused as all get out with the naming and numbers... 6790,6750,6770??? What's "better?" I know that sort of depends on what I want to do with it, but any insight as to what I should look at would be greatly appreciated.
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  1. I basically recommend just two cards for 1920 x 1200

    < $200 - AMD 6870 (35 cents per frame as single card / 43 cents per frame in CF in Guru3D Game test suite)
    $150 -

    > $200 - nVidia 560 Ti-900Mhz (41 cents per frame as single card / 48 cents per frame in SLI in CF in Guru3D Game test suite)
    $205 -

    I was hoping the 7770 / 7750 would offer something comparable to the 6870 but they come up quite a bit short. The 7950/7970 cost per frame is will above the above cards coming in at 75 cents per frame and 81 cents per frame in single card configurations.
  2. That is not a bad card but for about 150 I would go with:

    Radeon HD 6870

    Its a bit more expensive but its faster. I don't own one but have a good friend with one and he loves it.

    If you look at this website you can see some benchmarks for the cards

    As far as the numbering goes it seems pretty crazy to me also but just focus on a certain card and see how that stands compared to others.
  3. I am not super familiar with AMD, but for $150 you would probably want to look at either one of the new 7770s, or else a previous generation high end card. The old high end cards will have more parallelism which will help more with the CAD type programs, and then the newer low end cards will be better for gaming (faster clocks and ram) while still doing well enough for the work stuff.

    Personally I would go with an old nVidia 280 or 9800GT if work is the big thing and games are secondary. They are old cards which will do work well, and they still have enough kick in them to game on occasion at med quality. On my 9800GT I played Mass Effect 2 at 1920x1200 maxed out and only had frame issues towards the end of the game (all those damn flying things brought it to it's knees and I had to turn off AA to continue playing). It will not play newer games on high settings though... for that you need to look at something more in the $250-$350 range.

    Also, depending on the size of your work projects you may want more RAM than comes stock in those older cards. 9800GT only came with 512MB stock, where 1GB may be a little better for CAD applications (again, depending on the size of the projects).

    When comparing cards look at benchmarks, not the card's specs. GPU architectures are so different from one another (even within the same brand) that there is no way to tell the performance of the card until you see the real world benchmark.
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