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Which video card should I buy?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 29, 2012 6:10:41 PM

I'm really confused right now with all of the new cards that have come out and I can't decide whether I should get a new solo card or crossfire my current HD 6870. My max spending amount is $400 but it can flucuate a little if necessary. Here's my current build:

Mobo - ASUS M5A99X EVO Socket AM3+ 990X ATX AMD
CPU - AMD FX 3.6GHZ Quad-core AM3+ Processor
Video Card - XFX HD687AZHFC AMD Radeon HD 6870 1024MB GDDR5 PCIe 2.1 x16
RAM - 16GB DDR3 (I don't know the brand)
HDD - Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7,200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
PSU - Corsair Gaming Series 800 Watt High Performance ATX Power Supply
Case - NZXT Lexa S

Thank's for all the help! :) 

More about : video card buy

a c 376 U Graphics card
February 29, 2012 6:32:43 PM

Crossfired HD6870s will beat any card you can buy for under $400.
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a b U Graphics card
February 29, 2012 6:56:55 PM

HD 7950 and then sell the HD 6870 to keep it all under your budget.
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a c 107 U Graphics card
February 29, 2012 7:02:14 PM

what res do you game at ? what games do you play and what makes you think you need an "upgrade" ?
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a c 232 U Graphics card
February 29, 2012 7:08:36 PM

Quote:
Crossfired HD6870s will beat any card you can buy for under $400.


Crossfired 6870's will beat ANY single GPU card on the market, without exception. Frame rates below are from Guru3D Game Test Suite (COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead).

One 580 = 616 fps ($0.81 per frame)
One 7970 = 675 fps ($0.81 per frame)
Two 6870's = 701 fps ( ($0.46 per frame)
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February 29, 2012 7:08:40 PM

swifty_morgan said:
what res do you game at ? what games do you play and what makes you think you need an "upgrade" ?


This.

The 6870 is considered a mid-grade card, but it plays many, many games at near-highest settings at 1080 resolution. Any many at ultra settings.

Also, keep in mind the many problems with cross-firing, ESPECIALLY with the 6870:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...
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February 29, 2012 7:17:41 PM

I play Skyrim at High, and BF3, WoW, and Minecraft all at max graphics settings. I think I need an upgrade because sometimes my current graphics card can't hold up to the settings at which I play.
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a c 107 U Graphics card
February 29, 2012 7:52:25 PM

didn't mention your resolution or opsys but, it sounds as if your don't have enough vram and the card is off loading to the HD. The only solution would be a new card with more vram. I gave up on 1gig cards quite a while ago. Most people here will argue that 1gig is all you need---- blah, blah, blah. I've been down that road and if you game above 1600 res, and as you say, at max res......... a 2gig 6950 or better would do you instead of cross firing. ( 2 1gig cards does NOT equal 2gigs of vram )

another solution is to crank back settings until you get smooth game play.............. BC3...... EA's origin sucks and you should notice a lot of input lagg.... keyboard, etc.
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a b U Graphics card
February 29, 2012 8:28:35 PM

swifty_morgan said:
didn't mention your resolution or opsys but, it sounds as if your don't have enough vram and the card is off loading to the HD. The only solution would be a new card with more vram. I gave up on 1gig cards quite a while ago. Most people here will argue that 1gig is all you need---- blah, blah, blah. I've been down that road and if you game above 1600 res, and as you say, at max res......... a 2gig 6950 or better would do you instead of cross firing. ( 2 1gig cards does NOT equal 2gigs of vram )

another solution is to crank back settings until you get smooth game play.............. BC3...... EA's origin sucks and you should notice a lot of input lagg.... keyboard, etc.



Are you reffering to input lag when you Xfire/sli? if not and just BF3 in general has input lag then I say you are dead wrong or there is something wrong with your system, I have been playing it for a few weeks now and it never hiccups nor has input lag.

and a 6870 1g to a 6950 2g is not a jump im performance that outweighs spending less and getting a 6870 1g to crossfire.
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February 29, 2012 8:59:20 PM

well i would just crossfire what you currently have
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a c 107 U Graphics card
February 29, 2012 9:22:31 PM

mouse24 said:
Are you reffering to input lag when you Xfire/sli? if not and just BF3 in general has input lag then I say you are dead wrong or there is something wrong with your system, I have been playing it for a few weeks now and it never hiccups nor has input lag.

and a 6870 1g to a 6950 2g is not a jump im performance that outweighs spending less and getting a 6870 1g to crossfire.


actually if you look into it lots of people have input lagg inre to the key board. it's been noted on sites that provide the updates. still hasn't been fixed as far as I know. ...... the video cards. you guys gotta stop looking at performance solely as a FPS issue. and I said 2gig 6950 or better in case you missed it. and the extra ram does matter when settings are increased. I don't cross fire or sli any more. no need to if you have the right card to begin with. I'm over the ego stuff. besides, less money spent on cross firing means more $ to buy the next "best" card that comes around.
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February 29, 2012 9:27:07 PM

swifty_morgan said:
actually if you look into it lots of people have input lagg inre to the key board. it's been noted on sites that provide the updates. still hasn't been fixed as far as I know. ...... the video cards. you guys gotta stop looking at performance solely as a FPS issue. and I said 2gig 6950 or better in case you missed it. and the extra ram does matter when settings are increased. I don't cross fire or sli any more. no need to if you have the right card to begin with. I'm over the ego stuff. besides, less money spent on cross firing means more $ to buy the next "best" card that comes around.


I agree, FPS is not the only consideration for a great gaming experience. As TomsHardware has shown, microstuttering is a very real problem in almost every crossfire/SLI configuration, and driver issues increase almost across the board, especially with SLI.

But I still hear most people say that 2GB memory is only necessary if you game above 1080. But I don't know that from personal experience.
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a c 107 U Graphics card
February 29, 2012 9:36:55 PM

Buy a second 6870 and go CF. You have the board and PSU for it. Since I take it you have the FX-4100 I'd suggest getting a nice cooler to OC it. Not much in the way of CPU upgrades for you till Piledriver is out latter this year and we'll see how that does, but they then you may be looking at ivy bridge.
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February 29, 2012 9:39:32 PM

Tempestas said:
I play Skyrim at High, and BF3, WoW, and Minecraft all at max graphics settings. I think I need an upgrade because sometimes my current graphics card can't hold up to the settings at which I play.

lol minecraft doesn't need much to max lol not saying i don't play it but.
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February 29, 2012 9:41:22 PM

ringzero said:
I agree, FPS is not the only consideration for a great gaming experience. As TomsHardware has shown, microstuttering is a very real problem in almost every crossfire/SLI configuration, and driver issues increase almost across the board, especially with SLI.

But I still hear most people say that 2GB memory is only necessary if you game above 1080. But I don't know that from personal experience.

well actually micro stuttering has been on the decline, the newer higher end graphics cards have done well against it, such as the 560 570 580 and 590, plus there will be driver updates that will reduce the stuttering as much as possible in the near future, don't let it hold you back from crossfiring or sli
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February 29, 2012 9:46:46 PM

Hallowhead said:
well actually micro stuttering has been on the decline, the newer higher end graphics cards have done well against it, such as the 560 570 580 and 590, plus there will be driver updates that will reduce the stuttering as much as possible in the near future, don't let it hold you back from crossfiring or sli


I haven't seen any new metrics. Can you link some?

According to the Toms article, higher end cards had less stuttering, but they still stutter compared with a single GPU. That said, the higher the FPS, the less noticeable the stuttering becomes.

BUT, the 6870 showed as being one of the WORST culprits for microstuttering in crossfire.
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a b U Graphics card
February 29, 2012 10:15:04 PM

Hallowhead said:
lol minecraft doesn't need much to max lol not saying i don't play it but.


512 texture pack + use optifine to increase view distance by 3 times max + use AA (or whatever its called that reduces jaggies in optifine) and I'm pretty sure a 6870 will stutter at times :) 

And as for the guy who suggested to buy a 6950 as an upgrade to his 6870... for performance per dollar that is not a viable option its like paying 250 bucks more for +7 fps :(  (im not counting if he can sell his card for current market value of course.)
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February 29, 2012 10:15:55 PM

ringzero said:
I haven't seen any new metrics. Can you link some?

According to the Toms article, higher end cards had less stuttering, but they still stutter compared with a single GPU. That said, the higher the FPS, the less noticeable the stuttering becomes.

BUT, the 6870 showed as being one of the WORST culprits for microstuttering in crossfire.

i have been researching a lot because i am soon getting sli'd 570's i read some articles as well as forums on here. I have seen tons of people that claim with the 570's and 580's have no micro stuttering at all. Try goggling micro stuttering with 570's or 580's also it relies on your cpu as well, it seems the higher your cpu the less stuttering you get, i am not saying that its completely gone but its just not noticeable to the naked eye
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a c 107 U Graphics card
February 29, 2012 10:16:55 PM

if you look through techreport.com you'll see articles that have an in depth study on this. you'll have to look through everything because I don't need the nightmare.

gotta add....... no micro stutter here. either brand card.
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February 29, 2012 10:53:07 PM

Yay, that's exciting! I bought a crossfire-ready mobo thinking I might double-up on my 6870, then felt shot down after I saw the Tom's article. I'll definitely keep looking it up and I'll be happy if crossfire is back on the table! ;-)
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February 29, 2012 11:17:48 PM

ringzero said:
Yay, that's exciting! I bought a crossfire-ready mobo thinking I might double-up on my 6870, then felt shot down after I saw the Tom's article. I'll definitely keep looking it up and I'll be happy if crossfire is back on the table! ;-)

just go for it, make sure you have all up to date drivers and a solid cpu that can handle it. Also make sure you power supply is certified to crossfire, other than that you should be fine, but in the event of it micro stuttering you can always just remove one of the cards and sell it..
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March 1, 2012 12:33:44 PM

Ok, so I probably won't be crossfiring my card then, but somone has told me to check out the 7950 with the new Zambezi 3.6 8-core cpu to go with it. I'm going to be upgrading my RAM to Corsair Vengeance too (It will still be 16GB total). Would all that work well?
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a c 376 U Graphics card
March 1, 2012 12:46:35 PM

Is there a reason you are going with an AMD processor?
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March 1, 2012 2:48:40 PM

Other than great reviews and lots of recommendations, I like AMD for gaming more so than Intel.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
March 1, 2012 3:11:21 PM

Great reviews? Bulldozer was almost universally considered a disappointment in all the reviews I've read. If people have been recommending it to you they aren't people you should listen to. The performance advantage for Intel is very large, especially for gaming, and it is cheaper as well;
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/288?vs=434
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March 1, 2012 6:22:04 PM

mouse24 said:
512 texture pack + use optifine to increase view distance by 3 times max + use AA (or whatever its called that reduces jaggies in optifine) and I'm pretty sure a 6870 will stutter at times :) 

And as for the guy who suggested to buy a 6950 as an upgrade to his 6870... for performance per dollar that is not a viable option its like paying 250 bucks more for +7 fps :(  (im not counting if he can sell his card for current market value of course.)

wow i never knew that i might look into it. but i don't think that view is really necessary.
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a c 107 U Graphics card
March 1, 2012 6:49:32 PM

I'm probably the guy mentioned in the above box. Again, stop thinking about performance solely as a FPS issue. The architecture of the cards are different. yes, the 6950 2gig will perform better than the 6870...in ways other than more FPS.... no doubt in my mind. Also I think I said 6950 2gig minimum not mandatory.
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a b U Graphics card
March 1, 2012 6:58:54 PM

swifty_morgan said:
I'm probably the guy mentioned in the above box. Again, stop thinking about performance solely as a FPS issue. The architecture of the cards are different. yes, the 6950 2gig will perform better than the 6870...in ways other than more FPS.... no doubt in my mind. Also I think I said 6950 2gig minimum not mandatory.



I sorta understand what you are getting at, but 99% of clients wont care if it has the best architecture in the world, what matters to them is the performance FPS wise, I mean if they somehow made a 7970 with like 4g of ram but only 2 shaders and a clock frequency of say 200mhz, would anyone buy it? no because it doesn't boost there FPS at all, infact it lowers it :p 

True the 6950 might be better at a theoretical performance level / Tesselation but its just not worth it to buy one over what hes got real world performance wise.
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