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Video Card Upgrade

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 8, 2012 8:54:35 PM

Hello,

I have two NVIDIA GTS 250 1GB Video Cards running with SLI enabled on my computer. Would upgrading to a single Radeon 6970 2GB card be a huge upgrade? The games I most recently have played are: Everquest II & The Elder Scrolls Skyrim. I would eventually purchase another card for Crossfire down the line.

Also if I purchase another card for crossfire a while after I purchase this card... would it be best to buy the same model for consistency?

Goal of this post - I want to be able to run my game on the highest settings.

Here is my system info:

Custom Built PC from Buyxg.com

OS: Windows 7 64bit
RAM: 16GB (4x4GB)
Video Cards: 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 [x2]
CPU: Intel i7 2.80Ghz
Power Supply: 1000watts

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a b U Graphics card
March 8, 2012 9:38:32 PM

The AMD 7870 spanks the 6970 (and in some cases NVIDIA's 580) for about 350 bucks (expected price - the card is suposed to hit retail here in about a week). I would personally go with this one over the 6xxx series cards. Plus if you intened to do crossfire later, these cards will drop in price when nvidia's kepler cards come out. meanwhile... amd stopped making 6xxx series cards - picking up a second one of these might prove very difficult.

And no, you dont need to match AMD cards for crossfire - you can mix... but... your perfomance may not be as optimal as if the cards were the same. (more microstutter issues have been reported this way)
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March 8, 2012 9:44:58 PM

The AMD 7870 is coming out on March 19th? Also, for 350 bucks... that is around the same price as the 6970 on tigerdirect. Maybe I will wait and get the 7870. Could you give me some more bonuses to using that card? Or should I just read it on their site? heh
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a b U Graphics card
March 8, 2012 9:55:08 PM

The HD 7870 is about 10% faster than an HD 6970 for about the same price. Its main advantage is lower power consumption. It was a "paper launch", so there are none in stock at this time - but since AMD has beening clearing out HD 6970s there are few to none of them in stock either. If you want something in that performance category get a GTX 570 for about $320-330.
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March 8, 2012 10:04:35 PM

So if I purchased the GTX 570 would I be able to SLI with the 250s that I have in there? Also if the 7870 is 2GB and the 570 is 1GB what effect will that have?

I just want to weigh my options because I am not partial to either or... I just have NVIDIA cards in my system at the moment.

This is really helping me decide, so any extra input or experiences will help!
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a b U Graphics card
March 8, 2012 10:13:56 PM

You cant SLI different nvidia cards together - unless you make one of them a dedicated Physics card - this will only give small performance increases, and ONLY in games that support this nvidia-proprietery code - these games are few and far in between.

Heres the article on the 7870 card... benchmarks VS other common cards included:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7870-review-benchmark,3148.html
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March 8, 2012 10:25:38 PM

I read the VERY informative article, and it makes me very excited and interested in purchasing a single 7870. However, I have another question. I have an ASUS motherboard that is SLI capable.. I will have to double check if it is crossfire capable.

Since they have different manufacturers or brands of AMD 7870's what is the differences between them other than size and name? Would I be better off going with one manufacturer over the other?
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a b U Graphics card
March 8, 2012 11:38:51 PM

The difference in most cases is ALMOST only cosmetic...

Some manufacturers choose to clock their cards a few mHz higher then stock, to boast a few FPS extra in games. Most recently though, we've seen modifications to the cooling systems on these cards - as a general rule of thumb... the cards with more (and larger) fans will run cooler and quieter. This also allows for some mean overclocks - if ure into that kind of thing.

I would be seriously surprised if your motherboard DIDNT support crossfire, if it supports SLI. A simple BIOS update may be required - unlikely though.

My personal preference with an AMD retailer goes to XFX - their "Double Dissipation" "Black Edition" cards have established a reputation for both reliability and ridiculous overclocking performance that more then justifies the small premium they command over similar cards.

Best of luck mate :D 
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March 9, 2012 12:19:20 AM

Thanks for all your help! I have never overclocked, but I would not mind trying sometime. I just want to know what I am doing before I do so. I have set my sights on purchasing a 7870 for my gaming rig. So I will be waiting for when it comes out :) 
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March 9, 2012 12:20:02 AM

Best answer selected by nctech.
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