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AMD Radeon 7950 3GB

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March 9, 2012 7:39:25 AM

I will be playing BF3, Skyrim, and Runescape on an i5-2500k processor with a Radeon 7950 @ 1080p (I will upgrade to a tri-monitor setup soon). Is the GPU I selected overkill for running those games on maxed? I have been told that I am spending too much on a graphics card on an $1800 budget. Is this true? If so, what would still run at maxed 60fps (rarely dipping below that number), if any? If none, what would I hope to expect? Thanks.

More about : amd radeon 7950 3gb

a b U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 7:52:58 AM

That video card is perfect.Nothing is overkill. When you want to play games at high setings you need a good video card.
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March 9, 2012 8:02:44 AM

For a triple monitor setup the 7950 won't be overkill. I get 40 fps in Crysis 1 in heavy scenes on highest settings single monitor. You would actually _need_ a 7950 to play it on highest settings with 3 monitors.
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a c 143 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 12:44:34 PM

For Eyefinity setups, you're always better off with a CF setup to play every game at high settings smoothly, so pick up the HD 7950 and CF it later.
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March 9, 2012 3:18:57 PM

Those who told me that also said eyefinity will cause headaches amd sickness.. Is there a length of how long you should use eyefinity before taking a break, if any?
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a b U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 3:40:12 PM

Eh, when exatcly is your dead line to do this, right now is a sort of bad timing for video card purchases. No price drops really yet either
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March 9, 2012 4:13:03 PM

I'm not convinced a 7950 will be enough for an Eyefinity setup. I'm in the same predicament, only I already got the 3 monitors. :)  I have Crossfired 6870s, and I can only get 28-30fps on low settings with stock clocks in Eyefinity 1080p. I'm sure the VRAM is part of the issue, but I just can't tell if a 7950 is that much better than Crossfired 6870s. I may have to get the 7970.
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March 9, 2012 4:29:43 PM

I plan to build this month. And I won't be running eyefinity until I get a second 7950. :p 
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 5:02:19 PM

Two points:

1) get the Sapphire Technology HD7950 OC version. It has an AWESOME, quiet and efficient cooling solution. It comes with a dual BIOS so you can put overclock settings on the second one. It was successfully (unofficially) overclocked to 45% just using software. Yes, that means going from about 42FPS to achieving 60FPS if the CPU isn't a bottleneck!!

I recommend no more than 25% overclock if it proves stable though.

2) HD7950 is NOT enough for triple monitor unless you sacrifice quality settings. In my opinion, it's best to crank up the quality to MAXIMUM and achieve a solid 60FPS (VSYNC) rather than lower the quality or framerate.

Personally, I'm using a U2711 Dell monitor that is 27" @ 2560x1440. It is expensive though ($900) but I'd much rather have that than triple monitors.

3) Wait for the NVidia launch. You may see a different card you want, or prices on the AMD cards may drop. It will be hard to beat the card I mentioned with it's overclocking ability though.

I. HATE. BEZELS.

Summary:
1. Sapphire Technology HD7950 OC version
2. Game on SINGLE MONITOR (usually), at the highest quality you can get a stable 60FPS (VSYNC) achieved.
3. WAIT for the next NVidia cards to be released (GTX6xx or GTX7xx series. Apparently GTX6xx may be dropped to avoid confusion with the HD6xxx series from AMD).
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March 9, 2012 5:13:57 PM

So getting a second 7950 isn't wise? I I really don't want to go NVIDIA. I prefer AMD.

Also, that SAPPHIRE card puts me at $1870. I cannot go that high unfortunately.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 5:31:13 PM

about 27" @ 2560x1440:

I play all games at 1920x1080 except Batman City which is 1600x900 due to frame rate. I have NOT seen a graphical advantage to running at 2560x1440.

For example, when I apply Anti-Aliasing (even if I have to FORCE it like in Mass Effect 1 and 2) at 1920x1080 it often looks IDENTICAL to running 2560x1440 with AA but the frame rate is lower with 2560x1440.

And in other cases the interface is just too small.

The reason is that the TEXTURE quality is never high enough that 2560x1440 can take advantage of it.

So OPTIMAL QUALITY for most games is this if you can achieve it:
1) 1920x1080
2) 60FPS (VSYNC enabled to avoid screen tearing)
3) HIGHEST QUALITY SETTINGS
4) *HIGHEST Anti-Aliasing allowed.

*Anti-Aliasing (AA) sometimes has to be force on. The best tool for AMD (IMO) is RadeonPro. If you have a high-end card then run at 8xAA with Supersampling (adjust to achieve 60FPS if possible).

Some games have AA in the Settings, but not the HIGHEST.

**I should add that I will investigate to see if the new NVidia GTX6xx (GTX7xx?) cards have superior AA to the HD7xxx AMD cards. I personally HATE aliased images and I'm constantly baffled why companies would spend Millions of dollars on a game and not support it (especially when I can enable it easily in RadeonPro most of the time. Sigh.)

***RadeonPro:
If natively unsupported I use it for forcing both:
- Anti-Aliasing, and
- VSYNC.

I currently have 25 games from STEAM on this list. Here are a couple games that have issues:
- Witcher #1 (VSYNC could be force in ATI Tray Tools, but not RadeonPro. I have ATI Tray Tools turned off normally, but have a SHORTCUT that will launch Witcher 1 with the VSYNC setting enabled.)

- The Force Unleashed 1 and 2 (I think they both run at 30FPS. I believe I couldn't get VSYNC working without screwing up the cut scenes. I forget if I could get AA working at all.)

- The Sims 3:
The best setting was "Always ON (Double VSYNC)" which enabled it to run smoothly at 30FPS with no screen tearing. What a difference!

I think you had to add EACH GAME separately to RadeonPro such as "TS3EP01" in one of the folders.

GOOD LUCK!
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a c 143 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 5:36:31 PM

Single card from AMD is able to drive 3 monitors, for nVidia 2d/3d surround you need to cards in SLI. You'll pay a lot this way....

Also, i remembered the new article about HD 7870, it's almost as powerful as a GTX 580...and only for $350, 2 of it in CF would be awesome idea and kinda cheap.
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March 9, 2012 5:36:59 PM

I have been running on low settings my whole life, and I am fed up. I wanted a beast GPU that can run on maxed at 1080p for now, but can be CFed later for eyefinity, and the 7950 fitted that bill. However, I am not sure what model of the 7950 to buy. Currently, with the XFX OCed version, I am sitting at my max budget.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 5:44:57 PM

azeem40 said:
So getting a second 7950 isn't wise? I I really don't want to go NVIDIA. I prefer AMD.

Also, that SAPPHIRE card puts me at $1870. I cannot go that high unfortunately.


I can HELP you build a system if you'd like. I offer occasionally for fun. My details:
- Computer Electronics degree
- Radar Technician (retired) specialized in the Command and Control System on war ships
- have built over 50 game machines

A gaming system is all about BALANCE. The graphics card is often the bottleneck in a gaming system.

If you would like I can put together a list of recommended parts and post it here. If you agree, just say YES and answer these questions:

1) Where are you, in the United States?
2) Is $1800 the limit, including taxes and shipping?
3) Do you wish to have an SSD for Windows? (about $150, plus I recommend a 2TB Green hard drive)
4) Do you have any PARTS that you can use already (hard drive, DVD burner, case)?

*It's actually quite complicated to get everything put together just right. For example, I bought a PC case for $180 five years ago and ended up hating it. I bought an Antec 100 case on sale for $40 to build my new game machine and it's just PERFECT for my needs.

Power Supplies are also complicated, at least to get the best value. If you'd like I can explain that in detail too, but it basically involves four parts:
1) calculate the OVERALL WATTAGE using an online calculator (include overclocked values)
2) find the AMP requirement for the graphics card and ensure the PSU provides enough (i.e. a GTX570 may require 38Amps so I'd get a PSU with at least 45Amps on the +12V rail, or combined rails).
3) reviewing the PSU
4) looking for SALES
Good luck!!
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a c 143 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 5:46:07 PM

:D , for a single 1080P monitor...a HD 6950 is very superb and sufficient, and 7950 is a beast as you said no need to get depressed. For 3 monitors setup you'll just need to crossfire it in the future. That's the sum of it.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 5:53:08 PM

"LOL if you can't notice a difference going from 1080P to 2560x1440 HD+ that is double the pixels of 1080P then you need to go to the eye doctor and get a prescription."

No.
It would ONLY make a difference if the quality of the textures was HIGHER than 1080p can show. It's not.

If I took a picture of resolution 1920x1080, for example, and showed it on my monitor set to 1920x1080 (scaled to 2560x1440) it would look IDENTICAL to when my monitor was simply set to 2560x1440.

If the picture was 2560x1440 then it would obviously look better.

The ONLY time 2560x1440 has ever made a difference in a game for me was when Anti-Aliasing was not enabled, and could not even be force with RadeonPro. One of those games was the "Doctor Who Adventure Series"; it wasn't the texture quality but higher resolutions aren't as aliased (jagged lines).
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a c 143 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 5:58:20 PM

@photonboy
who r u talking to? and what's your bottomline?
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 5:58:20 PM

I should add:
Just FYI, but the new UNREAL 4 engine has been built and optimized for the new NVidia GTX6xx (GTX7xx?) series.

Still, we just have to wait. I STRONGLY suggest waiting for the new game cards, although maybe someone building a new gaming PC could just use an OLDER card while they wait.

Personally, if I was building an $1800 gaming PC, I'd put in the Sapphire Tech HD7950 OC card, or a SIMILAR card from NVidia when they launch.

And yes, I CAN make the pricing work. I've already done the calculations.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 6:02:50 PM

ilysaml said:
@photonboy
who r u talking to? and what's your bottomline?


Most of my quotes are to give information to the poster. I know there's a lot of info here, but most people have thanked me for all my help and that's why I continue to provide the detail.

My response to you regarding the resolution issue is pretty straightforward.
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March 9, 2012 6:03:12 PM

I will copy and paste my computer build thread:

Quote:
Approximate Purchase Date: March 23

Budget Range: $1800 (this budget includes BF3)

System Usage from Most to Least Important:

Parts Not Required: OS & KB/Mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, ncix.com, microcenter.com, amazon.com

Country: USA (Dallas, TX)

Parts Preferences: Intel and AMD GPU for eyefinity (unless you can give me a very good reason not to go for eyefinity).

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Crossfire at a later date

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080What do you all think?

Additional comments:

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=13328589

Intel Core i5-2500k (will be $195 after tax)

Dell UltraSharp U2312HM 23" e-IPS Panel Monitor $240
I chose this monitor based on the great reviews

XFX Radeon 7950: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0074CCDN4/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&m=A3LJ5WMKNRFKQS

100ft Cat5e Cable: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000K11OKE/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&m=A397FHERGRZQ2E

With the BF3 game, total comes to about $1800 give or take $10.

I will be running eyefinity in the future and would like a monitor better than mine, if any, that looks good in eyefinity. In the future, I plan to buy more games and a gaming keyboard/mouse or both.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 6:15:09 PM

*I'll try to get a list by end of today (it's 3PM here).

quick points:
1) You are just buying one monitor for now?
2) Sapphire Tech HD7950 OC review: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1862/15/[/url" target="_blank">
3) You definitely need a surge protector costing at least $30. I'll put some on the list unless you say no.
4) I recommend an XBox 360 game controller if you don't have one (wired, about $40. Wireless USB receiver has a HIGH failure rate.)

Would you like my list of games that play better with the XBox 360 controller?
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March 9, 2012 6:15:22 PM

I think the most cost effective way right now would be to get the 2x 7870s in a few weeks, that will be all the power you need. Personally I would buy a 7970 right now and then CF in a few months when the price drops.
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March 9, 2012 6:19:19 PM

photonboy said:
*I'll try to get a list by end of today (it's 3PM here).

quick points:
1) You are just buying one monitor for now?
2) Sapphire Tech HD7950 OC review: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1862/15/
3) I recommend an XBox 360 game controller if you don't have one (wired, about $40. Wireless USB receiver has a HIGH failure rate.)

Would you like my list of games that play better with the XBox 360 controller?

1. Yes, I am, unless there was some magical way to afford 3 good quality monitors in eyefinity for my budget. :lol: 

2. That is nice, but how would I fit it into my budget?
3. Same as #2.

It is 2:18PM for me. Would you be able to criticize my build by 10:30PM (11:30PM your time)?

EDIT: I am going to work atm, so keep up the good help everyone! ;) 
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 6:29:52 PM

Quote:
PPI ( Pixels Per Inch )makes a big difference in image quality and your argument about the textures is moot.


Sigh.
Yes, but only if comparing two DIFFERENT monitors. If I compared two different 27" monitors, one at 1920x1080, and one at 2560x1440 the higher resolution model would look better even if pictures, or games were both 1920x1080.

I'm sitting here using my monitor and I can easily change my desktop resolution, or in-game resolution and compare things.

Anyway, I'm done posting replies to this.
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March 9, 2012 7:02:11 PM

If you seriously believe that game developers do not make their textures larger than 1080x1080, then ya.. facepalm.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 10:05:01 PM

SinisterSalad said:
If you seriously believe that game developers do not make their textures larger than 1080x1080, then ya.. facepalm.


If you guys want a thread to discuss textures, game resolution quality etc, then start one and I'll be glad to discuss it. Please drop the issue here now.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 9, 2012 11:57:05 PM

MY BUILD $1449
(before tax. shipping should be free through NCIX)
- this includes a 120GB SSD, 2TB drive, and the HD7950 OC (sapphire tech).

YOU SHOULD PRINT THIS.
SORRY, HARD TO MAKE SHORTER. HOPE YOU LIKE. TOOK QUITE A WHILE.
I STILL RECOMMEND TO BUILD BUT WAIT TO COMPARE TO NEW NVIDIA (can use onboard video meanwhile)

*Please note some sales may disappear, and some may appear. Some products may not be in stock.

**The i5-2500k is on sale for $200 vs $320 for the i7-2600k which isn't much different. That extra money can go towards an SSD which makes a HUGE difference in booting and general Windows use (or towards that better graphics card which makes a big difference in GAMING). It's surprising how much difference. I have all my games on my 2TB hard drive. For STEAM, simply create a "STEAM" or "STEAM GAMES" folder on your hard drive instead of the SSD.

***Make sure to get a PC CASE that supports USB3 to the front. The case I list does. It's a great case and all you need. (NOTE that the entire FRONT PIECE unhooks for easy drive installation. I was confused on this as I had no manual.)


CPU:
$200
Intel i5-2500k

CPU Heatsink/fan:
$30
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=67639&vpn=CNPS10X%20OP...
(example. must support 1155. recommend 120mm fan. compare NOISE dB. fan should face to REAR of case usually. make sure fan

plugged into "CPU_FAN" and BIOS is set correctly, i.e. "voltage" or fan control is stuck at 100%. )

Motherboard:
$185
Asus P8Z68-V/GEN3
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=65177&vpn=P8Z68-V%2FGE...

RAM:
*I like G.Skill/Corsair
$67
(most RAM is out of stock but should ship soon. You want 1600MHz or 1866MHz, 2x4GB module DDR3 desktop)
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=58519&vpn=F3-14900CL9D...

Case:
$60
Antec 302
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=67326&vpn=THREE%20HUND... (MUST WATCH VIDEO)
- cable hiding
- USB3 support (motherboard to front USB for future high-speed USB drives)

PSU:
$120
Antec Truepower New 750W
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=36265&vpn=TP-750%20BL...
*Graphics card max load is 62Amps (from official website).

DVD burner:
$29
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=57659&vpn=IHAS224-06&m...

Hard drive/SSD(s):
Drive#1 (WINDOWS):
$140
SSD (OCZ Vertex 3)
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=59354&vpn=VTX3-25SAT3-...

Drive #2 (Games, downloads, storage, Windows IMAGE backup etc)
$125
Hard Drive (2TB WD Green)
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=62047&vpn=WD20EARX&man...


Graphics Card:
$493
Sapphire Tech HD7950 OC (best card anywhere IMO. Overclock stable by 25% easy?)
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=67898&vpn=11196-02-40G...

Optional:
- xbox 360 controller (wired version more reliable)

*Note:
There is a motherboard/RAM combo, if still on sale:
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=69361&vpn=P8...
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 10, 2012 12:14:32 AM

CASE FANS:
tape over any spots that support fans but aren't currently used. I just used cardboard with packing tape on the inside. If you don't do this the fans have to work hard to provide the same cooling.

The case + CPU heatsink + PSU should have all the fans you need. You could add a FRONT-BOTTOM, 120mm fan (lowest dB possible) but I don't think that is required.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 10, 2012 12:18:25 AM

Quote:
Your Suggesting $67 Ram and then go onto to pick a $60 budget case = FAIL


What point are you making?

That's the average price for 8GB of RAM and this case is awesome even though it's priced inexpensively. I own the Antec 100 which is great.

Are you suggesting he should spend a LOT MORE on a case? It has USB3 front inputs, two fans built-in, and other great features.

At least WATCH THE VIDEO for this case (link above) before replying.
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March 10, 2012 12:49:33 AM

sosofm said:
That video card is perfect.Nothing is overkill. When you want to play games at high setings you need a good video card.



love that statement :) 

enthusiast know no bounds
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 10, 2012 1:41:08 AM

4GB vs 8GB:
I agree 4GB would be adequate, however there does seem to be a trend towards using more RAM such as SKYRIM with its 4GB support which is arguably necessary if you have a lot of MODS installed. Who knows if this trend will continue in other games?

Considering the small cost difference, I myself bought 8GB instead of 4GB even though I was on the fence.

*I would like to think I pieced together a pretty good computer here, that with tax fits his budget nicely. I appreciate comments, but if they're negative please use constructive criticism.

I have also pieced together a very small list on how to properly install Windows, the BIOS settings, backing up Windows, using an SSD + hard drive and properly configuring the Catalyst Control Center (the default settings in CCC apply video adjustments that screw up most video. Disable the advanced video settings).

I'm not sure how to send the above instructions but if "azeem40" wants I can simply copy it here as a reply, but ONLY if he wants it.

Anyway, GOOD LUCK and I'm done unless azeem40 has any questions.
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March 10, 2012 3:01:24 AM

I didn't see any need to scrap my old build completely. I don't like OCZ SSDs anyway. You could have criticized it instead of remaking it all. :/ 

Yes, I am interested on the case fans bit. :) 
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March 10, 2012 8:34:54 AM

I managed to fit some of his suggestions and 2 games instead of one. I am gonna get everything on tigerdirect bar cpu, mobo, and one other thing for cheaper.
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March 10, 2012 8:44:01 PM

Is there a card that can run BF3 on just high?
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March 10, 2012 9:03:33 PM

I am not interested in bang for buck tbh. I just want the best GPU for BF3 on HIGH. :) 
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March 10, 2012 9:07:34 PM

If I ever add a second 6870, won't I see a lot of microstuttering? I want to run smooth on multi-monitor and CF is needed for that.
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March 10, 2012 9:14:46 PM

That sounds reasonable. :p 
I might just do that. :) 
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March 10, 2012 9:27:03 PM

I was referring to the 7950. :p 
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March 10, 2012 9:31:54 PM

Lol, sure. Thanks for your help.
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March 10, 2012 9:38:41 PM

Atleast he convinced me to go with the 7950 because it will be good for it if I want to run eyefinity. :) 
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March 10, 2012 9:45:38 PM

If anyone has more opinions, I am all ears. Otherwise, I am going to finalize the GPU. :) 
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March 10, 2012 9:52:43 PM

Now this is just getting off topic lol. :p 
Finalize?
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March 10, 2012 10:01:38 PM

Ok, I will. :) 
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March 10, 2012 10:03:12 PM

Best answer selected by azeem40.
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March 10, 2012 10:11:56 PM

I LOL'd @ Long. Dw recon, he isn't best answer. :p 
Sorry Long. :p 
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 13, 2012 4:25:11 PM

Eyefinity:
The HD7950 is a powerful card, yes but in most modern games you will still NOT be able to achieve 60FPS at Maximum Quality.

Therefore it's a tradeoff:

1. Do I turn down the graphics quality to achieve 60FPS on three monitors?
2. Do I just lower the frame rate? (and risk screen tearing with no VSYNC)
3. Do I play games on a single monitor instead but at the highest quality?

*There are still several games that require an HD7850 to max out their settings and of course games continue to improve. I love my HD5870 and many games are maxed out with it but many games need a better card: Witcher 2, Metro 2033, Batman Arkham City (and several more).

$1870 is too much?
There are a few things you can change on my build. The motherboard is probably the most important piece so I'd keep it or one similar and not go cheap there.

The CPU (2500K) should not be changed either.

However, you could drop the SSD for now and just go with 4GB of RAM and that will save you roughly $200 with tax. (if possible use a spare drive to backup Windows too).

Installing STEAM:
I strongly suggest that you partition the large hard drive and install games on the second partition, such as D:/STEAM and just use a 120GB partition for Windows. This makes things easier because:

a) you don't have to make backup images of a HUGE Windows drive
b) You can easily CLONE the Windows partition to an SSD later if it's not too large

Cheers.
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March 13, 2012 4:44:17 PM

I have basically decided on my build already. I am going to wait a week and see how the Radeon 7850 CF fares. :) 
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a c 147 U Graphics card
March 13, 2012 4:53:27 PM

STEAM:
That should say "D-drive"; I have my STEAM folder on a hard drive and Windows (and programs) on an SSD. I thought a 60GB SSD would be enough but I ran out of space with Microsoft Updates, System Restore points etc. It's possible to get away with 60GB but I recommend 120GB.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
March 13, 2012 8:01:43 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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