Hey guys, I've looked around but I can't for the life of me make a decision between these GPUs.
(Sorry about the length of this post but I figured the more information, the easier it is on you guys.. possibly not for your eyes though. )
I'm based in New Zealand and prices for hardware over here varies wildly from American prices, and I'm not entirely sure whether it's worth making the jump or if all my hardware is worth it. There are cheaper options for some of the hardware, but this is the cheapest from companies that I trust and have RMA'd through before. nVidia isn't an option as the price/performance over here is ludicrous. The Price differences are based on the cheapest possible price found on PriceSpy a NZ based store aggregation site, and I provide them mostly so you can get a taste for how expensive parts are over here in relation to your local countries.
(Note that the cheapest 7970 is $739, so definitely out).
I'm happy to Overclock these myself at home, and I'm figuring that for an $80 jump from the 7870 stock that the 7950 is going to be best. I've heard the 7870 can be Overclocked a fair bit, and the factory Overclocked one even more so. If it was just the graphics card I was doing, I'd probably just go for the 7950 but I'm also building a new system (my current one is being donated to the family as the family computer just finished a slow and painful death.), so budgetary concerns are starting to come through. (Side note: It started out as just a graphics card (I need DirectX 11 for my University work), but quickly spiralled out of control... as they tend to do with computers. :X )
My question is whether the $80 jump is worth it, I've seen reviews that put the two pretty close and I trust Sapphire's cards more than I do Gigabyte (mostly because I've owned one and I've heard nasty stories about Gigabyte's 7870 having noise problems). Gigabyte is about the only 7950 I'm looking at as the next one up, the Sapphire is $40 more for $619.
As this is my main problem, I've put it in this category, but I'm wondering what you guys think about my current planned system. If I put this in the wrong place, I'm sorry but I saw another thread that did it, and he got some pretty useful help.
I'm still querying this for the CL10 rating but I don't think it'll make much difference IRL. I want 8GB sticks as for a small premium, I can upgrade my RAM if I ever find the need and I've heard two sticks works better than four (although I'm not sure on the veracity of that statement). I chose this RAM because it worked out to be the cheapest per GB I could find.
I already have 2x 1.5TB HDDs but I recently had a scare with them, so I'm thinking of this to run the main system, and grab files I want to keep so I can wipe and then run the 2x 1.5TB HDDs in RAID. I'm not sure if this is possible, or how I'd do it yet but that's the plan. I might chuck an SSD in the mix, possibly replacing the 2TB HDD (possibly to be donated back to the family computer) at some point in the future.
Another one I'm unsure about, most reviews seem to indicate it's a good case although a little small for cable packing behind the motherboard tray (but the selected PSU is modular so that's not too much of a problem, and I tend to deal well with cable mess), but it was picked mostly to keep cost low but with a tool-less design that looked alright).
I am planning on pulling the CPU cooler from the dead desktop (it's an after-market Zalman one from the E6850 era) and placing it on the system I'm donating to my family, then taking the current CPU cooler from the system to be donated (Also Zalman I think, on an E8400) and using that to cool the i5 3570K. (If it's not enough, I'll replace it but I don't think it's necessary at this point.)
So, what do you guys think? Which GPU should I go for, and is there anything you would change about my proposed system? (When you're spending close to 2 grand, you want the best bang for your buck).
If it helps, I'm doing a Bachelor of Computer and Mathematical Sciences and my honours work involves coding XNA4 to use DirectX10/11, and I just love playing with Graphics in general. (Hence why I'm pretty sure I'm going to go for the 7950, and the 5TB of space). I'm also running two screens, with a 42" HDTV near-by (for the most-time) that I'll probably also use as a third monitor at times.
Current System (To be donated):
CPU: Intel E8400
Motherboard: Asus P5K Pro
HDDs: 2x 1.5TB 7200 RPM Seagate Barracuda's.
RAM: 2x2 GB's Corsair (It was 4x2GB but 2 died and I haven't got around to fixing that.)
GPU: ATI Radeon HD 4870
PSU: Thermaltake 750W PSU.
Case: Coolermaster HAF (932? Possibly. It's a midi case anyways).