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Upgrade Crossfired 4870's

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July 17, 2012 6:55:45 PM

Hello,

I'm planning on selling my 2 ATI 4870's 1GB for something better. My system is generally used for Games with the most hardware intense being Supreme commander FA, Civilization 4 BTS, Civilization 5, Generals ZH, and Axis&Allies. I play at 1366x768 resolution on a 28" screen. As of know I play at medium graphics, but It would be nice to enjoy the higher graphics. The Cards still work fine but I'd like to sell them while they're still worth something and before they start to really show they're age. I Prefer AMD Cards but I have no problem buying Nvidia. Also I will gladly upgrade to crossfire or SLI in the future but for know just one card. Finally I would like to liquid cool the system in the future, if that affects anyones recommendation for video card.

Thanks.

Case: Antec Elevenhundred
MB: Asus 990FX
CPU: AMD PhenomII 960T OC to 3.5GHz stock cooler
PSU: Seasonic Gold 1000W
Ram: 2x4GB Patriot 2166
SSD: Corsair 90 Force3
Video: 2x ATI 4870 1GB
Optical: DVD-RW
July 17, 2012 7:33:23 PM

I have the same setup and plan to go to a 7870 or 660ti depending on the price/performance at that time. Even a 7850 would see improvement.
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2012 7:36:41 PM

I'm a little surprised that you need to upgrade 2x4870s. I was running a single 4870 not too long ago, it still ran everything on high @1680x1050 if I turned down AA and texture quality (to compensate for 512MB vram). It may be worth double checking that you aren't processor bottle-necked, considering you are mostly on strategy games; if that is the case, picking and choosing your settings can likely keep you at the same performance level and net higher settings.

However, if you want to get a new card, a 7870 seems like a natural suggestion since you prefer AMD, it's in the same realm as the 4870 was, great performance at reasonable price. An alternative would be the nvidia 670, it's more money but seems to be in the same price/performance realm.

IIRC the 7950 isn't a big enough improvement over the 7870 to justify the upgrade (due to it's lower clocks, but higher core count it is only a slight upgrade), but maybe that has changed as it seems to have come down in price. I think it's fairly debatable if the 7970 is worth the 50$ extra over the 670, so that should be your discretion.

I personally am running a single 7870 for 3d/120hz gaming and finding it's mostly able to keep up (it runs ~90 - 110 FPS in skyrim on ultra in 3d, paired with a stock i7 2700k; all other games so far are very smooth).

edit: I kept my recommendations to this gen simply because your upgrading from 4870, so my assumption is you are going to want a card you can use for several years to come, so you will want a more modern card. That said, you can pick up the last gen cards at a good value, however this gen is a big improvement in a lot of ways and I would stick with the newer cards unless you are trying to upgrade on the cheap.

edit2: Also worth noting that tom's GPU Hierarchy chart lists 2x4870 to be on par with the 6970 or the 7850, I have no idea how they generate their hierarchy though. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2012 7:57:36 PM

+1 at your resolution you should be playing everything on at least high anyway
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July 17, 2012 8:50:23 PM

djscribbles said:
I'm a little surprised that you need to upgrade 2x4870s. I was running a single 4870 not too long ago, it still ran everything on high @1680x1050 if I turned down AA and texture quality (to compensate for 512MB vram). It may be worth double checking that you aren't processor bottle-necked, considering you are mostly on strategy games; if that is the case, picking and choosing your settings can likely keep you at the same performance level and net higher settings.

However, if you want to get a new card, a 7870 seems like a natural suggestion since you prefer AMD, it's in the same realm as the 4870 was, great performance at reasonable price. An alternative would be the nvidia 670, it's more money but seems to be in the same price/performance realm.

IIRC the 7950 isn't a big enough improvement over the 7870 to justify the upgrade (due to it's lower clocks, but higher core count it is only a slight upgrade), but maybe that has changed as it seems to have come down in price. I think it's fairly debatable if the 7970 is worth the 50$ extra over the 670, so that should be your discretion.

I personally am running a single 7870 for 3d/120hz gaming and finding it's mostly able to keep up (it runs ~90 - 110 FPS in skyrim on ultra in 3d, paired with a stock i7 2700k; all other games so far are very smooth).

edit: I kept my recommendations to this gen simply because your upgrading from 4870, so my assumption is you are going to want a card you can use for several years to come, so you will want a more modern card. That said, you can pick up the last gen cards at a good value, however this gen is a big improvement in a lot of ways and I would stick with the newer cards unless you are trying to upgrade on the cheap.

edit2: Also worth noting that tom's GPU Hierarchy chart lists 2x4870 to be on par with the 6970 or the 7850, I have no idea how they generate their hierarchy though. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...


Actually I don't need to but I'll fill in on the rest of the details. My cards actually came out of my XPS 630I that i had before I built my present system. The reason I want to get rid of them is the dell is just sitting around now and I have a possible buyer; but it will be easier to sell with the video cards that came with it. Also it had brackets to secure it in the 630i that just get in the way in my new case. The other minor reasons are they are noisy cards which isn't a real problem and that I plan to keep this system, so I want something that will last several more years. Lastly I think you are correct the CPU is most likely going to be my bottleneck but I was planning on upgrading it someday or overclocking it higher once I liquid cool the system. Thats if AMD comes out with something better, because I thankfully read the reviews on fx and passed it up when they came out.

Thanks for the replies and if you have anything else that would be great.
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July 17, 2012 8:54:20 PM

simon12 said:
+1 at your resolution you should be playing everything on at least high anyway


It may have been just the 630I but when I played on high resolution supreme commander crashed a lot and was slower. So I switched to medium graphics although I haven't tested it on my new build.
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July 18, 2012 1:00:13 PM

Best answer selected by tomrupp.
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a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2012 5:07:07 PM

tomrupp said:
Lastly I think you are correct the CPU is most likely going to be my bottleneck but I was planning on upgrading it someday or overclocking it higher once I liquid cool the system.


Just a small comment, be sure to do your research on watercooling, a lot of the premade water systems are not as good as a good air cooling system, from what I've heard.
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July 19, 2012 6:57:57 PM

I've made a system before that used the koolance RP-1000, which seems to work very well with the other parts I ordered. Unfortunately for now all I can afford is air cause if I'm going liquid I want to do it right.
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