I'm struggling to figure out if it's worth it for me to get the 7850 or the 7870 for playing Guild Wars 2 maxed out at 1920x1200. I plan on being able to use this card for the next couple years and I understand that I probably won't be able to get maxed out settings for future games and what not, which is fine, since I've never actually used a graphics card before, but since I recently built a new pc, I'd like to have a decent graphical experience for now.
I have a corsair cx500w psu and with an amd phenom ii x4 965 be
I guess I should also add, I plan on purchasing an antec 300 illusion case with the purchase of the new card and a tube of arctic silver. I want to make sure this purchase is below $300. I will be doing this in a couple of weeks, I can't necessarily know where prices are going to be, but I just want to know whether the 7870 is going to be overkill or not.
A single fan video card is no problem. Most single fan coolers are reference blower cooler which exhaust the heat through the back of the case. They run hotter but still within spec.
Other coolers like MSI's Twin Frozr exhaust most of the heat inside the case. The GPU's temperature will be lower but heat is released inside the case which makes it necessary to have proper ventilation and airflow (install fans on top or side of the case as exhaust). If not, the heat is trapped and it will affect other components as well.
Guild War 2 is actually very demanding for an MMO. Keeping mind those benchmarks are using the highest, most expensive CPU available and overclocked (Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E), 3.3 GHz @ 4.25 GHz , Six Cores/Twelve Thread, LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3 Cache, Hyper-Threading enabled.) Combine the video card, clock speed, and core counts graphs and this setup will be very difference from those benches.
That said, if you're overclocking the 7850 can perform like a 7870 pretty easily. If not, get 7870. You will still see good performance, depending on you FPS tolerance, and remember MMO's are highly CPU depending the more units/users are involved.
Just from experience, I also know that GW2 is a pretty demanding game when you try to max out all settings at 1920x1200. 3570k/gtx 670 i get like 30-40 fps in cities and anywhere from 40-100 fps in all other areas, depending on if its a big drag fight/wvw zerg or just roaming around pve. When I turn "render sampling" from supersample down to native, my fps in LA goes from like 35 to almost 50.
With a 7870, you will definitely be able to run most settings on the highest, but not all of them if you still want a playable experience.