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Upgrade - Video Card or Mobo?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 6, 2013 10:53:08 PM

First time posting-

This is my hardware:

ATI Radeon 4870 512mb
ATI Radeon 4870 512mb
P8Z68-V LX

Problem:

Gaming is noticeably slower when running crossfire, than it is running a single card. Here's the reason why; my motherboard is x16, x4. The slots do not clock @ x8, x8 when in crossfire mode. Actually, they clock at x16, x2.

Proposed Solutions:

This could be rectified by a few ways, 2 of which I will list:

1) Get a new better motherboard now that supports crossfire at x8, x8. (and upgrade video card in the future)
~$140

OR

2) Get a new better video card now to run in single mode at x16 (and upgrade motherboard in the future)
~$200

I know either option will rectify the performance problem.

My question to you:

I would like to be coming out ahead (upgrade/performance wise) - whether I spend extra money now, or later. But the most important thing to me is; Which option will get me the furthest in "future proofing" myself?


P.S: My current video card is nearing its E-O-L for handling the latest games, so I expect maybe (with crossfire) that I'll get 1.5 years out of it.
a c 127 U Graphics card
a c 82 V Motherboard
January 6, 2013 11:35:35 PM

I would get a new single card.
It will solve the problem, grant you better performance than the dual 4870's would and lower your power draw. It also wont draw the hidden cost of having to buy a new OS with the new motherboard (unless you are using a retail, not OEM, key).

If you want Crossfire/SLI capability, upgrade the mobo/CPU when Haswell releases.
January 6, 2013 11:39:08 PM

Thanks a lot for your feedback. I have a retail version of Windows 7 so there will be no added cost.
Related resources
January 7, 2013 12:59:31 AM

I also prefer upgrading graphics card in first priority. Haswell is going to be released in late May. The next-gen NVIDIA GPU set to arrive in 2014. no need to wait.
January 8, 2013 5:12:27 AM

Thanks a lot Bill. I sincerely appreciate you chiming in to confirm. I recently read about that (after posting and before reading your comment) but wasn't sure if that would be suggested to wait for. Yes that is a long long way away lol. Here's my choices I will be looking for/getting, in case someone is interested in knowing:

Radeon HD 7850 2 GB - 3698 $205 ----! PAY ~$170
GTX 660 - 4013 $215-$230 ----! PAY ~$195
Radeon HD 7870 - 4038 $237 ----! PAY ~$220

I will be patiently waiting for the next few weeks for a killer deal on any of these. I prefer the 7870, but would love to try out an Nvidia product over ATI with a killer deal!

Thanks guys! :D 
a c 127 U Graphics card
a c 82 V Motherboard
January 8, 2013 1:13:44 PM

Both the same link.
January 8, 2013 1:17:19 PM

All fixed!
a c 127 U Graphics card
a c 82 V Motherboard
January 8, 2013 1:23:54 PM

Both the 660 and 7870 are fairly close in performance, at 1920x1200 there's on a 4% overall differenec between the two (the 7870 is ahead). But a 7870 does cost $20 more than the 660 and doesnt come bundled with any included games of note. But then again, a 7870 will overclock much further than a 660 will if you get a card that isn't voltage locked.

Though if I were to get a 7870 (I already have one actually), I would pick this Gigabyte model.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Reasons to get a 7870
- Stock performance is better
- Can overclock further

Reasons to get a 660
- Cheaper by ~$20, more with rebates
- Bundled with AC3
- Of the models listed, the 660 has better cooling solutions.

So I guess judge which is more important for you.

Link to the performance percentages I posted before.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/Catalyst_12.11_P...
January 8, 2013 4:05:46 PM

I've narrowed it down more. Could someone take another look? You guys have been very helpful, so thank you.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

prices bump up from:

$195
$210
$220

I'm wondering if the $220 7870 is worth the price bump from the lower $195 660 card. Any other thoughts? I didn't want to pay more than $200, but if the ~$20 more is worth it, I will.

P.S: I also heard there were issues with the 7870 black screen and humming? True? Been fixed? I don't know! :pt1cable: 
January 8, 2013 4:25:23 PM

I heard Zotac support wasn't the best and I should spend $10 more for a better one which is the card for $210. And for $10 more I'll get the XFX which is supposed to be better and ~4% faster (AND has more ports plus "lifetime" warranty).

Here's the winner:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks again! (thoughts are still welcome)

@manofchalk yours is the next step up (660 cat), but is $20.00 more (even though it's the better 660) I'm not getting "lifetime" warranty and it's not as small of a step as it is from 660 gig to 7870 xfx for $10 more. I'm already way over budget LOL. Thanks!
a c 127 U Graphics card
a c 82 V Motherboard
January 8, 2013 11:53:10 PM

I have a 7870 and haven't had any issues with it, or atleast no display issues that I am sure the 7870 is at fault for.

Going over-budget is a common trait amongst people who build their own PC's. Always remember that its acceptable, because later on you'l be beating yourself up as to why you got a lower performing card when it was only $20 when your talking on a scale of $200's.

Have fun with your card, a 7870 is a very good performer let me tell you.
!