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£300 for a graphics card

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December 23, 2009 4:38:30 PM

After my recent dealings with OcUK I finally spoke to their RMA manager this morning and have secured a full refund for me broken 3870X2 (£300!) so now need a replacement which I am happy to say should be a card quite a lot better than my old one!

With the trouble I had with OcUK in getting the refund I would prefer not to have to buy from them, so I am down to ebuyer, CCL, Misco and maybe others I don't know about.

Looking around my choices are a 5870 (would like to avoid ATi this time as my last two have broken, two 3850s and a 3870X2) or a GeForce 285-295 (can't do SLi as my mobo is only Crossfire).

The one issue I have with the 295 is that it's dual core, and I now know that dual core cards tend to have shorter lives and run hotter than single core.

Any suggestions? I don't have to spend all the £300 as I get a feeling my CPU will bottleneck the highest spec cards.

Thanks

More about : 300 graphics card

a c 169 U Graphics card
December 23, 2009 4:42:19 PM

What are your other system specs ? + what resolution do you play at ?
December 23, 2009 4:47:42 PM

Oh, sorry, thought they were in my sig!

Q6600 @ 2.4Ghz (could OC but don't really know enough or want to risk it!)
Hiper 680W PSU (may throw up an issue. Edit: Just check and the Zotac 295 GTX says 680W recommended so mine may be good enough for a 295 Edit2: Looking at the BFG OCFU 295 GTX they say a 680W PSU with 46A or more at 12V which I'm sure mine has.)
4Gb DDR2 RAM
Asus P5E Crossfire ready mobo
Play at 1650x1080 on a 22" widescreen.

My PSU and max resolution will probably mean I don't need to spend the full money.
Related resources
December 23, 2009 5:26:48 PM

Having a look around I could get a BFG (from what I've heard an excellent brand) 285 GTX OCX (or 2Gb OC) for about £250, leaving me £50 up but still with a great card. When I thought I was only getting half the money back from my 3870X2 because of it's age I was looking at a BFG 275 OCX so I think it may be down to a 275 or 285, dependant on whether my CPU would bottleneck or not.

This is unless there is an amazing ATI which can convince me to give them another chance after two consecutive failures!
a c 191 U Graphics card
December 23, 2009 5:41:38 PM

Welcome back! Glad to see the problems have finally been resolved.
As I recall the PSU you have is one of he better Hiper units so it should handle the cards you are looking at but I think the GTX 295 is too much for that resolution and the CPU will hold it back, even if overclocked.
A better choice would be the GTX285, less power consumption less heat and less cash;)
However, I think your best choice would be to risk another ATI card and opt for the HD5850, because I think a HD5870 would be held back by the Quad, even if it is overclocked.
Also add: Dabs, Scan, Microdirect and Pixmania to your list of places to shop.
December 23, 2009 5:44:05 PM

coozie7 said:
Welcome back! Glad to see the problems have finally been resolved.
As I recall the PSU you have is one of he better Hiper units so it should handle the cards you are looking at but I think the GTX 295 is too much for that resolution and the CPU will hold it back, even if overclocked.
A better choice would be the GTX285, less power consumption less heat and less cash;)
However, I think your best choice would be to risk another ATI card and opt for the HD5850, because I think a HD5870 would be held back by the Quad, even if it is overclocked.
Also add: Dabs, Scan, Microdirect and Pixmania to your list of places to shop.

Thanks! Now just need to hope I was correct that it was the card (pretty sure I am!) and that a new one will work without BSODs!

I thought the top end cards would be held back by my CPU (ah well!).

So it's a 5850 or GTX285 (most likely BFG unless there is another great make I'm forgetting). Any suggestions for a good make of 5850 (Could get an ASUS one for just over £200)?
a b U Graphics card
December 23, 2009 5:55:55 PM

There's nothing inherently wrong with ATI cards in general. I wouldn't worry about trying another one. Right now, I'd take the 5850 over any nvidia card, at least until nvidia decides to come out with one that supports DirectX 11.

If you can get an XFX card, those come with a double lifetime warranty. I believe Visiontek comes with a lifetime warranty as well.
December 23, 2009 5:58:07 PM

capt_taco said:
There's nothing inherently wrong with ATI cards in general. I wouldn't worry about trying another one. Right now, I'd take the 5850 over any nvidia card, at least until nvidia decides to come out with one that supports DirectX 11.

If you can get an XFX card, those come with a double lifetime warranty. I believe Visiontek comes with a lifetime warranty as well.

Great, thanks. I'll look for XFX and Visiontek and then pick between those or a BFG 285!

Just had a thought, if it was in fact my RAM causing the crashes and not the graphics card, one of the DVI ports was still buggered so a new one was necessary anyway!
a c 126 U Graphics card
December 23, 2009 6:47:01 PM

Ebuyer.com, Scan.co.uk, Aria.co.uk, Novatech.co.uk

Just a few more places to shop around and find the best deal :) 

Personally i'd go for the HD5850, I think its slightly cheaper than a GTX285, but more importantly uses less power and has DX11 support.

Good luck with your decision!
December 23, 2009 7:01:04 PM

Rustyy117 said:
Ebuyer.com, Scan.co.uk, Aria.co.uk, Novatech.co.uk

Just a few more places to shop around and find the best deal :) 

Personally i'd go for the HD5850, I think its slightly cheaper than a GTX285, but more importantly uses less power and has DX11 support.

Good luck with your decision!

December 23, 2009 7:08:19 PM

Grr, stupid phone internet, i'll post my proper reply when at my pc!
a c 217 U Graphics card
December 23, 2009 7:17:17 PM

Your hardware problems could not be so much of an ATI problem, but you getting the cheapest made version of the card you wanted. Not all cards with the same chipset are created equal.

Check on newegg for what ever card you want, and check the reviews and ratings. You often can find if it's a bad manufacturer while reading the reviews.
December 23, 2009 8:50:28 PM

bystander said:
Your hardware problems could not be so much of an ATI problem, but you getting the cheapest made version of the card you wanted. Not all cards with the same chipset are created equal.

Check on newegg for what ever card you want, and check the reviews and ratings. You often can find if it's a bad manufacturer while reading the reviews.

Yeah, i found out about his's reputation when i contacted overclockers (in spite of that i'd still expect 2 years of use)! Still, from the nature of the problem i narrowed it down to video ram, and then discovered today normal ram can cause it too! One of the dvi plugs was definitely faulty too though so it needed replacing as it randomly stopped working whenever it wanted!
December 24, 2009 1:21:36 PM

Quick update, just ram Memtest86+ for two complete passes and no RAM errors were found (I didn't change any settings, ECC, memory size which was left as the BIOS sizes etc.). Hopefully that means it isn't the RAM and is purely the graphics card!

From what I've been told I shall avoid HIS from now on (and Sapphire who I believe made my two 3850s that failed as the fans didn't scale) and look for XFX, Visiontek or BFG depending which card I go for!

Unless I'm forgetting something (to do with a new card or testing my RAM)!
December 25, 2009 4:45:05 PM

Just checked the power consumption and noise levels of the 5850 and it was higher (or lower) than the 285 GTX in all areas, in 3D Mark Vantage it also scored higher and it is about £50 cheaper!

One thing, am I right in thinking it's only a single GPU? ATI usually say X2 if it is dual core and I want to avoid that if I can as I also recently learnt that they don't usually last as long (and clearly run hotter and louder)... I think it is, so this may be a stupid question, but it can't hurt to ask! Really very tempted to give ATI another chance (bystander was most likely correct that it was the manufacturer I chose and not ATI, especially as it seems my RAM is fine).
a c 126 U Graphics card
December 25, 2009 10:22:22 PM

Yes a HD5850 is a Single GPU card
December 25, 2009 10:46:51 PM

I'll give you the facts and you can make an informed decision.

HD5850 is a single GPU. The main reasons I would recommend the HD5850 over 285 are:

1) DX11 (Windows 7!!)

2) Next 3 Images speak for themselves (i.e. HD5850 is somewhere between 285 and 295 performance wise)







3) Concerned about your PSU?





4) Heat....



December 26, 2009 7:19:26 AM

Legend, thanks for the info! That's some pretty conclusive evidence for the 5850! I looked yesterday and nowhere even lists the visiontek and everywhere with the xfx is out of stock. Any other brands i should try? I need to post back my current faulty card in the new year so there's no immediate hurry.

Edit: Odd, just checked the CCL site and they list the XFX 5850 twice, one of them is in stock and they look identical but for some reason there is a £6 difference... any ideas? The listing is here, http://www.cclonline.com/product-categories.asp?categor..., if it is just something small like a game isn't included in the package then I'll order it!
December 26, 2009 10:09:16 AM

Just looked more into it on CCL, Scan and Aria and there are several versions by the looks of it. However the one's CCL list must have some errors somewhere!

Scan.co.uk - XFX Radeon HD 5850 Black 765 GPU clock, 4000 memory clock £272
Aria.co.uk - XFX Radeon HD 5850 725 GPU clock, 4000 memory clock £252 (£212 on offer)
Aria.co.uk - XFX Radeon HD 5850 XXX 755 GPU clock, 4500 memory clock £258 (£218 on offer)
CCL.co.uk - XFX Radeon HD 5850 725 GPU clock, 4000 memory clock £240 (out of stock)
CCL.co.uk - XFX Radeon HD 5850 755 GPU clock, 4500 memory clock £234

It appears that the final CCL one on that list is the XXX version Aria have, and probably the version I will go with, but if anyone knows anything about these different versions which will affect the best one for me to get please speak up!

These are the links for the different versions, in order:
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1GB-XFX-HD-5850-Black-PC...(x16)-4000MHz-GDDR5-GPU-765MHz-1440-Cores-DP-2x-DL-DVI-I-HDMI
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Graphics+Card...
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Graphics+Card...
http://www.cclonline.com/product-info.asp?product_id=37...
http://www.cclonline.com/product-info.asp?product_id=41...

Edit: After a little reading it appears that the Black edition has a program which can change it's voltages, so seems to be for overclockers (i.e. not me!) and the XXX version is just an OCed version (somewhere suggested a different cooling system, but it looks the same). I'm thinking go for the XXX version as on Aria's offer it's cheaper than all others except the standard one (from Aria too)...
December 26, 2009 10:59:00 AM

You could go for the overclocked version, since it comes with good warranty???? (755, 4500)

That will put you even closer to GTX 295. But heat and Watts obviously change.
December 26, 2009 11:21:07 AM

Aria says that it comes with 2 years (which everyone gets under EU law, and is how I took Overclockers to court and won - I will write a post later today telling people about this law as few people know it and a lot of companies try and ignore it which will hopefully get stickied in a general section). Sadly their double lifetime warranty it only for North America but two years for a £218 card seems reasonable.

Will the heat and wattage change by a lot? It doesn't seem like a massive increase in speeds...
December 26, 2009 11:44:30 AM

haydox said:
Aria says that it comes with 2 years (which everyone gets under EU law, and is how I took Overclockers to court and won - I will write a post later today telling people about this law as few people know it and a lot of companies try and ignore it which will hopefully get stickied in a general section). Sadly their double lifetime warranty it only for North America but two years for a £218 card seems reasonable.

Will the heat and wattage change by a lot? It doesn't seem like a massive increase in speeds...



This will give some idea...






December 26, 2009 11:46:43 AM

So it adds about 10w for overclocked Load vs. stock. Idle should not change much.
December 26, 2009 11:57:36 AM

Haha, thanks! How do you keep finding these?!

I have a 680W PSU (Tier 2 Hiper) so I'm quite sure it can handle the extra 10W! Hopefully the heat increase won't be too bad either (although my case has 300mm and 120mm intake fans and two 120mm output, not including the graphics card's on board) so it can probably handle it!

Edit: Just found a review of the Black edition (765 core and 1125 memory apparently) and they said that there was no notable temperature, noise or power increase. So it would appear that the extra 10MHz on the stats you found may only add a tiny amount to something Elite Bastards didn't even think worth mentioning! Think I'll order the XXX edition from Aria now, thanks for your advice people! Especially as you have saved me about £75 from what I got back from my broken 3870X2 (will teach me for buying a flagship card on the release day...from a cheap manufacturer!).
December 27, 2009 11:25:00 AM

haydox said:
Haha, thanks! How do you keep finding these?!

I have a 680W PSU (Tier 2 Hiper) so I'm quite sure it can handle the extra 10W! Hopefully the heat increase won't be too bad either (although my case has 300mm and 120mm intake fans and two 120mm output, not including the graphics card's on board) so it can probably handle it!

Edit: Just found a review of the Black edition (765 core and 1125 memory apparently) and they said that there was no notable temperature, noise or power increase. So it would appear that the extra 10MHz on the stats you found may only add a tiny amount to something Elite Bastards didn't even think worth mentioning! Think I'll order the XXX edition from Aria now, thanks for your advice people! Especially as you have saved me about £75 from what I got back from my broken 3870X2 (will teach me for buying a flagship card on the release day...from a cheap manufacturer!).




Enjoy your new card!
December 30, 2009 4:54:09 PM

New card arrived today and whilst trying to uninstall the old drivers my PC wouldn't even turn on! Passed the post check but nothing appeared on the monitor, after about a min it rebooted itself and did it again! Yesterday when this happened it got in third time and said it had blue screened.

So I just whipped out the old card and put in the new (luckily my Hiper PSU came with a 8 to 6 pin adaptor as I wasn't happy using two molex to a 6 pin). Uninstalled old drivers and put on new ones and tried a game (Dragon Age) on full settings for a good few mins (enough to BSOD before) and it worked fine. Card only hit 52 degrees (old one his 70s!), idles below 40 (33 currently).

Looking good so far. The final test will be awful though, got to play a game for a good hour or more to really stress it out! Bugger!
a c 126 U Graphics card
December 30, 2009 5:39:49 PM

N'awwwwww, I feel so sorry for you, your gonna have to game for ages! Some people just have the worst luck!
a c 376 U Graphics card
December 30, 2009 5:47:13 PM

haydox said:
From what I've been told I shall avoid HIS from now on

You are actually the first person I've ever seen say anything bad about HIS.
December 30, 2009 5:53:16 PM

jyjjy said:
You are actually the first person I've ever seen say anything bad about HIS.

To be honest i was probably just unlucky, but even overcloakers said that vex were cheap because they use cheaper parts...although that may have been because i was threatening to take them to court! At least it appears to be sorted now and i have a nice, powerful, dx11 card now!
!