Hey Guys! (tl;dr at bottom of post, don't worry :)
So I know you haven't heard from me in a while, and a lot of you have probably forgotten who I am, but anyways, I'm back! Well actually I've always been here, I just don't really post anymore due to time restraints.
Anyways, to the point. I'm getting a new graphics card, because my old Radeon 6850 just wasn't cutting it for the tri-monitor eyefinity. So I thought, let's do some research! And I did, and I discovered a couple of things. One, Google does not take date into account AT ALL when it comes to forums. I came up with posts from 2009, some of which anticipating the release of SC2! I also discovered that there are a couple of options I could go with for the graphics card.
For one, I could go "balls out" with the new Radeon 7970, which from the looks of things can pretty much do anything, including make me waffles. Virtual, syrupy, microwave ready waffles. Virtual microwave of course. (I'm really sorry about the bad joke/jokes, can't help myself :) Anyways, it looks amazing. Skyrim is no issue at all, and even games like BF3 and Crysis 2 would run at 30+ fps no issues.
However, I was also looking at the Radeon 6970, 7950, 5970, and even nVidia, which I have admittedly never tried before. I was looking at both the 570 and 580, so if anyone any opinions on those (also SLI vs. XFire performance) that would be great. Oh and I think it might be worth mentioning, I want ONE card. Crossfiring 2 6850's just isn't appealing to me at all. (Not to mention I sold mine anyways)
Alright, so anyone have any ideas? :)
And don't forget, I am here. If anyone ever has any questions, comments, concerns, just click the like button below and don't forget to subscribe... Nah but seriously, I'm always here, if anyone needs anything feel free to shoot me a PM :)
Which would you recommend, the Radeon 7970, 6970, or some nVida equivalent (570, 580)? (Or the Radeon 7950, 5970, etc. Anything with about that performance)
Hey tacomanstan, I know this is kind of a duh statement here, but you are making sure your motherboard/processor supports your video card options, right? Or is money no object and you are fine with rebuilding a machine?
Anyways 7970 looks pretty sweet if you got the money to burn, keep in mind it only has one standard type monitor slot, other one was HDMI or some such, unless you aiming to have like 3 HDTVs or some crap, lol. It also allows up to 4 cards to be linked, so be a nice way to upgrade over time.
6970 looks really good for the money, but is 1 GB less, but it does have more standard type monitor slots. Also had an HDMI, so you could hook 3 monitors up to a single card if you were only looking to get one. Offers good linkage too, so can upgrade that over time the same way.
7950 looks very close to 7970, just less money to get it. Some new fangled cooling system too, although I can't say I trust fans too much, they have a tendency to die.
5970 Doesn't do a whole lot for me, costs about 6970 does but does less, boo. Might be able to get it on sale. Also has no HDMI slots, which is a problem if that is important to you.
Nvidia 570/580 didn't really blow my skirt up much, I'd probably favor the 570 over the 580 though.
So yea, if you got money to burn, twin 7970s(have to for slottage), they look a lot more stable than most the others. If money is more of an issue, might favor 6970 as it has 3 slots built into it. And if you looking to spend less, probably 570s. Nice part about all these is you can get yourself a nice upgrade later by linking another one in.
Nvidia isn't a bad card at all, I have 2 linked ones, an older 1 GB model to basically give me a nicer 2 GB card for only like 120 a pop. I imagine I'll get to upgrade to 3 cards soon for like 80 bucks more or so, so it works out well.
Oh, and final note, video cards with FANS are the DEVIL. Avoid them, they have a lot pissier life from my experience. Best of luck picking a winner out, probably be 2 or 3 more years for me at least before I have to worry about this again.
Thanks guys, really helped a lot. Money IS an issue, as I'm only 16 and have a very limited income, but I would have been willing to save for the 7970 if it was deemed necessary, but I think I'm just going to go with the 6970.
So I guess the next question would be, what brand? I know Sapphire is usually amazing, and I have always liked XFX. HIS seems alright, and MSI seems really good as well. So, any suggestions? And I see you mentioned not to get cards with fans. Are you saying liquid cooling? What should I get for cooling, or is it just a different stock fan?
Also, DarkRevenant, you mentioned duo 6950s being less expensive than a single 7970. Is that for sure the case? Because in my experience I have had... bad experiences with crossfire, and would prefer going with a single card.
in a touch late, but I build a new machine on a moderate budget, and got the 6950. It is a great card, and I know the 6970 is a much more solid version of it. It was pretty new when I got this, and was like an 80 dollar difference, so wasn't worth it for me. For the price, the 6970 is the best way to go for your options. Not everyone is into the price/performance ratios though.
Passmark benchmarks, if you haven't found that site yet. they will tell you straight up performance power, and price paid per amount of performance gained. They however do not take into account things like quality of the actual card you buy; or how reliable a specific card type is.
Really, if your goal is the 7970, you can get a 6970 for now, and in the time it would take you to save up for a 7970, the price will be lowered by almost as much as you spent on the 6970. New card prices drop fast.
And I just checked out the prices on cards again, on newegg. I am ... confused. When I got my 6950, in early november, I got it on a pre-black friday sale, and it was 230 for a 2 gig, MSI. It is like, 270 now... Not to hi-jack, but does anyone know why the price of video cards has gone up? Or well, remained the same over such a long time?
Video cards should always be bought from eBay if you have to worry about your money. You can get some GREAT deals on eBay and the video card selection and availability is phenomenal. You are buying used, so it will end up making your product have a shorter lifespan than what you would normally have, but someone sporting 3 monitors should never have to keep the same video cards for more than 18 months, so the point is moot.
As for crossfire, it's gotten a lot better since when it was first introduced. Crossfired 6950s are, in nearly all modern games, better than a single 7970, and you get more than enough cables to plug in all of your monitors. Anyway, on eBay you can get them for about $200-$230 each (2GB version).
Based on your situation Tacomanstan, I would agree with GlornII to get the 6970, has 3 slots for 3 monitors, might have to play with adapters a bit but that is easy. From there you can either up to something else later down the road, or simply double up later. I've had little issue with SLI, sure crossfire is fine too.
Is a good source of info regarding Nvidia cards. AMD - not so much. You'll notice the 7970 is below the GTX 580 and... the 7950. Which makes no sense.
I have the following video cards myself - GTX 280, Radeon 5870, Radeon 5870 6 eyefinity, Radeon 6850, and a Radeon 7970.
I don't have any newer nvidia cards because I don't like them anymore myself. However, the 7970 blows everything out of the water and that much more... Look up some more valid sites that compare video cards (Like tomshardware). 7970 just rips through the 580. My suggestion to you is just get another 6850 and CrossFire it, because it'll match very very closely to a 7970 at a fifth of the price.
Crossfire 6950 in x16/x16 will outperform a 7970 by quite a bit. Even in x16/x8 it'll still outperform it. (This is just my logical guess, not 100% sure, but I'm pretty damn sure). However, I would've went with a 7970 instead of 2 6950's, because one 7970 uses less power and emits less heat thanks to the 28nm architecture. While you are getting more performance from crossfiring 6950's, you're paying for it with higher electricity costs - if you care for that lol.
But in short, 2x 6950's will 99% outperform a 7970.
Thanks a ton! I get why the 7970 probably would have been the better choice, but I didn't have the money for it at the time. Also, the card that I got was on sale for $60 off at the store I bought it at ($240 + tax, I think it wound up being $270, I'm not sure though). I can't find any stores that have 7970s in stock, and online I would have to pay shipping, so the price would be a bit more for one 7970 anyways.
Maybe not the best plan if I had the money, but unfortunately I didn't. I can't go 2 months with my 4650, especially coming from a 6850 :)
No problem, I actually did a little bit of reading on the 6850 and 7970. Crossfire 6950 seems to outperform a 7970 very slightly, even in x16/x8 mode. It was a good choice to go with, the only disadvantage really is more power, higher heat, and more noise than a 7970. I personally don't care about things like power and noise - but to each their own. (I like heat, especially in the winter, as the computer is right near my feet)
I read that article and it had some good points. But overall, I disagree with him. I have a GTX 580 and I'm quite happy with it. If you're doing 1080 HD gaming then his recommendation for $200 cards isn't going to cut it for Crysis 2 or BF3. He is absolutely dead on about the i5 though, best CPU ever.
One, Google does not take date into account AT ALL when it comes to forums. I came up with posts from 2009, some of which anticipating the release of SC2!
After initiating a search you can click on the menu to the left. Second to the bottom. It's late- sorry, I just had to try to be helpful in some obscure way since I haven't touched anything newer than a geforce 9800.