A few GPU questions.


Jan 15, 2011
Hi, I have a few questions pertaining to graphics cards. Im trying to figure out what will the best bang for my buck when income taxes com back.

Ill have a budget of roughly $1000 and I want to max my games out. My current PC is a single core 3800+ amd, 4GB of ram (but i run 32bit os) and a ATI radeon hd 3650 1GB. I play most games on low and low medium settings and have low to acceptable fps. As a gamer that likes visuals this can be a bit agitating, so my future build i would like to max graphics and have acceptable to high fps.

My questions.

1) If i plan on running a x-fire configuration does a game have to natively support it? I've seen games that say SLI/Crossfire enabled and some that have a dual video card option in the video settings. So does a game have to support it, and if not does it still use both cards but at not full efficiency or does it only use the primary card?

2) Being im on a ~$1000 budget would be better off getting 2 AMD 6870's or a single 6950 and upgrade it later? I know some of the 6950's can bio flash to a 6970 but thats not something i really plan on doing.

3) If i go with the 6870 x 2 build i will probably get a 750w psu just to have some head room, what psu wattage should i get for a 6950 with with plans to run 2 in the future? i was thinking 850w but that might be a lil overkill and i might just be spending more money for extra voltage i'll never use, a lil head room in wattage is probably good but i dont want a extra +100w sitting there doing nothing.

4) As far as my mobo goes i know i need the secondary slot to at least be x8. How much more benifit am i getting if i go with x16 and is it really worth it?

5) the 6950 has a 1GB and a 2GB version. is that extra 1GB worth the extra price? Where would i see it utilized?
Ok, now reading some previous thread, it seems that 750w is fine for the 6950 cf if the psu is good quality.

More graphics memory helps the most in high resolution like in multiple screen settings. It also helps with AA and texture. I strongly recommend you to get the 2GB version if you are going with mutiple screen and wants to keep gaming in the future and if the price difference is not too much. But if you don't go crazy like 6 screen on full HD, I don't think you need it.

Some info on video RAM and how it affects performance: