Gaming Graphics upgrade (maybe?)

JofaMang

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System
Specs:
GA-MA780G-UD3H Mobo
Phenom II 710 Triple core
4gb OCZ 1066 ram
Sapphire 4870 512mb
Seasonic 650w PSU
Coolermaster Elite RC-330 with 4 case fans
22" BenQ @1920x1080.
Everything runs very cool (CPU 42c, GPU 70c under load).


I know this is an oft posed question, but the responses seem to vary based on the system. I had originally planned on adding a second 4870 512mb when I built this system, but didn't do my homework on the Mobo, and from what I have gathered, crossfire on 16x/4x is a waste of money, unless crossfiring two low-end cards. Since my 4870 already outperforms any low-end crossfired cards, I am debating how to go about upgrading. I bought my 4870 512 on a killer deal (about $200CAD back in march) thus saving me over a $100 on getting a 1gb model. I am regretting this somewhat, as running games @1920x1080 is significantly rougher than lower resolutions, an issue that I might not be experiencing if I had shelled out for the 1gb model.

I have a buyer for my card if I replace it, which will help with the purchase cost of a new card, but am concerned that the return on the investment might be too weak. I want to stay with ATI, so my current options are 48701gb, 4850x2, 4870x2, or 4890. Keep in mind that it is getting VERY difficult to find a 4870x2 in Canada for less than $600, and even harder to find stock in 4850x2. Every spring (tax return season) I build a new rig, so this is really only a 9month upgrade.

Is a 48701gb or 48901gb a big enough upgrade, should I wait for the 5xxx cards to be released, or should I just deal with my situation till next spring?

Thanks in advance for your input!
 
I know this is n't an answer yet but a few tips (as if you do n't already know;))
With 512Mb AA is a framerate killer, use it sparingly or not at all. Shadows are another resource hungry feature, again, keep them under control. Keep the details within reason; Do you really need to see every blade of grass on that mountain 6Km away? I am not suggesting playing at 1024x768 and all low settings, but you'll be surprised just how much you can gain with a few tweaks.

As an upgrade I'd really only look to the GTX275 and flog the HD4870 on E-bay.
I think this is a sweet deal at Newegg.ca:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133268
 

JofaMang

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Thanks for the tips!

Through extensive testing in the games I play (Crysis, Fallout3, HAWX, TLR, WoW, EQ2 and Sims3 for the wifey) I have to chose between max resolution and AA. If I want to use AA, i generally have to drop the resolution to 1680x1050 or 1440x900, but I also find the AA less necessary at native 1920x1080. I am also pretty anal about framerates, as I generally can't enjoy a game without min 45+ FPS (I don't run crysis anywhere near max settings, heh) This rig will be transfered to the TV next spring (1080p sharp aquos 60hz) so I am heavily vested in making sure it can run 1920x1080 smoothly.
 
Seasonic are one of the top makers and it's got plenty of power, the only minor problem is the PSU has 2X6-pin rather than 1x6 and 1x8 which the HD4870X2 requires, but those cards come with adaptors so, no worries.
I think you will find the 4870X2 a more than slight upgrade, although it's a bit rich for my blood.
I advise you to google for a few reviews and look back here for the next few days before making the final decision, but it Looks like you're about to become $414CAD poorer;)
 

JofaMang

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A friend offered me $150 for my card, I told him a cool 100 would take it (second hand PC hardware is not the most reliable investment, and he is a friend) so that takes a bit of the edge off the price, heh.

Will my PII triple core 710 bottleneck a 4870x2? (always more questions, hah!)
 
And, pre-empting your next possible question: No I would suggest you fit the new card first and look into overclocking your current CPU before considering a change.
Unlocking the fourth core may be possible as well, but most games are still running on two and higher clockspeeds would yield a better return.
 

JofaMang

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Thanks for the help dude, the new card was ordered about 10mins ago, and I am looking forward to seeing how it goes.

On the overclocking front, I have managed to get the 710 running at about 2.9 stable on the stock air, though I wasn't very persistent on tweaking it further. Overclocking is something I haven't had very much success with in the past, and to be honest, am quite ignorant (and fearful) about. Once I get the new card I will have to delve back into it.

Have a great weekend~
 

JofaMang

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I have my 710 running at 3.0 stable @ +.50v on stock air (39c idle, 48c under load), which has boosted my 3dmark06 score to 14561 from my last runthrough at 13782 stock. In general use I have noticed it being a fair bit snappier, and am getting a nice boost to my average FPS in games. This overclocking thing has gotten a lot easier since I last delved into 5+ years ago.

I could not find the ACC feature in my BIOS, so I have to assume that my board isn't capable of unlocking the 4th core in my cpu.