What graphics cards should i chose?

pinoynobello

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Im buying an Alienware desktop from dell through my work. I know making one would be cheaper but ill never save enough for it and it will just come outta my checks for the next year. this is the build im going with-

CHASSIS COLOR Cosmic Black, Alienware Aurora Chassis edit
PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ i7 920 2.66GHz (8MB Cache) Quad Core Processor edit
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English edit
VIDEO CARD Single 1.8GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 295 edit
MEMORY 9GB Triple Channel 1067Mhz DDR3 edit
HARD DRIVE 750GB - SATA-II, 3Gb/s, 7,200RPM, 16MB Cache HDD edit
OPTICAL DRIVE Single Drive: 24X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability edit
SOUND CARD Creative Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ Xtreme Audio edit
MONITOR No Monitor edit
KEYBOARD Alienware Multi-Media Keyboard edit
MOUSE Alienware Optical Mouse, MG100 edit
WARRANTY AND SERVICE 1 Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis - Important Information edit


Then these are the cards i can switch from. Im not sure whats good and what too go with.

Single 1.8GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 260 [subtract $400]

Single 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon™ HD 5870 [subtract $150]

Single 1.8GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 295 [Included in Price]

Dual 1GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GTS 240 - SLI® Enabled [subtract $300]

Dual 1.8GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 260 - SLI® Enabled [subtract $150]

Dual 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon™ HD 5870 Crossfire™ Enabled [add $250]
 

pinoynobello

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Oh and i forgot to say i only have 2000 to work with and im already at 2026 so i might have to decrease the hard drive to make it work.
 

brockh

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Then just go with one 5870, and as above.
 

pinoynobello

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if i dont go with dual 5870's in the future which is better in the long run if im only going to run with 1 card? and should i just forget about the sound card because when i try to add dual cards and a sound card it says there isnt enough slots
 
If you are buying LGA 1366 you should have at least 2 available PCI-E x16 or x8 slots on the board so that means you can add 2 GPU's and a soundcard.....

I added dual 5870's and the X-FI and it did not say that there isn't enough slots available :

XPS_Alienware.jpg
 


A GPU and a SOUND CARD are two different pieces of hardware. If he goes with the onboard sound he should be fine, if that does not meet his needs as far as sound quality then he needs to purchase a dedicated sound card. The GPU does not provide any sound whatsoever.
 

brockh

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I don't understand much about this subject, but to his credit ATi GPUs with HDMI ports output up to multi-channel 7.1 along with whatever else it's transmitting, which can't be too bad.
 


True, but that does not mean that the sound comes from the GPU.. Same as with my 260, if I want both sound and video outputed through my GPU via HDMI I need to connect the spdif cable to the header on the board and use an adapter. The only difference with the 5 series is that the adapter is no longer needed since it is already integrated on the GPU.
 

The latest drivers include an audio driver and the GT220 does not have a SPIDIF connector.
 


Yep, but the OP is not looking at the 220. As far as I know we are debating over a 5870. Unless I missed something here....
 

I just thought I'd chuck that one in there as the GTS240 was mentioned in the OP and now it's on to sound so the OP may yet change their mind back to an Nv solution now or in the future if the thought of an external SPIDIF was being seen as a detractor.
 
True, makes perfect sense.

He should be fine with a single 5870. The option for dual 240's is ridiculous for such a high end pc. Don't know why there is such an option, makes no sense...

Don't know why they don't offer dual 5850's either....



 
Like most questions of this type, the immediate answer is "It depends".

1. How long do you go between graphics card changes ?

2. How much can you spend ?

3. What are you interested in ?

If you are going to keep this system unchanged (no upgrades) for more 2 years w/ no graphics upgrade, I'd say the optimum choice is twin 5850's in XFire. Adjust accordingly to your budget but stay with ATI as 3 or 4 years from now DX11 may mean something and the new generation video cards from nVidia are expected at the earliest around thanksgiving ..... and possibly not till after XMas.

The bugaboo here is are you interested in PhysX ? If you don't know what PhysX is and what it means to game play see this link:

http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/batman_arkham_asylum_physx_performance/page2.asp

If you figure you will probably upgrade your vid card within 2 years, and you dig PhysX, then the DX10 GTX 295 you have listed is a sound choice. That's the way my son chose to go as he builds a new box every 4 years but upgrades his CPU / vid card half way between.

The GTX 295 is still the fastest single card option at this point in time....and it will be at least two years before DX11 matters (if it ever does....we simply can only guess at this point .... no one paid any attention to DX10). It will add about $85 over the 5870 (4% increase in your system cost) for a 5-10% performance increase. The 5870 may catch up somewhat though as drivers improve.

If you want both PhysX and DX11 you have 2 choices:

1. Do this:
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-ATI-physx-patch-gpu,8786.html

2. Wait till nVidia releases their DX11 cards.

On a side note, I'd forget about buying from Alienware. There are plenty of system builders who will build you a PC for far less money than Alienware does....and they actually support their products See the blog alienwaresucks.com for some history on alienware. Pick up a copy of one of the current PC magazines and check the ads / articles for who the favored sons are these days.
 

Aneesh@4GHz

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Go for Single 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon™ HD 5870 [subtract $150] As u r not a gamer u should not need a crossfirex or sli gfx!So buy a Single 1GB GDDR5 5870
 

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