Upgrade Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Videocards - AMD Radeon' started by Nuluvius, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. Nuluvius

    Nuluvius New Member

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    GPU:
    Radeon X1550 512MB
    Hello community,

    This will be my first post in this forum and I am looking forward to getting to know you all. The thing that brings me here before you today is a request for advice and opinions about a choice of graphics card.

    I built my rig (in a light hearted sense the word) well before I went back to education, when I had a full time job. At the time the components were fairly ok. That was over 6 years ago!!!

    Ok, so now that I’m out the other side, with a wife, a kid and a great software engineering job I am going to start to upgrade things a piece at a time.

    This is my current set up:
    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4600+ OC@3GHz
    PSU: 850W Unbranded (piece of garbage, jimmied in in an emergency when the last exploded)
    GPU: Sapphire Radeon X1550 512MB
    MB: Asus M2N-E
    RAM: 4GB OCZ DDRII
    HDD: 6 1TB SATAs (not raided)
    Monitors: x4 LCD 19” @ 1280x1024 (2 connected, guess why I have the others)
    Case: It’s not notably branded, but its BIG, great airflow, lots of fans & bays

    Yes, the rig is a pile of garbage, I am fully aware of that fact. The first step I intend to take is (I have to do it in steps because of cash flow) to swap out:
    PSU: 650W Antec TruePower New Modular
    CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 Black Ed (the mobo supports this with a bios patch)
    GPU: This is where I want some opinions *

    Yeah, stage three will be to scrap the MB for something capable of supporting the Bulldozer or I may go Intel skt 2011 (haven’t decided that yet).

    *I am after a card to run eyefinity with 3 monitors (ideally for productivity sakes I’d like 4 but I’m ok with 3). I will be using it for gaming and productivity – yes all the latest games and also some intensive programming. <- I also intend to be using C++ amp etc… so I’ll be taking advantage of all those wonderful parallel processors on the card. That said I am not overly keen on an NVIDEA solution.

    I have looked at a lot of reviews and benchmarks and my choices are down to three, possibly four cards, I will link from Scan:

    Sapphire HD6770 Vapor-X 1GB
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-...800mhz-gddr5-gpu-860mhz-800-cores-dp-dvi-hdmi

    XFX HD 6790 DD
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-...stream-processors-dl-dvi-i-dvi-hdmi-2x-mini-d

    MSI HD 6850 OC
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-...u-820mhz-960-stream-processors-2x-dvi-hdmi-dp

    MSI HD 6870 OC
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-...am-processors-hdmi-2x-mini-displayport-2x-dvi

    My primary choice based on the reviews and gut feeling was the XFX DD 6790, I also like the cost (I get VAT of all components as well so I’m looking at the little number :D ). The stock cooler seems to be really good and the card seems able to OC well (even with the stock cooler). Plus for that price I can drive 4 monitors.

    But, for the sake of future proofing I liked the look of the MSI and there OC potential – I understand the 6850 series can actually OC to near 6870 series levels… But I also understand that the 6850 series are riddled with issues, notably a VRAM power spike problem that causes black screen/artefacts. The last thing I need is to shell out on something unstable.

    I know that the rig will have a serious bottleneck, worsened by the low resolutions for the time that the duel core remains but please remember its getting addressed. Also my wife has an almost identical setup – only hers is even older (socket 939 roflol). I’ll give her my MB with the quad core once I hit stage three. Yeah, she plays games, likes hardware and is not a geek.

    So, that’s my situation, I’d like to have this squared away by the end of the weekend so I can get this kit ordered on Monday. Your advice, opinions and help are very welcomed and I greatly appreciate anything you have to say.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  2. Nuluvius

    Nuluvius New Member

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    Forgot to say, eventually when the MB is upgraded I will probably xfire & OC the card.
     
  3. Krogtheclown

    Krogtheclown Master Guru

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    FuryXfire 3440x14freesync
  4. lenne

    lenne Master Guru

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    i would go for the 6870 with an proper cooling solution, stock oc isnt necessary at all u can oc by urself without spending money for it.
     

  5. Nuluvius

    Nuluvius New Member

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    @Krogtheclown That thing is a beast! Sadly out of my budget... which would be capped at £120 for the card (lower is best).
     
  6. PinguX

    PinguX Master Guru

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    Sapphire 280
  7. Lowki

    Lowki Master Guru

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    RTX 2070 xc ultra
  8. Nuluvius

    Nuluvius New Member

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    Well yes, if I had a large amount of cash right now I would certainly do so. But I would choose better components, perhaps a 2011 Extream and a MSI Military class III board or the 8150 Black Edition Bulldozer if I stay AMD.

    I need desktop real estate now however. So I considered the cards first. Plus I have 2 rigs to consider rather than just the one. So its all about what's going to give the most useful return on the expenditure right now. I'm not looking for a completely astounding gaming experience, just something that will do and the ability to use eyefinity.

    By getting a 6870 or a 6850 (probably going to get 2 XFX 6870 DDs) for each rig the benefit is that I can give both cards over to my wife when we upgrade and she can CF them. Then I only need to get one card for the new builds (my own).
     
  9. LordJummy

    LordJummy Master Guru

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    Save your money. Don't build a bulldozer setup - that's like committing suicide man.

    Just keep saving and build a 2500K based machine, or even an i3 2100. These CPU's are suited much better for what you want to do.

    Also, you should save up for a 69xx based card, or wait for the 7k series, as you're not going to be playing any games in eyefinity 3x1 with a 6870 or less. Maybe with super low settings and resolution...


    You should really rethink what you're doing and save up all the money first, and then execute when you have enough money to build everything at once. Going part by part is very unwise, as new parts will be released while you are gradually upgrading. This renders your machine outdated by the time it's finished.

    Just my thoughts on this...
     
  10. Nuluvius

    Nuluvius New Member

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    Thank you, your points are well valid! After careful consideration I will not be going AMD for the new rigs, I will be going Intel 2011 Ex.

    Again, I really do see the logic - but making a purchase of x2 6870s now will let me had them over to my wife right into a CF later at the point when we make completely new rigs.

    Don't forget I get these with no VAT - so I am only paying some thing like £116 x2 as opposed to over 1.8 - 2k x2 for the components for 2 new rigs.

    Also I am heeding the advice to start again and they would be the only thing we will keep from the current rigs. So everything will get scraped apart from the cards and cases (cases are decent), my wife will get them in CF on her new rig, or they get sold on.

    I'll try and clarify why I was going to get them:
    Both of us need more desktop real estate now. I need the parallel processors for programming reasons. Between our workloads we like to de-stress with a few games. You mentioned that these cards will likely not perform well with eyefinity - I am going to throw a few links about now:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udD8BwiQAsQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kntsjtXnpbs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv1278B2Aco
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-WEtJx_-rk

    I know they are from the same source, but I can actually even find vids of Crysis running on my very same processor with one of these cards. I can link if requested.

    At 1280x1024 x3 or even x4 (we already have more than enough flat screen 19" laying around), I was hoping that I would get away with it. I do understand its not going to be amazing. But as I said, I am looking for a bridge solution right now - if it lets us at least play some new games, that's fine - right now we certainly can't.

    I have the intention of cutting no corners with the new builds - but it wont be for about 1 to 2 years. If 2 new cards and a new processor would get us to a "just able" or "moderately ok" level + the desktop real estate we need right at this point. That was my thought process.

    Please let me know what you think:
    Am I completely missing the mark; do these cards seriously not have enough power to do this; would they be of no use in CF later on; should I just not bother; will they still be crippled by a quad.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011

  11. Nuluvius

    Nuluvius New Member

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    I take the silence to mean that I should just not bother.
     

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