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Seeking GPU Upgrade Advice

kadepsysonkadepsyson sun prairie, WIPosts: 1,937Member

I'm currently running two 5870s in Crossfire.  They have 1 gigabyte of video memory each.  It is likely that in a month I'll be playing many games at a resolution of 7680 x 1600 which leads me to wonder if the cards are up for the task.  As it stands now, when I run a game at 5120 x 1600 I can't enable anti-aliasing above 4x, as the game just won't display anything.  I feel that this might be because of the limited video memory.

What I'd like to know is if these two cards are capable of running games without anti-aliasing at the higher resolution and I shouldn't upgrade.  Or if I'd suffer a huge performance hit, or if they can't run it, what are my options for a substantial upgrade to replace both cards?  That is, if I buy one card to replace both, I'd like a performance increase if possible, and this way I could upgrade again to another card for crossfire later.

 

I have a 1000w power supply so I'm hoping that'll be enough for whatever suggestions you guys come up with.

Thanks.

El Psy Congroo

Comments

  • DianicDianic Las Vegas, NVPosts: 69Member

    I'm not a professional, nor do I claim to be an expert of any sort...

     

    BUT

     

    I feel your setup is massively overkill.  You may have an addiction... an expensive one at that.  Crossfire @ 2x 5870's is massive in and of itself.

     

    What in the world are you playing in terms of MMO's that requires this much power?  It's nice, don't get me wrong, but I have to believe it is incredibly more than anybody needs for any current MMO.

  • Havok2allHavok2all Roswell, GAPosts: 188Member Uncommon

    Most games/software don't supprt SLI and Crossfire. Research what ever you are using/playing and find out if it supports this technology. It's been awhile, but I don't believe any MMOs support dual video cards.

    Rule of thumb, calculate all the power required by your PC (all hardware that draws power) and then add 30% to determine the power you require.

  • skeaserskeaser Wichita Falls, TXPosts: 3,847Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Havok2all

    Most games/software don't supprt SLI and Crossfire. Research what ever you are using/playing and find out if it supports this technology. It's been awhile, but I don't believe any MMOs support dual video cards.

    Rule of thumb, calculate all the power required by your PC (all hardware that draws power) and then add 30% to determine the power you require.

    They might not be programmed to take the most possible advantage from it but you will probably still see an increase, especially at high resolutions. I normally SLi or Crossfire 2 high/mid range cards and get higher performance or comprable performance of the highest end card(s). 

    This really only works if you're going for a high end PC, for a budget PC I would agree to stick to a single mid range card.

  • dj525dj525 prescott, AZPosts: 39Member

    No game supports sli/crossfire its up to ati or nvidia to make the drivers. I've never ever seen a game that says supports sli/crossfire. I've seen games turn it off but thats because its not in the drivers.

    No need to upgrade those cards. Those cards still beat out ATI 6k cards still give nvidia a good run for the money. So just stick with what you got for now and wait for the next gen cards to come out.

  • Methos12Methos12 Maladis 46Posts: 1,234Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by kadepsyson

    I'm currently running two 5870s in Crossfire.  They have 1 gigabyte of video memory each.  It is likely that in a month I'll be playing many games at a resolution of 7680 x 1600 which leads me to wonder if the cards are up for the task.  As it stands now, when I run a game at 5120 x 1600 I can't enable anti-aliasing above 4x, as the game just won't display anything.  I feel that this might be because of the limited video memory.

    Jesus jumping Christ man, what do you use for display? Widescreen projector or something?

    Nature without Technology is little more than animals running about.
    Nature without Magic is without wonder or miracle.
    .........
    Magic without Technology is fantasy.
    Magic without Nature is formless and useless.
    .........
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    Technology without Magic is repetitious and uninventive.
  • kadepsysonkadepsyson sun prairie, WIPosts: 1,937Member

    Originally posted by Methos12

    Originally posted by kadepsyson

    I'm currently running two 5870s in Crossfire.  They have 1 gigabyte of video memory each.  It is likely that in a month I'll be playing many games at a resolution of 7680 x 1600 which leads me to wonder if the cards are up for the task.  As it stands now, when I run a game at 5120 x 1600 I can't enable anti-aliasing above 4x, as the game just won't display anything.  I feel that this might be because of the limited video memory.

    Jesus jumping Christ man, what do you use for display? Widescreen projector or something?

    Nah I've never really had a thing for projectors.  Using two 30" monitors at the moment, third coming in a month.

    I was also wondering how the 6990 would perform compared to my current cards, or if it'd be worthwhile for the same amount of money to just get two 6970s instead.  Or if I'm good as is ha.

    El Psy Congroo

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,779Member Uncommon

    Most people don't need more than 1 GB of video memory, because most people don't play games at resolutions above 1920x1200.  Very high resolutions are the main reason to get a ton of video memory, so you're an exception.  You likely already know this, but when using CrossFire or SLI, the relevant amount of video memory is per card, not total.

    Two Radeon HD 6970s in CrossFire would be a huge upgrade for you, more because of the 2 GB of video memory each than the faster GPU.  That's also preferable to a single Radeon HD 6990, which really only exists to allow people to have three or four GPUs in a single system.  A 6990 basically has two of the GPUs in a 6970, but has to clock them lower, and has a hard time keeping them properly cooled.

    However, I'd still advise holding off for a while unless you have an insanely large budget.  Rumors say that Southern Islands, AMD's next generation of cards, could launch as soon as January, likely as a Radeon HD 7970.  That should bring much higher GPU performance, and possibly as much as 3 GB of video memory per card.  It's a full node die shrink, which should save a lot of power, so it might not even use more power than a 6970 does.  I also wouldn't be surprised if there are new features that you'll want--and quite possibly improvements to Eyefinity of some sort.

  • Siris23Siris23 Minneapolis, MNPosts: 217Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by kadepsyson

    Originally posted by Methos12


    Originally posted by kadepsyson

    I'm currently running two 5870s in Crossfire.  They have 1 gigabyte of video memory each.  It is likely that in a month I'll be playing many games at a resolution of 7680 x 1600 which leads me to wonder if the cards are up for the task.  As it stands now, when I run a game at 5120 x 1600 I can't enable anti-aliasing above 4x, as the game just won't display anything.  I feel that this might be because of the limited video memory.

    Jesus jumping Christ man, what do you use for display? Widescreen projector or something?

    Nah I've never really had a thing for projectors.  Using two 30" monitors at the moment, third coming in a month.

    I was also wondering how the 6990 would perform compared to my current cards, or if it'd be worthwhile for the same amount of money to just get two 6970s instead.  Or if I'm good as is ha.

    I'd go with the 2 6970s over the the 6990, you'll have better heat disipation and lower fan noise + if a gpu goes bad you can still run single gpu.

    But if you can wait it looks like the 7000 series is coming out sometime in the 1st half of next year, which'd be a much bigger boost for the money.

    A final note, at the resolutions you're running you'll want to get 2GB cards, 1GB just isn't enough.

  • RobgmurRobgmur All over, ORPosts: 322Member

    cough' GTX580 SLI . cough'' hmmm hemmhmm

    *Corsair Obsidian Series 650D *i5-2500K OC'd ~ 4.5
    *Asus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 mother board
    * Radeon HD 7970
    *8GB (4GBx2) 1600MHz Kingston HyperX
    *240GB Corsair Force GT Series SATA-III SSD

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,779Member Uncommon

    At ultra-high resolutions, you're likely to be limited as much by video memory capacity as by GPU power, at least among high end GPUs.  The 2 GB on a Radeon HD 6970 would likely make the cards outperform the 1.5 GB on a GeForce GTX 580 in many games.  You can get a 3 GB version of a GeForce GTX 580, but then you're looking at about $600 per card.  It's likely that the Radeon HD 7970 will be both better than that and cheaper if you wait a couple of months.

  • kadepsysonkadepsyson sun prairie, WIPosts: 1,937Member

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    At ultra-high resolutions, you're likely to be limited as much by video memory capacity as by GPU power, at least among high end GPUs.  The 2 GB on a Radeon HD 6970 would likely make the cards outperform the 1.5 GB on a GeForce GTX 580 in many games.  You can get a 3 GB version of a GeForce GTX 580, but then you're looking at about $600 per card.  It's likely that the Radeon HD 7970 will be both better than that and cheaper if you wait a couple of months.

    Based on the advice in this thread, I'll wait on purchasing a new video card or two.  I did a little reading about the Southern Islands series, and a lot seemed to be speculation at this point.  However, it's probably best that I determine how my current cards perform after the third monitor arrives rather than rush into a purchase.  If they struggle though, I'm hoping the HD7000 series from AMD will have nice features and hardware for what I'm after.

    Thanks for the insight.

    El Psy Congroo

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,176Member Uncommon

    Antialiasing (at least non post-processing methods) require a vast amount of video memory. High resolutions require a lot of video memory.

    So that's likely your biggest problem.

    Now, there is some hope.

    First off, you can try enabling post-processing type AA (MLAA from ATI which can work on your 5870's with some driver hacks, or nVidia's FXAA which works per game on any type of card). Post-processing methods of AA can give you roughly the equivalent of 4x MSAA with essentially little performance hit, and vastly reduced video memory requirements - depending largely on the title your trying it in.

    So that's something you can try now.

    I can't say if your lack of video output at high resolutions and AA levels is a video memory problem, or just a driver problem: lack of video memory the game should still play, but with problems (slow texture loading, extreme lag, artifacting, etc). No picture at all sounds more like the driver just giving up: maybe your running a 32-bit Windows, or 32-bit game, and your needing it to access more memory than it's capable of, which wouldn't be a video card limitation at all, but rather a programming limitation, and the only real fix would be to make sure your running a 64-bit OS and 64-bit game client (not many of those exist, unfortunately).

    Secondly, I agree with holding off on the upgrade. Southern Islands is coming, but I don't expect the top tiers to be out until much later. What I expect to see are a refresh of the mid-tier line (what may be called the 7850/7870): cards with similar power profiles to the existing 6850/6870, and better performance than the 6850/6870, but probably not besting the 6950/6970's. Your 5870's still are faster than the 6870's, so if the near-term release is the refreshed 7870, you'd see a marginal speed increase in GPU power with a large heat/power reduction (and the mid-tier cards usually don't come with large video ram configurations, which is what your looking for).

    I don't think any single card will give you the GPU horsepower that your current CFX setup has. A single nVidia 580 may give it a run for it's money, but the price they are still listing at, and the fact that they stock only 1.5G of Video RAM (there is a 3G option, but it's nearly as much as a 6990 is), I don't think you'd get a very good deal - and most likely in games with good CFX scaling your existing setup would still beat it out. The 6970's aren't a whole lot faster than the 5870's on a per-GPU basis, and the 6990's are just CFX 6970's on a single card. So realistically there is no single card solution that exists today that is really a good or clear option, unless your looking at a 6990, which isn't really ideal as your still using CFX, just saving a PCI slot and you could get better performance (overclock-wise) from dual 6970's at a lower price.

    This coming summer/fall I expect the new top tier from AMD (first), and eventually the Kepler cards from nVidia, probably towards the end of that time frame. It will be interesting to see if nVidia evolves the power management that they started with in the 590, as it's sorely needed, and right now is among the best advantage that AMD has in terms of architecture: PowerTune is that good for GPU's, and all the 7000 series AMD cards should have it (right now only the 69xx series does).

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