TechSpot

Graphics card choice GTX280/Radeon 4870x2

By PuzZah
Nov 15, 2008
  1. Hi,

    I'm planning to buy a new pc just after Christmas and having not built one in a while I'm very out of touch. I've read countless articles, reviews and looked at benchmarks to try and determine which graphics card(s) would be best suited to me within my current budget _and_ aim allow room for cheap improvements in the future.

    My budget is around £350 - £400 ($520 - $595) and I'm looking to play many of the new game titles which are out at the moment.

    My current thought is a Sapphire HD 4870x2 which is right at the top end of my budget but I've found a lot of people say go with the GTX280 instead. Both of the aforementioned cards obviously allow me to either Xfire or SLI with a second card in the future - but what are your thoughts on 2x 4870x2 (I.e. 4 cores) faring against 2xGTX280 (2 cores). I've read that at the moment, Catalyst drivers don't really help the 4 cores shine but again, future prospects from those in the know?

    My other options are
    • 2x Sapphire 4870 1GB
    • 2x Sapphire 4850 1GB

    Also, as I'm more than likely to wait until early January 2009 to purchase, am I unaware of any releases in terms of drivers and or cards which are likely to shatter those above?

    It may be worth me mentioning that I'm not tied to any other hardware at present and can adapt a build to deal with motherboard/psu requirements in light of selecting a card.

    Thanks for your time and any advice you can give.

    Ben
     
  2. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

    4870 x2, one should be fine, will also leave good head room for X fire for the future. Fastest card to date for the money you want to spend
     
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    The 4870X2 is the best card out there at the moment in terms of raw graphics processing horsepower, but you need an excellent display for it to display its full potential. I have one and use it with a 30" LCD at 2560x1600. Games like Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Far Cry 2 look jaw-dropping with all the detail settings cranked up to maximum and run very smooth. Race Driver: Grid runs at over 100FPS with everything maxed out, including AA, at that resolution, which results in a super-smooth, fabulous-looking game. So unless you have that big a screen, the GTX 280 is your best bet.

    And if you're willing to wait, a dual-GPU GT200 variant is rumoured to release at the end of the year. Even if it isn't within your budget, it's still bound to bring the HD 4870X2 down in price.
     
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