TechSpot

Graphics Card Solution for my SFF system?

By LXIX
Aug 6, 2009
  1. Right now I am deciding on a new graphics solution for my current SFF build. I use a 22" monitor at 1680x1050 resolution. I was looking at an HD 4870 but I have seen that there are issues with heat, and because I am using an SFF case I could see it being a big deal for me, especially if I were to decide to get a second one later on. I am wondering if an HD 4850 is significantly cooler than the HD 4870. Then I could even double the HD 4850's later on also. My other solution would be a single HD 4890 (faster and cooler HD 4870) but they are expensive and the prices will only drop so I would rather just buy 1 mid range card now and another mid range card later if i absolutely need to.

    I guess I could put it as 2x HD 4850's vs 2x HD 4870's vs HD 4890.

    I would like to do up to 2 HD 4870's eventually but see the heating as an issue. That makes me retreat back to the HD 4850's. If I needed to though I could set aside money for the single HD 4890 solution. any advice?

    The cards:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150351
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150394
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150359

    Current build for reference:
    Lian Li v351 case
    DFI LP JR AM3 mobo
    AMD Phenom II x4 955 @3.2ghz
    6gbs Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600 RAM
    Corsair H50 liquid cpu cooler
     
  2. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 946   +113

    It really is up to you, yes heat could be an issue but with these cards they all vent their heat out the back of your case, in Crossfire the inside card will almost always have a tendency of being hotter. It comes down to cost vs performance, cheapest would be the single 4890 but for an extra $40 the 2x 4850 beat that, and again the dual 4870 is more powerful but another $60 more. Also your PSU will have to be able to handle the dual 4870's if you do go that way. With the dual 4870's you will have one monstrous little box on your hands.
     
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,290   +25

    That is one nice case. :)

    Also, I wouldn't recommend either of those cards; grab an HD 4770 instead. It performs identically to the HD 4850 but runs far cooler and is much less power-hungry. You could grab two of them for ~$100 each, and get amazing levels of performance without the heat issues IMO.
     
  4. LXIX

    LXIX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 181

    Yes I know about HD 4770 benchmarks and the speeds are amazing using 40nm technology and GDDR5 it can outperform the HD 4890 in crossfire mode. On top of that they consume way less power and the heat output is extremely low. Problem is I need the VRAM because I tend to play on a 22" screen which I will only upgrade to a bigger one soon and I sure love my bells and whistles. If there was a 1gb 256bit 4770 that would kill. But unless you don't see a problem with my current 1680x1050 gaming with AA and ASFF on then I would love to do two 4770's.

    Right now I have a 80%+ efficient SLI/CROSSFIRE certified 650watts psu which would easily handle 2 4850's/4770's or a 4890. Not sure about 2 4870's but read someone saying you could do 2 4870's on a 650 watt. Would love to do the hd 4870's as that would be perfect, but they can idle in the 60C with just 1 card!? I mean the HD 4850 and HD 4870 orice difference is pretty small.
     
  5. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 946   +113

    So if your saying that your not concerned about power consumption and only heat then perhaps go with an after market cooling solution, unfortunately those tend to not exhaust their hot air out the back of the case... Any who its up to you and your budget and needs, heat is always an issue but graphics card don't mind heat as much as CPUs. I once had a x850 hit 110*C and is still working to this day.
     
  6. LXIX

    LXIX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 181

    I got a 650 watt antec PSU. see any problems with dual HD 4870's?
    80+ certified and SLI/CROSSFIRE ready.
     
  7. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,909   +91

    if you have the signature,eartwatts,or truepower 650w your good with 12v amps.
     
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,290   +25

    Two HD 4770s should be able to rip through things at 1680x1050 with AA and AF, and higher resolutions should not be an issue either. Look at this HardOCP review of the XFX 4770. They found only resolution and AA to be the difference point in games; you can turn up everything else to maximum. They even found Burnout Paradise and Demigod to be playable at 1920x1200 with 2xAA and 4xAA respectively, which is superb for a $100 card. Two of them should certainly speed things up remarkably.

    But if you are going for a 2560x1600 screen, go for the HD 4890 instead, since that is the point where the framebuffer on the HD 4890 gives it a clear advantage.
     
  9. LXIX

    LXIX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 181

    Ohh this is more impressive than some of the other reviews I have seen. I would love to do 2 HD 4770's expecially because the heat output being low and the 40nm/GDDR 5m on top of a 750mhz clock. The VRAM and Bus was kinda scaring me off though. Think there is a difference performance wise between x2 HD 4770's and x2 HD 4850's? They can be had for about the same price, $14 more for the 4850's.
     
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,290   +25

    Look at these reviews for some idea of the performance that is possible:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-4770-crossfire,2288.html
    http://www.legitreviews.com/article/966/1/
    http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=828
    http://en.expreview.com/2009/04/28/first-look-at-radeon-hd-4770-crossfire-benchmark.html

    They keep up with a GTX 280 while drawing less power, running cooler, and costing lesser. It is only at 2560x1600 with high levels of AA and AF that they lose out to the GTX 280\285.

    As for your query, the HD 4770 performs similarly to the HD 4850.
     
  11. LXIX

    LXIX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 181

    Alrighty then!!! HD 4770 it is. They are pretty dang hard to find though so if I can't find c ouple I suppose i'll be fine with the 4850's as a backup. Could do the 4870's or 4890 but at this point it feels like overkill and I don't believe in future proofing because prices drop faster and faster these days. = =
     
     
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,290   +25

    The Sapphire 4770 is still in stock on Newegg. Here is the link.
     
  13. thomja

    thomja TS Rookie Posts: 93

    true...
     
  14. thomja

    thomja TS Rookie Posts: 93

    yea try that one
     
  15. thomja

    thomja TS Rookie Posts: 93

    good for you!
     
  16. thomja

    thomja TS Rookie Posts: 93

    i just want to get up to 5 posts :D
     
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