TechSpot

Suggestions of replacement for 4870 X2 (if any)

By james_k1988
Oct 25, 2009
  1. Hey there,

    First off i'll post my specs as specified on the sticky guide :)

    1. Motherboard - Asus P6T Deluxe
    2. Graphic interface - PCIe
    3. Memory - 3GB 1600mhz OCZ Gold
    4. CPU - Intel i7 920
    5. CPU Speed - stock
    6. Power Supply Make/Model - Not too sure, Hi-Power or something i think
    7. Watt output/Amperage - 800w, it says +12v1 to +12v4 so i guess this means 4 rails? Each one says 20Amp each

    Basically i bought a new system at the start of the year and its been brilliant so far. A few months ago though i started to get random freezing and crashes which i suspected to be the graphics card which was a ATI Radeon 4870x2. My suspicions were proved correct when 2 weeks ago it went insane and gave me all sorts or issues. I sent it back however the supplier cannot get a hold of the card to replace so i'm getting a refund of about £345.

    I'm normally alright at deciding what to go for but this time i'm struggling to choose and was wondering if you could help. The 4870x2's performance was brilliant but it was rather hot and loud when it had to work. I had actaully planned to get the 3rd party cooler for it before it died (http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/products/ultragrade/ac-acc-xtreme-4870x2).

    Looking now the choice bewteen high end cards seems to be bewtween the GTX 295 or ATI 5870. I know the 5870 is dx11 ready but im really not bothered about that, by the time thats big the cards for it will probably be much cheaper anyway, what i'm after is performance. Preferably something thats better than the 4870x2 and from what i can see the 5870 isnt exactly leaps ahead, in some cases its less (till you hit the crazy resolutions at least). I'm a bit skeptical about the 295 due to a lot of issues ive read concerning it, SLI problems and the like, i've been with ATI for the past few years now and havnt had 1 issue like that (at least nothing driver related!) but i'm willimg to give it a shot if you think its worth it

    I should also mention at the moment i just have a 20" monitor which has a maximum rez of 1600x900 BUT i'm planning on getting a good one at christmas which can go much higher :) It'll definetly be one though, i dont have the setup for two so dont worry about that

    So its basically bewtween those 2 or getting 2 totally different cards and crossfire/SLI'ing them to match the performance but still around the same price. I'm on the verdge of just buying another 4870x2 with that cooler and calling it a day but if any of you guys can advise me i'd much appreciate it

    Thanks :D
     
  2. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    I recommend buying this card. You will be able to run anything maxed out at any resolution upto 1920x1200, and you can throw in another one later if you feel you need the extra performance.

    Your PSU may need to be replaced however; two HD 5850s will be too much for it to handle methinks, especially if its build quality is not upto the mark. Can you get any further details on it if possible?

    Your other choice is to grab a GTX 295; that will rip through anything you throw at it, and it's an excellent choice for resolutions all the way upto 2560x1600. The only con I see is heavy dependence on good driver support, since SLI performance is heavily dependent on well-written drivers.
     
  3. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Thanks for your reply Rage

    The PSU is no longer avaliable however the title of it was:

    Hi-Power Black 800W 14cm Blue LED Fan PSU - 20+4pin 4x SATA 4x PCI-E

    It sounds like a random PSU and it probably is however it had good reviews on it and seemed suitable for the system i was building. Plus it was still around £60-70 i think so it wasnt a random cheap one, but perhaps i overestimated it. If it came to it i would buy another one if i were to crossfire/sli some cards

    I never actaully read much about that card you linked (5850) until now, thats a nice piece of kit! The price-performance is brilliant. I do feel like i'd be taking a step back with it though, from what i can see my old 4870x2 is still on top of it (even although it runs hotter than holy hell). I'd prefer to go with a over the top as oppose to just good enough, so i have some headroom. Plus if i got a 295 i could mybye get another a year down the line if my system starts falling behind. That's what i origionally planned to do with my 4870x2

    I'm quite drawn to the 295 due to the fact it seems to be able to handle anything at all with ease and has plenty of headroom. Plus i can get one for around what i'll be getting back, it's just the SLI issue's i'm worried about. Do you think this is enough to shy away from this card? I'm just afraid i'm overexaggerating these SLI issues if they really are few and far bewtween (not had any experiance with SLI so that's why i'm not too confident).
     
  4. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Hey there,

    Money came in today for the refund so i have my eyes on this baby:

    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX-115-EA

    Would you reckon thats a good one to go for? With ATI there only seems to be a few choices of manufactourers however there seem to be loads for this 295! This one is right on the money for me though, literally its the exact price i was hoping for!

    I'm hoping to buy this today but just incase theres something ive missed please let me know!

    Thansk
     
  5. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    imo unless you are playing at a really high resolution the 4870 x2 is great otherwise grab 2 5850 in crossfire or 1 5870 for now forget the gtx 295 its old school now and is not dx 11 compatible and i think 2 5850 use less power than 1 gtx 295. just to let you know quad sli doesnt really help with most if any games just with super insane resolutions so 2 gtx 295 is a waste of money on the other hand you could grab 2 gtx 275 and sli them and get better performance than 1 gtx 295 :)
     
  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Two 5850s is really better mate. Sure, you'd spend about 50-60 quid more, but you'll have far better performance than you'd get from the GTX 295.
     
  7. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Thanks for your quick reply klepto!

    I loved my 4870x2 however i'd like to take advantage if the situation and get something better if possible (definetly not something worse). From what i can see, the 295 is better all round.

    I'm not playing at super high resolutions at the moment but i do hope to be at some point. I'd rather not be restricted, and as i said before i do plan to buy a new monitor at the end of the year if all goes well! I prefer too much than just enough :)

    You have a point about the quad SLI, for the performance gains it really doesnt justify itself (just had a wee read up), at least not yet anyways. I was meaning though in a year or 2 down the line to get another, in case i am in the old predicament of wanting to upgrade but not being able to afford it :D

    I know that it isnt DX11 compatibile but since its so new and will probably take ages to get a hold on loads of games i'm really not too bothered about that. Although a 5870 would mybye be better on the long run, especially if it came to a point where i could get another.

    Ive been stressing over these 2 cards last week, what made me lean towards the gtx 295 is that quite a few games had quite a big framerate difference. But when you look online it seems to go all over the place, sometimes it matches the 295, others its just below, other its a chunk below. You have managed to restart this argument in my head!

    Mybye i need to keep reading about before i decide..
     
  8. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    This is tempting due to the fact is solves my issues of performance and being futureproof, the only thing is i would no doubt need a new PSU, and a decent one for these 2 i imagine will set me back a further £80-100 on top of the extra £50-60 for the 5850's. At the moment (especially with christmas coming up) i dont think i can manage that :(

    *Edit* - Your're right about the extra performance it would have over the 295 though, just checked some reviews. Its well ahead!

    I found this though, check it out:

    http://www.legitreviews.com/images/reviews/1107/power_consumption.jpg

    Seems to be LESS than my 4870x2 was (and in turn less than 295 like klepto said), and it seemed to run fine for me. You reckon i could get away with that? If so i think i'll be tempted to go down this route. I can take a picture of my PSU's label if you want. I've always been a bit crappy at judgeing how good PSU's are, sorry
     
  9. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Two of the cards do pull around the same power as the HD 4870X2, so you should be just fine IMO, since you wouldn't be loading the PSU any further than before, innit? And the GTX 295 draws the same amount of power too.

    It's your call though.
     
  10. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Yea i reckon then i should be safe power wise, if its roughly what it was before i dont think i have too much to worry about. I'm a bit worried about heat and noise though now. I know these cards individually dont run as hot as the 4870x2 however with 2 of them i'm a bit worried my system will spontaniously combust. I have never had a dual card setup before and although i am well aware of it, i'm not sure of all the finer points such as heat and noise. I also read up on micro-stuttering, a lot of people on forums make a huge deal about this but it seems to be those that dont have a dual card setup... I dont know if this is something worth taking into consideration. Should i have experianced this with my 4870x2? I dont think it see's that as a Crossfire setup so perhaps not. Could you comment on this, is it something i probably wont run into that much? From what people are making out it can make games almost unplayable :(

    Sorry for throwing so many questions your way!
     
  11. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    I think micro stutter was only a big deal on some gtx 295 cards and some 4870 x2 cards i dont think crossfire or regular sli suffer from this problem
     
  12. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Hope so! Looking online though it does seem to happen in dual gcard configurations. I never noticed it whatsoever on my 4870x2 so hopefully if thats the case i'll be fine. This micro stutter is new to me so i'm still learning about it. From what i can see it only occurs when the cards are pushed to an extent where the fps is pretty low. I personally wouldnt play at an fps that made the game noticeable laggy because of low fps, i prefer it to run smooth at a nice high comfortable fps. Ive been seeing people max our their systems to somewhat ridicilous levels then pointing out the micro stutter and if i understand it correctly, seems rather silly... Its like making someone run 100 miles and then complaining that their out of breath or something

    As long as i'm not playing a game at a nice high fps and randomly getting the screen going all jumpy :) I just need to make sure cooling and noise wont be an issue and i might buy these babies tomorrow (found it on Dabs for £200)
     
  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Microstuttering is a problem on all multi-GPU configs, but only if the FPS is lower than the refresh rate of the monitor. Two HD 5850s practically destroy anything in their path, and unless you game at 2560x1600, you will not experience it. Typical monitor refresh rates sit around 60Hz, and two 5850s deliver greater than 60FPS at 1920x1200, with upto 8xAA enabled, so you won't notice any microstuttering.

    As for heat output, just make sure your case has enough fans for cooling, and you should be fine.
     
  14. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Thanks for that Rage

    Good stuff, nothing to worry about then, at least for a long time! I reckon i might buy 2 of these tomorrow then, i assume they'll come with the appripriate crossfire connections that'll be suitable enough? This'll be my first time setting one up for myself so it should be pretty interesting!

    I have a fan on the side of my case and one at the back blowing air out. The 4870x2 made my case pretty warm, not too warm but enough to sway me off overclocking my CPU until i get something better. I was worried 2 cards would be extreme heat but i imagine i'll be alright as it doesnt seem to be a huge issue. I gues both cards dont need to work as hard so they dont pelt out as much heat

    I think youve managed to not only get me to change my mind but spend extra cash! You should be proud! :) Thanks for all the info guys, much appreciated
     
  15. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    I would advise increasing the fan speeds on both cards via the ATI CCC to prevent things getting uncomfortably hot. They're at 35% by default, so 65-70% should be good enough IMO.


    It will get noisy, but it's a tradeoff then, and I'd rather have noisy than hot, TBH.
     
  16. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Yea i'll keep an eye on it. I dont fancy them getting terribly loud but i got used to the roar of the 4870x2 alright i guess. Plus i could always slap some 3rd party cooling on them if it came to it later on when its avalaible. I'll experiment though and see if i can get a nice ratio, i wont let them cook! Good thing too is on this board the top 2 PCIe ports are pretty far apart (PCI port seperating them) so i wont have the worry about them being too close. I might get a vga cooler to stick in here to load some of the heat off actaully, they only cost buttons if i remember right
     
  17. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Hey there,

    I was going to buy this card today however its a right nightmare to get a hold of! For the XFX one anyways, the places that sell it at around £200 are sold out and the only places that do sell it are around £215 - 230 which unfortinately i cant manage at this moment. I can find some Saphhire ones though for about £200 in stock. I know this is 25mhz less on the GPU (couldnt this be easily OC'd?) and doesnt have the 10 year warrenty (has 2 years but that should be fine) and doesnt come with the free game (dont care about that). Is it really a big deal just to go with the Sapphire one? Just want to make sure and if so i'm buying these tomorrow

    Thanks again
     
  18. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Sapphire is the next-best alternative to XFX. They are among the best when it comes to Radeon GPUs IMO.
     
  19. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Yea all the Radeons ive ever had have been Sapphire, i just wasnt sure it it was that far below the xfx. I image the performance wouldnt be pretty much unnoticable bewtween the 2

    If i till cant find any places with the XFX tomorrow i'll get these, just wanted to make sure i would be cool with that

    Thanks!
     
  20. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    imo it goes xfx sappire and HIS for ati cards :)
     
  21. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Awsome, thanks for the back up! :) I looked high and low for XFX at a decent price and in stock but i guess everyones beat me to it. I only found a few Sapphires actaully but at least i could get some! I could mybye OC them a tad if i needed the extra whopping 25mhz!

    Thanks again guys, no doubt i'll be back when i break it all... haha
     
  22. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    tell me how they perform after you get them because i am fixing to get me one then another one in a couple months
     
  23. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Will do!

    I give up! Cant find any Sapphire ones now! I've never had to much grief trying to get hold of kit. I have found 2 VTX3D ones (even they were hard to find). I'm going to just go with these as i would like the cards for the weekend. I normally wouldnt go with a brand i'm not familiar with (these guys seem new, from Powercolur i think) but it's gotten desperate :(

    Edit* I caved, i ordered the VTX3d ones, its done, the pain is over... I'll let you know how they get on :)
     
  24. james_k1988

    james_k1988 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 163

    Fitted and working! Had a hell of a job, i got the stupidest of problems like the screws wouldnt tighten in the screwhole to hold the card, its in best i can. My PSU bottom fan also decided to start hitting against the grill..

    Besides a slight issues with COD4 its running brilliantly. I went on the Crysis demo i have, i remember exactly how it performed at my save with my old card and the difference was unreal. Smooth as silk! For a laugh i also went onto Medal Of Honor Spearhead (a game i used to play relogiously) and went to a point where i knew my old card got 1400fps-ish , now its bewtween 2000-2300 and was making the game unstable. Point is, so far, big improvement. Glad i listened to you guys, thanks again for your help.

    If theres anything you want me to try or ask about them fire in. You were right about the fan speeds, they sit far too low. Makes them really quiet however, but i'm going to experiment with the right settings for them.
     
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