Upgrade itch time : HD5850 Crossfire to ?

By Arris
Aug 12, 2013
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  1. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,860   +402

    Don't know what your reading, but you can purchase 3 7950's for the cost of one GTX 780 at the moment...HD 7950 vs GTX 780

    Personally, im going for some Hawaii island GPU's (Probably the 9990 if it comes out, otherwise 3 9970's). But then again I want to see where the pricing and performance fall more than a couple of leaked benchmarks, but based off the prelims and the basic specs (2816 Cuda cores on a full Hawaii GPU, my HD 6990s each have 3000, that's a huge step up) and the more GDDR5 memory for each GPU will make for a good upgrade. Though no matter what you go, either GPU will be a step up, but AMD have at least in recent generations been a bit easier to overclock far.

    I have liked my 6990s as they have been one of the few AMD/ATI cards I have ever owned (Honestly the only ones I have ever liked) which as long as the Hawaii GPU's are priced at a decent price and perform at least close to what has been shown, ill be grabbing those.

    Plus doesn't saying I have Hawaii in my Computer sound cool :p
  2. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,705   +589

    And this is Arris's thread about his upgrade path...and Arris's motherboard supports only two cards.
  3. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,860   +402

    How about you actually read before you make a comment...

    The person I was speaking to was named klepto12, which he stated you can buy 1 780 for almost the cost of a pair of 7950, which I said you can buy three for that price, I never said anything to Arris about him buying three, I was responding to another user.
    I also posted a response and my opinion that I did direct at Arris's upgrade and my opinion towards that.
    I never stated he should or would be able to get 3 7950's on his board, merely that right now at 200 dollars, you can get 3 7950's for the cost of one GTX 780 which was only directed to one person in the thread.
  4. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,705   +589

    How about you do instead...
    Which was obviously a suggestion to Arris about an upgrade path. klepto was obviously better informed of the P8P67 PRO's specs than some others.
    Immaterial to the discussion. Like telling someone that you can buy two FX CPUs for the price of an i7. It may be true but is superfluous in the context that you wouldn't buy 2 processors for a single upgrade.
    In any case, since Arris is in the UK, the pricing is closer to 2.5. Most 7950's hover around £200, while you can buy Palits SJ (4% faster than Titan) for £500

    Anyhow. Back on topic, Arris. Seems you'll have to wait on pricing for your intended purchase.
    No info on the pricing of either the 290 or 290X, although AMD were quite willing to share other cards MSRP:
    R7 260....~$89 (1GB)
    R7 260X...~$139 (2GB)
    R9 270X..~$199 (2GB)
    R9 280X..~$299 (3GB)

    The much larger Hawaii die would tend to make me lean towards $399 for the 290 and $599 for the 290X- although if it is competitive with 780/Titan both stock and OC (since the target audience would require both) then $650-699 could be a possibility
  5. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,860   +402

    I'm done arguing with you at this point, if you really think that comment you made above made any sense by comparing buying multiple GPU's to buying multiple CPU's...Whether or not his board supports it was not the focus of that part of that specific discussion, merely an observation at the pricing difference.

    On the subject, the showing of the new 290X really did not reveal enough about it other than it looks awesome and is supposed to be a performance king. I'm curious now as to what the Dual GPU cards will be like and when these cards come out. Especially noting the lack of a CFX bridge on them since it sounded like they were going to rely this round on the PCIE-3.0 to do the job which will be an interesting turn of events.

    Arris, I think you should keep waiting, you've got CFX 5850's and those things aren't too bad. I know your gaming at 2560x1440p, but if you wait a tad bit longer, you will be more satisfied grabbing something more powerful on this gen than anything (Plus if you want to buy last gen, I bet the 7970s are going to go down even lower). Plus not matter what, prices will shift, so the GTX 780 will probably also come down to a much more reasonable price in the meantime.

    Oh btw, try 13.10 on starcraft 2, you may like what you see, I tried it and it recently (Though I had not played starcraft 2 in awhile) on it and it was a lot smoother than I remember.
  6. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,508   +81

    I've also read that three way crossfire isn't scaling that well, so probably not that worthwhile unless you are primarily interested in benchmarking. But thanks for everyones input ;)
  7. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,860   +402

    Apologies, I never intended to start another argument on your thread, but every time I post that guy spends his days trying to make my arguments wrong.

    As for 3-way CFX - 4-way CFX, well yes that's true. When I played BF3 on one of my HD 6990s, I was easily able to keep 60FPS on Ultra at 1080p and with the V-Sync off it was up in the 80's-90's. With my HD 6990's in CFX, my FPS on one 1080p screen went up to around 120-140 at times which is not a huge gain. The third and fourth card in CFX is more of a catalyst to the multi-GPU setup that allows for more stable FPS. I noticed less frame drops overall with the 2nd 6990 added than just straight up performance. I run in 3 way Eyefinity mode BF3 and other games on my HD 6990s with the Dynamic V-Sync on and keep 60 pretty well (I may notice a bit of a drop every once in awhile on maps like Caspian Border).

    In starcraft, I play only on one 1080p screen, it does not like CFX at all so yea its a bit harder to run that game, though 13.10 (I did not try it on 13.8) did seems to make a significance performance leap in my eyes at least.
  8. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,508   +81

    Used both 13.8 and 13.10 with SC2 and definitely smooths out the micro stutter. Still not 100% but at least it's no longer attempting to induce epileptic fits everytime I scroll around the map :)
  9. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,508   +81

    So DBZ. Any closer to decisions? If the 290X comes out at 780 price then I'm sold. Just a shame that I'd have to upgrade my Mobo if I wanted to crossfire in the future.
  10. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,705   +589

    Not really. At this stage it looks like the 780 and 290X would be roughly matched, kind of like the HD 7970 and GTX 680/770 scenario. From what I'm hearing, it sounds like AMD are banking on the TrueAudio and Mantle hocus-pocus to enrich the feature set and offset Nvidia's add-ons (PhysX etc) and might price the card close to the $650 MSRP of the 780. Not good news for the consumer- I was hoping for $550-599 max. I still need to see some benches, the memory controller, and some overclocking exploits. I'm guessing Afterburner, Trixx, and OverDrive etc aren't set for the card as yet.
    It still comes down to pure horsepower for me. TrueAudio looks like a have, and the Mantle API I could see being an issue with WDDM and how it sees resource allocation. Given AMD's track record with drivers I'm not completely sold on adding more to the software stack.
    Why? Bored with the P67? You'll need an Ivy Bridge of Haswell CPU in any case as the PCI-E controller is part of the CPU. A PCI-E 3.0 board will default to PCI-E 2.0 spec with a Sandy Bridge onboard.
    As far as I'm aware, AMD are saying Crossfire operates the same way as it does on lower level cards - entirely across the PCI-E bus. Shouldn't matter if the spec is 2.0 or 3.0. FWIW, most of the communication on current cards (with a Crossfire bridge) uses the PCI-E bus. The Crossfire bridge is only specced for 2.5GT/sec (or 250MB/sec) -half that of an SLI bridge. Maximum playfield/screen transfer is 4 megapixels across a bridge, so with 4K needing to be accounted for it now runs across the 16 lanes of the data bus instead.
    It is actually funny that for 3 and 4 card operation you'd likely need PCI-E 3.0 bandwidth to avoid saturating the bus. I wonder if Intel will make the issue a PR bullet point!?
    BTW: Check the R9-290X picture...
    [​IMG]

    You can plainly see where the Crossfire finger contacts are on the PCB. Late decision or development board ?
    [Picture source]
  11. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,508   +81

    Yeah, until there is any real world benchmarks and overclocking results this "launch" hasn't really provided much that helps make a decision. I see that some UK e-retailers have knocked a little more off of the 7970 and 7950 cards. Two 7970s could be had for just under £450 now. If the crossfire/eyefinity promises that have been made come true then this could still be the way to go for me. Just need to do a little looking into noise and heat with different cooler solutions. Been quite happy with the MSI Twin Frozr cards but the prices are good on the Asus DirectCU II TOP cards too - http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX-273-AS&groupid=701&catid=56&subcat=938
  12. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,705   +589

    I kind of figured it was going to be a PR circle-jerk. Still surprised that a 3.5 hour presentation basically delivered nothing regards the actual card
    Not sold on Crossfire/SLI with triple slot cards. I had enough problems when I ran 2 GTX 670's in SLI for a while- with the primary being the Jetstream - a 2.5 slot card. I think I prefer to have the extra spacing than a dual slot card provides. The MSI TF OC isn't much more expensive, and if you're happy with the brand. the coolers work well. One things for certain, a £500 single GPU card of any description won't top that CFX combo.
  13. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,508   +81

    Definitely considering the MSI TF OC cards, especially as that retailer is limiting the Asus cards to one per customer. Although still want to see what performance the 290X gives, if it does a good job at 2560x1440 then I could go single card and then CF in the future. Argh... just don't know. So much still up in the air.... Will CF performance be improved, will the Mantle API be worth getting the latest gen card for. Also buying cards that are over one year old doesn't feel right. Too many variables.
     
  14. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,705   +589

    One consolation is that I don't think 7970 prices will stay static. By the time reliable 290X benches start to surface- which shouldn't be far away since pre-orders for the card are open from 3rd October, (r)etailers will want to get rid of 7970 stock in a hurry since the card is EOL as soon as the rebranded 280X launches.
  15. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,508   +81

    I guess if the 280X is a rebrand, then the new software changes (Mantle and CF improvements) should definitely apply to 7970s. Given that 13.8 and 13.10 frame pacing drivers worked with my old 5850s then I'm thinking that the 7970s wouldn't be a poor investment. But as you say the prices should drop further as the retailers want to clear stock of the 7970s. A little bit more waiting then. Played Tomb Raider through at 2560x1440 with medium/high settings and it was quite smooth on the old 5850CF, so can save myself from scratching the upgrade itch a little longer.
  16. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,860   +402

    I would either do one of the following since its been brought up, just my opinion to you:

    Grab a pair of 7970GE's since they are dirt cheap and will still perform admirably in games and can be had for cheap.

    Wait and grab the 280X GPUS, but be expected to pay more than a 7970GE and really only see it as an overclocked version of a 7970GE.

    Grab one of the 290's either the regular or X variant, either should suffice for gaming at 2560x1440p but a second one could be had later if you need a little more ummph in your rig.

    My major problem was that it was using only GPU 0 our of 4 (0-3) and the others were just sitting around twiddling their thumbs (Sometimes I saw up to 15% usage on the other three, but that was rare). I really need it to have full support which im surprised a game that big has such poor multi-GPU support. Though as you and I have seen, the recent drivers have made keeping 60FPS on Ultra easier, but its not perfect yet.
  17. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,705   +589

    The only difference that I can see between the 7970GE and the 280X is the clocks. The 7970GE is 1000 core, 1050 boost, 6000 memory effective, and the 280X is 1020 core, 1070 boost, 6400 memory effective. You can either buy the new card for a very slight bump in clock and a whole lot of "new tax"...or a pre-overclocked 7970GE for cheaper.
    Personally, the R9-290 makes the appeal. Assuming the part follows AMD's previous methodology it should clock to 290X levels (which will also be GTX 780 levels), is a new GPU, and has access to the new bells and whistles (TrueAudio) for approximately $US399. There is a reason why AMD aren't talking up the salvage part and will release it after the 290X - just as with the previous 6950 and 7950 it will cannibalize the top parts sales. The only real mention (and pic) came in this slide:
    [​IMG]
  18. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    Depending on the price of the 290X I could sell you my 7970's :D

    Haven't followed their price for a while and it seems they've really come down a lot. £450 for a CF setup is pretty much unbeatable value considering 2x 770's are at least £600.
    Arris likes this.
  19. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,705   +589

    Gibbo at OcUK:
    and the lower cards, pretty much as expected- straight up rebrands:

    Arris likes this.
  20. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,508   +81

    Scan.co.uk - Today Only - Asus 7970 DirectCU II TOP - £215. Stop tempting me!!! Must hold off until Wednesday to at least see the 290X pricing!

    Hmm although looking at my motherboard and the standard spacing between PCI-E slots these 3 slot cards would be up against one another. Not sure that's too good for cooling :S

    [​IMG]
  21. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,705   +589

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks like NDA expiration is actually the 15th October.
    Not sure about consumer law in the UK these days- haven't been back to the mother country for a few years, but here in New Zealand, The Fair Trading laws don't really allow for buying products and services without knowing what the cost up front, and what the specifications are.

    One other odd thing is that AMD have also apparently taken a leaf out of Nvidia's Titan book. All R9-290X's will be reference design according to the people privy to the briefing. Not just for the initial run of cards, but for the full production life (at this point in time). Weird stuff.
    Pity your chassis doesn't allow for thru-and-thru cooling. Maybe a candidate for the Dremel!. If you could mount a quality fan in the gap between the HDD cages you might get away with two triple slot cards, although I ran into cooling problems with 108 cfm Koolance fans mounted either side of an empty HDD cage in my Switch 810 using 2-and-a-half slot cards- admittedly, summer temps here can creep into the 30+C range though...not really an issue in the UK.
    Old pic showing a GTX 580. You can see the fan position is just about perfect for airflow between cards, but the primary Palit Jetstream of an SLI pair really starved for airflow
    [​IMG]
  22. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,508   +81

    Well, that's just typical... more delays to try and get me to buy their old stock :p

    Funnily enough I have a fan zip tied into that gap between the 5 1/4 bays and the HD cage at the bottom (removed second HD cage from that gap). I think I'm just going to buckle and order 2 7970s in the end. I've been happy enough with the 5850s and CF, only ever noticed the microstutter recently in StarCraft II so not a big issue for me. And recent games with the frame pacing drivers have been fine. Now just have to figure out if I can still overclock my Qnix monitor as it seemed to have vertical hold issues at only 80Hz.
  23. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,705   +589

    All seems a bit disorganised at the moment. Pretty much par for the course with AMD of late. There's a possibility that the clocks weren't finalized for the card as early as the presentation. A few A-list site personalities made reference to cards with varying clock speeds at the event but all were 290X cards. Hopefully they've made up their minds by now, since the BIOS's need to loaded and the cards shipped out to reviewers at least. I don't think there will be retail availability on the 15th judging by rumours.
    Some of it may be rumblings from the Nvidia camp. Looks as though there's a possibility that team green will put up a couple of "new" SKU's "780i" against the 290 (non-X) and maybe a "GTX 785" type hybrid.

    I don't think you'll do better than a couple of 7970's at the prices that OcUK have them TBH. They are still going to run rings around any other single card option, and will be cheaper doing it.
  24. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,508   +81

    The Asus DirectCU II TOP (3 slot) cards work out £10 cheaper than 2 MSI Twin Frozr III (dual slot) from Scan as the MSI have free delivery. Think I'll just go from 5850 Twin Frozr II to 7970 Twin Frozr III. Just about to click the order button I think. I assume you are going to wait given the cost of your proposed 780 Classified's investment?
  25. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,705   +589

    Still waiting on price drops here. At the moment HD 7970/7950 haven't dropped a cent -except for the dodgy voltage locked reduced BoM jobs. Holding firm at the same price as the OC'ed GTX 770 (about £270-280 in a direct conversion) - not exactly a bargain.
    Still want to see what the 290X comes in at before I jump either way- or go with a 780 Classy. Unless I'm unlucky the EVGA card should squeeze out 1300+ Core which is Titan +20% territory, and can be found for about the price of the regular cards ($US650) if you catch the 1-2 day specials in time. If the 290X comes in at $600 and shows some OC ability I'd probably hit that instead, but at $650 I'd likely go with the 780 unless the 290X clocked spectacularly.
    My upgrade isn't too time sensitive. I'm not doing much gaming at the moment. Any spare time in front of the computer is taken up with knocking out a couple of articles for the site. Not particularly graphics intensive.
    Arris likes this.


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