TechSpot

What graphic card should I buy?

By parseerror
Nov 25, 2009
  1. Hi!

    I'm looking to replace my old GTX 260 OC graphic card, but I'm not up to date with the new hardware, so I need a little help :)

    My current GTX260 is fine in most games, but after i bought a 24" monitor, it's having a somewhat hard time running some games at 1920x1080 with decent graphic details. Especially GTA IV is maxing it out, and thats the game i play the most.

    I was doing some research and found out that GTA IV doensn't support multi GPU cards, so i guess i need some hardcore single gpu card? Like 5870, but that card is nearly impossibile to get unless i wanna wait several weeks

    Any ideas?

    My rig is:
    Q9550 2.83ghz
    4gb DDR3 pc12800
    Samsung Spinpoint 1tb
    Asus GTX260 Top
    Gigabyte EP45-T Extreme
    PSU Corsair 650 watt
     
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,452   +227

    Well, if you only want a single GPU card and you don't want to wait for the 5870 and you already have a GTX 260, I suppose that leaves the GTX 285.
     
  3. parseerror

    parseerror TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I thought the gtx260 was a multi gpu as well? is the 5870 the "best" single gpu card out now?
     
  4. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,364   +9

    yes the 5870 is the most powerfull single gpu card made right now and no the gtx 260, 275 280 and 285 are all single gpu solutions. IMO wait for the 5850 to come in stock and grab one of those because it cost less than a gtx 285 and performs alot better plus the gtx 260 is not that bad of a card it should hold you over for the time being.
     
  5. parseerror

    parseerror TS Rookie Topic Starter

    you mean I should wait for the 5870 to come in stock right? you wrote 5850 ;-)
     
  6. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 5,899

    There's the 5970 but it's likely to be even less available than the 5870.
     
  7. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,906   +90

    the GTX 295 is a a dual GPU , as a matter of fact its actually two separate PCB's (two GTX 275's) with a heatsink sandwiched between them
     
  8. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 2,278

    for what it's worth GTA IV runs pretty terrible regardless of hardware. the game is poorly optimized and is a total resource hog. i can't even run the game smooth with 2 HD4870's in 1080p and AA completely turned off. more vram would probably help but if you're running the game in DX10 chances are your performance is just going to be fair. i got fed up with it under DX9 and eventually uninstalled it. Meanwhile, Crysis runs amazing on this same setup and looks 100 times better than GTA so go figure.
     
  9. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,364   +9

    no i meant the 5850 the 5870 is a little expensive and they both are far more powerful than the gtx 285.
     
  10. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,900   +711

    If your running GTA IV at stock Q9550 freguency then you're most likely CPU bound. I was lucky to get 25-30 fps with a Q9400 running at stock frequency (333 x 8 , 2.66GHz), oc'ing to 3.6Ghz (450 x 8) got me up to 40 fps average-although that took a hit once I started adding mods. With your unlocked multiplier and the FRAPS program it might be benificial to experiment a little with the clockspeed before committing yourself to an expensive (at this point in time) upgrade for the sake of seeing Niko moving smoothly.
     
  11. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    I'll suggest that you definitely OC that processor to get the maximum possible performance. Also, as klepto says, wait a while and grab the Radeon HD 5850.
     
     
  12. parseerror

    parseerror TS Rookie Topic Starter

    so, what i get from this is that gta iv needs a seriously powerful system just to run smoothly with decent graphics. compared to ex. Crysis, it needs a much more powerful setup to show the same amount of graphic details etc.?

    what if i went for a whole new setup, and bought a i7 920 along with a 5870 and another 4 gigs of ram - would that improve it noticeable?

    and sorry if my english is bad :)
     
  13. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,906   +90

    like Dividebyzero said, GTA4 is a cpu bound game like Flight SimX, you can throw all the graphics horsepower at it you want and the best you will get is about 60 FPS.
     
  14. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 TS Rookie

    It all matters how much you want to spend, you dont need to get a 5870 to have a decent upgrade a 5850 would work well also.
     
  15. parseerror

    parseerror TS Rookie Topic Starter

    yea, but when i'm gonna upgrade anyway, i might as well go all the way. i dont want to go buy a graphic card thats outdated in 6 months.. my thought was, that a 5870 would "last" longer?
     
  16. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,906   +90

    well that's a price/performance thing Par, the 5850 is within 8% of the 5870 but costs 25% more, both are beast's. neither will be outdated in six months.
     
  17. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,452   +227

    If you are only going to be playing one game, GTA IV, then you don't have to worry about being outdated in the future. Just settle on a card that will run it to your satisfaction. On the other hand if you might be playing other newer games in the future, which seems likely, by all means go for the 5870. You might have to "hunt" for it for awhile but if you can find one, I'm sure you'll be more than satisfied with its performance.
     
  18. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    If you intend to "go all the way" and make yourself a new rig, let us know. However, with the current setup you have it's not really a great idea (especially only for GTA 4). Get yourself a powerful GPU like the HD 5850. That should be good. Also, consider overclocking as stated before.
     
  19. parseerror

    parseerror TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, i'm not only playing GTA iv, i just play that game the most right now. I want to be able to play the new games to come, and i just figured that if i should get a new setup, now would be the time as my 'old' hardware is still worth some decent money. And with the 5870 and a i7, i probably wont need to replace anything the next 1,5-2 years. i think thats what i'm gonna do if i can find a 5870 in stock anywhere.
     
  20. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,364   +9

    i really think the 5850 is the better choice plus like in a year you can just grab another one for crossfire which will far outperform 1 5870 you have to look at the difference versus price as in the 5870 is only like 8 to 10% faster than the 5850 but costs $100 more for only an 8% improvement in performance get what im saying?
     
  21. parseerror

    parseerror TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Damn, you really got me thinking about 2x5850 instead of 1x5870 :) however, i actually found another 5870 card i'm considering - the Sapphire 5870 Vapor-X. it has a slightly higher clock speed than other brands, and the cooling should be alot better, which makes it perfect for OC without replacing any cooling components.

    theres one thing though.. in denmark, the 5870 costs ~2500 DKR ($510), the vapor-x version ~2700 DKR ($571).. and the 5850 as low as 1700 DKR ($346)

    so in my case, i could save quite some money if i got the 5850 and eventually boguht an extra 5850 for a crossfire setup.. but isn't there alot of games that doesn't support sli/crossfire setups? i'm just worried that i wouldn't benefit enough from a cf/sli setup, if the games to come isn't gonna support it.
     
  22. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,364   +9

    Crossfire will just be more widley used in games plus 2 5850 will far outperform 1 5870 im just trying to help you in the long run because you can get the another 5850 down the road and the price will be alot lower. crossfire in some situations can perform almost 100 percent faster than just 1 card but most of the time you see from 50 to 80 percent increses. i personally am getting the same setup for my rig so im not just blowing smoke it is a better investment for your money .
     
  23. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,900   +711

    You must be planning a new build then ? I don't fancy your chances of getting crossfire working on a P5Q SE Plus.
     
  24. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,364   +9

    Yeah im going to build an i7 rig in the spring so i can have my crossfire beast ready to game :) yeah my current system doesnt even have 2 pci-e slots so crossfire is out of the question.
     
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