Weekend Open Forum: Time for a graphics card upgrade?

By on April 3, 2010, 2:58 AM
With the arrival of Fermi-based graphics cards later this month we have run out of major GPU launches for the months to come, at least that we are aware of. The most important part is that we now know how Nvidia's last generation products will perform, and based on that you can make an informed decision on your next graphics card upgrade.

On the budget and mid-range levels things were dictated a bit earlier. ATI bombarded the market with new releases in the sub-$200 segment that not always lived up to expectations. Nvidia had nothing new to show here and instead relied on product refreshes and a price cutting strategy that nonetheless has served the gamer on a budget really well so far. On a recent tech tip we summarized what's hot in the market of budget graphics cards.


The upper mainstream and high-end segments could be considered complete with the new GeForce GTX 480 and 470. Unfortunately these cards have not challenged any positions held by competing Radeon HD 5000 products and instead have slotted in-between ATI products both in terms of performance and price. ATI still has the availability upper hand and from what we recently saw while testing a Fermi board, the Radeons are also more efficient.

With all this in mind - not to mention that Crysis 2 is on its way - are you considering a graphics card upgrade in the near future? Or perhaps you didn't wait around for Nvidia and have already grabbed an existing Radeon offering? Tell us about your GPU pick, and what graphics card you are upgrading from. Moreover, was there a gaming title in particular that inspired the upgrade? Discuss.




User Comments: 67

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tragicallyhip said:

I have recently upgraded to a Radeon 4870 512.MB , I suppose if I had chosen to could have hung on a little longer and gotten a GTX480. My rational for not doing so relates to my belief in the law of diminishing return vs perceived value for the dollar and just how much real improvement these eyes of mine can notice anyway.I feel the GTX480 is complete overkill; and on Nvidias part nothing more than an exercise in digital masturbation.Having said that I'm sure there are those who will look at the benchmarking and insist that a game running at 120fps must surely be more enjoyable than one at 95fps even when the human eye cannot distinguish the difference between the two.

Tizzlejack Tizzlejack said:

After seeing the reviews for Fermi last week, I sided with ATI. I need low temp hardware for my setup so I went with the 5850. Huge upgrade from my 8800gts O_o.

The first three games I tested were Crysis, Borderlands, and Bioshock 2 in that order.

I am pleased.

Captain828 Captain828 said:

I'm long due a GPU upgrade since my GTX 285 broke down and couldn't be replaced back in October last year. With that said, I plan on getting a GTX 480.

Why this choice? well even though it is considerably hotter and more power-hungry than the 5870, it is also much faster in most games. The next logical choice would be the 5970, however that is also more expensive and at least where I live the premium is some $130 over the GTX 480.

Also, for 1920x1200 gaming I see no need for a 5970, but I would have to agree it makes more sense to get it over the 480 if you need more raw power.

Another curious mention would be that it starts to pay off in the long term to get a 5970 since it uses less juice than the 480, yet you get no CUDA and no PhysX support (if you care for them).

In the end I think it all bodes down to personal tastes.

flukeh said:

I would consider an upgrade to something that would be able to handle Battlefield: Bad Company 2 easier then my 9600GT, but the prices on cards these days are just going up and up. I felt i got a good bang for my buck when i bought the 9600 for $120, but nowadays if i want a card that will run the latest games well, ill have to splurge more then $350. (I should probably mentions i live in Australia)

kpo6969 kpo6969 said:

5850 if I went with a bigger display. Happy with 5770 @ 1680x1050.

Guest said:

Lemme be honest with yall. I've Radeon 4770. Great card. Next upgrade is obvious. ATI 5870. Efficiency, reasonable price, decent power consumption and thermal. Nvidia GTX 480 100Watt more power draw, 100$ more pricy and get only 6-10% difference. I personally think that AMD's latest cards are very good-looking. I go Green.

Guest said:

I bought 2 5770s and put them in crossfire and this was a huge performance upgrade over my old 9800GT. I got these from Hong Kong and the price is equivalent to around $320. Plays Crysis Warhead no problems on max settings and it looks amazing. Can't wait for Crysis 2

Didou Didou, Bowtie extraordinair!, said:

Just received a Sapphire ATI Radeon 5850 Toxic edition yesterday. Can't wait to put it through its paces. :-)

mailpup mailpup said:

The Radeon 5870 I just purchased was delivered this week so I'm really not in the market for another card. It is intended for a new PC which I haven't had a chance to build yet but I will in a couple of days. Even if I was buying another graphics card, considering the cost, power consumption and heat of the new Nvidia cards, I would not purchase any of the latest Nvidia cards.

I generally favor ATI graphics but in the past that hasn't stopped me from buying an PNY Nvidia 8800 Ultra and later a PNY GeForce GTX 295. My 8800 Ultra died but was replaced by a GTX 260 under warranty. PNY honored the warranty quickly and hassle free. I will stick with them for Nvidia products.

So I will buy either GPU brand as long as it makes some sense to me. In this case the latest offerings from Nvidia do not appeal to me.

Chazz said:

I'll be building a rig in 2011. The graphics market and products will definitely be different by then but I don't anticipate anything groundbreaking. So I'll be going with crossfire 5870. I have a Dell 3007wfp so I need a bit more juice than I currently have. 9800GT is pulling it's weight..but it's showing it's age.

If the next-gen cards are very amazing then I will have to reevaluate my choice.

kakarot27 said:

I'm really mad at nvidia... when the 5000 series came out i waited for nvidia to fight back......now im stuck getting 6 month old gpus

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

My 8800 GT seems to be close to kicking the bucket, so i'm probably in the market to getting a 5850 as a replacement card.

Surely i trade off things like PhysX and Cuda, but to me all those now seem so minor as opposed to the peace of mind an ATi card would give me now, not having to worry if my nVidia card would be running high temps, or whether my PSU can keep up, that sort of jazz.

That said, the 5850's aren't cheap here in australia... at least 350 AUD.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I still have my 8800GTS (G92) and it works fine for what I play. Next GPU upgrade for me is when I go i5 or i7.

lmanlo said:

I first didn't have any graphics except the built in but that's the low ones. Then a friend gave e the quadro fx 3400 but got to play some games but not in good settings. after a month with that card I went with the ATI 5770 so now I am playing games with high settings. I would have gone with the 5800 series but was low in price.

Renrew Renrew said:

I'd love to buy a new graphics card if I weren't so confused about the specs and numbering sytems and prices and what will improve my system.

Guest said:

i've waited long for the FERMI and will grab one eyes closed as soon as they pop up in stores in my country [hope for a watercooled one though]

Guest said:

I upgraded to a Nvidia GTX 295. The main reason behind that choice was NO WAITING for a new toy! I figured, if the fermi based cards blow my dual GPU card away there was always room to get 2 of them and try out "OUAD SLI" (with hopes that the price tag will drop since its not the latest and greatest anymore). Speaking of that I have the original 295 GTX with 2 seperate boards and GPU's in it, the new ones called "co-op" I believe have one board and 2 gpus mounted on it. Are they still compatible to hook-up in SLI mode? All in all Im happy with the 295 seeing that its on par with the new 470, in some cases it even out performs the 470.

Ritwik7 Ritwik7, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Bought myself a Radeon HD 4890 about 4 months back. Not yet found a buyer for my older 9800GT. So I guess I should wait out 2010 on the 4890. Maybe 2011 (or even the next few quarters of 2010) will see newer and better cards and slightly lower prices.

Guest said:

I'm also still running my 8800 GTS.. The new NVIDIA cards are a joke. If ATI hadn't dissapointed me so many times in the past I would totally go for ATI now... but this way... I'm totally not sure :D ... maybe I'll go for the 285 - direct x 11 won't be a big deal for quite a while anyhow.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm still very happy with my 8800GTS OC. I just don't see enough reason to upgrade to new hardware. Which honestly makes me jaded to the GPU market. The current hardware generations since my 8800 just haven't been groundbreaking. I'm still waiting for a single power efficient card that can run Crysis at 60 FPS in my native resolution. I'm starting to think that there will never be one.

Guest said:

I'm still using my 8800GT, I guess I'll upgrade to either a 4890 or a 5850 in the next few months depending on availability and pricing.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I have a pair of 1 GB 4870s running in Xfire, and my gaming experience is pretty good, unless I turn up all the settings to maximum.

I'm probably looking at a 5870 with 2 more monitors, but I'll wait for the prices to drop a bit, or if some killer game comes out that I need to play. =)

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I bought a 5750, then won a 5850 here, so I think I'm covered. As I said on the last open forum, I think the CPU is the limiting component in my PC. I figure the 5850 will last me for a while.

Seraphim401 Seraphim401 said:

I recently upgraded from a Geforce 210 to a HD 5770.Can't wait to start folding!

Guest said:

I recently upgraded from a ATI4890 to a Sapphire Vapor-x 5870. In my case, noise was the biggest factor. The 4890 was great but too loud. The Vapor-x 5870 gave a modest increase in performance but was significantly quieter at the same operating temps. I won't move up again unless noise and temp levels can remain similar. BTW, I game at 1920x1200 and all games at very high settings.

Souljacker Souljacker said:

I'm still running an 8800GTX, might get a 5770 soon.

LGraves said:

I have always been a fan of Nvidia but im thinking of getting an ATI card next. Im slowly building a new PC for Windows 7 64bit and will use a quad core AMD CPU.

LGraves said:

I have always been a fan of Nvidia but im thinking of getting an ATI card next. Im slowly building a new PC for Windows 7 64bit and will use a quad core AMD CPU. The Fermi release wasn't that great. And im noticing that more high end systems are using ATI cards.

Guest said:

Where do I begin?

My first few cards were nvidia...

Then I saw the light...

I'm always going with the underdog, why? Because competition is a win/win for the consumer (us).

We love to always have a winner but now days the distance between a winner and a runner up is a hair thick.

I have a Spider platfom with AMD 940 and 4 3870 toxics ,a Dragon platform with AMD 955 and 3 4870 Powercolors that woulld put many to shame. What do I mostly use you may ask? A lowly AMD 9850 with a single 9800gt Calibre P980 and let me tell you...This one also kicks butt!

The Light that I saw showed me that you just can not keep up with all that comes out if you are a regular John and work for a living, support a family and the sort.

Just enjoy what you have or can get. Let the big guys duke it out while you sit it out and enjoy reading whats going on. Did I make any sence? It's ok to be a fan boy and act like one...Also remember we have the power to tell this big companies what we want by what we buy. Do we need 300 fps for a game? or do we just want to turn off the computer when we go to bed with a smile on our faces because we actually enjoyed what we played?

When we pass away and go to the (wherever) cant take the computer with us...Only what we enjoyed!

Meanwhile, KEEP ON OVERCLOCKING BABY! Oh YEAH!

QuantumMech

BlindObject said:

I'm happy with my GTX 260, gona buy another for SLI.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Philosophy, spirituality, and crossfireX in one post.....

Where do I begin?

My first few cards were nvidia...

Then I saw the light...

I'm always going with the underdog, why? Because competition is a win/win for the consumer (us).

We love to always have a winner but now days the distance between a winner and a runner up is a hair thick.

I have a Spider platfom with AMD 940 and 4 3870 toxics ,a Dragon platform with AMD 955 and 3 4870 Powercolors that woulld put many to shame. What do I mostly use you may ask? A lowly AMD 9850 with a single 9800gt Calibre P980 and let me tell you...This one also kicks butt!

The Light that I saw showed me that you just can not keep up with all that comes out if you are a regular John and work for a living, support a family and the sort.

Just enjoy what you have or can get. Let the big guys duke it out while you sit it out and enjoy reading whats going on. Did I make any sence? It's ok to be a fan boy and act like one...Also remember we have the power to tell this big companies what we want by what we buy. Do we need 300 fps for a game? or do we just want to turn off the computer when we go to bed with a smile on our faces because we actually enjoyed what we played?

When we pass away and go to the (wherever) cant take the computer with us...Only what we enjoyed!

Meanwhile, KEEP ON OVERCLOCKING BABY! Oh YEAH!

QuantumMech

Philosophy, spirituality, and crossfireX in one post.....

who saw that coming

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I am in sore need of a GPU upgrade. My current card, an 8500gt with 256mb struggles to max out even very old games at high resolution. I probably will upgrade it within the next 6 months, to a 5770 or something of a similar price at the time.

Guest said:

I personally think the heatsink design of fermi is very advanced and if ATI's heatsinks used on fermi.. the GPU will be cooked & explode in less than 10 seconds, now i'm not saying nvidia design is bad, but their mistakes is designing a GPU that can do the CPU calculations.. please nvidia next time stick to what you do best and that's by designing a gaming GPUs.

Timonius Timonius said:

I'm going to have to let Nvidia re-proove themselves for the next few motnhs at least. I won't be buying a new upper end graphics card untill the dust settles a bit. My current focus is acutally an interim cpu/mobo upgrade.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I went from a Intel G41 integrated graphics "solution", to a Core i3-530 integrated graphics "solution". Does that even count in this discussion? Should I not have admitted to that....?

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

I went from a Intel G41 integrated graphics "solution", to a Core 13-530 integrated graphics "solution". Does that even count in this discussion? Should I not have admitted to that....?

Intel graphics!!! why that's even worse than a Fermi! oh my god I cant believe it, what a rube!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Intel graphics!!! why that's even worse than a Fermi! oh my god I cant believe it, what a rube!

The G41 graphics score a pitiful 3.5 in Windows 7 Experience Index, and the Core i3-530 comes in at 5.3..! Arguably bad is still bad, but that's a big improvement when tasked to a HTPC or similar use.

And no, I am not deluding myself into believing that it will play Crysis..! Which is quite serendipitous, since I neither have a copy, or know how to play it in the first place. So there!

hachamalele said:

I had free time on my hands and decided to rank the 15 graphics cards used in the the GTX480 test:

1st HD5870 Crossfire

2nd HD5970

3rd GTX295

4th GTX480

5th HD4870X2

6th HD5870

7th HD5770 Crossfire

8th HD5850

9th GTX285

10th HD5830

11th GTX275

12th HD4890

13th GTX260

14th HD4870

15th HD5770

As far as it goes for me here in New Zealand, HD5850 gives me the most bang for my buck, so I'll probably get that.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Believe it or not the G41 graphics score a 3.5

that's the highest IGP WEI i have seen, but as long as her ....well...nevermind

And no, I am not deluding myself into believing that it will play Crysis..! Which is quite serendipitous, since I neither have a copy, or know how to play it in the first place. So there!

you know denial is the first sign.....yer a closet Crysis player aint yas?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

that's the highest IGP WEI i have seen, but as long as her ....well...nevermind

Yeah well, it'll do .wmv video too, so there! Why just last night I was watching "Fist of Furry".

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I will more than likely just pick up a 4890 since i only game at 1680 x 1050 i have a 4850 so ill get a nice little boost then ill wait till the new revised cards come out from ati and get one of them

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Yeah well, it'll do .wmv video too, so there! Why just last night I was watching "Fist of Furry".

I saw that!! it was a double feature with 'Mr Holland groped us'

Guest said:

I'm thinking of getting this http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=46788&vpn=HD5
5AZNBC&manufacture=XFX

thoughts?

thatguyandrew92 said:

my 8800GT is still doin great!

Guest said:

I took up R5770 when my 9800GTX overheated (though now it's repaired). My, my am I glad that the R5770 (factory OC) is way cooler than the 9800GTX at stock speed. Well I guess I won't me getting the Fermi at all not wanting to harm my room any further. BTW, I live in a place with 365 days of summer.

I might just get another 5770 in CrossfireX or jump over to R5870 or whatever that comes next from ATI. The former is my priority now as graphic card prices are not cheap nowadays.

Guest said:

Two weeks ago i upgraded from my evga 8800GT SSC to a 5770. I have to say im dissappointed, dont get me wrong, the 5770 is good card, great value. I just expected a higher increase in performance.

The performance increase in may case was 10-30% depending on the game, i guess ill have to get a GTX 470 after all.

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

I currently have a watercooled 8800GTS 512MB G92

I will upgrade when Crysis 2 is released, currently the games that are out work ok with my setup

And I think by the time Crysis 2 is released there might have been a die shrink to 28nm for the ATI cards so the more reason for me to wait since I don't really feel the need to upgrade right now, I am also eyeing the 2GB 5870; it seems to make a big difference for minimum framerates at high resolutions

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well I'm glad I made the right call, and bought 5770, although i'm not an avid gamer (at best a casual one); I may choose to put another one to have a 5770 CF. I guess, this time around, I am not going green for a while anyway.

Guest said:

Right now I have a GeForce 9800GT 512MB and I would really like to either upgrade to a HD 5870 Vapor X(the only 5870 that can fit in my CM Scout case) or a GTX 470, I have an SLI motherboard so it will probably be the GTX 470 in the end but it's a shame how much power the new fermi cards use and how hot they get at load.

Yad Yad said:

I had an 8600GT and bought in october when was released an 5770.

So far i have been really pleased with it although i think my Cpu is slowing it down :/

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