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Graphics Advice: Looking for a new graphics card

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by JediAndi, 30 Jul 2012.

  1. JediAndi

    JediAndi What's a Dremel?

    30 Jul 2012
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    I need some advice on which graphics card is worth investing in.

    I'm running an Intel i7 950 Sandybridge on an Asus X58 Sabertooth. I currently have an ATi Radeon 5550, which is what I could afford when I built my new system, but I am doing a lot more GPU intensive work in After Effects and need to upgrade. I use 2x 21" monitors so need two outputs, preferably DVI

    My questions is this: Is it better to spend more on a single card with better capabilities or spend less on a card but get two and crosslink them?

    Based on suggestions from the various software manufacturers I have my eyes on the following cards: Radeon HD 6870, 7770, 7850, 7870, 7950, 7970

    Does anyone have any experience of these cards, suggestions or tips? I do need to run my two monitors, so some of these cards wouldn't work individually for my setup and I would need two. I'm a bit lost on all the tech involved and want to spend my money wisely.

    Thanks in advance for all your help!
  2. gaz_360

    gaz_360 Make that change

    24 Apr 2009
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    Hey JediAndi.

    Having looked at the various cards you have mentioned, from what I know, all of them support multiple displays through the use of just one card, with ATi's multi-monitor tech that has been used since the 5XXX series.

    Do you have any particular budget in mind for the card? Also will you mainly be doing rendering, with a small amount of gaming, or just rendering etc?

    With the motherboard you currently have, you have the option to go for a crossfire setup with another card, however depending on your usage, it may be an advantage to buy a slightly higher spec GPU as you mentioned, but keep in mind other variances such as power usage (can your PSU handle something like a 7970?), and also case space.

    Hope this has helped a bit :) let us know what your thoughts are on usage.
  3. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

    3 May 2012
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    If you're talking about using two cheaper cards to get the equivalent performance of one top end card then I would get one top end card. Of your choice I would go for the 7970. However I'm coming from the gaming perspective not the workstation perspective.
  4. Kodongo

    Kodongo What's a Dremel?

    29 Feb 2012
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    It depends on how much you want to game versus how much you want processing power. O fthe cards you mentioned the only one I would exclude from the list is the 7770, it is comprehensively outperformed by a 6870 and comes in at around the same price.

    The bang for buck card at the moment seems to be the 7850 which has just come under £200. It is a card which can play just about anything on high settings at 1080p and will still be several magnitudes faster than a 5550.

    If you want to maximise your GPU compute power, then the 7900 series is simply head and shoulders above anything else. 7950s at around £250 would be most optimal price-performance choice.

    Most of the AMD 7000 Series (at least reference ones) come with DVI-HDMI-mDP-mDP which would require one dongle to power your displays.

    Personally, I would advise you to get a better single card now than go down the CrossFire route because multiGPU requires a lot more power and the increase in performance varies greatly from game to game and program to program
  5. Elton

    Elton Officially a Whisky Nerd

    23 Jan 2009
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    The thing is, if you're trying to save money and you're willing to persevere with potential issues, then two cards is the way to go. But if you want just install and go, then getting a powerful single card is the best idea. Seeing as you're doing aftereffects work, as long as you have a hefty CPU then you should be fine, a 950 still is no joke. However if you want CUDA acceleration then you'll have to get an Nvidia card.

    In that case get a GTX580/GTX570 (used). It's outdated but it's got better compute. But if you're gaming get a GTX670. Admittedly the better for your money cards are right now the AMD breed given that Nvidia's got not mid range.
  6. lm_wfc

    lm_wfc Minimodder

    18 Feb 2011
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    If a 5550 is doing the job why do you require such a powerful gpu?
  7. rollo

    rollo Modder

    16 May 2008
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    First and foremost does the program you use support cuda if so you want a nvidia 580. Second crossfire scaling or sli scaling for that matter is not 100% perticularly in older games, if I was to average the scaling out it would be AMD at 70% and nvidia at 75% and they are on the high side.

    Battlefield3 one of the better scaling games is not even 100% and most of the older games are below 50%. Sli crossfire is still very driver dependent.
  8. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon What's a Dremel?

    3 Jul 2010
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    it depends whether the OP's using CS6 or CS5/5.5 & what the plugins used support...

    Well, CS6 is opencl rather than cuda - so it's swings & roundabouts between nvidia & ati - whereas previously it was cuda only...

    ...however many plugins 'may' be cuda only - so it's down to what the OP's using.

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