Which card for $200-$250?

avken

n00b
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Apr 16, 2008
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My first thought was the gtx 260, but I see a lot of picks for the 4870.
Is the DirectX 10.1 worth considering?
Which is the better bang for the buck?
Thanks
 

Evil

Gawd
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I have yet to see a game utilize DX 10.1. Assassin's Creed did on release but UBI mysteriously removed it for some reason. The GTX 260 216 core model (the latest version) performs very and if you can get it for a good price go for it. The ATI 4870 model also does well except in a few games such as Crysis (but what card doesn't get smacked in that game except for the dual core 4870x2 and the GTX 280 both very expensive cards).

Looking at a review of various ATI cards on a different review site earlier I saw that the Palit ATI card got really good reviews due to it's non-reference design (improved capacitors, cooling etc) and was lower priced than several other 4870's. As for the GTX 260's though it seems just about all of them are reference design and if you wanted to go that route it appears just about all the companies that make them are on even footing.

The 4870 and GTX 260 are both good cards and you'd be happy with either one.
 

xbob04

Limp Gawd
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Bang for the buck right now would go to the Sapphire HD4870, $179 with an excellent non-reference cooler. I grabbed one last week and it's outstanding for the price.
 

Mr. K6

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What resolution are you running? Also, are you planning on overclocking?
 

Gillette

[H]ard|Gawd
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I've been considering upgrading as well - is it worth shelling out for the 1GB version of the 4870 over the 512?
 

bigdogchris

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My first thought was the gtx 260, but I see a lot of picks for the 4870.
Is the DirectX 10.1 worth considering?
Which is the better bang for the buck?
Thanks
You can grab a GTX 260 216 core on the egg for around $225 after rebate. Better card than the 4870. DX10.1 is worthless, that's why Nvidia is skipping it and going right to 11. Someone mentioned a 4870 for $175. If that's true, that is a great price, but if I were going to pay over 200 then the GTX260 would be my target.
 

xbob04

Limp Gawd
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What resolution are you running? Also, are you planning on overclocking?

1920x1200, runs everything I have thrown at it. Right now that would include LOTRO/Moria w/DX10 client, Fallout 3, The Witcher EE, Tomb Raider Underworld, Far Cry 2 and Crysis. With the exception of Crysis I have everything on high/very high with 2-8xAA and 16xAF and most titles stay near 60fps. Shadows and AF are bugged in TRU right now, but it's not unplayable by any means. I tend to play with vsync on and I shoot for 45-60fps.

I've seen no reason to OC the card yet as I haven't seen anything it won't handle at stock, but the cooler could easily handle it. I set the fan to manual control and locked at 40% and it's near silent and idles at 38c and loads around 55c.
 

DWade

Limp Gawd
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4870 1GB especially since it has 7.1 sound through HDMI. With a GTX260 you have to use separate RCA plugs for sound...ultra lame. ATI drivers seems better than Nvidia drivers from my experience, along with overrall IQ as well. 55nm > 65nm and
GDDR5 > GDDR3 ;)
 

ivandurago

[H]ard|Gawd
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With the exception of Crysis I have everything on high/very high with 2-8xAA and 16xAF and most titles stay near 60fps.

I've seen no reason to OC the card yet as I haven't seen anything it won't handle at stock, but the cooler could easily handle it. I set the fan to manual control and locked at 40% and it's near silent and idles at 38c and loads around 55c.
^
I have the same card, fan set on 50% manual and have same/lower temps.
The card is incredibly quiet, fast, and was quite cheap. I have no experience with the gtx260, but I could not be happier with the HD4870 1gb. It plays every game I throw at it maxed (crysis even gets close) and never gets warm or loud.

4870 1GB especially since it has 7.1 sound through HDMI. With a GTX260 you have to use separate RCA plugs for sound...ultra lame. ATI drivers seems better than Nvidia drivers from my experience, along with overrall IQ as well. 55nm > 65nm and
GDDR5 > GDDR3 ;)
^ I agree with almost all of that. I believe ATI drivers occasionally have more issues than nvidia, however with 8.12 everything seems to be top notch.

I had the same choice to make, and I spent $230 on a Sapphire HD4870 1gb and could not be happier! :D
 

Mr. K6

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1920x1200, runs everything I have thrown at it. Right now that would include LOTRO/Moria w/DX10 client, Fallout 3, The Witcher EE, Tomb Raider Underworld, Far Cry 2 and Crysis. With the exception of Crysis I have everything on high/very high with 2-8xAA and 16xAF and most titles stay near 60fps. Shadows and AF are bugged in TRU right now, but it's not unplayable by any means. I tend to play with vsync on and I shoot for 45-60fps.

I've seen no reason to OC the card yet as I haven't seen anything it won't handle at stock, but the cooler could easily handle it. I set the fan to manual control and locked at 40% and it's near silent and idles at 38c and loads around 55c.
Sorry, that question was directed towards the OP XD. However I agree, mine runs 2560x1600 with little sweat :D.
 

avken

n00b
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Apr 16, 2008
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I'm running 1920x1200 and sometimes with a second monitor running 1280x1024.
Is the 1gb on the 4870 a big upgrade from the 512mb?
Thanks for all the great feedback!
 

Mr. K6

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I'm running 1920x1200 and sometimes with a second monitor running 1280x1024.
Is the 1gb on the 4870 a big upgrade from the 512mb?
Thanks for all the great feedback!
For 1920x1200, definitely. The extra RAM really helps at higher resolutions, especially if you plan on using AA.
 

Jeffredo

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Either the GTX 260 (216) or the HD 4870 1GB. Both are excellent and the decision should be based on the best deal you can get and what your preferred games are.
 

silent-circuit

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Supposedly eBay cashback is going back up in to the 25-30% range again in the next couple of days; I'd wait and see. If you're willing to go that route you could easily get a GTX 280 from Buy.com or ZipZoomFly's ebay store (thereby getting full warranty) within budget.
 

alg7_munif

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He wont be sorry until he has to deal with CCC and ATI drivers anyway...

I'm not sorry dealing with the driver and CCC, it is working fine for me and I'm sure that there are a lot of people without any problem too. I know that there are some people having trouble with the driver both from nVidia and ATi but the majority will be fine. There is no solid evidence showing that the driver from a company is better than the other. I'm really enjoying the card in my sig, I can throw everything at it and it still can play games just fine. :D
 

DWade

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That is exactly why I went with ATI, as I hear many had Blue Screens of Death issues with nvidia cards and their drivers.
 
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4870 1GB especially since it has 7.1 sound through HDMI. With a GTX260 you have to use separate RCA plugs for sound...ultra lame. ATI drivers seems better than Nvidia drivers from my experience, along with overrall IQ as well. 55nm > 65nm and
GDDR5 > GDDR3 ;)

Does the 4870 actually process audio, or does it have an SPDIF input that takes processed audio from another card and couple it with video to the HMDI output?
 

alg7_munif

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Does the 4870 actually process audio, or does it have an SPDIF input that takes processed audio from another card and couple it with video to the HMDI output?

The video card is also detected as a "sound card" in Windows with the correct driver.
 

DWade

Limp Gawd
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Doesn't make sense, why would the gtx260 even be an option if it doesn't have 7.1 sound through HDMI
like the 4870 does. You'll be more happy with the 4870 if you want hdmi with sound.
 

avken

n00b
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Apr 16, 2008
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4
Thanks again for all the great feedback.
I didnt mean to start an nvidia/ati debate. For the record, I switch back and forth based on price and performance. We should all be happy that both exist competitively to drive perf up and the prices down!
Also, I'm pretty sure I'm going with the 4870. Slightly better prices and the audio.

I do have another question. What power is needed for these cards. I currently have an Emermax 535w.

Its a bit dated, but I'm trying to hold off until I upgrade my mb/cpu. I'm running an Opteron 148 (Socket 939) with a pair of hard drives. Can I get by with my current power supply?
 

hossdaddy

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if its the enermax 565p rated @ 535w you will be fine. I had that psu and its certified for a 4850 or 4870 according to ati's site.
 

nascarob

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Jan 3, 2005
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According to recent reviews the GTX260 is a tad faster than a ATI4870 in some games but the price is still cheaper on the ATI4870 so you have to weight price over small speed increase... I just bought a HD4870 for 152.50... couldnt pass on that one... It should last until the middle of 2009... then it will time to upgrade again.. does this cycle never end?

Rob in Mesquite,Tx
 

MrWizard6600

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You can grab a GTX 260 216 core on the egg for around $225 after rebate. Better card than the 4870. DX10.1 is worthless, that's why Nvidia is skipping it and going right to 11. Someone mentioned a 4870 for $175. If that's true, that is a great price, but if I were going to pay over 200 then the GTX260 would be my target.

... Blinded by science been here so I'll refrain....

I'm not hear to tell you DX 10.1 is important, I'm not here to tell you its unimportant, I'm here to tell you its impossible to get an unbiased source on the issue.

Yes, the GTX260 216 is a slightly better card than the HD4870 X2. It fits the linear-cross-deminishing-returns curve that most video card generations fit, IE you get exactly the performance increase you'd expect from that $50.

I will say this, Sapphire is a horrible board partner, XFX, EVGA, and BFG are all great board partners.

That is exactly why I went with ATI, as I hear many had Blue Screens of Death issues with nvidia cards and their drivers.

you got an unluckey streak. Dont boycott 50% of a markets products because you had a string of bad luck. If you run windows, drivers are a non-issue these days.
 

DWade

Limp Gawd
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Yes, the GTX260 216 is a slightly better card than the HD4870 X2. .

What? The 4870x2 is much faster than the GTX260 216/192 and with the new 8.12 drivers competes with GTX280 sli. Sorry but your dead wrong in that statement. Opinions are good and all but what you said is like me saying a 4850 is faster than a GTX280. And most benches show the GTX260 core 216 model 1-2fps faster than the older core 192 model. $50 for 2 fps? I don't think so.
 

nissanztt90

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What? The 4870x2 is much faster than the GTX260 216/192 and with the new 8.12 drivers competes with GTX280 sli. Sorry but your dead wrong in that statement. Opinions are good and all but what you said is like me saying a 4850 is faster than a GTX280. And most benches show the GTX260 core 216 model 1-2fps faster than the older core 192 model. $50 for 2 fps? I don't think so.

I, and im sure most others would be willing to bet that he meant the 4870 1GB, since that is what was being talked about through out this entire thread. No need to jump on him for making a simple mistake.
 

DWade

Limp Gawd
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And I'm sure there is no need to try to encinuate that I'm jumping on someone for making a simple
mistake. This is Hardforum so it's arguable that you wouldn't confuse a 4870 and a 4870x2. I sure
wish they would at Best Buy though, lol.
 

nissanztt90

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And I'm sure there is no need to try to encinuate that I'm jumping on someone for making a simple
mistake. This is Hardforum so it's arguable that you wouldn't confuse a 4870 and a 4870x2. I sure
wish they would at Best Buy though, lol.

Insinuate*, but i give you an A+ for effort and good vocab use. I also highly doubt he confused them, more likely just not thinking for a second.
 

DWade

Limp Gawd
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Yes, the GTX260 216 is a slightly better card than the HD4870 X2.

Sorry but this is clearly an incorrect statement. You should give me an A+ for truth, which is a 4870x2 is faster than a gtx260, and even faster than gtx295 at higher resolutions with
8xAA :). Why must you defend someone that clearly made an incorrect statement nissanztt90, and why must you attack me for correcting him?
 

CommanderFrank

Cat Can't Scratch It
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He wasn't attacking you, he was correcting you.
Now knock it off and get back to the discussion.
 

DWade

Limp Gawd
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He's trolling, he already had one of his posts deleted for trolling/flaming earlier in this
thread. He was getting on my case for correcting some guy that said a gtx260
is faster than a 4870x2.
 
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