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Graphics Card recommendation please - £200-£250 budget

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by SteveP, 2 Jun 2010.

  1. SteveP

    Associate

    Joined: 2 Apr 2003

    Posts: 76

    Hi,

    For my birthday, my wife is prepared to allow some frivilous expense.

    I recently got a pair of 24" monitors, and my 8800GT doesn't perform quite as well as it used to at such high resolution (I like playing Live For Speed, but I've had to turn off some of the AA to get it to run smoothly).

    I thought I would get a new graphics card to see me through the next couple of years. I have a general prejudice against ATI drivers from way back, so I did look at nVidia cards, but they seem to be a bit behind the times, and a bit pricey too compared to the performance of Radeons.

    I'm thinking at this point in time, a DX11 capable card would make most sense, to give me as much future-proofing as possible. The maximum budget would be in the £200-£250 range, so I think that should get me something half decent, but one concern I have is that the Radeons (5830 and 5850) seems to be listed as PCI Express v2.1, whereas my DFI-Lanparty M2RSH has v2.0 slots - will they work in a v2.0 slot? I'm not prepared to swap motherboard at this time.

    I use Windows 7 Ultimate, and my gaming is totally driving based. The only games I fire up are Live For Speed, and very occasionally Racedriver Grid. Obviously, if there was an all singing, all dancing racing sim to be released next week, then I could quite easily want to play that across 2 1920x1200 monitors.

    Have I given enough information for a reasonable recommendation? I'm not necessarily keen to fork out unnecessarily, so if a £160 card will work as well for me as a £250, then that's all good.

    Cheers,

    Steve.
     
  2. Alex74

    Mobster

    Joined: 7 May 2009

    Posts: 3,541

    Location: London

    Last edited: 2 Jun 2010
  3. stulid

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: 17 Jan 2010

    Posts: 66,847

    Location: weston-super-mare

  4. alex24

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Jan 2008

    Posts: 10,847

    Smart money would be on the Radeon 5850 here. You could also buy two 5770s if you have a crossfire board, overclock them and they'll outperform the 5870 in most circumstances.
     
  5. SteveP

    Associate

    Joined: 2 Apr 2003

    Posts: 76

    If I went for two 5770 (my board is Crossfire capable) is it a black art to set it up, or is it just plug and go?

    I'm afraid my days of spending hours and hours tweaking and tuning are long gone. :D

    The 5850 does look pretty sweet.

    Cheers,

    Steve.
     
  6. mmmalas

    Hitman

    Joined: 27 Mar 2006

    Posts: 637

    to be honest I can see the point from DX11 yet.

    gtx 295 is faster and cheaper than 5870.
     
  7. Stanners

    Don

    Joined: 20 Feb 2006

    Posts: 4,573

    Location: Leeds

    I would go for the 5850
     
  8. SteveP

    Associate

    Joined: 2 Apr 2003

    Posts: 76

    You may have a point, but it's the "yet" that's the issue. I don't want to be kicking myself in 6-8 months time wishing I'd gone for a DX11 card.

    Cheers,

    Steve.
     
  9. alex24

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Jan 2008

    Posts: 10,847

    Multi-gpu setups aren't what they used to be. Nowadays it's as simple as enabling crossfire in the menu and as long as the game has a profile, it should be fine. I've only got one 5770 right now, but am going to get another soon, so I don't speak from personal experience, just from what I've heard others with that setup say. It's a great bang for buck choice, but then the 5850 isn't that far behind either, and has a better possible upgrade path (two of them!). Depends what you're after really.
     
  10. Marvin

    Mobster

    Joined: 27 Nov 2009

    Posts: 3,872

    Location: Maidstone, Kent

    I would also vote 5850 (I have one...), the most efficient of the 5xxx series cards (performance per watt), runs nice and cool too.

    Best 5850 to go for is either an Asus reference design (and trade Smart Doctor for Afterburner), or one of the Asus Direct CU cards. They have a decent 3 year warranty, good UK support and the cards should clock well.
     
  11. mmmalas

    Hitman

    Joined: 27 Mar 2006

    Posts: 637

    even if gtx 295 was DX9 only, I wouldnt care much.

    in fact the DX11 stuff will make current DX11 cards run slower, there is not much point in my opinion

    I think this DX thing is marketing scam, only to sell newer cards.
     
  12. SteveP

    Associate

    Joined: 2 Apr 2003

    Posts: 76

    So, what's the difference between all the different Asus 5850s then? I'm guessing the DirectCU is a cooling/voltage thing, but what's the "TOP" relate to?

    Cheers,

    Steve.
     
  13. Randomface74

    Perma Banned

    Joined: 9 Aug 2009

    Posts: 12,254

    Location: UK

    5850 vapor-x

    i'm using a 5870 vapor-x it's very quiet
     
  14. Alex74

    Mobster

    Joined: 7 May 2009

    Posts: 3,541

    Location: London

    "TOP" means it has a sliiiight overclock, note the +50Mhz core, +500Mhz Memory.

    Tbh you're better off getting the cheaper non-"TOP" version and clocking it yourself, to even higher speeds :D
     
  15. MrMoses

    Gangster

    Joined: 23 Dec 2008

    Posts: 314

    Location: UK

    many games still do not scale well with crossfire/sli
     
  16. alex24

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Jan 2008

    Posts: 10,847

    A large amount of new games are optimised for multi-gpu setups, moreso now than ever before. Do your research first to see if the games you play work well/have a profile, and if so it should be fine, most new releases won't have an issue with this. It's a valid point based on the fact that multi-gpu can never be as simple as a single card, nor reliable.
     
  17. SteveP

    Associate

    Joined: 2 Apr 2003

    Posts: 76

    I think I'm going to stick with a single card for now. As AlexHull24 says, that's gives me an upgrade path in the future (when the prices will be much cheaper for an out of date card).

    The 5850 cards seem to be all very similar spec-wise, so presumably it's a case of getting a decent brand for cooling and build quality?

    Coming from an 8800GT, am I likely to see an order of magnitude improvement in frame rates on something like LFS or Grid?

    Cheers,

    Steve.
     
  18. alex24

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Jan 2008

    Posts: 10,847

    Order of magnitude, no way, but you might see a doubling depending on the game. Take a look at some benchmarks, there's plenty of reviews over the net.

    As for deciding on which card, I usually buy based on the warranty duration of the card. I'm currently using a card with around 9 years warranty left! The most you can get now however is around 3 iirc. The companies with longer warranties also tend to be the ones with better quality cards. You just have to decide if it's worth the extra. The coolers are all fairly similar, bar the Vapor-X, and overclocking ability is not guaranteed on any model.

    Hope that helps Steve.
     
  19. mart280

    Gangster

    Joined: 30 Oct 2007

    Posts: 372

    I have just upgraded from 8800GT-sli to a single (for now) 5850 and the 5850 is faster in rFactor and Race On, so coming from a single 8800GT you should see a huge improvement.
     
  20. SteveP

    Associate

    Joined: 2 Apr 2003

    Posts: 76

    That's good to know - I suppose order of magnitude was pushing my luck, but I wanted to be sure that I'd see some sort of improvement. :)

    Now I just need to choose which one (and get my post count up to 100 so I can get free shipping - when did the rules change, I've had free shipping before ;))

    Cheers,

    Steve.