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Thread: Opinions on going 5850 CF (or not) for my setup

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    Opinions on going 5850 CF (or not) for my setup

    [MODS: Sorry, meant to post this in the Graphics Card section - please move if possible]

    Hey all,

    Just wanting to garner some opinions on this from you knowledeable lot My rig as as per my sig on the left, basically a low/mid level system with a Q6600 at 3.2 gHz with 4GB DDR2. Last year I ended up getting a 5850 1GB GPU and was really happy with it to be honest.

    I game on a 24" monitor at 1920x1200 and after digging up some older FPS games to play with at top details, I'm seriously considering getting a second 5850 to go in crossfire mode. The cost of one second hand is about £130 (well, judging by the bay), so the questions I have are below:

    • For the money, would going crossfire be a good option for gaming at high/top details on my stated resolution? Or would I be better served getting another single GPU for that money (and selling the current one too)
    • In terms of CF, is it fairly mature now? By that I'm asking if scaling in most games is relatively good - or at least not worse than single card, which I believe used to happen before...
    • How future proof would you say that CF system would be?
    • Would my current CPU be a bottleneck in terms of feeding the 2 cards?
    • My mobo (P5Q-E) will support CF with both slots running at x8 speeds. I've been reading around and my head is spinning - I believe this will be detrimental to a few FPS at but is this something that I should be concerned about?

    If I had an SLI board, I'd definitely be going down the GTX 460 SLI route, as I hear the scaling is amazing, but unfortunately, I cant without topping a load of money on base architecture. So, to cut a long story short, does CF sound like its worth doing??

    JP

    PS - I play mainly FPS games on PC.
    Last edited by jonathan_phang; 12-02-2011 at 12:38 AM. Reason: Better wording of requirement

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    Re: Opinions on going 5850 CF (or not) for my setup

    They were 130 new recently so you *should* get one closer to 100.

    6k's scale better than 5k's in xf and do so as well as SLI AFAIK. EDIT: make your own mind up its not so cear cut! Remember a single 5850 is a bit better than the 6850 which is equal to a 460.

    SLI hack is meant to work well on a wide range of motherboards but is a bit of a gamble as there is no guarantee it will work leaving you with a spare card. I don't think your system will prove any problems. PCIe Scaling: Crysis with a 480

    Excuse the ramblings! Best advice would be to wait until the game is released!

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    Re: Opinions on going 5850 CF (or not) for my setup

    Thanks for that - maybe some better phrasing needed in my OP, its not necessarily an uprgrade choice just for Crysis 2 (Its not going to out for a while, so god knows what it will need really). Its more that I'm trying to see if going CF is worth it (yes, subjective I know) for a little future proofing. I havent been really been keeping up with anything released since the 5 series, so I dont know if something for a little more money would be better than 5850 CFs etc

    I'm mainly looking at this as the upgrade, as I wont be doing the main architecture (new mobo, RAM, and CPU would be too expensive) so the GPU is my main option, and any upgrade nearing the £100 becomes instantly more attainable in my eyes. So really my question is mainly about any potential pitfalls or negatives of going 5850 CF, whether it be performance or cost or reliability.

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    Re: Opinions on going 5850 CF (or not) for my setup

    performance wise two in CF would be good. Heat and noise wise i would reccomend you have a good cooler on the top card of the two as that will always get hotter.

    I paid £130 new for my 5850 in december and with the cost of a better aftermarket cooler put it to £150 but if i had a crossfire board instead of SLI one i probably would have gone with two.

    The problem you generally have though is that the cost of another card if you sold yours and added the cost of another you'd have enough cash for a single card of similar power that draws less power than two and creates less heat. And one card will run in all games Crossfire is still inconsistent some games are better than others


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    Re: Opinions on going 5850 CF (or not) for my setup

    Quote Originally Posted by danroyle View Post
    The problem you generally have though is that the cost of another card if you sold yours and added the cost of another you'd have enough cash for a single card of similar power that draws less power than two and creates less heat. And one card will run in all games Crossfire is still inconsistent some games are better than others
    Yeah, this is my dilemma... I might have a look at what I can get for about £240-ish and then dig out some benchmarks comparing that to 5850 CF... I was hoping that there wouldnt be anything as comparable performance wise, and that would make my choice a lot simpler. This is what happens when you stop being in the market for a year or so You have no idea about all the cards and whats a good bargain etc...

    More research may be warranted...

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    Re: Opinions on going 5850 CF (or not) for my setup

    Personally I doubt you'd see much difference, esp with older games, unless you're someone who demands 100fps+ even then your probably getting those sort of numbers (depending on game)

    Your on a p45 chipset so you've got pci-e 2.0, running at x8 is a 1-2% performance loss if I remember correctly so that's not an issue

    The real big difference crossfire makes is when you run a multi-monitor efefinity set up because that's a major performance hit.

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    Re: Opinions on going 5850 CF (or not) for my setup

    If you can pick one up for a good price then go for it, I have 2 Asus 5850 direct cu`s and when I crossfired my single card I got close to double frame rates in some games. My heaven benchmark went from 25.1 average fps to 49 average, so pretty good scaling.

    Bad Company2 with everything on highest settings at 1920x1080 I see between 80 - 115fps during online play.

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    Re: Opinions on going 5850 CF (or not) for my setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    Personally I doubt you'd see much difference, esp with older games, unless you're someone who demands 100fps+ even then your probably getting those sort of numbers (depending on game)
    I dont demand 100+ fps, as I will always try to game with vsync on, so 60 max and more than happy with any max greater than 40-45, and although for most games that I have played this year (Dirt2, Bioshock 2, Mass Effect 2) the single card has been fine at min/max/avg fps, there are some that have caused me trouble. For example, in both Crysis/Warhead and more recently Metro 2033, in general, the max/ave fps are acceptable, but the minimum in firefights drops too low (<25) with the settings I'd like. Its with CF that I am hoping to address this and hopefully have higher minimum frame rates. Never been a highest number of frames whore, but just want a consistently smooth experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    Your on a p45 chipset so you've got pci-e 2.0, running at x8 is a 1-2% performance loss if I remember correctly so that's not an issue
    I thought that this was the case, and have been scouring forums and articles on bit-tech, anandtech and the like, but I'm still not sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    The real big difference crossfire makes is when you run a multi-monitor efefinity set up because that's a major performance hit.
    Its hard to say never, what with monitors going down in price, but its unlikely that I will shell out for 2 more 24" monitors anytime soon.

    Thanks for the info so far all, keep it coming!

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