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Thread: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

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    Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    ... Have moved to a 1080p screen from my old 1680x1050 and whilst the additional 4870 I bought 6 months ago (for £50, thanks ebay) has been giving my original 4870 a hand I was wondering if it's time to retire the cards and switch to a single, faster, lower energy-sucking, cooler, dx11, card.

    The view to purchase another xxxx card in 12 months time if this one starts to struggle.

    Game-wise I've just got back into ARMA2... My rig to the left gets me ~46 FPS on the benchmark but realistically I'm sure that is ranging from 15 to 60 as it's not as smooth as I'd like it to be. Otherwise I play CSS/TF2 which already run silky smooth so no problem there.

    I'd like to get Crysis 2 at some point too, not sure how that works on 2x4870s @ 1080p though... and then be fairly future proof for a while.

    6950 is looking fairly tempting (with unlock to 6970) but am not sure how much better that will be than my two cards (obviously will draw less power and save some electric bill though!).

    ... on a side note, is having >4gb memory worth it, it'll cost me £50 to get up to 8gb, but if nothing is going to use it then there's little point shelling out the cash.

    Other constraint is my case... the 4870s /just/ fit in so anything bigger is out unless I go for a new case, which starts to make everything get more expensive/complicated.. plus I really quite like my case*


    * though am considering moving to something with a 120mm hole in the back and moving to one of these closed-loop simple CPU coolers... hmm..

    Mark

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    What you need is the GPU bench
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU11/188
    This will tell you exactly how all of the GPUs currently available stack up. What's your budget ?
    Society's to blame,
    Or possibly Atari.

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    Thanks for the link but sadly they don't have the 4870 in CF and if you double the scores of the 4870 (ok so 75% is more realistic scaling) the 6950 doesnt have much of a lead (link: here), or if you say 2x4870 ~= 1x5870 it's not a huge margin.

    Which makes me think that it's almost worth holding out til the 7xxx series comes along...

    I'm also worried about the length of these newer cards... I need to get a tape measure out but according to google my 4870 is ~9.5". The additional power cables connect on the end (rather than the top) which takes up probably an extra 0.75" or so... am doubtful a 11" card is going to fit in my case.

    -- edit... budget is probably £200 but I'd like there to be a sizeable difference in performance, perhaps I just need to wait.
    Last edited by streetster; 04-05-2011 at 09:02 AM.

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    If your motherboard supports SLi the nvidia cards are considerably shorter than the ATI ones in the same bracket. GTX 560 springs to mind as a card that is powerful yet short. But cheaper than HD 6950 and roughly same performance.

    TBH the real problem with you crossfire setup at the moment is that the cards are 512mb ones. So even if gpubench says your current 4870x2 setup is roughly equal to a HD6950 if isn't because your current setup only has 512mb of buffer (that is how crossfire works right!?). That is probably what is holding you back particularly going from 1680 to 1080p.

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    ^ This.
    If it was me - I'd save up and wait for the next gen.
    Society's to blame,
    Or possibly Atari.

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    @c.ruel - yeah I think the 512mb framebuffer is doing me some harm, also CF support on my motherboard is a bit poor, it's 16/1 rather than 16/16 or 8/8 so a 6950 is likely to be faster than my setup but probably not enough to justify the £200 outlay.

    @Page - certainly seems that's the sensible option... I'd probably give one of my 4870s to my brother and keep the other as a spare, so not like I'd sell them both for £80 and make the upgrade 'cost' £120...

    Cheers tho guys

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    tbh there isnt anything considerable to go from 2 4870s without a pricy tag.

    also arma 2 is a seriously badly coded game (or atleast very demanding) even if you get 2 6970s you still wont see performance gains.

    Tbh by my calculations, the next gen consoles are coming 2015. Most of the games tent to be coded for consoles then ported to pc, so my theory is if you can run stuff now then you wont need to upgrade until 2015.

    i my self in the last 5month went from single 4870 to 5770 to 2 6850s. now looking at my money and the games i play, i wish i kept the 4870 as there really hasnt been a huge change. Other than epeen in benchmarks i havent really gained anything. My 4870 could run games adequately, now i run them at exactly the same detail just with silly high frame rates which is pointless. So as a result i decided to do a straght swap with a friend from my 2 6850s to a single 6970 for the vram so i can get eyefinity to work on. So if anyone wants a cheap 6850 pm me (shameless selling)

    [edit] regarding unlocking 6950 to 6970, theres a reason why they were locked in the first place. And it wasnt because ati needed a cheaper card. Why would they sell a perfectly good 6970 for lower cost? If the production cost is exactly the same whilst they are getting less for it. Theres been far far too many cases of unlocked 6950s burning out for various reasons

    tl:dr ^^ dont bother, wait for next gen cards, unless you have alot of spare cash in which case go on holiday
    Last edited by Georgy291; 04-05-2011 at 12:09 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by MadduckUK View Post
    now that i think about the word "throttled" in a certain light... its not so far different to strangled really

    our boiler broke so we has no heating or hot water, this is the bloody result ^^

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    Splash out on a decent card now such as a Radeon 6970 or Geforce GTX 570, then add another one later for SLI/Xfire when they get cheaper (if your not bothered about power consumption, micro-stutter and the odd compatibility issue with games... This is why i stick with single GPU's now... and because i'm a cheapskate lol! ).

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    Senior[ish] Member Singh400's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    @OP: I would definitely look at getting a couple of HD6950s and unlocking the shaders only and whacking them into crossfire. I got my HD6950 for £189. And plan to buy another one at end of the year.

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgy291 View Post
    [edit] regarding unlocking 6950 to 6970, theres a reason why they were locked in the first place. And it wasnt because ati needed a cheaper card. Why would they sell a perfectly good 6970 for lower cost? If the production cost is exactly the same whilst they are getting less for it. Theres been far far too many cases of unlocked 6950s burning out for various reasons
    Sorry, but that's a load of nonense. And ATi didn't "lock" them in the first place. They thought they could get away with using a more restrictive BIOS. The hardware components are exactly the same in reference HD6950s and HD6970s the only thing that is different is the BIOS.

    And the reason you are seeing a relative small minority of burnt out unlocked HD6950s is because people don't read everything about it. If you use the stock unlock tool, it will flash a stock HD6970 and increase the voltages. The memory on the HD6950 is of a poorer quality than the HD6970 and cannot handle higher voltages. But many people like myself have kept the voltages the same so there is no chance of me burning my card up. But instead I have unlocked the shaders ONLY with a modified BIOS.

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    Quote Originally Posted by Singh400 View Post
    The hardware components are exactly the same in reference HD6950s and HD6970s the only thing that is different is the BIOS.
    Quote Originally Posted by Singh400 View Post
    The memory on the HD6950 is of a poorer quality than the HD6970 and cannot handle higher voltages.
    Erm...

    What about the heatsink & fan combo's? Do both the 6950 and 6970 use identical coolers? I know some reference coolers look the same on the outside but could have less copper, a lower fin count or just a smaller heatsink on the inside of the casing.

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    Quote Originally Posted by PowerPie5000 View Post
    Erm...

    What about the heatsink & fan combo's? Do both the 6950 and 6970 use identical coolers? I know some reference coolers look the same on the outside but could have less copper, a lower fin count or just a smaller heatsink on the inside of the casing.
    I knew someone would pick me up on that.

    The hardware is the same. As in same type of memory and other techy stuff. But the HD6970 has better grade component where as the HD6950 doesn't. And thus pumping more voltage into it causes it to blow up (not literally ... I think). Sort of like cheap ass PSUs and quality PSUs.

    Edit* And AFAIK the reference are identical in terms of cooling and what not.

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    er you do realise the higher the quality memory it is, the lower voltage it can run at. So poorer quality memory would require higher voltage. Think about it when you buy a new cpu and its a good binned one, you dont exactly stick load of voltage through it do you? the better one you get the lower voltage it can run at. So if they were lower quality then they would need to run at higher voltages.

    also thats nonsense. Or atleast very very meaningless, since alot more likely is 6950s being binned cards. So they could have the same hardware, but what you have to understand when you manufacture these things yield (or production success) is not anywhere near 100%. (if you still dont get it, if you make 100 cards, not all of them going to be working) So what they did was used bios to slow them down (or disable unreliable shaders) and sell them for cheaper price.

    this has been done before on so many different things that you dont realize. Alot of the athlon 64 x2 cpus were just different bins from exactly the same production line. The successful ones got the 7000 sticker, the unsuccessful ones were sold cheaper price.

    another example is the new i5 cpus are done like that to. eg i5 2500 will be unsuccessful bin, where as the k version will be the better quality one sold for higher price.

    fyi, im a electronic engineering student and i had to do alot of this research for a project.
    Quote Originally Posted by MadduckUK View Post
    now that i think about the word "throttled" in a certain light... its not so far different to strangled really

    our boiler broke so we has no heating or hot water, this is the bloody result ^^

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgy291 View Post
    er you do realise the higher the quality memory it is, the lower voltage it can run at. So poorer quality memory would require higher voltage. Think about it when you buy a new cpu and its a good binned one, you dont exactly stick load of voltage through it do you? the better one you get the lower voltage it can run at. So if they were lower quality then they would need to run at higher voltages.

    also thats nonsense. Or atleast very very meaningless, since alot more likely is 6950s being binned cards. So they could have the same hardware, but what you have to understand when you manufacture these things yield (or production success) is not anywhere near 100%. (if you still dont get it, if you make 100 cards, not all of them going to be working) So what they did was used bios to slow them down (or disable unreliable shaders) and sell them for cheaper price.

    this has been done before on so many different things that you dont realize. Alot of the athlon 64 x2 cpus were just different bins from exactly the same production line. The successful ones got the 7000 sticker, the unsuccessful ones were sold cheaper price.

    another example is the new i5 cpus are done like that to. eg i5 2500 will be unsuccessful bin, where as the k version will be the better quality one sold for higher price.

    fyi, im a electronic engineering student and i had to do alot of this research for a project.
    I can see we aren't going to agree on this. I'll just say I own a HD6950 and spent plenty of time reading through various forums

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    and i say, your lucky it hasnt blown. and tbh id prob unlock mine to if i had a 6950. How ever lets just say buying a 6950 specifically for unlocking is well silly ..

    btw this might be of interest to you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semicon...ce_fabrication

    Once the front-end process has been completed, the semiconductor devices are subjected to a variety of electrical tests to determine if they function properly. The proportion of devices on the wafer found to perform properly is referred to as the yield.
    The fab tests the chips on the wafer with an electronic tester that presses tiny probes against the chip. The machine marks each bad chip with a drop of dye. Currently, electronic dye marking is possible if wafer test data is logged into a central computer database and chips are "binned" (i.e. sorted into virtual bins) according to predetermined test limits. The resulting binning data can be graphed, or logged, on a wafer map to trace manufacturing defects and mark bad chips. This map can be also used during wafer assembly and packaging.
    may have missspelled word binning few times

    whilst what im saying is still a theory as we wont ever know for sure. i just cant understand why would amd sell expensive cards cheaply
    Last edited by Georgy291; 05-05-2011 at 09:40 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by MadduckUK View Post
    now that i think about the word "throttled" in a certain light... its not so far different to strangled really

    our boiler broke so we has no heating or hot water, this is the bloody result ^^

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    Irrespective of whether I can unlock a 6950 to a 6970 I dont think it'll give me £200 worth of performance increase... any idea when the HD 7xxxx or GTX 6xx range is coming out?

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    Re: Upgrade path from 2x 4870 in CrossfireX...

    Quote Originally Posted by streetster View Post
    Irrespective of whether I can unlock a 6950 to a 6970 I dont think it'll give me £200 worth of performance increase... any idea when the HD 7xxxx or GTX 6xx range is coming out?
    No - I'm in the same boat. I'll be looking a whole new system with a step up of two generations on CPU and GPU. This time I'll buy a MoBo where the slots are a bit further apart!
    Society's to blame,
    Or possibly Atari.

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