1 @ 580 or 2 @ 6950
i7 920 running @ 3.6
22" LG, which I may upgrade to a 24" whatever, but it will be a single monitor solution.
Am running a 4890 now, it's time for an upgrade. $500, flexible. It's been 2 years, and I would expect to get the next 2 years + out of this upgrade....I don't need to be bleeding high end, but do want to somewhat future proof myself, be able to run the upcoming generation of games with good performance.
OK I have no skin in the ATI vs Nvidia race, don't care. Figure I'm within $50-75, with the dual 6950 being on the high side. According to the Anandtech chart, they draw about the same current as a single 580 under load and would seem to outperform a single 580. The current draw on most of the Nvidia stuff is scary looking lol. If I did a 580 and looked to SLI in the future, would definitely need a PSU at the same time.
I haven't seen or experienced the XFire stuttering issue in person. Tom's says it's much improved in the 69XX generation. Someone who's done this, tell me what YOU think, what YOU'VE seen.
Alternately, tell me what YOU'D do in the ~$500 (flexible) range.
***OK I lied up there, I've been a pretty big ATI fanboi but wanted you to read the rest first. I almost have myself talked into a 580 thinking then I can upgrade to SLI later. Just, you know, full disclosure and all.
I run 2x6970's and have experienced microstutter, super annoying since basicly it can become unplayable in xfire.
A single GPU is always prefered IMO over a multi gpu setup.
So out of the two I would go with the 580.
Your card isn't bad really. what about getting a second to tide you over till all the new shiny is out.
Then if you buy at the top of your budget you'll have a card that should do 3-5 years depending on
A what happens in the market (both hardware and games)
B how much performance you want.
Judging that your still on a 4890 I think you could push easily 4 years from a new gen card... If your willing to wait X months for them.
If not However, buy the largest single chip single card you can get IMO.
Then at least you always have the option of SLI / X-fire -ing it in future at a discount to extend your use of them.
(Like I'm suggesting you do with the 4890, which will also give you experience of what it's like with a dual card set-up but at less cost))
I don't understand about everyone complaining about microstutter, I've never noticed it at all, gaming at 1920 x 1080 or 6000 x 1080. By all means I'd recommend going with the dual 6950s over the 580 for added performance provided you're gaming at max 1920 x 1080.
personally i never experienced micro stuterin even in trifire
as long as you get 2gb versions it will be a beast
Just to put my two cents in.
I have tested 2 setups running 2 x 6950's in Xfire and I can say that there is micro-stuttering as well as texture shimmering issues in certain games. When CF works well it is awesome but you have two cards sucking more power and pumping out more heat and noise.
A single card will always be a better option, especially at the resolutions you are playing at. Sure 3D mark 11 looks impressive, I scored 11,000 with a pair of 6950's compared to a single GTX 580 of 7900, but the single card feels smoother in games and has no issues associated with micro stutter or bad texturing.
About 11 months ago I tested 3 6870's in trifire and interestingly enough I did not experience any stutter, when I removed one card it was back. I have no idea why, perhaps the third card fills a buffer of sorts!
IMO stick to a single card, and BTW I personally think that at 22 or 24in monitor an overclocked GTX 570 or an overclocked HD 6970 will be best value.
EVGA GTX580 Superclocked. Just finished the install. Thanks for the feedback, did a ton more research and talked myself into a single chip solution that should do everything I need for a couple years. I keep my case side off for ventilation, it's no noisier than the 4890 was which is a relief.
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