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New at Computers - Need help with decision to tri-fire 5970 with 5870

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#1
Hey guys, I am very new to building computers, so I apologize now for my ignorance. I recently built my computer (specs should be in profile) and I currently have a hd5970 (bought it used off of CL). I have also been doing research about tri-firing this card with either a 5850 or a 5870.

Out of my research, I came across terms I did not really know and wondered if they applied to my system. One of which was if my system would "bottleneck" with the tri-fire aspect because of my cpu and if I should OC the cpu (mind you, that I have never OC'd anything on my PC). Also, I was wondering if the tri-fired system would be ideal seeing as the 7xxx series has come out. I believe that if I tri-fire, I will have to buy a new PSU - if anyone can double check with that, that would be great!

I am currently happy playing games on my 27" monitor; however, updating now would be ideal. As new video cards come out, prices of the old video cards will drop - however, I want to be able to get the card before the card becomes "rare" and obsolete. I don't want to have to pay extra for the card down the line because I did not get it now.

Thank you so much for the input and if there is anything I missed, let me know!

David
 
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#2
Hi

Your mobo (Tri Fire is an option but dose not do justice on a single monitor) tri fire would require a new PSU and may be restricted by your CPU (bottleneck) (OC (overclocking) brings heat; you would need better cooling and may/will shorten your hardwares lifespan)

Motherboard: GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 it has 1x PCIe x16 and 1x PCIe x8 shares bandwidth

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3973#ov

Keep your HD 5970 (is a good card with mature drivers)

wait for next refresh from AMD 8000 series or next Nvidia release

nb: use catalyst driver 11.10 and amd_catalyst_12.3_cap1 (stable driver for 2d and 3d clocks)

atb (all the best)

Law-II
 
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#3
Your mobo (Tri Fire is not an option and dose not do justice on a single monitor) tri fire would require a new PSU and may be restricted by your CPU
What are you smoking? Can I have some?

First off, that 2500k with some OC'ing (which according to his post, he's willing to do)is not going to bottleneck three HD 5000 cards.

*8/*8 is just fine for crossfireX. His motherboard is plenty capable of tri-fire with a 5970 and either a 5850 or 5870. Keep in mind though, three GPU's don't really add much performance wise, but does do wondering with eliminating micro-stutter if that is a problem.

I do agree with needing a new PSU though. I have a very high-end 750 watt PSU, but I only have two 5870 cards.
 
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#4
*8/*8 is just fine for crossfireX. His motherboard is plenty capable of tri-fire with a 5970 and either a 5850 or 5870. Keep in mind though, three GPU's don't really add much performance wise, but does do wondering with eliminating micro-stutter if that is a problem.
Hi

I was under the impression that the HD 5970 requires a PCIe x16 slot as it has dual VPU's and that if you drop a HD 5850 or HD 5870 in to the second PCIe slot that would share bandwidth with the primary slot and run at 8*; that the HD 5850 or 5870 would run at the lower core and memory speed of the HD 5970 of 725Mhz Core and 1000Mhz Mem.

As for the CPU I did mention that it "May" be restricted, thank you for clarifying that this is not the case

nb: I do not smoke

atb (all the best)

Law-II

"Not everyone knows everything all of the time only some people know somethings some of the time"
 
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#5
First off, that 2500k with some OC'ing (which according to his post, he's willing to do)is not going to bottleneck three HD 5000 cards.
I'm open to OC'ing as long as it doesn't harm my system. With that said, I do not have much knowledge about it and I do not know how stable it would be (would not be).
 
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#6
I do agree with needing a new PSU though. I have a very high-end 750 watt PSU, but I only have two 5870 cards.
Yeah, I second that diagnosis. Luckily, I haggled a CL guy about a 5870 and 1000w PSU for 200 total.
 
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#7
*8/*8 is just fine for crossfireX. His motherboard is plenty capable of tri-fire with a 5970 and either a 5850 or 5870. Keep in mind though, three GPU's don't really add much performance wise, but does do wondering with eliminating micro-stutter if that is a problem.

Three- And Four-Way CrossFire
The performance of three- and four-way CrossFire setups not only surprised us, but also managed to utterly convince us that micro-stuttering doesn't have to affect your multi-GPU configuration. For some reason, the third GPU almost always eliminates micro stuttering and has a less-pronounced effect on performance. At least in the games we ran, the fourth GPU is more eye candy than anything, and its contribution is minimal.
From's Tom's
 

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#8
crossfire is a waste of time
game support is spotty at best ... completely broken at worst
if you are having performance issues then you need to replace both cards with a single 6970
or get a 7970 when there available
> problem solved
buying ANY 5 series card is a waste of time now
there old and reaching end of support
 
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#9
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#10
Does anyone know what wattage I would need on the PSU for this setup?
 

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#11
your 750 should do the job (assuming its not a no name pile of crap)
total system draw on a 2500k + a single 5790 should be under 400 watts (at the outlet)
so add another 150 to that for a 5870 total system draw at the outlet should be less then 600 watts .. assuming your psu is at least running at 80% efficiency should be clear to go
ill say it again a single 7970 would be far less trouble
more usable vram AND less worries about spotty games/drivers
crossfire scaling is iffy business with cards that are not the EXACT Same model might run slower might run faster
I am curious as to what game you are playing that's demanding so much gpu power a 5970 is NOT a slow card
 
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#12
your 750 should do the job (assuming its not a no name pile of crap)
total system draw on a 2500k + a single 5790 should be under 400 watts
so add another 150 to that for a 5870 total system draw at the outlet should be less then 600 watts .. assuming your psu is at least running at 80% efficiency should be clear to go
ill say it again a single 7970 would be far less trouble
more usable vram AND less worries about spotty games/drivers
I very much agree with you that the 7970 would be much easier; however, I don't want to spend so much on a videocard at the moment. The only reason why I'm considering the tri-fire setup is because of the low price of the 5870 card.

Thank you for the wattage tally on the system - what would happen if I went over the wattage? Will it just shut down?
 

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#13
since the 5970 is a dual gpu card, running it at x8 means 4x for each gpu. so your running 4x 4x 8x with such a tri fire setup; not ideal.
 
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#14
since the 5970 is a dual gpu card, running it at x8 means 4x for each gpu. so your running 4x 4x 8x with such a tri fire setup; not ideal.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that fixed by putting the 5970 onto the 16x slot?
 

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#15
if you over draw the psu then the system should simply crash or freeze .. its not like the psu will explode or catch fire
(unless its a really cheap model)
 
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#16
if you over draw the psu then the system should simply crash or freeze .. its not like the psu will explode or catch fire
(unless its a really cheap model)
I would hope that it wouldn't catch fire :)
The last thing I want to do destroy my gear.
 

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#17
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that fixed by putting the 5970 onto the 16x slot?
If you have 2 pci-e slots occupied on a 1155 system, the maximum it can do is 8x each slot. When one of those slots is occupied by a dual gpu card, it splits the 8x so that each gpu is using 4x. So each slot is still getting 8x but the gpus are getting 4x, 4x and 8x.
 

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#18
quickest way to tell you if your psu is up to the task is to give us the model number lol
 
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#19
If you have 2 pci-e slots occupied on a 1155 system, the maximum it can do is 8x each slot. When one of those slots is occupied by a dual gpu card, it splits the 8x so that each gpu is using 4x. So each slot is still getting 8x but the gpus are getting 4x, 4x and 8x.
How much "potential" would I be losing? According to some sites, I would be losing maybe 5% or more.
 
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#20
quickest way to tell you if your psu is up to the task is to give us the model number lol
Actually, I take that back - I am running a 700 watt Coolermaster - thought it was 750 :(
 

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#21
Actually, I take that back - I am running a 700 watt Coolermaster - thought it was 750 :(
replace it
cooler master are JUNK especially there lower end models :banghead: I have owned 4 cooler master psu's and that was 3 to many ....
had a 500 that burned up and destroyed a motherboard < had less then 2 years on it
had a 400 that caught fire and nearly cost me a motherboard/cpu < had 7 months on it
had a 450 that had bad 12v rails after a year of operation
bought another 450 for someone else ... hasn't died ... yet < 6 weeks old
I highly doubt your psu is actually capable of handling its rated output
then again sometimes you end up with a unit built by seasonic or FSP thoses are normally ok
need the UL number off the side to tell for sure
take anything I say with a grain of salt ... tho its 3 am .......
 
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#22
replace it
cooler master are JUNK especially there lower end models :banghead: I have owned 4 cooler master psu's and that was 3 to many ....
had a 500 that burned up and destroyed a motherboard < had less then 2 years on it
had a 400 that caught fire and nearly cost me a motherboard/cpu < had 7 months on it
had a 450 that had bad 12v rails after a year of operation
bought another 450 for someone else ... hasn't died ... yet < 6 weeks old
I highly doubt your psu is actually capable of handling its rated output
then again sometimes you end up with a unit built by seasonic or FSP thoses are normally ok
need the UL number off the side to tell for sure
take anything I say with a grain of salt ... tho its 3 am .......
I'll definitely take it with a grain of salt - someone seems bitter :laugh: Then again, it does seem like you got boned by Cooler Master.
 

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#23
what really matters is the amp rating on the +12v if its less then 20(per rail) don't even think about trifire ...
 
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#24
If you have 2 pci-e slots occupied on a 1155 system, the maximum it can do is 8x each slot. When one of those slots is occupied by a dual gpu card, it splits the 8x so that each gpu is using 4x. So each slot is still getting 8x but the gpus are getting 4x, 4x and 8x.
I don't believe that's entirely accurate. The dual GPU cards like the 5970, 4870 x2. And 3870 x2, all use onboard pci express bridge chips from PLX. The two GPU cores communicate through their own pci express x16 connections provided by that bridge chip. That's why you were able to use these types of cards even in systems with a single pci express slot - systems that did not support crossfire. Or with nvidia chipsets that only supported sli.

The system should indeed be giving each slot x8 speeds, but it should not split from there as it is not necessary.
 
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#25
I don't believe that's entirely accurate. The dual GPU cards like the 5970, 4870 x2. And 3870 x2, all use onboard pci express bridge chips from PLX. The two GPU cores communicate through their own pci express x16 connections provided by that bridge chip. That's why you were able to use these types of cards even in systems with a single pci express slot - systems that did not support crossfire. Or with nvidia chipsets that only supported sli.

The system should indeed be giving each slot x8 speeds, but it should not split from there as it is not necessary.
Is this true? I hope it is :) Can anyone else shed light on this topic? I've been searching online for the answer to this for a while: if the 5970 is on a 8x pci slot, will each of the gpus only get 4x?