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Really wanting X-fire 5870's, but is it worth it?

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#1
I have $230 burning a hole in my pocket, and I am eying another [identical] 5870 for my system. The big question I have is: Is it worth it? I ask this giving the following information:

  • I plan to do a full system overhaul around the 2nd generation of BullDozer (New GPU, Motherboard, CPU, RAM etc...)
  • I plan to leave the rest of my rig as is (check my specs for details)
  • I don't plan on overclocking my stuff yet (I'm a complete newbie at it anyway).
  • I will be purchasing (hopefully) more games for the PC as opposed to my PS3. Maybe even replaying some titles on PC instead of PS3.

A few questions about X-fire:
  • I have only glanced at the current state of X-fire setups, but they seem to have come along in leaps and bounds. Is this true?
  • I have done some research on X-fire setups under the GX series with HD5XXX and it seems a bottleneck is present, but it doesn't seem like something I would really affect me at my resolution. From the experiences or expertise you may have would you consider this true?
  • Will 4GB of RAM be a great hindrance? It seems that 8GB is the "new standard" of a high end rig.
  • Do any X-fire users out there have issues with older games. Lets say Halo: Combat Evolved for example or Sim City 4?
  • Is there anything else I should I know before going to a X-fire setup? I'm sure there's a tutorial around here. I'll hunt for one if need be.
 
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#2
Well I almost bought another 5850 until I saw that the scaling really improved on 6000 series close to 90% on some games with some cards though to be honest I don't have percentage numbers on 5000 series. I just know you don't "get as much" out of the second card. The other benefits were voltage adjustment/higher clockers, only a single power connector on each and also a few inches shorter. Of course I had to sell my 5850 and buy two whole new GPUs which was kind of a hassle but all in all I'm very happy.

As for older games some may not have a crossfire profile but if it's older will prolly run just fine on a single.

4GB of RAM is still generally enough.
 
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#3
I'd be glad to throw out some benches for ya when I get my 2nd card back from RMA.
 
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#4
Do the games you play run slower one a single 5870? Do you think you need more FPS out of them? If not, I say wait for something that really needs more GPU juice, and then decide.

You never know, a game that comes out soon might NOT run well on CF and it'll kill you. :D
 

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#5
I would wait on the one 5870 till 28nm cards come out or till you can't play your favorite game
 
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#6
tbh ive just gone crossfire 5870's and i love it.

1 card i got around 15k and with 2 i got around 27k

i picked up my second 5870 for £135 so i thought that was a steal and scaling is good imo.

 
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#7
I'll tell you right now that unless you overclock the Phenom II your going to see some very poor scaling as per cadaveca.
 
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#8
I'm using two 5970's atm and tbh I don't see any gain for online gaming vs one card. Same to be said for dual 5870's. They might make everything a little prettier, but that's about the extent of it. You can only make use of just so much fps...;) (Benchmarks don't relate to online gaming at all)
 
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#9
I had two 5870's in the past I also had two 5850's and a 5870/5850 Xfire setup too. I can vouch that xfire has come along way. Even the 5870/5850 Xfire setup was totally awesome!

Since you are not planning on upgrading till the second round of bulldozer.... I would say that should give you way more then sufficient performance with a second card until then. Since you will be waiting a year or two.
 
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#10
Thanks for all the input everyone. I kind of, sort of impulse bought the card this morning (rebate should put me at $200 instead of the $220 i paid).

I'm also into benching so I look forward to seeing the results on all fronts & fiddling with the settings to get the most out of my rig.

I just hope I got the card I ordered. As soon as I purchased it Newegg listed as an "auto-notify" item:ohwell:. I'm a big fan of symmetry.
 
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#11
WTG Man Keep us posted
 

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#12
was on an xfired hd5850 before switching to a single hd6950 unlocked to hd6970, it's a bit slower, but I just thought the xfired 5850s overkill for 1080p gaming and would leave me no room to install a soundcard after switching to matx.

but if benching is your thing, then I'd say congratulations on the 2nd hd5870, that should give you awesome scores, though I'd suggest trying to clock your processor a bit higher as that would limit your scores, and also the cards performance themselves...
 
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#13
Well hows this for a kick in the teeth?: I was getting prepared to get my 2nd card. Decided to update the bios since they finally released a fix for stability issues (which I had). I thought everything was going well, but after the update I lost all LAN functionality:wtf:. I tried for nearly 3 hours to get back to my old backup bios or fix it in some way; All to no avail. Now I have to RMA my board for a new one:banghead:. Whenever I get back up and running I'll post my benchies.
 

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#14
That's too bad, good luck with the RMA, hopefully the replacement arrives in no time...
 
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#15
Well Finally got up and running again. New hardware seems stable. So far I'm liking it, overall. The added performance is nice, especially when it comes to pushing Super Sample on my games. Haven't noticed any real issues with ULPS yet, or any real performance gain from disabling it. Maybe some bugs will pop up as I test more games.

Been having some good fun stressing the system and running benchmarks. The temperature issues I was afraid cropped up of course. With (factory) auto fan control my hottest card could hit 81C:eek:. I decided to try MSI Afterburner for some better cooling with some success. 78% fan speed keeps the temps at around 71-74C [at a great acoustic cost]. Max power draw while running heaven benchmark v2.5 and Large FTT in prime 95 according to my Kill-a-watt is 686 W.

CPU is reading a little warmer than I'd like though. I'm gonna re-seat it sometime soon. Have to find the best fan configuration for my case as well. I don't really care about the fan noise, but I am interested in keeping the temps in check. I may attempt some modest overclocking as well later just to see what's possible.

All in all I'm very happy with the results apart from the temps:toast:.

My two favorite benchmark programs:
3dMark 11
Single:

Crossfire:


Heaven benchmark v2.5
Single:

Crossfire:
 
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#16
i managed to get 22000 out of 1 5870 dude on vantage they absolutely love fsb / hyperlink speed i get better scores at 450x8 then 400x9 by about 1000+, ive it clocked at 1050 1300 tho wc hang on im on gear sorry i get 4627 in 11 sorry again on gear or sumat
 

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#17
well I'll start by saying I think you should save the money or spend it elsewhere, one 5870 is a very fast card still and as long as your gaming experience isnt suffering from a lack of GPU power, it will only pet your e-peen :)

A few questions about X-fire:

I have only glanced at the current state of X-fire setups, but they seem to have come along in leaps and bounds. Is this true?
they sure have, drivers are getting better and better, my CFX experience with a 5870 and 5850 was nearly flawless and very fast.

I have done some research on X-fire setups under the GX series with HD5XXX and it seems a bottleneck is present, but it doesn't seem like something I would really affect me at my resolution. From the experiences or expertise you may have would you consider this true?
i'm unsure on this one but I doubt you'll have an issue you couldnt work through, and if it's that horrendous, return the card asap.

Will 4GB of RAM be a great hindrance? It seems that 8GB is the "new standard" of a high end rig.
not at all, 8gb is heaps thats for sure but most gamers wont need more than 4gb yet. depends what you do with the PC but primarily as a gamer your fine.

Do any X-fire users out there have issues with older games. Lets say Halo: Combat Evolved for example or Sim City 4?
I can say that Halo played just fine on my 5800 CF setup

Is there anything else I should I know before going to a X-fire setup? I'm sure there's a tutorial around here. I'll hunt for one if need be.
[/LIST]
just if you really want to go that route just now, if you save the $230 towards a single GPU as an xmas present for yourself at the end of the year I think you'll be much happier.
 
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#18
I also have been thinking about CF.. One problem I have is my 5870 is a reference design and I'm using a EK waterblock on it.. So not only would I have to find a reference card but a matching EK waterblock....
 
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#19
I just got 2 5870s tonight. Single card scored ~22,000 in 3dmark06. In CF it was SLOWER. Still running tests...

System:
Q9550@3.83ghz
8gb ddr2 800mhz 444-12
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EDIT - 3dmark11
Single=4685
CF=7684
 
Last edited:
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#20
Yeah it obviously shouldn't be slower but 06 is so CPU-dependent that you really only get a relatively small boost in that bench from another GPU. Try older ones like 05 and even 01.
 
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#21
I just got 2 5870s tonight. Single card scored ~22,000 in 3dmark06. In CF it was SLOWER. Still running tests...

System:
Q9550@3.83ghz
8gb ddr2 800mhz 444-12
750w Zalman PSU
2x Intel x25 80gb SSD raid-0

EDIT - 3dmark11
Single=4685
CF=7684
3d06 is all cpu, going from a 2900xt to a gtx470 I gained 500pts, both on the same cpu. Then changing cpu's from a q6700 at 3.6GHZ for both test runs to my i7 at 3.6GHZ I gained 5000pts on the same 470. further clocking the cpu to 4.2 I gained an additional 4k pts.


take off any gpu overclock and focus on maximizing cpu clock. 3d06 is a great cpu bench these days, but a poor gpu one.
 
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#22
No GPU clocking here. Just trying to give the OP some idea of what a second card would do for him. His system specs say two 5870s so maybe that money finally burned it's way through the pockets. Time to overclock his cpu a bit more of turn to the dark side and buy intel. :D