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What to buy? 6870 ($180), 560GTX-ti ($225) or 6950 2gb ($232)?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Finally noticing some artifacting on my battle-weary 4870, and I'm thinking about treating myself to some DX11 goodness. Looking to spend in the $150 to $250 range with a few points below:

(a) I do not overclock graphics cards. I know, I know I belong to overclock.net but I've found the performance gains are very intangible in most games and the likelihood of damage-beyond-repair is more likely with GPU's than CPU's.

(b) I live in Phoenix, so thermal efficiency with a card means a lot to me. I have a Corsair H50 so I don't need a card that exhausts heat as my cases cooling is more than sufficient to exhaust any and all air from non-stupidly hot Fermi architecture. Also acoustics are important so I want to stay away from reference cooling as most of those fans sound like blenders.

(c) I would rather be kicked in the nuts than play terribly coded games like Metro 2033 and GTA IV so benchmarks there are irrelevant. I play (1920x1200) BF: BCII, L4D2, Crysis II, Civ V, Painkiller and Duke Nukem Forever (Soon...... )

(d) I, like the rest of the world, am incredibly impressed that you bought a reference 2gb 6950 and unlocked it to 6970 speed. However, said reference cards are now discontinued and unavailable to purchase from John Q public like me. So kindly please don't tell me to buy one just to plug your own awesomeness. That ship sailed and I missed it. Life goes on. Thanks.

(e) I'm no fanboi and like to keep graphics cards makers honest so I have no preference to ATI or nVidia. The 4870 was a great card, but so too was my old 8800gt although the 4870 failed much later than the 8800gt so maybe the ATI cards are more durable (?)


So now that I've cleared my throat like a fussy princess, here is what I narrowed it down to:

(1) 6870 1gb (various coolers) Read great reviews and these are very cool and efficient cards. Leaning towards the Gigabyte link as I've never had a Gigabyte product that didn't walk on water and the price is great at $180 with Shogun TW included. I know its not in the same performance level as the (2) and (3) below, but its at least $45 cheaper.

(2) 560 GTX-ti. Excellent reviews and probably what I'm leaning towards. Either the eVGA linkhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130610 for $225 shipped or the MSI Hawk if the price gets comparable.

(3) 6950 2gb. Non reference non-flashable card.

$232 shipped AR. As I will never use multiple monitors, not sure if 2gb ram is needed but its the same price as the 560GTX-ti so its a valid contender.


Anyway, would appreciate your feedback on this.
Edited by Mark the Bold - 5/23/11 at 10:39am
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post #2 of 21
I like the 560ti. But if you can unlock the 6950 to a 6970. Do that!
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CtrlAltElite View Post
I like the 560ti. But if you can unlock the 6950 to a 6970. Do that!
Did you see (d)?

Edit:

OP, I'd get the 6950 2GB. I've got one (not unlocked ) and although I don't use 1200p, I play at 1080p so it's close. This card handles the resolution flawlessly and although I have not tried the other two cards, I'm very content with my choice.
Edited by razr m3 - 5/23/11 at 11:08am
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post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by razr m3 View Post
Did you see (d)?

Edit:

OP, I'd get the 6950 2GB. I've got one (not unlocked ) and although I don't use 1200p, I play at 1080p so it's close. This card handles the resolution flawlessly and although I have not tried the other two cards, I'm very content with my choice.
Thanks. How's the fan noise / temps of it?
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post #5 of 21
This is a pretty tough call, especially if you know you won't be going for multiple monitors and won't be overclocking. In the end the 560 and 6950 are very close, but future games will make more and more use of that 2GB. It also uses less power (but runs about the same temp as 560 Ti). This might be of help to you:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/330?vs=293
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark the Bold View Post
Thanks. How's the fan noise / temps of it?
Well I have the Twin Frozr II which is a little more that your price range, but the thing is dead silent. I have it set to 30% fan speed at idle and it's inaudible. At most it goes up to 50-60% during gaming and it's still very quiet. Temps are also great. At stock, idle was in the low 30s C and load was 64-65 C. I won't bother telling you the overclocked temps since they won't matter to you .
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post #7 of 21
I'd opt for option #2 (if you really can get if for $225 shipped), as it's able to to keep up with or beat the 6950 in a lot of games. Also, it can be used to fold!
 
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post #8 of 21
I would recommend the 560Ti, either one of those 2 cards you are looking at the EVGA, or MSI Hawk you cannot go wrong.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CtrlAltElite View Post
I like the 560ti. But if you can unlock the 6950 to a 6970. Do that!
You clearly did not read the OP, LOL.

Anyway, I think the best card for your needs will be the Radeon HD 6870. It's extremely cheap upfront and the price will be even lower if you decide to fill the MIR. The GTX 560 Ti is too close in performance from it to warrant its price (it's only 5% faster). The Radeon HD 6950 2GB is around 10% faster, but the upfront price is very high, not to mention it's a card more suited for 2560x1600 and higher, and for that I'd recommend the 6950 1GB instead. It's around 10% faster than the GTX 560 Ti and only costs a couple bucks more.

The only instance in which I'd recommend the 6950 2GB is if you were getting another monitor at the same resolution and gaming on two displays. Otherwise, the 2GB of Memory is a waste, even if you play at 1920x1200 with 8x AA.

To me, it all boils down to this:

Get the Radeon HD 6870 if you want to save money and play all those games you listed at max. settings and have the option for getting another one in a year or two and continue to run games in max at your resolution. If you're gonna be getting a 2560x1600 monitor or another 1920x1200 monitor for gaming, though, don't go for it.

Get the Radeon HD 6950 1GB if you want to stay with a single card for a longer time and to have more over-clocking headroom, but don't go for it if you'll be getting a higher res. monitor or adding another one.

Get the Radeon HD 6950 2GB if you can afford the extra expense and want to be future-proof and get a better monitor down the line.

Overall, I'd choose the Radeon HD 6870 if you're staying with your current monitor for some years, or the Radeon HD 6950 2GB if you're getting a higher-res one. As of now, the GTX 560 Ti is a waste of money because it's 10% slower than the Radeon HD 6950 and only 5% faster than the Radeon HD 6870.
    
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post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help so far guys.
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