Have a ATI 5870, worth an upgrade?

#1 Posted by MachoFantastico (4510 posts) -

Some advice welcome please!

I currently have a ATI 5870 graphics card and have been thinking of a possible upgrading for my system. Yet it's been a while since I got to grips with the GPU market and would appreciate some tips on if it's worth upgrading and what might be a viable option. One of the issues I have found lately with my GPU is that the 1GB memory is becoming a limiting factor, though considering it's a good few years old now I shouldn't be shocked. This is mostly felt in Battlefield 3 which clearly demonstrates issues with severe stuttering due to the limitations of the card. Now I'm not looking for a super 600+ high end here, but something that's worth the cash.

Right now I'm just scouting things out. I do know some graphics cards require PCI-E 3.0 now and I believe my Asus P6TD motherboard support only PCI-E 2.0 so a possible upgrade of the motherboard might be required. Anyhow, some advice would be welcomed.

Thanks in advance.

#2 Posted by Kidavenger (3512 posts) -

I'm waiting to see the AMD's R9 series benchmarks/prices before I buy a new card, I have a 5850 and it's still doing fine for me, but I see that coming to an end once the new consoles come out.

The prices for 7970 are pretty good right now, canadacomputers is giving $100 instant rebates on a lot of them putting them well under $300.

#3 Posted by l4wd0g (1916 posts) -

I'm not really familiar with AMD/ATI, but I do know if it's branded ATI it's pretty old. ATI hasn't made cards in years. Probably well worth the upgrade.

#4 Edited by TheHBK (5466 posts) -
#5 Posted by mikey87144 (1670 posts) -

Well right now ATI has some of their GPUs on sale. Apparently they are about to announce some new ones so maybe hold of a bit to see if you want anything. I'm not too familiar with ATI cards but if you're going Nvidia the GTX 760 is a good start and they sell 4GB variants. The better bet would be the 770 though.

#6 Posted by alternate (2688 posts) -

What is the rest of your system? Looks like 8gb ram and am i7 are the new mid range spec to aim for from the sys rec of BF4 and Watchdogs.

#7 Posted by CRABRAPTOR (3 posts) -

PCI-E 3.0 cards are backwards compatible with 2.0 slots/boards and from what I understand there isn't much of a difference between the performance of the two.

I usually just look at tom's hardware's "Best Graphics Cards For The Money" for the current month and go from there when looking at doing an upgrade.

#8 Edited by ervonymous (1297 posts) -

5870 is a real workhorse. You don't need to worry about PCI-E 3.0 with current GPUs running even the most taxing games, there's still excess bandwidth with 2.0 so that won't be a bottleneck.

R9 280X looks pretty solid if you want to stick with AMD and don't feel like waiting for the actual new cards.

#9 Posted by Devildoll (877 posts) -

the 280x is basically a 7970 , benchmarks for it just came out today actually, but if you still cant find any, you can look up some for the 7970 if you want.

#10 Edited by MachoFantastico (4510 posts) -

Thanks for the tips and recommendations.

To be honest it's still pretty confusing. I've been confused by the name changes, as I know some card developers tend to repackage existing cards with a different name so it can be difficult to know if the card I'm looking at is a worthy upgrade. That 7970 OC Boost card looks pretty decent, but I might wait till the new systems have hit and see how things compare. I'm thinking a new card would be primarily used for Battlefield 4 as the 5870 just doesn't even cut it for BF3. I know I'd need a card with at least 2GB. I didn't realize about the PCI-E thing though. That said, part of me as thought about returning to an Nvidia card because of past experiences, I generally like their tools and driver support better.

Will see how I feel about the consoles. I might give BF4 on PS3 a look to see if that's suitable, I might be happy simply knowing it's 60FPS.

Thanks again. Please keep any recommendations and advice coming, it's appreciated.

#11 Posted by Korwin (2831 posts) -

The new R9 280x is a tweaked re-badge of the 7970 ghz edition, it will make a more than worthy replacement for a 5870 with an rrp of $299. The 5870 was a fantastic card at the time but it was still quite heavily rooted in DX10 architecture, as such it's more advanced features from the DX11 side of things weren't particularly strong (specifically it's tessellation horse power). Another healthy alternative would be the GTX770, it's currently priced a fair bit about the 280x however that will no doubt drop in the coming weeks in order to compete in the price bracket.

#12 Edited by MachoFantastico (4510 posts) -

Regarding performance difference between fitting a PCI-E card into a 2.0 slot rather than a 3.0 slot, are performance differences noticeable? Curious.

The 7970 seems like it might be a viable option for me, but will have to do tad bit more research and see.

#13 Posted by Korwin (2831 posts) -

Regarding performance difference between fitting a PCI-E card into a 2.0 slot rather than a 3.0 slot, are performance differences noticeable? Curious.

The 7970 seems like it might be a viable option for me, but will have to do tad bit more research and see.

Virtually no difference on current GPU's, you simply can't saturate the bandwidth delivered under 16x PCI-E 2.0 on current GPU's (hell even dual GPU's does fine). Again, the R9 280x is literally a 7970 only with a slight tweak to the feature set and being sold for $299 and will see a longer tail in the driver support department. That will be the best option if you were considering the 7970.

#14 Posted by MachoFantastico (4510 posts) -

@korwin said:

@machofantastico said:

Regarding performance difference between fitting a PCI-E card into a 2.0 slot rather than a 3.0 slot, are performance differences noticeable? Curious.

The 7970 seems like it might be a viable option for me, but will have to do tad bit more research and see.

Virtually no difference on current GPU's, you simply can't saturate the bandwidth delivered under 16x PCI-E 2.0 on current GPU's (hell even dual GPU's does fine). Again, the R9 280x is literally a 7970 only with a slight tweak to the feature set and being sold for $299 and will see a longer tail in the driver support department. That will be the best option if you were considering the 7970.

Yeah I've been reading up on the R9 280x and it might be worth a punt. Though considering it's yet to be release I expect it won't be available for a few weeks, in my experience graphic cards tend to sell out pretty quick through many outlets and you have to wait. The card itself seems decent and what I'm looking, have had a quick search but do you know what power requirements are required and do you know what power connections it uses? I'm guessing a six and eight pin. By the way I have a 500W Cooler Master PSU.

#15 Posted by Humanity (8864 posts) -

5870 is a real workhorse. You don't need to worry about PCI-E 3.0 with current GPUs running even the most taxing games, there's still excess bandwidth with 2.0 so that won't be a bottleneck.

R9 280X looks pretty solid if you want to stick with AMD and don't feel like waiting for the actual new cards.

Yah I've heard from friends that work in stress testing environments and such that 3.0 is barely utilized by current hardware at this point.

Personally I have always been a Nvidia guy and for the past two years have been using an ATI card. It's not the nightmare that it used to be in the past, but I gotta say the next time I'll be getting a new video card (which should be pretty soon) I'll most probably switch back to Nvidia.

#16 Edited by MachoFantastico (4510 posts) -

@humanity said:

@ervonymous said:

5870 is a real workhorse. You don't need to worry about PCI-E 3.0 with current GPUs running even the most taxing games, there's still excess bandwidth with 2.0 so that won't be a bottleneck.

R9 280X looks pretty solid if you want to stick with AMD and don't feel like waiting for the actual new cards.

Yah I've heard from friends that work in stress testing environments and such that 3.0 is barely utilized by current hardware at this point.

Personally I have always been a Nvidia guy and for the past two years have been using an ATI card. It's not the nightmare that it used to be in the past, but I gotta say the next time I'll be getting a new video card (which should be pretty soon) I'll most probably switch back to Nvidia.

I always had Nvidia cards until the 5870. I went with the 5870 because at the time they were considered better value and performed with less power usages and heat compared to Nvidia's Ferma cards. I like Nvidia's driver support and tools better, but I don't mind sticking with AMD if the card is worth the value. There's that and whilst it might not be a factor, but the fact that both the PS4 and Xbox One as AMD hardware within them as made me consider future PC titles that will also be hitting the next gen systems. Might not be the case but you never know.

By the way, found out it uses a 6 pin and a 8 pin power connector. My PSU doesn't have a 8 pin but I should be fine buying a simple power cable for it.

The R9 280X comes out on the 11th according to Scan.

#17 Posted by Sin4profit (2910 posts) -

I have a 5870 and it still plays everything i throw at it, though ive had to drop some graphical values in some games (Metro: Last Light) and AMD's driver and OpenGL support is still pretty shitty; i've had issues with games on AMD cards.

Things run fine enough for me to wait until after the new consoles come out and to see if AMD's Mantle is worth keeping an eye on or if Steam's movement towards Linux will stimulate OpenGL support.

#18 Posted by VACkillers (1059 posts) -

Upgrade when you can... the 5870s were absolutely stella graphics cards, but to put it into comparrison, a single GTX 760 is more powerfull then 2 of those cards in x-fire mode, after switching from a crossfire setup with 2 XFX 5870s OC'd, went with a GTX 760 and its so much more powerful its kind of rediculous how much a single card does performance wise over 2 much older cards together. skyrim is an absolutely massive difference between a 5870 and the GTX 760, and that was with 2 of them!!

Switching to nay new card you will see an absolutely massive performance increase its night and day, doesn't have to be nvidia thats just what I choose for games I play cater better towards nvidia then AMD. No idea how good the new AMD R series cards are going to be like, lot of hype about them, and I hope they deliver and aren't held back massively because of shoddy driver support again because their new 300$ card could be the performance of a GTX 770 and that would be massive considering nvidia have started fucking up their drivers as well now something tonic!!!

#19 Edited by MachoFantastico (4510 posts) -

The 5870 is a great card, as served me well. But I don't want to have to bother about balancing graphics settings with performance as much as I have been with the 5870. Plus I'm finding the 1GB just isn't enough for performance with some modern games. Yeah, I miss the days when I can sort of ignore and not worry about my graphic settings and simply enjoy the game. I might have gone with Nvidia but I'm not to fussed about brand loyalty, AMD have gotten better with their driver support though it's still not as great as Nvidia at times. I was worried about availability but according to some reviews due to it being based on the existing 7 series availability shouldn't be a massive issue, guess we'll see. Thanks for the advice.


I'm probably going with the AMD R9 280X. Question, I know Amazon do tend to sell GPU's but how quick are they to have them at launch? I know some of the other components sites I've used are already displaying them (Scan/OverclockersUK) but I wasn't sure about Amazon UK.

#20 Edited by Amilmitt (237 posts) -

@sin4profit: the 5000 series dont support the newest versions of openGL. this is why you would be having some issues.

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