4870 or 55nm 260?

calvinet

Junior Member
Dec 29, 2008
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I am planning to build a new desktop system to replace my four year old machine. So far, the only part I have is a Q9300 which I got for $180 at micro center. The rest of my plan looks like this:

CPU: Q9300
MB: ASROK P45xe (well reviewed at Tom's, $95, optical out for my speakers)
RAM: ?
HD: WD 640GB Black
Case: ATX 300
PSU: OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ($60 after rebate at newegg)
GPU: 4870 or 55nm 260?

I have been reading to the point where my head is starting to spin, and thought I would ask those more astute than myself for some advice. I plan to use the system for gaming (gta4, fc2, etc.), everyday computing, photoshop, and possibly some video encoding. My current monitor is a dell 2005fwp (1680x1050) but I plan to upgrade at the end of the year. My biggest concern is "bang for the buck". I plan to keep the system for 2-3 years before an upgrade, at which time it will be turned over to my wife.

I saw anandtech's review on the older gtx260 216's, and it looked like they were in the same ballpark as the 4870's. Because the 4870s are priced around $200 and the 260/216's are priced around $250, it would seem like 4870 is a better deal. I now see, however, that 55nm 260's (which can be had for around $260) are coming out and that some people seem to have high hopes for them. Is there any concrete evidence as to how they perform? If you were me, would you take a 4870 at $200 or a 260/216/55 at $260?

Additionally, what would you guys suggest for RAM? I am interested in some mild to moderate overclocking. Any other recommendations would be appreciated as well.

Thanks in advance.

 

OCGuy

Lifer
Jul 12, 2000
27,227
36
91
Your choice should be between:

GTX260 V 4870 512

GTX260-216 (either 55nm or 65m) V 4870 1GB


Decide which way you want to go, and then find the best deal. 55nm will not knock your socks off over the 65nm, as it is just a shrink.

Either way, you cant really go wrong though. The 65nm 260, nor the 512 are anything to turn your nose up on.
 

cmdrdredd

Lifer
Dec 12, 2001
27,038
344
126
IMO the GTX260 c216 is the card to have. It may be $50 more than the 4870, but after overclocking it you can have performance that is close to a GTX280 in many of today's games.
 

error8

Diamond Member
Nov 28, 2007
3,204
0
76
Originally posted by: cmdrdredd
IMO the GTX260 c216 is the card to have. It may be $50 more than the 4870, but after overclocking it you can have performance that is close to a GTX280 in many of today's games.
Overclocking is not a guarantee , some 260s overclock like crazy, others don't. So, paying 60$ over the 1gb 4870, might not be the best deal to get.
 

dug777

Lifer
Oct 13, 2004
24,778
4
0
Originally posted by: error8
Originally posted by: cmdrdredd
IMO the GTX260 c216 is the card to have. It may be $50 more than the 4870, but after overclocking it you can have performance that is close to a GTX280 in many of today's games.
Overclocking is not a guarantee , some 260s overclock like crazy, others don't. So, paying 60$ over the 1gb 4870, might not be the best deal to get.
For what it's worth, amen to that.

Oc'ing is a crapshoot, you have absolutely NO guarantee what you'll get, and in my experience it's always a pita ensuring that it's stable under every circumstance and resetting your OC everytime you install the latest drivers (I understand that if you buy an nvidia card that doesn't happen very often, but still ;)).

To reference my comments, I've usually done very well with my cards (both nvidia and ati, but mainly nvidia) in terms of oc'ing, but it has always been a nuisance relative to just plugging and playing with stock speeds. It's a nuisance that I was happy to endure for the extra performance when I was younger, poorer and had more free time, but the joys of that are wearing thin these days. Heresey, I know ;)
 

nOOky

Platinum Member
Aug 17, 2004
2,428
1,386
136
I'd say 4870 1 gig for the video. Best value right now imho. It trades blows with the 260 and the 280 depending on the game. I always stress comparing apples to apples stock settings because overclocking isn't always automatic on any card. Sure one card might overclock to approach the performance of another card, but assuming you can overclock both cards it evens it out to negate any gains.
My 4870 is at 800/1000 which isn't great but I just cranked it up a little and not as far as it would go.
Both nvidia and ATI make great stuff.

Anandtech link.

 

JPB

Diamond Member
Jul 4, 2005
4,042
84
91
I have the same problem as the OP. I have 30 days left for step-up and have NO IDEA what to do.
 

zod96

Platinum Member
May 28, 2007
2,829
43
91
At 1680x1050 those cards are pretty much equal in every regard. It would come down to personal preference, drivers warranty bundles etc...
 

nOOky

Platinum Member
Aug 17, 2004
2,428
1,386
136
The op says he will probably get a new monitor at the end of the year, which I am assuming is in the near future for him. The resolution of the new monitor makes the choice different also. I would think that for Photoshop more is merrier, so I'm guessing a step up to 1920 x 1200 in that range?
 

dguy6789

Diamond Member
Dec 9, 2002
8,558
3
76
I would give a very slight edge to the GTX260 Core 216 in performance for now(Might change in January), but absolutely no way is it worth $60 more than the 4870 1GB.
 

nOOky

Platinum Member
Aug 17, 2004
2,428
1,386
136
The link I posted shows the 4870 1 gig edging out the 260 in 5 of 7 game benchies, and exceding the 280 a couple of times. Of course I don't know anyone who plays any of those games ;)
 

cmdrdredd

Lifer
Dec 12, 2001
27,038
344
126
Originally posted by: error8
Originally posted by: cmdrdredd
IMO the GTX260 c216 is the card to have. It may be $50 more than the 4870, but after overclocking it you can have performance that is close to a GTX280 in many of today's games.
Overclocking is not a guarantee , some 260s overclock like crazy, others don't. So, paying 60$ over the 1gb 4870, might not be the best deal to get.
With a GTX260 is basically is...That's like saying a C2D can't overclock when even the slowest one can get at least 30%
 

ayabe

Diamond Member
Aug 10, 2005
7,449
0
0
My Core 216 EVGA won't even clock to the next higher up card, which is 666mhz on the core or something like that, artifacts galore.

So yeah, it's a crap shoot and a major pita for a couple extra frames.
 

cmdrdredd

Lifer
Dec 12, 2001
27,038
344
126
Originally posted by: ayabe
My Core 216 EVGA won't even clock to the next higher up card, which is 666mhz on the core or something like that, artifacts galore.

So yeah, it's a crap shoot and a major pita for a couple extra frames.
I bet your shader clock was too high, or your memory. Unlink the shader from the core and raise each independantly. The Shader defaults to x2 the core clock which may be higher than it can handle, also raising your fan speed can help.

It's not uncommon to have a GTX260 running 700Mhz core speed which is more than my GTX280 can handle with any amount of stability.

I always factor in overclocking to a purchase because it affords an extra degree of speed for free.
 

OCGuy

Lifer
Jul 12, 2000
27,227
36
91
Originally posted by: ayabe
My Core 216 EVGA won't even clock to the next higher up card, which is 666mhz on the core or something like that, artifacts galore.

So yeah, it's a crap shoot and a major pita for a couple extra frames.
Yea i'd call that a fluke bad card or something else being wrong. Ive owned 3 different EVGA GT200 cards, and installed another 2 for friends, and ive never had a problem with a nice overclock.
 

KIAman

Diamond Member
Mar 7, 2001
3,342
23
81
If you plan to hook your computer to your HDTV, go ATI. Single, no hassle, HDMI connection to your HDTV passing video and sound is absolutely lovely.

Also, DDR2 ram is so cheap, you can practically get any 4GB PC8000 or above for less than $50 and easily reach 500FSB or more.
 

schneiderguy

Lifer
Jun 26, 2006
10,763
32
91
4870 1gb or gtx 260/gtx 260-216

The 512mb 4870 shouldn't even be in consideration... 512mb of memory isn't enough.
 

exar333

Diamond Member
Feb 7, 2004
8,518
8
91
I picked up a dirt-cheap gtx 260 with a great MIR and then stepped-up to a 55nm corre 126 for $10.00 plus shipping. I definitely recommend the gtx 260, but the 4870 1GB is a great card too.
 

error8

Diamond Member
Nov 28, 2007
3,204
0
76
Originally posted by: cmdrdredd
Originally posted by: error8
Originally posted by: cmdrdredd
IMO the GTX260 c216 is the card to have. It may be $50 more than the 4870, but after overclocking it you can have performance that is close to a GTX280 in many of today's games.
Overclocking is not a guarantee , some 260s overclock like crazy, others don't. So, paying 60$ over the 1gb 4870, might not be the best deal to get.
With a GTX260 is basically is...That's like saying a C2D can't overclock when even the slowest one can get at least 30%
If you have like 10 GTXs 260 and all of them overclock that good, then I'll believe you.
And no, it's not the same with C2D overclock. You don't see videocards overclock 50%, isn't it? ;)
 

Ares202

Senior member
Jun 3, 2007
331
0
71
Originally posted by: dguy6789
I would give a very slight edge to the GTX260 Core 216 in performance for now(Might change in January), but absolutely no way is it worth $60 more than the 4870 1GB.
seconded i would buy the one that is cheaper and leave it at that

Originally posted by: schneiderguy
4870 1gb or gtx 260/gtx 260-216

The 512mb 4870 shouldn't even be in consideration... 512mb of memory isn't enough.
it is enough memory for 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 from what i have seen, but yeh given the chance id rather have double the memory
 

evolucion8

Platinum Member
Jun 17, 2005
2,867
3
61
Originally posted by: nOOky
I'd say 4870 1 gig for the video. Best value right now imho. It trades blows with the 260 and the 280 depending on the game. I always stress comparing apples to apples stock settings because overclocking isn't always automatic on any card. Sure one card might overclock to approach the performance of another card, but assuming you can overclock both cards it evens it out to negate any gains.
My 4870 is at 800/1000 which isn't great but I just cranked it up a little and not as far as it would go.
Both nvidia and ATI make great stuff.

Anandtech link.
That also proves that not all the GPU's are made equal, that's why not all overclock the same. My HD 4870 1GB which has the Sapphire Custom cooler that looks like the Toxic version, it overclocked to 840MHz core and the memory 4.1GHz. But I have a friend that has the Sapphire HD 4870 1GB standard cooler and it won't go past 820MHz core and 4.0GHz, and isn't because of heat because he manually set the fan speed accordingly, which won't exceed past 70C in full load.
 

SlowSpyder

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
17,305
1,001
126
Originally posted by: schneiderguy
4870 1gb or gtx 260/gtx 260-216

The 512mb 4870 shouldn't even be in consideration... 512mb of memory isn't enough.
I do not agree with that statement. There is certainly benefit to the 1GB model, especially if you like AA or are using a 1980x1200 monitor. But even a 512MB card can still game pretty damn well these days.

Originally posted by: calvinet
Thanks very much for all the advice. I'm going with the cheaper 4870 1GB.
Good luck with your new card! I'm really enjoying my 4870 so far.
 

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