Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible changes?

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Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible changes?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:45 am

Maybe I'm not so tuned in to minor video effects, but my last three video card upgrades )over several years) seemed to produce very minimal visible changes. The cards all were fine, and my 5850 seems to run Crysis 2 fine at 1900 on my 24" monitors. Grading audio to Xonar was dramatically different.

I'm thinking of upgrading to a 670 - but wonder if once again the changes will be so minor I'll wonder why I spent the $400 bucks. Yes, the shadows may have some greater detail, the reflections be a touch more complex - but I usually am not staring at them while avoiding getting my butt kicked and offing aliens.

I see some "huge improvement" lines in reviews by upgraders - but what's likely to be evident? The 5850 has been remarkably competent.

System is P8P67 Pro, 2600K, Corsair 520 PSU, 8 gigs mem, Xonar, 256 M4 SSD, etc.
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:55 am

How much has the X-Box improved in that period? None at all.

Your PC with the Radeon HD5850 is already far more powerful than any game console. That explains why game developers haven't offered you better-looking results from your upgraded hardware.
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:32 am

What you'll get is better framerates. Crysis 2 on my HD 6850 was unplayable at 1080P with Ultra DX11 Settings. It's still barely playable on my HD 7850 or GTX 470.

If you're choosing between HD 7950 and GTX 670, get the latter unless you plan to do some major overclocking. The HD 7950 is underpowered with its weak stock clocks.
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:34 am

5850 is still a pretty good card even by today's standards, and it's actually faster than the 6850.

The 670 will probably offer a smoother experience in some games, but IMO it's probably not worth the $400 upgrade unless the money is really burning a hole in your pocket. In most games you aren't going to see a big increase in visual quality, since the 5850 should already be able to run near the highest settings in most games (excluding high levels of AA).

The new hardware is capable of producing better visuals, but most games just aren't. A game like BF3 would probably be the most noticeable difference, but then there are other games like Dirt3/Portal2/SC2/etc where it's just going to be the difference between 70FPS and 130FPS, which you really aren't going to notice. Even in BF3 it's very hard to notice a difference between HIGH and VERY HIGH settings though, unless you are closely examining a magnified screenshot.

The area where the 670/680 really start to shine is at resolutions above 1080p/1200p, like when running a 30" monitor or triple displays.


ultima_trev wrote:If you're choosing between HD 7950 and GTX 670, get the latter unless you plan to do some major overclocking. The HD 7950 is underpowered with its weak stock clocks.


Yep, I think you'd have to be crazy to get a 7950 over a GTX670 right now. At 1080p the 670 is usually faster than the 7970, let alone a 7950
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:49 am

ordskiweicz wrote:Maybe I'm not so tuned in to minor video effects, but my last three video card upgrades )over several years) seemed to produce very minimal visible changes. The cards all were fine, and my 5850 seems to run Crysis 2 fine at 1900 on my 24" monitors. Grading audio to Xonar was dramatically different.

I'm thinking of upgrading to a 670 - but wonder if once again the changes will be so minor I'll wonder why I spent the $400 bucks. Yes, the shadows may have some greater detail, the reflections be a touch more complex - but I usually am not staring at them while avoiding getting my butt kicked and offing aliens.

I see some "huge improvement" lines in reviews by upgraders - but what's likely to be evident? The 5850 has been remarkably competent.

System is P8P67 Pro, 2600K, Corsair 520 PSU, 8 gigs mem, Xonar, 256 M4 SSD, etc.


I would rather suggest you to overclock the hell out of your HD 5850 and skip this generation of cards.
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:55 am

ordskiweicz wrote:my 5850 seems to run Crysis 2 fine at 1900 on my 24" monitors

Sounds to me like you will be fine waiting for the next gen.
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:32 am

flip-mode wrote:
ordskiweicz wrote:my 5850 seems to run Crysis 2 fine at 1900 on my 24" monitors

Sounds to me like you will be fine waiting for the next gen.


I would +1 that.

At 1920x1080 every game I try runs fine on my old GTX460,
My main rig is running a 6850 (basically the same as a 5850) at 1920 x 1200 without problems too.

How about saving a bit more and getting a nice IPS 2560x1440 screen instead?
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:30 am

I myself even have an 4870 that I don't feel is worth to spend $400+ to upgrade (on an 1080p monitor that is). Yes I would see improvements, but not $400-worth of them. At least I got my money's worth on the 4870, which is at least 3 and a half years old!! If I'm gonna spend that kind of money, after 3.5 years, I want it to blow me away...
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:09 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:At 1920x1080 every game I try runs fine on my old GTX460. My main rig is running a 6850 (basically the same as a 5850) at 1920 x 1200 without problems too.
GeForce GTX460 (768MB) and Radeon HD5850 provide similar performance in most games, and I agree that both are still adequate for playing most games at 1920x1080.

Chrispy_ wrote:How about saving a bit more and getting a nice IPS 2560x1440 screen instead?
Now there's a heck of a suggestion, but why not 2560x1600? :wink:
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:52 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:why not 2560x1600? :wink:


With a 1920x1200 on my home PC, I really miss those 120 pixels on my 1080p screens at work :)

At home though, I have to put up with games cropping content off the edges (SCII, Diablo III), letterboxing (every console port ever) or - worst of all - stretching to the wrong aspect ratio.

Almost all the media I have is 16:9 or wider and letterboxing full-screen is pretty bad too, because even good monitors suffer from non-zero black levels and backlight bleed at the top and bottom edges, just where you notice it if you have a black band there instead of picture to the edge.

To top it all off, 1080p is an HDMI resolution whilst 1920x1200 isn't. 16:9 is the dominant resolution whether we like it or not.

At least with 1440 vertical pixels, you are guaranteed to gain resolution coming from a 24" screen, whereas we were screwed over when 1920x1200's started getting replaced by 1080's at the same size.

Each to their own, but I'm tired of fighting aspect ratio problems and will just conform to the 16:9 trend for my next purchase :P
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:45 pm

If you do decide to upgrade for BF3 or any games that that you are having problems running with high AA or ultra modes i would go for the 670 over the 7950. The 670 probably uses less power then your 5850 and they overclock very well.

If you do decide to get the killer hi res 2560x1440 IPS monitor then you will want a new video card for sure to push all those extra pixels.

Another plus is you don't have to worry about your 2600k limiting your average and max frame rates at 1920 resolution with either the 670 or 7950.

Also i do not know if its in my head that ATI/AMD cards give you better colors and detail in games and on the HTPC dealio :)
Maybe its just the way they are setup in the drivers by default.

As of right now i am not carrying my 2600k+560ti's tower into my bedroom anytime too soon to compare game+HTPC color and detail quality on my best display. My beloved panasonic VT30 55" 3D TV makes my computer rooms 37 inch vizio look pretty crappy in comparison, and rightly so.

Still waiting on getting The 27" ASUS 3D VISION 2 monitor for True 3d gaming my tv cannot provide in shooters. Plus silky smooth 120hrtz non 3d gaming.
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:11 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:Each to their own, but I'm tired of fighting aspect ratio problems and will just conform to the 16:9 trend for my next purchase :P


I've got a couple of 16:10 (1680x1050) 22" monitors and a 16:10 (1920x1200) 24" monitor. At those sizes, I think I would miss the extra vertical space. I don't watch TV/movies on my computer or play games that much anymore. The couple of games that I do play on the 24" all have native support for 1920x1200, so no big deal. I do find that at 2560x1440 on my 27" monitor that 16:9 isn't such a bad thing. :)

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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:26 pm

Yeah, for work, vertical space is always at a premium! 3:4 (4:3 portrait) is the best thing I've come across, but this thread specifically about gaming performance.

Games are made for 16:9, with only a diminishing handful of exceptions.
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Re: Upgrading from Radeon 5850 to 670 or 7950 - visible chan

Postposted on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:55 pm

Thanks all - I will save my dough and perhaps go for another 16:10 24" monitor - IPS for sure.

I have truly been under-whelmed by my prior video card upgrades - each one claiming video nirvana. Yay 5850!
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