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Radeon HD 6850 or Gforce GTX550ti?


Abigail Merlin
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Both are great cards, I'm sure you will see vastly improved performance. ASUS offers both cards (well, their retailers) look for one made by them. imo

The store I purchase from allows returns but the refund can only be applied towards the purchase of an additional card. (you might be able to try both) 

I believe that your performance improvements with either card will be worth it. Depending on your pc specifications, you may be able to upgrade the card again in the future.

The real debate in the performance of the Top Cards is seperated by only a few frames per second. Some differences are so small that discussion often leads to "it's noisy" or bulky and other minutia.  

 

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Hm, to be honest the option between nVidia and ATi is more of a personal choice, seeing as each brand will always outpower the other in certain games... I myself play mostly games designed for nVidia so alas, the option was clear...

In any case, I have a GTX 550Ti OC card by GIGABYTE, it has a rather nice huge sient fan that can keep the card cooled at rather high overclocked speeds, beating the ATi option you have by far if you know how =)

As for SL.. I've had a few issues, yet not many in the past with everything maxed out to ultra constantly on this card (W/ 256M View) but with LL's recent OpenGL fixes and nVidia's 290 driver it's running flawlessly, and has plenty of free VRAM to spare...

TL:DR : I'd go for the GTX550Ti

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Both are great cards, I'm sure you will see vastly improved performance. ASUS offers both cards (well, their retailers) look for one made by them. imo

The store I purchase from allows returns but the refund can only be applied towards the purchase of an additional card. (you might be able to try both) 

I believe that your performance improvements with either card will be worth it. Depending on your pc specifications, you may be able to upgrade the card again in the future.

The real debate in the performance of the Top Cards is seperated by only a few frames per second. Some differences are so small that discussion often leads to "it's noisy" or bulky and other minutia.  

 

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Performance wise, it's a no-brainer, the 6850 outperforms the 550ti in every gaming test I've seen and by quite a large margain in many instances. Here is a link to some game tests and you can compare the two cards. The 550 is more AMD 5770 territory, which by the way, according to Kirstens card tests, is a great performer in SL.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4221/nvidias-gtx-550-ti-coming-up-short-at-150/5

http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html 6850 = 12th / 550ti = 43rd

AMD reduced the price of the 6850 by a substantial amount recently making it a great buy at the moment (presumably why it's in your budget range along with the 550ti) and a lot cheaper than the Nvidia 460 now, which would be more its equal in performance.

I can't say how they perform in Phoenix or Firestorm as I don't use those viewers. My 5850 performs extremely well in v3 and Kirstens and I surmise the 6850 would be at least its equal (it's not a 5850 replacement but should perform as well because of other improvements). The only issues I have are no anti-aliasing with lighting and shadows enabled and an occasional alpha texture glitch with a couple of pairs of shoes but far as I know, those issues affect some nvidia cards too. The Nvidia card may be the safe bet and undoubtedly will work well in SL but likely not as high fps as the 6850.

Hopefully others using those cards in SL will add comments. You can add comments to your post using Options > Edit.

If you are upgrading from an integrated Intel HD chipset, make sure your cooling system and PSU can handle the addition of whatever discrete GPU you choose.

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go with the Nvidia card.  Stay away from the ATI as SL doesn't run as well upon it as it does on Nvidia.  I've had both kinds of cards and the Nvidia cards work much better than the ATI ones.  The issue appears to be iffy drivers and OpenGL support.  ATI wants to drop OpenGL entirely so their drivers are thus poor and only halfway support it.  This has been a well-known refraign since 2005 or so -- SL runs far better on Nvidia hardware than ATI.

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Lots of very good info on graphics cards here and one of your two is mentioned specifically.

 

http://www.kirstensviewer.com/Blog/177/__Kirstens_GPU_Awards_2011_!__.html

 

I use Firestorm and have the HD6900 card which works beautifully. There is a caveat here -- ATI cards do NOT do shadows well at all. You can either have smooth edges OR shadows, but not both (and it isn't an antialias issue - it is a Linden Labs non ATI support issue :D) . So all things being equal, if you don't care much about shadows you probably want the Radeon. If shadows are important and you intend to use them often, then the NVIDIA is your best choice.

 

VERY IMPORTANT -- make sure your power supply will RUN your card of choice (and maybe you already checked this from the comment in your post). Too many folks buy a new card that their computer cannot safely run.

Enjoy the new power!

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