Review.IT – To AMD Crossfire Radeon 7850’s or not

As mentioned previously, I had dabbled in cryptocurrency mining. I played around to the extent of building a few dedicated machines with 3x Radeon 7950’s, and 3x Radeon 7850’s plus the odd Radeon 7870. Since the bitcoin price went down the gurgler – although it has since recovered a little, I had decided to stop mining for a while. What I have left with is…

SONY DSC

What to do with all of these graphics cards – they are in almost new condition, have been used for about six months, then cleaned and packed up. My younger son has put dibs on one of the MSI HD 7850’s for his new computer, with the option of taking another one (for Crossfire). I had plans to use one of the MSI Twin Frozr 7950’s for my new desktop and gaming machine. The questions in my mind were:

Q1: Can I sell the MSI HD 7850 cards perhaps, and recoup some cash?

Q2: If the MSI HD 7850’s aren’t worth selling, because the return is very low – should I keep them and sell the MSI R7950’s instead?

Q3: Should I use the MSI HD 7850’s instead by running two of them in crossfire?

With these questions in mind, I searched on the internet for reviews of any sort that would compare 7850 crossfire versus a single 7950. Most of the sites that I went to – arbitrarily said single card is better than two, etc – with little justification. Then I came across this old review from Tweaktown – which I found very interesting.

HIS Radeon HD 7850 IceQ X TurboX 2GB in CrossFire Video Card Review

http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/4798/his_radeon_hd_7850_iceq_x_turbox_2gb_in_crossfire_video_card_review/index.html

A couple of differences, I don’t have that HIS card, but mine are equivalent in specifications. It doesn’t compare against the Radeon 7950 but does show performance relative to the Radeon 7970 which is slightly better than the Radeon 7950. It doesn’t test with Borderlands 2 since this review was before the release. I don’t plan to be running at a very high resolution, so this seems to say that it is a good thing to do. There is of course talk about how crossfire can be problematic, but surely it has matured by now.

So, let’s “review.it“.

Q1 answer – the 7850’s have a low resale value, for some reason – Gumtree has them for $75 each – I bought them at $169 – potentially 44% return.

Q2 answer – The cheapest 7950 on sale is at $150 – I bought mine for $289 – potentially 52% return.

Q3 answer – Possibly, it certainly looks interesting. Power consumption should be slightly less than a single MSI R7950.  I will need to investigate this further – as it would not hurt to actually try it out and compare the performance myself.

Asking questions also raise additional questions – apparently if we were really smart enough, we could ask the right question, but then we would already know the answer, isn’t that strange!

[Note]  AMD Crossfire technology allows you to harness the power of multiple AMD graphics cards.  For my case, the MSI HD 7850 only has one crossfire connector hence can have two cards in AMD Crossfire, but the MSI R7950 has two crossfire connectors allowing a three card configuration.  Having two cards is not the same as double the performance – however there is a significant increase in performance.  People choose to do this if they already have one card and just want to improve performance by getting another similar card.  The downside is that usually buying two cards is slightly more expensive than buying one better card especially now since the price of AMD Radeon cards have fallen.  My question is that I already have these cards so price is not really relevant unless I wish to get some return on my initial investment.

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