TechSpot

Nvidia SLI

By HPCE_Larry
Jan 11, 2007
  1. I'm looking building a machine with two of these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814150182 SLI'd. I'm sure i have enough power and the right motherboard. What I'm wondering is how much better is two gfx cards than one. Would it be a better deal to buy a really good one now, or get two of these? I'm planning on two gigs of ram, and a core 2 duo processor.
     
  2. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Posts: 302

    I have that exact card :). It's hard to find something around that price range with performance better than this card.

    I don't have SLI, so I can't comment on that. However, it is up to you what you do. Whether it's getting a better single card, like the 7900GS/7900GT, or get two of these 7600GT's.



    Let's say you have the choice of either two 7600GT's or one 7900GT. Given these two choices, two 7600GT's are the better choice. Two 7600GT's in SLI are better than a single 7900GT. However, two 7900GT's are better than two 7600GT's.

    What I'm saying is, if you get two 7600GT's, it will perform better than one 7900GT. But if you get one 7900GT, then you wait another 5 months and get another 7900GT, it will be better than just getting two 7600GT's all at once.

    Keep in mind that I only used the 7900GT as an example, which can be substituted for any card higher than a 7600GT.



    So basically I think you have two choices at the moment: Get two 7600GT's right now. Or get one higher-than-7600GT card, be patient, and get your second one later.

    However, if budget is not a problem then you can just get two high-end cards all at once instead of waiting a few months after your first one.
     
  3. HPCE_Larry

    HPCE_Larry TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 132

    thanks for the advice. Is it possible or recommended to SLI two different cards? Also, is the 7900GT good enough to play high end games at good graphics?
     
  4. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    if u intend to go to the new games which will be coming out for Vista u will need a Directx 10 card and to go to that it will have to be a Nvita 8800 GTX or GTS card
     
  5. Griffon327

    Griffon327 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    I currently run 2 7800GTX cards in SLI and essentially found one thing out the hard way. One of these cards plays every game under the sun maxed out without any glitches or problems whatsoever (tweaked of course)

    Ran 2 because board was capable and the one game that would not and could not be played in max mode was FEAR and FEAR rules. So like a smuck I purchased another 7800 GTX card and run both in SLI and FEAR runs great my 3d marks are off the chart and my Computer runs 25 degrees hotter and about 40 db louder then before. (foot warmer in winter time) machine used to be so quiet you never heard it running now you can. I do not mind that so much as I have not seen any performance gains in any other game to date. even Doom 3 and expansion is unchanged with SLI

    Bottom line spend your money on a card with DDR3 ram and clock the **** out of it. If you need more performance buy 2 cards and run SLI (but wait until prices drop to get second card)(dirt cheap)

    If faced between less ram DDR3 on one card or twice as much DDR2 on another always and I mean always go with faster ram as the faster card is always better.

    I would pick a card with 128mb ram DDR3 over one with 1 gig DDR in a heart beat

    As for direct X 10? Game developers are not stupid they revolve around cash flow and would never create a game where only newer machines could play.
    with probably the exception of FEAR as that game needs some serious hardware to even turn on. Most games are usually 3 years behind technology wise. So if you buy a Gamer machine with a serious video card it will probably be 3-4 years before a retail game will be beyond your ability to play.

    Technology leaps and bounds every day with games and puters. If you tried to wait until every new piece of technology is available you would never get a machine built. Order a dell Today and by the time it is delivered enjoy having the baddest machine they make for about 7-10 days tops as something faster is always just around the corner and more expensive.
     
  6. HPCE_Larry

    HPCE_Larry TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 132

    Will cards that support directx9 deffinitally not support dx10? Cause i'm planning on buying vista for this and I need to have a compatable vid card.
     
  7. Griffon327

    Griffon327 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Are you sure you want to use Vista? I have lived through and used all the Microsoft OS systems since Windows 3.1 and one thing I have learned is to wait 1 year after the release of each new OS simply to have game developers as well as all other software and hardware providers supply all the needed drivers in order to has out all the bugs.

    Anyone who used the Windows 98 pre release OS would remember all the conflicts hassles and crashes that accompany a new OS release.

    XP and XP pro are great OS systems are work great unlike Windows ME which was a nightmare OS why spend money only to have stuff you currently use now with absolutely no issues at all possibly give you grief?

    Granted if some one was to give me a corporate version for free and I install it on an extra machine I might be tempted to try it out but there is no way I would actually purchase it until it has been tried and tested and most of the world has already supplied support.

    When I switched to XP pro I had zero issues with anything of mine unlike all the problems before. and that is because I waited a full year to switch.

    Just remember there is a big difference between XP SP1 and SP2

    Game developers also will slowly expand towards vista as they have learned their lessons throughout the years.
     
  8. HPCE_Larry

    HPCE_Larry TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 132

    If i were to buy windows XP MediaCenter how much would that let me save when i eventually upgrade to vista?
     
  9. Griffon327

    Griffon327 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Why would anyone want XP media center? I always use XP PRO the media center only contains lots and lots of useless programs the Microsoft picked out to do a lot of the things I have other software to do. If you are starting out and have not been doing this for years by all means get media center because it will contain enough stuff to get by own until you migrate to better software.

    I use Mozilla for web browser, X news for news and Nero for burning as well as X copy for games for burning games and DVD decryptor for ripping DVD's and DVD shrink for burning DVD's as well as a host of other programs.

    I recommend XP pro if you can do without SP2 then you can get a corporate version from almost any place like Bearshare for FREE

    not that I condone piracy just letting you know that it can be done.

    If you absolutely have to have SP2 (mainly for USB 2.0) then you will have to either purchase a full version or slipstream SP2 into a corporate version (free) I do not personally know how to do this today but if the need arises I will learn tomorrow.

    As for direct-X 10 being required for games? More then likely it will take 9-12 months before support via drivers will be available for already released games and probably another 3-5 years before anybody releases a game that will no longer play on direct-X 9
    Hasn't anybody ever purchased a top of the line video card brand new and then have to wait 2-3 years before anybody designs a game that will push it to the limits? Not a mid range card mind you but a balls to the wall top end video card.

    Although in last 2 years or so more and more game developers are making games with very strict hardware requirements. FEAR DOOM3 and OBLIVION are games that make hardcore gaming machines really shine.
     
  10. HPCE_Larry

    HPCE_Larry TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 132

    ok thanks for the advice. Do you know if its possible to SLI two different cards, or would that have issues?
     
  11. Griffon327

    Griffon327 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    I run Nvidia cards so cannot advise on ATI cards running crossfire. Nvidia cards have to be the same type IE: 7600GT 7900GT etc. They say you can use different brands as long as same model but I would not recommend doing this as different companies might all use the same chipset on the cards the RAM is another matter completely and the biggest thing that seperates cheap no name cards and expensive High dollar name brands. Also as far as system RAM goes better to have 1 Gig of high quality fast ram then 2 gigs of slow.

    I recomend using DDR2 as that is the newest technology and the older formats will be phased out shortly and if you purchase that type you will have to buy new ram yet again in 2 years when you replace your computer again. If you are going to skimp on anything do not skimp on motherboard as it is the foundation of your system.

    Be conservative on your CPU as the prices come down often and as long as your motherboard will support upgrades you can always put a faster chip in down the road.

    If you run an intel board and 775 CPU and your motherboard can support 1066 FSB you can get a 3.0 gig CPU for around $70 on e-bay with 2mb cache and perform what is known as a pin mod which solders 2 connections on the chip and lets the CPU run at approximatively 4.0Gig at 1066 FSB The CPU to get is 3.0 GHZ 630

    For the details on the pin mod just google intel 775 pin mod 630 or something to that affect and be patient and read all the info and upload any pics.
     
  12. Griffon327

    Griffon327 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Oh and for the skeptics out there the pin mod does work there are thousands out there doing it and it is cheap as well as highly recommended for folks who purchased a DELL XPS 600 and did not get the extreme CPU. BY running the pin mod it to bypasses the motherboard on the dell and is recognized as a Extreme CPU although not completely identical to the extreme the 630 chip can be obtained new for around $175 and modified for less then $10 and actually run faster then the extreme chip. There are some differences although minor between the $175 cpu and the $1100 cpu.
     
  13. Griffon327

    Griffon327 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    The 7600GT were good when first released but to purchase them today would not be wise. Better to invest in the 7800GS as they have a high core clock as well as DDR3 ram and not 100% sure as I haven't read up on then in 6 months but I think they are 24 pipeline and 256 bit. Before going to 7800GTX Is was thinking of running the GS cards they give you the best bang for the buck. 2 7600GT would either be equal to a single 7800GS or only a tad better. Spend the extra cash. Or buy a single 7900GT for now. and shop new egg and steer clear of the no name cheapies.
     
  14. sghiznaneck

    sghiznaneck TS Maniac Posts: 403

    If you want to run SLI and utilize it to its fullest capacity, you MUST run to identical cards. No ifs, ands or buts.
     
  15. Griffon327

    Griffon327 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Yeah what he said. Some people say you CAN use other brand cards but why take a chance?

    Back when SLI was first introduced did not some companies sell matched pairs for SLI. I mean two identical cards pre-packaged?
     
  16. HPCE_Larry

    HPCE_Larry TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 132

    I think i'll take your advice and buy 1 really nice card for now, and then get another one later when I can afford it. will I need a directx 10 card to run windows vista at all?
     
  17. Griffon327

    Griffon327 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    New technology has BUGS and issues.. AS with new software...
    STAY clear of direct X10 cards as well as Windows Vista until well after it's release as driver issues will be ironed out.

    Windows XP SP2 works wonderful SP1 not nearly as well and the first draft had issues. not as many as Windows 98 beta or Windows ME

    I intend to wait until Windows Vista SP1 is out or maybe SP2 as long is there is not some aspect of windows Vista I cannot absolutely live without.

    Just for a point of reference Nvidia video cards in SLI mode will not support 1080i HDTV's support. They say they are currently working on the issue and it has been over 14 months. To put this into perspective I invested over $4000 on a gaming machine in order to play video games on my 42 inch widescreen TV which is by the way 1080i and for the last 14 months have been unable to use the PC on the big screen. The sole purpose I built the machine for in the first place.
    Had I waited and did a little more research I could have purchased an ATI video card for my old PC and enjoyed my games on my HDTV and then after purchasing a new plasma TV supporting 1080P I could then build my SLI rig

    My current TV although 1080i has an awesome picture that looks every bit as good as current $4000 plasma TV's and it make me bitter that in order to play video games in SLI I have to replace a perfectly good TV because some engineer at Nvidia designed the cards wrong and did not correct the issue.
     
  18. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Actually DDR3 is coming out in a few months. If you really must have support for the newest RAM, just wait a bit before buying your Mobo, or buy a cheap non SLI one right now, and get an SLI DDR3 mobo down the road.
     
  19. HPCE_Larry

    HPCE_Larry TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 132

    I'm actually planning to buy this machine near the begginning of summer, but was looking at what the avaliable options are. Do you think it would be intellagent to go for vista by then if they have come out with some sort of service pack/major update?

    and would you say buying one ofthese now and then another later would be a good idea? Will that card on its own work well with most games?

    Lastly, is anyone aware of new Nvidia cards that are planned to come out in a month or two?
     
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