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Video card upgrade

By BlindObject
Apr 7, 2011
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  1. So I've been using my SLI GTX465 for a little while and I'm very satisfied. But it's time to upgrade again. I was looking for another SLI set up. This time I'm actually considering ATI Cross Fire, however. But the negative input I get sometimes about the drivers and etc is quite a turn off for me considering it's really easy to set up SLI and drivers from Nvidia. I was looking into the 6950s cards which seem to be able to unlock to 6970. Is this easy to accomplish? Are there any risks? On the green side I was looking into a pair of either GTX470s or GTX560 Tis.

    Inputs please?
     
  2. RyuSageri

    RyuSageri TS Rookie Posts: 16

    6950's are quite good without the bios upgrade. And the bios upgrade to 6970 only works on reference designs of the card. If the PCB's are custom and you try upgrading you can damage you card's also voiding your warranty.

    On the Nvidia side I would definitely go with 560 Ti's. They perform better than GTX470's and draw less power.

    If comparing 6950's to 560 Ti's, the 6950's have a bit better performance and also a higher power draw. I would say go with the one you like more as both set ups should be more than enough for todays games.
     
  3. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    Hi Blind,
    I will offer you this. GPU drivers draw an awful lot of fanboy screed and nonsense. The Customer systems I build are close to a 50/50 split between Nvidia and AMD, and almost all of them are Crossfire or SLI. It has been my experience that i have no discernible level of problems with one over the other. Some will call this anecdotal evidence, but it's a hell of a lot of anecdotal evidence. I will tell you that i use the 6950's quite a lot in my builds and they crossfire/scale beautifully.
     
  4. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    Yes. But since unlocking the shaders add's only a marginal boost to performance and the 6950's vRAM is the older 5Gb variety- not the 6Gb IC's that are found on the 6970- then you can run into the possibility of render problems
    Although you're probably best to either unlock the shaders only (BIOS hack) and manually overclock the core and memory, or just conventional overclocking using Afterburner or vendor supplied OC'ing software (SmartDoctor/TriXX etc.).
    Be aware that some non-reference cards don't seem to take a flash from a modded BIOS.
    Both setups would offer very good performance -not as good as CF'ed 6950's, although it depends on what kind of price you are paying. As an example; locally it is cheaper for me to buy two GTX480's + two aftermarket coolers (Prolimatech MK-13 or AC Accelero Xtreme Plus) and upgrade a PSU (if required) than buy two 6950's (or GTX570's). So it pretty much depends on pricing and what levels of game IQ you are happy with.
     
  5. BlindObject

    BlindObject TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 412

    Excellent. I love the whole unlocking business, it's very interesting. I've had bad luck with it, however. As you probably know some of the versions of GTX465s were able to unlock to full GTX470s, or a small boost from custom bios. But unfortunately my card were not able to have either, even though I had the black PCB, my chip wasn't unlockable. How do I find the reference design of the cards? As I see in the link, most cards are able to unlock without issues.
     
  6. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    You're probably best to short list the cards available to you then Google something like [vendor model] shader/6970 unlock or similar. I think virtually all reference cards would unlock (the stock rectangular shroud+ blower fan), but I note that some 1Gb cards and second revision (non-reference) boards -mostly those without a BIOS switch are usually the problematic ones. Newer XFX/MSI boards seem to crop up more frequently than most in tech help sites- but I would suggest you refine your research once you have a list of available SKU's that interest you.

    As far as I know the only large scale model of GTX465 that was unlockable to GTX 470 was an initial batch that were rushed out to meet the launch deadline (mainly EVGA/Asus/Palit/PoV)
     

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