Best Graphics Cards for SLI or Crossfire in Dell Precision T5400

I just purchased a Dell Precision T5400 and would like to know something since I have read on many different site that SLI and Crossfire is and is not supported on this system. What I would like to know from Dell, NVIDIA, or ATI is; What are the different cards that work in the Dell Precision T5400 for both SLI and Crossfire? Are there any systems changes that need to be done to get SLI or Crossfire to work? That are not outside 3rd party mods and if there are no Native changes then, what are the Mods that work and are "safe"? (yes nothing is 100% certain) I'm tired of getting mixed reviews from different sites I have looked at. I currently have a NVIDIA Quadro FX 1700 that's not cutting it for what I need to do. I do 3D graphic design now and need good high end cards that are compatible with my system. Hopefully someone from the companies could answer this for me or someone that has the same computer and has gone through this process already.

I know that SLI and Crossfire is not interchangeable and that they are different. What are the best card(s) to use in the T5400 as stand alone or as duel card system, running SLI or Crossfire. What are the stats on their performance? New cards have come out so the ones that are posted on the Dell site might not be the only ones that work on the T5400 system anymore. Why would Dell update the site for a computer they no longer support, that would be up to the people who have the machine to do and for the other owners out there to know.

P.S. I have worked in IT for over 11 years now so I understand almost anything you can post on here. Please just remember to be detailed.

Thanks MUCH in advance!
6 answers Last reply
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  1. It does have two x16 slots but not positive on SLI or crossfire(they say it's for easy quad monitors which wouldn't be in SLI/crossfire), especially cards. But you current gpu is VERY low end and is your biggest issue
  2. SLI and CROSSFIRE support is at the level of the motherboard. If the motherboard does not support it, your computer can't support it.

    You are discussing WORKSTATION cards, not gaming cards.

    NVIDIA is unlikely to price their Quadro cards such that TWO cards perform as good or better than a single card of the same total price. Therefore the ONLY scenario that makes sense is when you need MORE processing power than the BEST single-GPU setup can provide. These cards are very expensive.

    You need to look at all the software you intend to use and find out how various cards rate.

    Hardware and bottlenecks:
    When doing video editing there can be many potential bottlenecks:
    - insufficient RAM (32GB is considered "overkill" by many and a "benfit vs 16GB" by others but it varies on the task)
    - CPU (the software may be largely CPU-dependent)
    - SSD/HDD (a slow hard drive may become a bottleneck whereas a fast SSD dedicated as the scratch pad may alleviate issues).

    *I discussed GPU-accelerated cards for many Adobe products and the Quadro cards where overpriced. There were actually other bottlenecks making more than a GTX650/660 a waste of money for most applications. I don't have the link now, but there was a huge article comparing GTX600 cards and Quadro cards. Part of this article discussed how to FORCE compatibility as the GTX600 cards seem to be disabled in many applications by default (forcing you to buy the more expensive, overpriced Quadro cards).

    - if the motherboard does not support SLI (as it apparently does not) that's a non-issue
    - regardless of SLI get the best single-GPU card in your budget
    - spent a lot more time investigating all aspects of the issue
  3. photonboy said:
    - if the motherboard does not support SLI (as it apparently does not) that's a non-issue
    - regardless of SLI get the best single-GPU card in your budget
    - spent a lot more time investigating all aspects of the issue

    Thanks for the response to my question. I don't think I'll be having any problems with bottlenecks in my system.

    Here are my hardware specs;
    Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
    System Manufacturer: Dell Inc.
    System Model: Precision WorkStation T5400
    BIOS: Phoenix ROM BIOS PLUS Version 1.10 A10
    System Board Model: 0RW203
    Chipset Vendor: Intel
    Chipset Model: 5400A
    Chipset Revision: C0
    Southbridge Vendor: Intel
    Southbridge Model: 6321ESB
    Southbridge Revision: 09
    Processor: 2 Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X5470 @ 3.33GHz (8 CPUs), ~3.3GHz
    Hard Drive: 256 GB Samsung SSD 840 PRO Series ATA
    Memory: 16384MB RAM
    Available OS Memory: 16382MB RAM
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA Quadro FX 1700
    Current Mode: 1920 x 1080 (32 bit) (59Hz)
    Power Supple: 875 Watts
    Other parts not important.

    Under the Windows rating check and third party system advisers they all say my graphics card is pulling my system down. I've looked into my software as well, some rely heavily on the card and others use my CPU. I don't have a problem with those at all that use the CPU more, so I know its the graphics card that's the problem. The link you posted is something I have already looked at as well. Would putting in a riser card be wise if I wanted to make SLI feasible? I have never really cared about graphics in my systems since it was not important at the time, so now I'm investigating my options and what will work. I was thinking that since I work from home I could/should use it as a gaming system as well and not my laptop I have been using. So I guess my other new question is, What is the single best card that will work well for both working and gaming? Sorry to be a pain but it's just like you said, there's no point in wasting money on a card not fully used.

    Thanks, MTG

    I found this link and thought it might be helpful for others. I was looking for something cheaper the $3,700, so I might go with a GeForce. The specs on the cards look good for my system and yes it's not for 3D design, but I'm not really doing high end 3D engine designs. Do any of you have worry about these cards? I have not looked for the price yet, any other card suggestions?
  4. Hi there.
    I also have a T5400 with 2x E5420 and 8GB of FBDDR2. I just ordered 2x X5470 and was afraid the system wouldnt be compatible. Im glad to see that your system works with them.
    Now, I did go ahead and bought an overpowered card without considering my system's capabilities (silly me!)

    It's a Gainward GTX770 phantom.

    The PSU can haddle just fine thankfully without power shortages, blue screens or freezes even at maximum load.
    The problem is as you have suspected this card is overpowered for the system. I also use my pc for 3d design work but I also tested this rig with Battlefield 4. (Pc games are great means for hardware stress tests). What I've seen is that the card can max out at times performance wise but I do have massive fps drops in heavily populated areas with 3d geometry and adaptive environments in the game. If I'm correct thats due to lack of cpu power or the slow DDR2 speed that the T5400's support.
    I will post again as soon as I install the paired X5470 to see if there is performance difference.
  5. mesaritism,

    This thread is 14 months old...
  6. Yeah just replied in case someone came across the thread in the future and needed the info
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