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Upgrading GTX 275s in SLI, $800ish budget (2gb vs 4gb?)

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  • Gtx
  • Gaming
  • SLI
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 26, 2013 3:30:44 PM

Hi Guys,

I built my gaming rig back in 2009 and its getting high time that I start upgrading components. Here are my current specs:

2x MSI GTX 275s (2gb) in SLI
6GB (3x2GB) corsair XMS DDR 3 1600
Enermax 1050W PSU
AsRock X58 Xtreme motherboard
i7-920 (2.66ghz) processor

Im running Windows 7.

My monitor is 30" at 2550x1600 resolution.

My current budget is $950.

Id like to move up to 16gb of ram, so Im allocating about $150 for that and a couple of replacement case fans, so that leaves me about $800 for the video cards.

Currently Im considering:

2x GTX 670's (2gb)
2x GTX 670's (4gb)
2x GTX 770's (2gb)

As I mentioned before, I build the rig in 2009 so its been a few years since I was up on all the latest and greatest tech. Ive loosely followed, but havent spent much time studying. Ive been reading a fair amount about when 4gb of VRAM is needed and what I have come away with is that it doesnt really improve frame rates much, but it does allow for better looking graphics (vs 2gb VRAM) at a playable frame rate.

Can you guys offer me some advice on which way would be the most bang for the buck?

More about : upgrading gtx 275s sli 800ish budget 2gb 4gb

a b 4 Gaming
July 26, 2013 3:45:20 PM

I would save up some more, and rebuild when the next generation of CPU's come out (Broadwell), as you will likely bottleneck with a modern SLI setup. By the time Broadwell does come out, you will have likely saved enough to buy yourself quite an amazing PC.
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July 26, 2013 4:22:41 PM

the i7 920 can still be a viable player in the land of video games, especially higher resolution gaming where the majority of the stress is on the video card...

...if its overclocked! buy a couple good HSF units and OC the teets off that bad boy. i recall reviews stating theyre solid overclockers. that should suffice for gaming until we even find out if broadwell is even worth buying. ya never know
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July 26, 2013 5:01:07 PM

justaguywithagun said:
the i7 920 can still be a viable player in the land of video games, especially higher resolution gaming where the majority of the stress is on the video card...

...if its overclocked! buy a couple good HSF units and OC the teets off that bad boy. i recall reviews stating theyre solid overclockers. that should suffice for gaming until we even find out if broadwell is even worth buying. ya never know


Ive seen a thread where a guy OC'ed this mobo and processor to just over 4 Ghz with air cooling and he claimed it to be stable. My plan was to make the old i7 last till the next gen comes out and is proven.

What do you guys think about the video card situation? Am I going to need 8 gb of VRAM or would the faster speeds of the GTX 770 with a tota 4gb VRAM be more suitable?

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a b 4 Gaming
July 26, 2013 8:18:01 PM

Well the 770 does not come with 8GB of VRAM. In fact, no gaming cards do. 4GB should be MORE than sufficient. And you could easily push that chip to 4.5GHz on a decent cooler, such as the cooler master Hyper 212.
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July 26, 2013 10:48:22 PM

expl0itfinder said:
Well the 770 does not come with 8GB of VRAM. In fact, no gaming cards do. 4GB should be MORE than sufficient. And you could easily push that chip to 4.5GHz on a decent cooler, such as the cooler master Hyper 212.

The 4 and 8 gb of VRAM i was talking about were either two 4gb cards or two 2gb cards in SLI. Sorry, I should have been more clear.

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a b 4 Gaming
July 27, 2013 7:06:09 AM

Cole Young said:
expl0itfinder said:
Well the 770 does not come with 8GB of VRAM. In fact, no gaming cards do. 4GB should be MORE than sufficient. And you could easily push that chip to 4.5GHz on a decent cooler, such as the cooler master Hyper 212.

The 4 and 8 gb of VRAM i was talking about were either two 4gb cards or two 2gb cards in SLI. Sorry, I should have been more clear.



Well VRAM does not stack, so if you had dual 2GB cards, you would still only have 2GB of VRAM. This is because both cards are rendering the same frames, so they are in both the cards' memory at the same time.
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a b 4 Gaming
July 27, 2013 8:12:24 AM

At that sort of resolution 4Gb of VRAM would, in my opinion, be best (per card).
The GTX760 matches or equals the GTX670 and is usually cheaper.
As I recall the i7 920 uses triple channel memory, to keep things stable you'll be best off going for 12Gb (3x4Gb).
Overclocking is probably a very good idea, but the Hyper 212 is only fine for moderate overclocks, I've got one on my i5 and things are stable and quiet at 3.6GHz, but it struggles to keep things reasonably cool beyond that.
Current cards are, at this level, massively powerful, so I'd suggest you get a single GTX770 4Gb card and see how things pan out rather than dropping the whole budget on a pair.
Or you might go for a single GTX780 ;) .
Check the articles linked in blue in the categories you're interested in here:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/gaming-graphics-card-revi...
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a b 4 Gaming
July 27, 2013 8:35:11 AM

The gtx 780 has terrible value, I would never recommend it. But the 4GB 770 is the way to go. And i forgot for a moment that those older i7's are clocked lower by default. But I still think you could reach 4.5GHz. This cooler should do the trick, if your case will fit it:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It has the same cooling performance as the Corsair H100, and it is more reliable, and runs much quieter.
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a b 4 Gaming
July 27, 2013 10:45:31 AM

@ Expl0itfinder:
Guess it'll depend on what the OP reads with regards to the GTX780, I mentioned it as the very highest single card that comes close to making any sense-Titan is even poorer value.
You really mean it with that cooler :)  A lesser unit may be enough, it'll depend on how hard the OP wants to push the CPU, like I said, the Hyper 212 Plus I'm using is fine at 3.6GHz on a chip that is practically the same, but if he wants to push harder...
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July 27, 2013 1:02:42 PM

coozie7 and expl0itfiner: Great advice. I didnt know that vram doesnt stack, so I learned something. Thanks. Also, I hadn't thought about the i7-920 using triple channel ram, so I think I will heed your advice and go with 12 gb instead of 16. From the review that coozie linked, it looks like 2x 770's in SLI is the way to go although they didnt show 670s or a 4gb 770 for comparison so I will have to look for some more reviews. Im a bit hesitant to buy a single card because I dont want to be caught in a situation of not being able to be another identical card down the road should I decide I want to go SLI. I currently just have the OEM heatsink that came with the i7, but I think if i pick my video cards and ram carefully, i should have enough money in my budget to get an upgraded heatsink as well. I would like to push the old i7 up to a minimum of 3.5 ghz. Ive been pretty happy with it at 2.66 and have had short hardware life in the past from overclocking. I suppose if I buy the right cooler and go about OC'ing in the correct way, the short lifespan could be avoided. I appreciate the advice you guys are giving me. Im not looking for the "big ball factor" of having the biggest baddest gpu on the market, I simply want to try and achieve the best overall performance with hardware im keeping and the budget I have and I feel like you guys are truly respecting that, as opposed to telling me to spend obscene amounts of money on hardware I dont need.
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July 27, 2013 1:08:54 PM

Also, this is the ram currently in my rig. I was thinking about adding another 6gb of this ram. How compatible with each other are these two? The only big difference I see is the voltage and I dont know enough about ram to know if thats going to matter or not. I would imagine that its ideal to have all ram cards be identical, but in the interest of allocating $80 towards other hardware, Id like to just add if im not going to take much of a performance hit for it.
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a b 4 Gaming
July 27, 2013 1:26:41 PM

@ Cole Young: My e-peen is enough ;) . Old, but enough.
I'm no overclocking expert-for that go to the Overclocking Forum-but if one thing is going to shorten the life of a component it's applying too much voltage, usually if you just play with the frequencies the worst that can happen is the system will not boot and you may have to reset the BIOS to stock, either by removing the motherboard battery or moving a jumper, see the motherboard manual or download one to see which is applicable to your system.
Me, I'd say your most logical path is to: Overclock first, there's plenty of spare power lurking in that i7 and card prices in this segment have yet to fully settle after the Nvidia release of the 7xx series. If things are not running as you want, add a GTX770 and see how things go, if you're still not happy (sigh ;)  ), add another-as you planned in your first post.
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a b 4 Gaming
July 27, 2013 1:31:27 PM

Not sure about the memory, you should check the motherboard manual, not all will be happy running 1.5v modules, especially if they're mixed with 1.4v components.
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a b 4 Gaming
July 27, 2013 6:48:07 PM

As long as the temperatures stay below around 75-85C, then the life span of the CPU will not be shortened. One 770 is enough to get playable framerates in ANY game at ANY realistic resolution, and adding another one would only add to the glory.
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August 11, 2013 8:48:56 AM

I ended up going with 4GB GTX 770, 12GB Gskill ram (PC1600) and the hyper 212.
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August 11, 2013 8:58:56 AM

Cole Young said:
I ended up going with 4GB GTX 770, 12GB Gskill ram (PC1600) and the hyper 212.


:D  PLEASE tell me which 4GB 770 you bought! Was it the MSI Gaming 770 4GB?
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August 11, 2013 6:31:10 PM

meowmix44 said:
Cole Young said:
I ended up going with 4GB GTX 770, 12GB Gskill ram (PC1600) and the hyper 212.


:D  PLEASE tell me which 4GB 770 you bought! Was it the MSI Gaming 770 4GB?


No, its the zotac version.
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August 16, 2013 10:43:00 AM

Is my psu going to be able to handle 2 of these cards?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 16, 2013 11:33:39 AM

It is not a particularly reputable brand, but at that wattage it shouldn't be a problem. In short, yes, that is more than enough power.
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