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current gen better than SLi/Crossfire for future? Opinions

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January 22, 2006 1:06:51 AM

I'm going to build a new rig used mostly for gaming and need some opinions that will help me set a budget and somewhat help future proof costwise. This may actually fall under motherboards, but I figured the majority of people that read the GC threads would be more knowledgeable than some of the Mobo only readers.

What I currently know so far is SLi/Crossfire is the future, and games can see about a 20%-30% averaged increase at max settings. I'll just refer to the two gc set up as SLi as I'm going to use the 7800 card(s) for my new box.

If I remember right, the 7800 on average slightly outperform two 6800 in SLi even for games optimised for SLi. The cost now for one 7800 is about the same as 2 6800.

My current thinking is that in 2-3 years time when the 7800 is struggling to play the current games, I can simply buy another 7800 card and go SLi. The cost for the 7800 will probably be about half the current cost. Most games would probably have SLi support too.

OR????????
(in 2-3 years) would it actually be better and cheaper to just get the current card that is out? Most would of course say to just pick up another 7800, "...the cost (now) for the mobo with SLi is only $20-$50 more..."

But I think it runs at 2 x8, and if I wanted true 2 x16, it's about $100+ more. And if I go non-SLi, I won't need to get a 550+ watt SLi PSU.

So it might actually be better and cheaper to simply get the future gc (2-3 years) as I will save money now on the non-SLi mobo, PSU, and sell the 7800 later.

I would like to hear your opinions, pros and cons, and better advice if you have any.

Better advice is like:
7800, AMD 3000+ and value ram is better than 6800, AMD X2 and premium ram for gaming.

Thanks in advance!
January 22, 2006 1:33:39 AM

I like the first idea, and I'm considering it too.. get a somewhat expensive 7800GT, 1-2 years from now, it won't be nearly as good (and not as expensive). Why not get a SLI motherboard at that time?

Also, which AMD X2 are you refering to? I'm guessing the 3800+. If I were you, I wouldn't get Value Ram if you're going to be playing games, and a 3000+ CPU does seem a bit slow for my taste. Can you afford a 7800GT, a A64 3200+ and some non-value RAM? That'd be a nice combo imo.
January 22, 2006 1:43:58 AM

Quote:

....would it actually be better and cheaper to just get the future current card that is out?...
What? I don't understand option 2 at all.

If I'm reading this right you are saying option 1 is:

SLI MB and a single 7800gt with an empty slot for future upgrade?

or are you suggesting a non-sli mb with a single 7800 for now?

Option 2 is getting an SLI MB and 2 7800GTs?

Is that correct? It seems like you were thinking out loud instead of thinking first and typing second.

Please spell out the exact options you are thinking about now and for the future.
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January 22, 2006 1:59:20 AM

I really do not see any need for SLI or Crossfire for gamers.
For the amount of money you would spend on two budget cards that SLI/CF together, you could get one $500 X1900XT that will beat many duals, and virtually all single cards, plus it will play the latest and soon released games at full detail full resolution... all while not using up as much heat or power as a dual system.
Spend the money for dual-core, and a top flight graphic card...
That will last you a couple years, then upgrade your rig again when you have squeezed all there is out of it. I see this as being more effecient, plus more satisfying.

BTW, I have a X1800XT, Opteron 175 and get 9658 3DMarks05 and 4490 3DMarks06 and will play any game at full resolution and detail.
I paid $550 for the HiS X1800XT a little over a month ago.
January 22, 2006 2:25:07 AM

Quote:

Better advice is like:
7800, AMD 3000+ and value ram is better than 6800, AMD X2 and premium ram for gaming.

Thanks in advance!


u answered your own question. get the 3000+ and oc it gg 2.6ghz ez on air
a b U Graphics card
January 22, 2006 2:39:02 AM

"But I think it runs at 2 x8, and if I wanted true 2 x16, it's about $100+ more. "

The "old SLI" standard (2 lanes of PCI-ex8) is perhaps one or 2 frames/sec behind the newer 2 x 16...
January 22, 2006 2:46:44 AM

LOL, yeah, I read that again, thinking out loud is always funny.

What I meant is:

Option 1: sli mobo (1 gc now, get another card in 2-3 years)
Option 2: non-sli mobo (just get the latest gc in 2-3 years)

Option 1 allows me to just get another 7800 card and I should be able to play future games fairly well. But I have to put out a little more money now (true 2 x16 and beefy PSU), and looking toward the future I pay a little for an outdated card, but the end result is I may not have the performance of the future gc (using 7800 vs 2 6800 sli comparison) and I may possibly have paid more in total over this 2-3 year span. The upside is it gives me flexibility to squeeze more life out of the new build.

Option 2 allows me to save more money now (non sli mobo and 450w PSU should be good), when the gc starts struggling to play games, I simply sell the 7800 and get the newest card that is out from nVidia. The benefit is it might outperform the 2 7800 sli, and take advantage of whatever the latest graphic tech is at the time. I'm certainly going to pay more for the latest card, but it was balanced out by paying less (now) for the new build.

So there you have it, SLi is great for bleeding edge performance to squeeze a few more fps (now), but when looking at new cards versus one prior generation of cards in sli mode (future), using the 7800 vs 2 6800 example, it might not be worth it to pay more now for a sli setup. Just like Wallstreet stocks, past performance isn't a guarantee of future performance, but you use it as a guide.

The last time I built a new rig was about 5 years ago, and it was just this past three months that I started playing games heavily again. I've been using my laptop to play as it's the most modern system I have currently, but we all know laptop gc are always way behind.

So you can see I'm really out of the loop when it comes to hardware tech and the future of where the current tech will lead in the short term. So that's why I'm asking for opinions and advice.

The better advice example I gave at the bottom of my first post was just an example, I not going to use the AMD 3000+. But if I didn't know better and didn't do my homework, I would've walked into the store and got the AMD X2 instead of paying more for a better gc and balance it out with a lower processor. So for the same total cost, I would've gotten a better performing gaming machine by getting lesser parts for the processor and memory. I think it was Crashman that gave that example.
January 22, 2006 3:00:33 AM

Ok I think I get it now. You are getting a single card either way. The only difference is the extra cost of the SLI motherboard.

While I'm not a huge fan of SLI it is a viable upgrade path. In spite of not being a fan I don't think it would hurt to have the option available for when a matching card could be picked up on the cheap. You wouldn't be out that much money to keep you options open.

Word on the street is that a new 1900 card is just around the corner, you might want to wait until you see what it can do and also what it does to the prices of current cards.
January 22, 2006 1:40:09 PM

i really think future does not mix with technology. I would get MB that meets your price point; if you can get SLI at x amount of dollars, then get it. But I would not get 2nd 7800GTX or GT as it's price/performance is very poor.

I don't know how today's SLI or CF will do with DX10,11,12,and 13 games. Besides, in 3 or 4 yrs, the bus technology will change so much. You will scratch your head if you are going to do SLI 4 yrs later, regardless how little 7800GTX costs in future. SLI look stupid IMO. It's like Voodoo.

don't think about the future when it comes to PC. Just get what ever it's worth it to you now and then enjoy your system to it's fullest potential.

Just start saving $2 a day. In 4 or 3 yrs, you will have enough money to buy the top notch system.
January 22, 2006 2:34:38 PM

To be honest i never look that far ahead seing as after 2-3 YEARS you will have earnt enough to buy a computer made of gold.

Doesnt really even take someone with a paper round to buy something expensive that far away.

2-3 years in computers is the equivalent of 100000 years evolution.

They wont bother selling old 7800 GT's by then :p 
January 23, 2006 5:04:40 PM

It seems like a better decision to go non-sli, take the little money saved and put it into another part. Sli with the same current card doesn't really make sense to use in the future. I'm glad I asked now.

On a side note, the reason I started backing off of sli was when I started reading more about it and many boards that claim sli was only operating at 2 x8, even though it's an x16 slot. When I started looking for true 2 x16, that's when I noticed the bigger gap in price.
January 23, 2006 5:43:10 PM

Has anyone tried to find a mobo with only one pci-e slot? There arent that many options available. As buyers we are practically being forced into sli just to get newer features........(8 phase power, fanless cooling, etc..) I bought a sli board, and I probably wont even use it....but i just couldnt find a board with the options that I wanted
January 23, 2006 5:55:08 PM

I think one fo the main problems people have with SLI is that they think that they can get performance of a7800GTX or likewise out of two mid range / bargain cards.

lets snap 2 x 6600GT's together and get ultimate performance? this is a waste. this is NOT WHAT THE PURPOSE OF SLI / CROSSFIRE IS FOR.

SLI / CF is designed for those who want to push the boundaries of performance more than whats currently available. the True Benefit of SLI would be putting 2 x 7800GT's together. where the performance youd' get out of that SLI is still unmatched by a single card.

it costs a hefty premium to do this, but in a case like this, this is what it's for. not as a future "upgrade path" because in future generations, buying another of the current card will not provide the same performance as a future card.

so my advice for you, if you're not going to SLI top of the line cards already, just get one of the highest card you can and replace it later.

if you can on the other hand, get two of the top of the line cards. thats the only time SLI is "worth" it
!