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What is better SLI 2 x 7800 gtx or SLI 2 x 7900 gt?

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April 7, 2006 4:58:18 PM

What is better 2 x 7800 gtx (in SLI) or 2 x 7900 gt (in SLI)?

Here is my current dilemma: I have an eVGA 7800 gtx 256 MB card now. I have been saving up the money to get a second eVGA 7800 gtx 256 MB card and mate 'em together in SLI loving harmony. This will cost approx. $450 from Newegg.

But now I hear talk that the 7900 gt is better. So should I go get 2 x eVGA 7800 gt 256 MB cards? This will cost approx. $640 from Newegg. [This will of course leave me with an extra eVGA 7800 gtx 256 MB card, that I guess I can try to sell.]

Please consider the following: My main priority to is to run games like COD2, FEAR, BF2 at highest possible settings, and I want them to look sweet.

Oh wise men and women of TomsHardware, tell me the answer! What should I do?

Here is my current setup:
AMD X2 4400+ @ 2.211 Ghz (stock);
Zalman 9500 cpu cooler;
Asus A8N-SLI Premium;
2GB OCZ Platinum RAM @ 2.5-3-2-5-1T;
1 x eVGA 7800 gtx 256 MB card @ 468Mhz/ 1198Mhz (stock);
600w OCZ psu;
400GB Western Digital HD @ 7200 rpm;
Plextor PX716A DVD;
Thermaltake Armor Case w/ 3 fans;

3dMark05 = 8155;
3dMark06 = 4619
Doom3 = 55.2 fps (1600x1200 + "High" settings + 4x antialiasing)
Super Pi 1M = 38 seconds

Thank you in advance for your help.

More about : sli 7800 gtx sli 7900

April 7, 2006 5:17:23 PM

I'd say two SLI 2 X 7900 GT - I've seen many of these setups and they scream ... literally scream in graphics horsepower.
April 7, 2006 5:45:21 PM

Quote:
I'd say two SLI 2 X 7900 GT - I've seen many of these setups and they scream ... literally scream in graphics horsepower.
Timberwolf, I think you need a quick lesson in the meaning of the word, "literally."

If these graphics cards literally screamed, they would need vocal devices of some type and a way to push large volumes of controlled air through them at different frequencies. They would need to be very loud (an undesirable trait in computers) and probably would not sell.

In response to Ernie, the 7900gt solution will be better in games that are not as dependent on memory use. By the sound of what you are looking for in the way of performance, and the games you have chosen, I would opt for the two 7800s. The added gfx memory is more beneficial at this stage in the game with your motherboard. The A8N-SLI Premium from ASUS cannot supply a full 16 pipes to each card; you will be limited to 8 pipes each.

Personally, if I were you, I would save the money and buy just one top o' the line card. We've seen benchmark after benchmark how there really isn't that much to gain from dropping in a second card immediately. The concept of the SLI setup was so that a few years down the road if you needed to upgrade, you could have a great way to save money and get the gains for which you were searching.

You'll be wasting your money if you go for either one of your suggested solutions at this point in time... and those recommending one don't understand that. But it is your money and you can do with it what you want.
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April 7, 2006 5:55:20 PM

The question is, when did you buy your 7800GTX? If your within the 90 set up program period just exchange it for a 7900GT and the purchase the 2nd one if your that bent on SLI. But if your not with in the 90 period, just forget upgrading it. Its not worth $650+ just to get another 10 FPS. wait for Direct X 10 cards, now those will be spiffy. I, for one, used my Step up option to upgrae from 7800GTX to 7900GTX for $85 total, for 2 cards, MWAHAHA.

Just my 2 cents though, take it as you will.
April 7, 2006 5:56:34 PM

The Arcitecture in those 7900gt are much different than the 7800gtx 8O
A 7900gt, if clocked right, is basically the same as a 7900GTX :wink:
With the right tweakage, you can accompish evrything. The7900gt outperformes the 7800gtx, by fffaaarrrr!!
I personally am an Ati fan, I got a x1900xtx, and runs great.
My bro's got one of the 7900gt, and boy does it crunch some serious algorithms. A KICK ASS product if U ask me and the rest of the crew in this forum. The 7900gt is the way to go!!. Think about it if the 7900gt is alost equivelant to the 7900gtx, imagine running then in SLI mode.... :twisted:
__________________________________________________________
the Sayans are here to domiante earth :twisted:
April 7, 2006 6:00:20 PM

Direct 10x cards?? You really think someone will actually wait that long?? Vista is not even scheduled to be released until the middle of 2007. Plus if they are going to make Dx10 card, they will need to utilize sm 4.0 Even sm3.0 is not at full use, so your talking about waitng another 2 yrs or so.
Superfly, i pitty you if U are actually going to wait that long :lol: 
__________________________________
Sayans will dominate............... :twisted:
April 7, 2006 6:25:50 PM

Well since he said that he has a 7800 GTX 256mb, there is no advantage in terms of GPU ram capacity or any particular game's propensity to take advantage of 512mb video cards. In fact, some benchmarks have commented on the simliarity in performance between the 7900gt and the 7800GTX 256. http://anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2717&p=5

So with that in mind I would say just get another 7800 because it's cheaper. On the other hand the 7900gt over clocks like crazy and draws less power. So if that is worth the extra expense of buying two $330 cards instead of one $450 card then I guess you should go that route.

Quote:
Quote:


Personally, if I were you, I would save the money and buy just one top o' the line card. We've seen benchmark after benchmark how there really isn't that much to gain from dropping in a second card immediately. The concept of the SLI setup was so that a few years down the road if you needed to upgrade, you could have a great way to save money and get the gains for which you were searching.

You'll be wasting your money if you go for either one of your suggested solutions at this point in time... and those recommending one don't understand that. But it is your money and you can do with it what you want.



The following data are from the latest THG benchmarks:

FarCry 1024x768 x4AA x8AF:
7900GT: 108fps
7900GT SLI:141 fps

FarCry 1600X1200 x4AA x8AF
7900GT: 52fps
7900GT SLI: 116fps

That's just one game. 30% isn't much if you're playing on at low res, but who spends the money on SLI and plays at a low res? Furthermore, with things on the way like physics optimizations and games coded to take better advantage of SLI/Crossfire technology you can hardly argue that its a waste of money. If you just want a basic gaming machine and you don't care about anything other than games being playable then SLI is waste.

The bottom line is that 52fps is more than playable, but the more eye-candy you want and the higher res you play at, dual card solutions begin to make more sense. Will you be fine with your current card until the next generation card comes out? Yes (and probably beyond that). Will going SLI increase your performance? Yes.

So it's your call, but buying 2 new cards that are equal in performance to your current card seems like a waste. Buy another 7800GTX if you really want it and you should be fine for a year or more, or at least until Microsoft forces us all to convert to Vista.
April 7, 2006 6:28:11 PM

Thank you all. Please keep responding. Now I have more questions:

(1) What is the Step up option? I am w/in 90 days of purchase. But coming up on day 90 very soon. So what do I do? You got a website or better yet an 800 number? I don't have any of original packaging, I dont even have the electrostatic baggie. Are they really gonna take my used card back?

(2) According to Rico & Superfly, I guess I should just trade in the eVGA 7800 gtx for a eVGA 7900 gtx, is that right? And all I pay is the difference? (which would be like around $85.00, same as Superfly.)

(3) What does everybody think about the single super card option? Or am i gonna get better perfomance from two lesser cards?

(4) Is my Asus A8N-SLI Premium mobo really best suited to only 1 video card? I thought this thing was the SLI shiznit? (does anybody still say "shiznit"?)

Thanks again.
April 7, 2006 6:37:50 PM

If you go with dual 7900GTX's be prepared to not use your PCI slots anymore. The coolers on the premium cards take up a lot of real estate. That is the nicest thing about the 7900GT aside from the price/performace ratio. If you don't plan to add anything else in then that issue is irrelevant.

The best way to decide what option is best for you is to look at the performance of the various options you are considering in benchmarks involving the games you actually play at the settings you prefer. If you're not going to be playing at 1600x1200 or higher then a single card will be the better way to go. Keep in mind that further SLI optimizations will be delivered as the technology matures, but when that will happen is anyone's guess. By that time there will be other cards on the market. Buy for what you need right now, things happen too fast in this industry to plan more than 3-4 months ahead.
April 7, 2006 7:10:37 PM

Did you register your card when you got it?
Go to eVGA's web site and search for the step up program. I thought I read somewhere that if you didn't have the original packaging/manuals/disks you would be charged 15 bucks or something like that. I had some questions and sent them an email, they got back to me next day.
April 8, 2006 1:26:58 AM

Quote:

(1) What is the Step up option? I am w/in 90 days of purchase. But coming up on day 90 very soon. So what do I do? You got a website or better yet an 800 number? I don't have any of original packaging, I dont even have the electrostatic baggie. Are they really gonna take my used card back?


http://www.evga.com/stepup/default.asp
April 9, 2006 6:02:07 AM

If you don't have all the crap that came with the original card you are going to get docked 15% of the trade in value. I kept everythign beause I knew going in that I wanted to upgrade, so I got lucky.

And about Vista: Its scheduled for late 2006 release in the business segment and Consumer edition of vista are set for Jan 2007. At least last I read on THG abotu 1-2 weeks ago.

Why would you pitty me for waiting? my SLI can hold its own just fine.... I don't need 100+ FPS 50+ is fine to me.
April 10, 2006 3:06:38 PM

Thanks for all the help guys!

I have decided to go with my original plan and get a second eVGA 7800gtx. This is the cheapest and easiest solution. And will give me nearly the performance of 2 x 7900gt cards. Next time, I will save the packaging and go for the step up option plan. Thanks again. Please check out my new question/ thread regarding RAM.
April 10, 2006 4:10:38 PM

I would swap my 2 7800GTX for the 2 7900GT. They can give the 7800GTX 256 a run for their money.
April 11, 2006 2:15:07 PM

Chuckshissle:

Thanks, but I already ordered another 7800 gtx from Newegg, which should arrive today.

But, I see you have 2 raptors, and a pentium, what benchmark scores did you get in 3dmark05 and 3dmark06 with that setup?

Here is my current results with only 1 x 7800gtx card.

3dMark05 = 8155;
3dMark06 = 4619
Doom3 = 55.2 fps (1600x1200 + "High" settings + 4x antialiasing)
Super Pi 1M = 38 seconds

I'll post the new scores after I install the new card.
April 11, 2006 3:19:59 PM

Someone with a similar setup with 7900Gt's in SLI should post their scores on the same benchmarks so we can compare and contrast. According to Anandtech the performance should be very similar, but I'd like to see with my own eyes. I gave up on the 7900GT as a viable option when I couldn't find anything in stock for a decent price(less than $359). Damn Nvidia with their availability issues. Didn't they claim this wasn't going to happen this time around after the 7800 GTX 512 debacle? I bought a 1900XT just to spite them :p 
April 11, 2006 5:37:13 PM

Quote:
Someone with a similar setup with 7900Gt's in SLI should post their scores on the same benchmarks so we can compare and contrast. According to Anandtech the performance should be very similar, but I'd like to see with my own eyes. I gave up on the 7900GT as a viable option when I couldn't find anything in stock for a decent price(less than $359). Damn Nvidia with their availability issues. Didn't they claim this wasn't going to happen this time around after the 7800 GTX 512 debacle? I bought a 1900XT just to spite them :p 


My 06 results was almost twice as much as his. (8,500+)

But I've got a X2 4800 and two BFG 7900GTX (asus A8N-32) with a 150G raptor for pimary.
April 12, 2006 12:06:31 AM

Gentlemen:

Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it. Here is my Rig:

AMD64 X2 4400+@2.211Ghz(stock);
Zalman 9500 cpu air cooler;
Asus A8N-SLI Premium Rev. 1009;
2GB OCZ Platinum 184-Pin DDR400 RAM@2.5-3-2-5-1T;
400GB Western Digital HD@7200 rpm;
OCZ Powerstream 600W psu;
Plextor PX716A DVD;
Thermaltake Armor w/3 case fans.

Here are the Benchmarks with only one video card:

Using 1 x eVGA 7800 gtx@470/1200Ghz(stock):

* 3dMark05 = 8155;
* 3dMark06 = 4619
* Doom3 = 55.2 fps (1600x1200 + High settings + 4x antialiasing)
* FEAR = 106 (Low settings - 'cuz this is how I play it)

Now check out the New Benchmarks with two video cards:

Using SLI 2 x eVGA 7800 gtx@470/1200Ghz(stock):

* 3dMark05 = 11549; which is a gain of +40.81%
* 3dMark06 = 7314; which is a gain of +58.35%
* Doom3 = 94.0; which is a gain of +70.29%
* FEAR = 130; which is a gain of +22.64%

I think these are rather dramatic increases. Especially +70.29% in Doom3, that's friggin' awesome! (Was it worth $429.00? I dunno, but I do know that I am happy with the results.)

What Benchmarks have other people gotten?
April 12, 2006 8:29:55 AM

Good results no doubt.........

But given the conditions.....you could have maxed out performance (with the 79xx series) for a small financial impact.....

Good results YES.
Performance per $$ could be better.
April 12, 2006 2:00:39 PM

Quote:


But given the conditions.....you could have maxed out performance (with the 79xx series) for a small financial impact.....



Umm, first off, way to go casting doubt on a major purchase the guy just made.

Second, I'm glad you're not my accountant. Assuming a 7900GT costs $359 (you can find them cheaper but the expensive ones seem to be the only ones consistently in stock) thats a total of $718 for SLI rather than spending $429 on another 7800GTX. Given that the difference in performance between the two cards is reportedly very similar, I think it's obvious which is the better choice. I suppose he could have gone out and bought 2 7900GTX's but then you're looking at almost 1200, assuming you can find them in stock. I don't know what your bankroll is but clearly "small financial impact" is a relative term :D  .

Ernie, good job man, you made the most logical and economical choice. Now you get to be excited that SLI physics will be out soon and you also have PCI slots to play with (unlike the rest of us with high-end video cards with dual slot cooling fans :cry:  ).

Now if you want an increase in 3dMark06 you should start tweaking that FSB a little bit and squeeze some more speed out of that processor.
April 12, 2006 5:18:49 PM

Thanks for the support Banusflakes! And thanks everyone else too!

I think we can all agree that this is an expensive hobby, no matter how you play it. So you gotta know going into this that you are going to be spending some bucks.

Of course everybody, including myself, tries to get the most bang for their buck in terms of frame rates per dollar, but you also have to consider other opportunity costs like time spent on ordering, getting, installing and removing cards, and in exhanging cards through eVGA's "Step Up option", and in the personal costs of frustration, waiting and anxiety.

Please also remember that I wanted to have 2 video cards in SLI, and that I was not interested in a one card solution, even though someone made a very compelling argument for the one card solution.

Now Here is My Pecuniary Analysis:

(1) First Choisce - Step Up Option:
Under eVGA's "Step Up" program I wanted to return my 7800gtx to eVGA, and get a new 7900gtx. But I don't have the original packaging, so according to the eVGA website I am ineligible for the program. It was suggested in this Forum, that maybe they would have accepted me in the Step Up program, if I paid a 15% re-stocking charge. But I could not find any confirmation that this was true. I tried calling eVGA about this, but all I got was voice mail hell and no help. So there was no guarantee that I could pay a 15% re-stocking fee, plus the difference for a new 7900gtx, which would have come to approx. $155.00.

But even if that had happened, then I would still have had to buy a second 7900gtx at the full price of $539.00, for a total of $694.00 [Wow, future perfect progressive tense! You don't use that every day!]. But this would have also required a big hassle with getting approval on an application for the Step Up Option without my having had the original packaging. [Wow Again!] Also it would have meant using up my one-time-only chance to use the Step Up Option. And it would have also meant significant down-time for my 'puter while I had no video card at all. So, to me all this hassle and complicated verb usage did not seem worth it. Not to mention the fact that it would have cost $265.00 more than what I paid.

To other people who are more patient with bureaucracies, and to other people who are more comfortable waiting for a corporation to make a capricious decision on their fate, this choice may have been different. But I am not one of those people. I am a bit impatient, and I am a bit lazy. And I like to feel like I'm in charge of my own destiny. So I just bought a second 7800gtx, mainly b/c it was the easiest thing to do.

(2) Second Option - 2 new cards:
The next option was going for 2 x 7900 gt's. This was however, an even less appealing option in my estimation b/c it would have cost me approx. $640.00, and it would have left me with an extra 7800gtx; and would have given me only modest, if any, performance gains over what I have now.

So that is why I did what I did. Thanks again.
April 12, 2006 5:31:05 PM

I have two EvGA 7800GT's in SLI on a Asus A8N premium (SLI splits the PCIe bus in half). 92-95FPS in Doom 3 at 1200 x 1600 and 4X are the norm. So I don't have an opinion, this is just what they do. Find a honest FPS factoid (not percent garbage) on the 7900GT and 7800GTX series cards that you would buy, and make a decision based on that. Unless you're 25% or so faster than the 7800GT/GTX option, I doubt that you'll see anything at all on current games. Later on, with tougher games, I doubt that even a 7900GTX will really do. Usually at that point it seems you need to double the FPS to leap to the next level. Maybe this trend will stop but I doubt it with dual and quad GPU systems already out there.

That said, I'd go with two cards at the cheapest price point. You'll exceed my 7800GT 95FPS in D3, one of the toughest games out there. Your faster CPU (I run a 3800+ x2) will see to that. Save your cash for a quad card later on. The ENTRY level card will be at least two GPU's (one card or two SLI) with a quad (or equivalent) GPU card the "optimul" for maxed settings. A little more speed now cost you too much at this point and when it doesn't cost too much, the technology is too old to be of use and for too little time. Save your money and buy another good game, or add memory for faster load times even. XP hits the limit at 2Gig, though.

And, the PCIe bus is NOT near saturated with a 16 (2 x 8 in SLI), and most definitely not your 32 bit (2 x 16 in SLI) PCIe bus. Someday, but not today and not with either the 7900 or 7800 series cards.
April 14, 2006 1:20:11 AM

Quote:

Umm, first off, way to go casting doubt on a major purchase the guy just made.


He got good results...but he asked the question.
Quote:

Second, I'm glad you're not my accountant. Assuming a 7900GT costs $359 (you can find them cheaper but the expensive ones seem to be the only ones consistently in stock) thats a total of $718 for SLI rather than spending $429 on another 7800GTX.


Forget the accountant, start by paying attention. He was debating using the evga step up program. Which means the 7900gt would have essentially been free (don't really know how they handle an upgrade to a cheaper card?) and a second 7900gt would have been US319.00. Or since it was the upgrade path going to dual 7900GTX's would have run approx 639.00 total.

Ernie, nice performance bump from the upgrade.

Banus, read the post and get your facts straight before you run your mouth.
April 14, 2006 1:55:52 AM

Dual 7900gt running on SLI of course is probably your best bang for the buck soulutionary performance. But hey if you got deep pockets run dual x1900xtx'x, unless you have a SLI mobo, then you cant really run X-fire, but then again, IF you have deep pockets :twisted:
April 14, 2006 7:08:14 AM

I'm not knockin your decision Ern :D 

But at this point to make everything clear (I bought my 7800gt from evga shortly before the 7900's were released so I been readin...)

Here's the link that states policy on the packaging and such:

http://www.evga.com/stepup/default.asp?switch=2

The vendors don't make it easy for a reason! $$$$$$
So I don't blame anyone if they don't want to play the waiting game.

But just to clear up my cred (whatever that may be) just want it to be known that my upgrade path was feasible....

And to the forum: Has anyone tried the step up program when the upgrade card was cheaper than yer turn in card? That's not really spelled out anywhere on their site?
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