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To SLI or not to SLI?

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  • SLI
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Last response: in Systems
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May 2, 2006 6:16:40 PM

Being a college student, my funds are quite limited (~$1000). At first I was looking into a definite SLI-build but realized that two GPUs would almost set me back half of my fund. Of course, my goal is a gaming system.


So I have three options (from least to most expensive):

A - Build a non-SLI, non-SLI upgradeable system.
Cheapest, standard budget gaming system. Not neccessarily "worse" than SLI systems.

B - Build a non-SLI, SLI-upgradeable system.
My preferred option so far. I am able to build an SLI-capable base (certified mobo, single gpu for now, etc.) with the money i have now and leave room for upgrade to SLI at a later, more suitable time.

C - Build a SLI system.
Most expensive, would need to accumulate more cash later. Upgrades would be expensive as both GPUs as well as RAM and CPU would preferably need to be replaced/added.

The fundamental question is this:

Is it too early to switch over to dual GPU processing (SLI/Crossfire) when taking into account price versus significant and noticeable performance gain?

More about : sli sli

May 2, 2006 6:22:02 PM

the "B" option is probably the best bet. something like this...

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UB Black /Blue $61 shipped
Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-480 480W *SLI approved* $77 shipped
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ $296 shipped
ABIT KN8 SLI $106 shipped
G.SKILL Extreme Series 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR 500 (PC 4000) $168 shipped (*** killer deal ***)
BenQ Black 16X DVD+R 8X DVD-R...2M Cache with LightScribe - OEM $39 shipped
WD2500KS 250GB 7200 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s - OEM $95 shipped
$839 sub-total

EVGA e-Geforce 7900 GT 256MB $295 shipped
$1134 total

Would not be a bad system at all. Of course, if you have parts to recycle it would be a bit easier on the wallet...

For the bonus question: no, SLI is not exactly a good price/performance point since Moore's law will always force a next generation GPU at a comparable price point to an SLI upgrade in a relatively short amount of time.
May 2, 2006 6:43:10 PM

Quote:
Being a college student, my funds are quite limited (~$1000). At first I was looking into a definite SLI-build but realized that two GPUs would almost set me back half of my fund. Of course, my goal is a gaming system.


So I have three options (from least to most expensive):

A - Build a non-SLI, non-SLI upgradeable system.
Cheapest, standard budget gaming system. Not neccessarily "worse" than SLI systems.

B - Build a non-SLI, SLI-upgradeable system.
My preferred option so far. I am able to build an SLI-capable base (certified mobo, single gpu for now, etc.) with the money i have now and leave room for upgrade to SLI at a later, more suitable time.

C - Build a SLI system.
Most expensive, would need to accumulate more cash later. Upgrades would be expensive as both GPUs as well as RAM and CPU would preferably need to be replaced/added.

The fundamental question is this:

Is it too early to switch over to dual GPU processing (SLI/Crossfire) when taking into account price versus significant and noticeable performance gain?


Option B only makes sense if you can buy that second video card within 90 days. Otherwise Opton B is a total waste of money, as the top end card of the time when you buy the second card will be faster than your setup AND you spent more money. SLI is hype, dont fall for it. If you have the cash, Option C makes sense only if you need to run Max Rez/Max detail on everything. Otherwise, go for option A, its the best option right now and for the foreseeable future.
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May 2, 2006 6:44:55 PM

Wow, that RAM is simply heavenly!

But I have three concerns:

- Is the CPU that important? I was even considering a 3000+ venice single core...

- I was actually considering a 7600GT GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

- Mobo, my biggest fear. Seems that there are always 5-10% of ppl who blame every problem on their mobo. Of course mobo is indeed the perfect scapegoat as if there aren't a million other variables that could go wrong. It may just be me but I am tempted to go for the more expensive DFI Lanparty mobo just to ensure top quality.
May 2, 2006 6:48:08 PM

Quote:


Option B only makes sense if you can buy that second video card within 90 days. Otherwise Opton B is a total waste of money, as the top end card of the time when you buy the second card will be faster than your setup AND you spent more money. SLI is hype, dont fall for it. If you have the cash, Option C makes sense only if you need to run Max Rez/Max detail on everything. Otherwise, go for option A, its the best option right now and for the foreseeable future.


Interesting thoughts shadowuck. I think I may just opt for the first option seeing that I am not THAT hardcore of a gamer and is limited on funds.... well it looks my problems have been solved!!!

Oh how glad I feel when you're not pushed to jump on the newest band-wagon anymore...
May 2, 2006 6:49:04 PM

Quote:
Wow, that RAM is simply heavenly!

But I have three concerns:

- Is the CPU that important? I was even considering a 3000+ venice single core...

- I was actually considering a 7600GT GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

- Mobo, my biggest fear. Seems that there are always 5-10% of ppl who blame every problem on their mobo. Of course mobo is indeed the perfect scapegoat as if there aren't a million other variables that could go wrong. It may just be me but I am tempted to go for the more expensive DFI Lanparty mobo just to ensure top quality.


7600 is 2 generations old and will not play the lastest games on high resoultions. As for getting 2 in SLI within any time frame, thats a complete waste, as one 7900GT will destory it. Get ONE 7900GT now, or get something like the X1800XT from ATI. As for the motherboard, look at the $122 DFI Lanparty Ultra D, as for the CPU look at the Opteron 146, or Opteron 165 for dual core, which will last you longer. Both are highly overclockable, come with 1MB cache (per core on the 165) and come with very very nice heatpipe CPU coolers.
May 2, 2006 7:09:35 PM

X1800 XT > 7900GT :roll:
May 2, 2006 7:13:59 PM

My God, I swear you can set your clock by it! Every other day someone starts a new thread discussing this same topic.
Is SLI worth it for anyone but the retardedly rich or those without 3 inch wieners?

NO!
May 2, 2006 7:39:00 PM

Quote:
As for SLI, with a $1000 budget, SLI is a totaly waste. Even with a bigger budget, SLI is a waste unless you get dual top-line cards.


Yup, he's absolutely right. Don't bother with SLi - even with an SLi upgradeble system there's no point, by the time you decide "oh, I'd like a few extra FPS, I'll get a second car" there'll be G80...not to mention the fact that you'll probably be hankering after a Conroe or AM2 system by then.
May 2, 2006 8:24:35 PM

Go for option A and instead of buying to OK card buy one really good card. And keep doing this when you upgrade the GPU.
May 2, 2006 8:41:45 PM

Quote:
My God, I swear you can set your clock by it! Every other day someone starts a new thread discussing this same topic.
Is SLI worth it for anyone but the retardedly rich or those without 3 inch wieners?

NO!


Funny, I was thinking the same thing when I read the topic. I should just create a macro with my view point..

Now, as for your last statement...according to what you wrote...sli is for

A) people who are retatard rich

or

B) people who don't have 3 inch wieners

Well, that should include almost every adult (including females). I'm not super rich, but my weiner sure is more than 3 inches...so I fit under option B!
May 2, 2006 9:12:24 PM

Go with Option A.

I say this as a person who has two 7800GTs in SLI. The boost to the system does not justify the cost (I would have been better off with a single GTX).

That being said, nVidia is doing exciting things with SLI. They are currently preping software/drivers that will allow the second card in SLI to serve as a physics processor (will only work with 7xxx models).

Don't get too excited though - it will take a while to be released and there are no games on the market (that I know of) which support this yet. By the time the new games are released, both the 7800 and 7900 series will be collecting dust.

Oh well, we all live for the promise of the next big thing.
May 8, 2006 9:18:15 AM

7600GT is a current product, released at the beginning of this current generation, so you're full of snit. Hell, my 7600GT CO SC benchmarks even beat the X1800 XL.
!