I'm looking to build a system this fall/winter, primarily for gaming. I'm looking for some decent bark, but I don't need the biggest toys on the block. While most of the information for components has been easily located on the forums or in TG articles, I'm left with a question about video card choice.
In general (I'm not looking at specific cards until I've got a better understanding), is there a clear advantage to using two mid-range cards (like 7600s) with 256MB each over getting one more powerful (Like a 7900) at 512MB? Raw benchmarks don't show a clear better buy, but I might be mis-reading them.
Any advice or insight would be much appreciated, thanks.
Also, if you are getting a 7900GT, don't spend extra to get the 512mb version unless you do plenty of benchmark research first. That research will help you determine if you want to spend extra for the small performance gain you will receive.
Unless you game at resolutions above 1600x1200, 512MB on a video card doesn't make much difference. 256MB is all you'll need.
The sweet spot for graphics right now is at about the 7900GS level - it's well-priced, comes in a variety of flavors, and can be overclocked like mad to perform at the heels of the big dogs. Check out this right here.
Two mid-range cards will be outperformed by a single high-end card, regardless of memory size. A single 7600GT is an amazing card for the price (as low as $110!), but it doesn't make sense to spend $220+ on two of them when you can get an X1900XT for the same price. Two 7600GTs in SLI might come close to the performance of one X1900XT, but they'll use a lot more power, and make a lot more heat along the way.
I'd get a 7600GT right now, and then upgrade to a single high-end DX10 card when Vista comes out.
The single 7900GT will be cheaper and will perform better than SLI-ed twin 7600GTs, and leaves you the option to SLI it later. 2 Cards isn't even really needed until you move into the big screen resolutions. A 19" monitor will not benefit from a paired card solution.
Dude, dont do SLI straight, always try to get a higher range card.(like the 7900) If you want to upgrade from now say a year from now, you can spend like 50$ and get a second card and SLI it. That way you're covered.