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new build - SLI, Crossfire, or neither?

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November 1, 2006 3:17:37 PM

I'm putting together a machine for myself with a $1300 budget. I want to be able to get the best gaming I can with my budget, but also leave myself the option for future expandability. The main game I'm building this for is MS Flight Simulator X. I'd like to be able to turn all the bells and whistles on. Here is what I've pretty much settled on so far:

Case: ENERMAX ECA3052BS ATX Mid Tower
PS: OCZ GameXStream ATX12V 700W Power Supply
DVD: LITE-ON 16X DVD±R DVD Burner W/ LightScribe and 5X DVD-RAM SHM-165H6S
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400
Heat Sink: ZALMAN CNPS9500
(not sure how the 25cm side case fan blowing on the CPU will affect the air flow and/or cooling properties?)
Memory: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (TWIN2X2048-6400)
Hard Drive: 2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drives (RAID 0)

Now, here is where I'm still up in the air.
Option 1 - SLI
Motherboard: ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI
Video Card: 1x eVGA GeForce 7950GT

Option 2 - Crossfire
Motherboard: Intel D975XBX2 975X
Video Card: 1x SAPPHIRE Radeon X1950PRO

In the initial configuration, I plan on only having 1 video card to meet my budget, but I'd like to be able to add a second one on when the prices come down and the games get to the point that I need more horsepower. In a single card configuration, the ATI card is the better deal. However, it seems like SLI has better performance than Crossfire. Also, from looking at the specs, it would seem that the nForce motherboard would be better (x16, x16, x8) PCIe x16 slots as compared to the 975X motherboard (x16/x8, x8, x4) PCIe x16 slots. I just don't know if the number of lanes really makes any difference. Either board has enough expandability to accommodate SLI/Crossfire and a physics card in the future.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

More about : build sli crossfire

November 1, 2006 3:57:59 PM

Quote:
I'm putting together a machine for myself with a $1300 budget. I want to be able to get the best gaming I can with my budget, but also leave myself the option for future expandability. The main game I'm building this for is MS Flight Simulator X. I'd like to be able to turn all the bells and whistles on. Here is what I've pretty much settled on so far:

Case: ENERMAX ECA3052BS ATX Mid Tower
PS: OCZ GameXStream ATX12V 700W Power Supply
DVD: LITE-ON 16X DVD±R DVD Burner W/ LightScribe and 5X DVD-RAM SHM-165H6S
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400
Heat Sink: ZALMAN CNPS9500
(not sure how the 25cm side case fan blowing on the CPU will affect the air flow and/or cooling properties?)
Memory: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (TWIN2X2048-6400)
Hard Drive: 2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drives (RAID 0)

Now, here is where I'm still up in the air.
Option 1 - SLI
Motherboard: ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI
Video Card: 1x eVGA GeForce 7950GT

Option 2 - Crossfire
Motherboard: Intel D975XBX2 975X
Video Card: 1x SAPPHIRE Radeon X1950PRO

In the initial configuration, I plan on only having 1 video card to meet my budget, but I'd like to be able to add a second one on when the prices come down and the games get to the point that I need more horsepower. In a single card configuration, the ATI card is the better deal. However, it seems like SLI has better performance than Crossfire. Also, from looking at the specs, it would seem that the nForce motherboard would be better (x16, x16, x8) PCIe x16 slots as compared to the 975X motherboard (x16/x8, x8, x4) PCIe x16 slots. I just don't know if the number of lanes really makes any difference. Either board has enough expandability to accommodate SLI/Crossfire and a physics card in the future.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.



OPTION 3: NEITHER. Right now with DX10 around the corner, any SLI or Xfire setup is just not a good idea. If you cannot afford it now, you don't need it. SLI/Xfire is a dead end upgrade path. Do not fall for the hype. Having two x16 slots over x16,x8 is meaningless.

Drop the CPU down to a E6300 to save a bit and overclock it.

There is also no real reason to buy an aftermarket CPU cooler. The stock Intel cooler is just fine even with some overclocking.

I would look at the X1900XT 256 right now, and then spend your money on video card(s) when DX10 is out. Remember the rule: If you cannot have both cards with 90 days at the most, DO NOT BUY SLI/XFire. Period. Its a golden rule here on the Forumz. :) 
November 1, 2006 4:06:44 PM

Waste of money, unless you have a screen bigger than 20"+.

FSX is gonna take big advantage of DX10, I believe, so a DX10 card will be infinitely better than a current gen.
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November 1, 2006 4:15:06 PM

Sup JD;

Ok lets start with your PSU choice, the power supply is arguably the most important piece of hardware in your rig, with that in mind, for stability, and refined power, considering the rising power demands of graphics cards i recomend something with a tripple +12v rail, the Antec TruePower Trio 550 meets this requirement with 3x18a rails for a total of 54 Amps, impressive to say the least.

As far as your graphics card goes i would recomend the Geforce 8800 GTS or GTX when it comes out shortly, so save the money for the graphics card, and get a single slot PCIe 16x board and put one of these beasts in it, dont even worry about SLI, as these cards have power to spare, for even the most demanding games, and repotedly a built in physics engine for future titles as well.

As far as memory goes pick up some Super Talent
You will be able to OC like a banshee and hold tight timings.

I know you didnt ask for some of these recomendations but they are something for you to consider.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
November 1, 2006 5:25:53 PM

Quote:
building this for is MS Flight Simulator X
Just be aware that FSX supports SLI/Crossfire the same as in FS9 - not at all.
November 2, 2006 12:13:35 AM

Thanks for the replies (everyone). I'm actually a little surprised at the answers. I was a bit worried that I was going to touch off a SLI vs Crossfire flame war.

So, based on what I've heard, it sounds like I should save get, say, a P965 based motherboard (1 x16 PCIe slot) and stock heatsink/fan, saving around $150, and dump that cash into a DX10 video card.

Sounds like a plan. I guess by the time I need more horsepower, I'll want a whole new machine anyway, so adding a second video card in a year or so may sound good, but isn't necessarily the smartest way to go. Technology would change too much.

I keep hearing that the DX10 boards are going to be announced in about a week or so. Announcing them and having them on the shelves to buy are two completely different things. What are the odds that they'll be available before the end of December?
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