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Best Video Card companion for my BFG 680i

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October 4, 2007 7:55:31 PM

Hey guys,

I am almost complete on my new system build.
I had a pretty good plan right from the start, but I am still unsure on the video card.
And have changed my mind several times.

OK here is my current spec:
BFG Tech nForce 680i SLi Mobo
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 Conroe 3.0GHz
Zalman 7000 CPU Cooler
Corsair Dominator 2GB (2 x 1GB) PC2-8500
2 x WD Raptor HDD 150GB (RAID 1) (Boot drive)
2 x WD Caviar HDD 500GB (RAID 1) (Data drive)
Cooler Master Real Power Pro 750Watt PSU

Creative X-Fi Pro (to be ordered)
NO VIDEO CARD (to be ordered)
2x LCD 24" Displays (to be ordered)



Note: this will be a DUAL monitor system, I am a programmer and really need both desktops when working.
Of cause this will obviously be limted to 1 display when gaming, but I also need to drive 2 displays.
Just a thought when considering any help you guys have to offer

Now I going with an 8 series nVidia, no question about it.

Lets get the main question out of the way first, will a BFG card be best suited for my BFG motherboard,
or does is it really not matter??


Firstly I am thinking BFG, as it would be a good companion, the warrenty is good, and I can get
one 'over-clocked' right out of the box.

As for my other train of thought (assuming a $500 budget), I was going to go with 2x BFG 8600GTS in SLi mode.
(note: the BFG 8600 only take 1 PCI slot)
But recently thought I would be MUCH better off with an 8800 card.

This causes one problem, that the 8800 cards take 2 slots, hence I will lose one PCI slot (if I get 2x 8800 SLi).
Now we all know on-board audio suck, so the Creative X-Fi will take the remaining slot.
Removing any possibility for future upgrade (such as internal wireless card)

I am happy to get 1x 8800GTS (640MB) instead of going down the dual card SLi road, so my above statement might not even really be relevant.
Which I think is what I may do, unless you guys have better views on the subject.
(it just leaves the possiblity of dual 8800 SLi for future, but at the lose of a PCI slot)

So really what would you suggest as far as Manufacturer for the video card, to work best with a BFG Tech motherboard.
(I'm not looking for budget rubbish either. Brand names, good service, and performance only)

(note: I have no plans or desire to over-clock my machine in anyway, But I am future-proofing my system so I know I can later, hence the PC2-8500 RAM, the Huge PSU and CPU cooler)

Thanks Guys
a c 143 U Graphics card
October 4, 2007 8:45:17 PM

I've got the BFG 8800 GTX OC2 and it's great. Yes, it would be much better than 8600 SLI.

I don't agree completely with "on-board audio sucks". Some are excellent these days, and most of them are good enough for normal people. By "normal" I mean the 95% who are not audiophiles and who spent less than $100 on speakers. Try it, maybe you'll decide not to buy the X-Fi after all. I did get an X-Fi myself, but I have also spent $300 on my speakers and I don't have a pair of Raptors making noise and ruining the experience. TBH I don't think you can distinguish between onboard and X-Fi with those things going on in the background.

I'd replace the PSU with a PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W. It's $200 at newegg, for example.

Get the GTX, not GTS. Even one 24" monitor (at 1920x1200) is a a bit of a challenge for the GTS. With two monitors it's even worse. If money is a problem, drop the Zalman and the X-Fi and the Raptors and get PC2-6400 instead of PC2-8500.

I'd get a Q6600 instead of E6850. It depends on what sort of programming you do. I have Visual Studio.Net, SQL Server, IIS, IE and FireFox running all the time, plus my own program, plus winamp for a little background entertainment. I am keeping those 4 cores pretty busy, I guess.

If you haven't picked a case yet: I'm using a Silverstone TJ09 with two stock fans and 3 Scythe fans. It's fantastic. I can't usually recommend it because of the price, but you've got the budget and want good quality, so there you go.

If you need help with a DVD drive, I can recommend the LG GSA-H62N and the Plextor PX-810SA from personal experience.

Edit: the best air cooler you can buy these days is Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme. Scythe Ninja (the one I'm using) or Tuniq Tower are also excellent. You don't need any cooler until you actually start overclocking, but if you insist on getting one right away I'd pick one of those. If you get the Thermalright also buy a Scythe SFF21F for it.
October 4, 2007 9:00:08 PM

Hey aevm,

Thanks for the reply.

To be honest I could drop the sound as you suggest, although I did have $300+ more planned on speakers for later.
But like you said, I could give it a go with the on-board.

As for the specs listed above, that is what I have already purchased and built.
Minus the video card etc, to complete the build and install an OS (plus monitors)
So I am not really going to change the current spec listed above.

But I also thought as you said a single 8800 card would be much better than SLi.

Cheers
Related resources
a c 143 U Graphics card
October 4, 2007 9:35:07 PM

OK. If you add a GTX there it will be an awesome machine :) 
October 5, 2007 10:37:03 AM

Any thoughts on Manufacturer ?

The BFG motherboard makes reference to 'special features' when certain models are used, actually the GTX if I recall.

I am just curious if a BFG video card is my best option for this motherboard, or does it really not matter ??
a c 143 U Graphics card
October 5, 2007 2:36:32 PM

I think they were talking about LinkBoost. I have no clue if it makes a noticeable difference, but please try it and let us know.
http://www.neoseeker.com/news/story/6279/

I don't think it makes any difference if your 8800 GTX is made by BFG, eVGA or XFX. They are all great companies with great support and quality and warranties. What you do want to avoid is less reliable manufacturers, even if you'd save $20 or so by doing that. I'm not naming them here, don't want to start flame wars :) 
I'd say look at these 3 manufacturers and compare prices. To make it fair, allow a bit more $ for an overclocked card (like the OC2 for example).

I looked at newegg and selected the cards under $550 (just an arbitrary number) from companies I'd trust. I ended up with 3 good choices. eVGA had a $530 model ay 575 MHz and a $580 model at 621 MHz, not very competitive IMO. (The $580 model comes with Quake Wars though.)

BFG OC, $495, 600 MHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814143080

BFG OC2, $550, 626 MHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814143093

XFX, $500, 600 MHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150232

I don't think it's worth $55 more for a 26 MHz overclock, so the OC2 is probably the worst deal of these 3.

Edit: kind of silly saying that last thing, considering I do have an OC2 myself. But I didn't get it from newegg, and at my local shop it was priced closer to the other models. Shop around, maybe you can find better prices elsewhere. NCIX had some nice sales last summer when I was doing my research.
October 5, 2007 2:51:18 PM

Hi aevm,

Awesome, thanks for the reply.
That is pretty much what I had in mind actually.

Aren't BFG & eVGA the same company anyway ??
But I was looking at the BFG, just because I like the motherboard and what the company has to offer.
And my second choice was XFX actually, and your right I would not go with a 'lesser' make to save a couple of bucks.

I was thinking about the OC2 also, but hat really depends on funds closer to the time.
My original plan was buy 1 card and a second when I could afford it and go SLi, hence my original post wanting BFG 8600GTS (2x)

So now I guess I am going to save and get (1x) 8800 card instead.
I really want the GTX, and it would be a good investment I think, but the piggy bank might limit me to the 8800 GTS

Thanks again for great advice, 8800 makes much more sense, and really does leave room for SLi as a future option as well.
(not that this power supply is gonna cope with 8800GTX Sli)
October 5, 2007 3:21:18 PM

I have a similar system to what you are building. I really like my BFG 880GTX OC card. The eVGA, XFX and Asus cards are also good and you would not be sorry buying any of them. They will all work without problems with your mobo. And aevm is correct, the TJ09 is an excellent case.
a c 143 U Graphics card
October 5, 2007 3:30:15 PM

What's up with "BFG and eVGA are the same company" ??? That's the second time I hear this. I am 99% sure they are totally independent. OK, I'll try to find out. Maybe it's something like Best Buy and Future Shop - competing with each other but actually owned by the same company?
October 5, 2007 6:26:14 PM

Thanks Tutrle1.

And aevm,
Yeah I have heard it several times about them being the same company,
or at least parts are made on the same 'production line'
October 5, 2007 8:10:50 PM

Thanks again for all the advice guys.

You have pretty much answered the original question about pairing a BFG card with a BFG mobo does not really matter.

So with your advice it will either be a BFG card or the XFX card.
Due to budget and the fact I know my PSU is SLi Certified to run 2x 8800GTS in SLi, so that will be my choice I think.
The GTX is beyond my scope right know, plus it will mean a new PSU as well in the future.

Anyway, I'll be starting with a single card (8800GTS 640MB), and moving upto SLi later.

Thanks again guys
October 5, 2007 8:22:37 PM

If you get the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 you can be SURE that it will power dual GTX with no problems at all. Cooler Master PSU quality is doubtful to say the least, however there's one of their PSU lines that is actually decent (Could be the Real Power Line, I forgot). I would still get the PC Power & Cooling mentioned above, PCP&C are the kings of PSUs after all, only closely followed by SeaSonic.

A GTX will barely push new games on a 1920x1200 screen, unless you like playing at 20-40fps, for me that is unbearable on anything else than RTS, I am a firm believer that to push either 1920x1200 or 2560x1600 you need SLI GTX to have a fluid, enjoyable experience.

Also to be honest, I think X-Fi's are actually a waste of good money unless you have, like mentioned above, a very high quality sound system. I'm pretty happy with my onboard sound and $5 Sony headphones, maybe onboard sucked on the past a bit too much, but now is just fine.
October 7, 2007 1:03:25 PM

ooohh Decisions Decisions ... !!

Damn, maybe I should get a GTX then, and go for a new PSU and a second card when I can afford it.

The more I read a GTX seems a much better choice then dual GTS cards..

aaarrgghh
October 7, 2007 2:37:53 PM

It's because it is...
!