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Need advice before buying, don't want to waste money for nothing...

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 11, 2007 9:57:01 PM

Hi all,

I have a Dell XPS600 at home, running a 3.2 core duo, 2Gb RAM and 2 x 7800 GTX in SLI mode.
I really want to upgrade my PC but I can not afford to buy a new one yet and games start to run slower as they get newer, you know the drill :-)
I run all my games at the max resolution of my screen (42" HD LCD) which is 1920x1080.

I thought about maybe buying a 8800 ultra (EVGA seems to have a good price) and install it instead of the 2 7800s.

A few questions:

1. Will one 8800 Ultra be faster than the two 7800 GTXs?
2. I have no idea what PSU I have on this Dell and if I have 12v rail/s (that's what I need right?), any help will be much appreciated.
3. Am I going to enjoy an increased performance even though my system has an "older" CPU?
4. Is there a big difference between the cards that are clocked 575, 600, 612, 630 and 655?

My idea is to keep the ultra and when I do upgrade, just buy another one and have them hooked up in SLI.

Thank you very much for your time,

Gurt.
a c 276 U Graphics card
November 11, 2007 11:06:00 PM

1) I suspect that it would be a nice increase. To verify this, go to the Toms vga charts, and look at the results for the type of games and settings that you play. Unfortunately, there are two charts, one for dual/slot results http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics_sli2007.html?mod... , and one for single cards. http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics_2007.html?modelx...
2) I suspect that you might be ok. Two 7800gtx cards should draw considerable power. It is recommended that a 8800GTX system have a PSU with 30a available on the 12v rails. Look at your PSU, there should be a sticker which gives this info. Unfortunately, Dell will usually install the smallest and cheapest psu that will do the job.
3) Most games are vga limited, so I think you will do better.
4) Yes, higher clocked cards are faster, and give off more heat.

You did not ask, but would a 8800GTX fit in your case? They are about 1.5" longer
than a standard card.
I would, however hold on a bit, there are indications that nvidia might introduce a new high end card based on the 8800GT die shrink.
November 11, 2007 11:31:39 PM

At that high of a resolution you best bet right now would be the 8800GTX ultra, but if you can wait a bit there are some new cards coming out by nVidia and ATI.

nVida just put out the 8800GT which is their entry level card. It's getting great benchmarks and does very well with todays games and actually out performs the current 8800GTS and comes close to the GTX (I have one), but at that size screen It starts to lose its muster.

If you can hold off the replacement for the 8800GTS should be out pretty soon. If you have to have it now your best bet would be a 8800GTX Ultra. I'm really not sure if your two 7800's will out perform a single 8800GTX. Most people say no, but at those resolutions you will benefit from SLI, rather than a single card. Depending if the game supports SLI of course.

PSU, I think the minimum requirement is something like 450W. It should say somewhere on the PSU how many watts it puts out. You may have to open the case. "12v rails" is simply a component inside a power supply. Some like the ones Antec makes has more than one rail which are supposed to be more efficient. When it comes to performance a single rail system, like that of PC Power & Cooling power supplies seem to do better. Less efficient, but better performance. Also look for an SLI rating if you decide to go that way. It will have the power connectors you need for the 8800 series cards.

Not sure about your CPU. Which model duo is it? Or how old?

Over clocked cards of course do better, but really not *that* much better if the price increase between the cards is high. I just did a little experiment while overclocking my 8800GT and at my resolution (1680X1050) I only saw an increase of 1-2 FPS with a 50MHz bump in both core clock and memory clock. I did see a large increase in my 3D Mark score, but actual FPS did not increase much at all. You may get different results at your resolution.

If you want to save some money get an affordable 8800GTX Ultra (that's an oxymoron) and overclock it yourself. There are a few free utilities you can download to do that.

Hope this helps.


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November 11, 2007 11:54:10 PM

It's a bad idea to get the 8800Ultra when the 8800GT is out already (availability is a whole different issue). As Flingpoo said, you might want to wait until the 8800GTS refresh comes out. 2 8800GT should beat the Ultra on those resolutions.

I don't know about core2duos being outdated. An "outdated" core2duo would probably be one with a older stepping, and I see you have it overclocked (by Dell probably) so in any case it should be fine.

My advice: if you have the money to buy an Ultra, might as well go for 2 8800GT. It's better for around the same price.
November 12, 2007 12:45:20 AM

Hey guys,

Thank you very much for your advice.
I checked the CPU on my computer and it says Pentium D 3.2Ghz.
I also have to ask a few things based on what you told me:

1. The new 8800GT card, when is it supposed to be available?
2. Is there also going to be a new GTS card? is that what you meant when you said GTS refresh? so they are going to still call it GTS?
3. Do you think that buying 2 8800 GTs will be cheaper than 1 ultra?
4. Do you think that the board that I have is compatible with the PCIe standard of the new cards?

Sorry for my so many questions and thanks again!

November 12, 2007 1:11:49 AM

1 and 2. New 8800GT = 8800GTS refresh I think. That refresh card should be faster than 8800GT meaning it may rival/surpass GTX at a cheaper price. Rumor says it will be called 8800GTS hopefully they come up with new naming scheme.
3. Yes
4. Shouldn't matter, I don't think any cards actually surpass the bandwidth limit of PCIe 1.0
a b U Graphics card
November 12, 2007 1:14:08 AM

Pentium D is your main bottleneck. Twin 8800gt's might improve things a little, but the Pentium D will most likely drag them down. You might check to see if the MB will accept a Core2Duo like the E6850. If so, I would try that with the existing video cards.

If not, you would be looking at a new MB, CPU, case, PSU, and copy of Windows. The 7900's would reach their full potential in such an upgrade.
November 12, 2007 1:21:06 AM

Quote:
Thank you very much for your advice.
I checked the CPU on my computer and it says Pentium D 3.2Ghz.

IIRC that is the older version of the core duos we have now.
Probably a bit of a bottleneck.

Quote:
1. The new 8800GT card, when is it supposed to be available?

They are out now, but on backorder just about everywhere. The reviews that came out put a high demand on this card and they sold out within a day or two. I'm not sure when they will be available again. Someone like eVGA may be able to give you an ETA.
Quote:
2. Is there also going to be a new GTS card? is that what you meant when you said GTS refresh? so they are going to still call it GTS?

Yes. It actually should be out pretty soon too. Worth waiting for IMO. As far as I know it will still be called the GTS. It probably will have something to distinguish it though. GTS 2.0! lol.
Quote:
3. Do you think that buying 2 8800 GTs will be cheaper than 1 ultra?

It should be about the same as an Ultra if you buy two overclocked 8800GT's. Right now because of the high demand the prices are a bit over MSRP. The prices should come down when manufactures are able to keep up with the demand and stores start to compete for your business.
Quote:
4. Do you think that the board that I have is compatible with the PCIe standard of the new cards?

Yes. All PCIe 2.0 cards are backward compatible with PCIe 1.0 and 1.1.
You also don't have to worry about the new cards surpassing the bandwidth of PCIe 1.0.
November 12, 2007 2:42:45 AM

You should wait some months for the new generation of high-end cards, just going from 2 7900 to a 8800 ultra (or 2 8800GT) is not worth the money... they would run better, but it would hurt to see a much better card at the same price some months later.

And changing your cpu would help a lot, look at this (the most exagerated example xD):
http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu_2007.html?modelx=33&m...
a b U Graphics card
November 12, 2007 3:31:26 AM

2nd Flingpoo's recommendations. I wouldn't buy right now, because you'll kick yourself in less than 30-60 days. The newer GPU's coming out will probably be cheaper and also run better, due to the die shrink. I'd give yourself about 30 days or so and then take a look at the market. AMD will have their 38xx's out, not sure if they will do any better than a 8800gt, but they will at least push nvidia to keep prices more stable than right now.
November 12, 2007 4:21:25 AM

gurt666 said:

3. Do you think that buying 2 8800 GTs will be cheaper than 1 ultra?
4. Do you think that the board that I have is compatible with the PCIe standard of the new cards?

Sorry for my so many questions and thanks again!

3. Right now, it would be roughly the same price, $600. The GT is supposed to be as low as $250, but last I checked they were still $300.

4. Yes, PCIe 1.1 slots (what all boards have) is compatible with PCIe 2.0 cards.
November 12, 2007 5:15:29 AM

The 8800GT is twice as powerful as two 7900GTX, so if you get two 8800GT's you'll have the power of four 7900GTX's. The 8800GTS refresh is only the G80 with 112sp enabled, and not a 65nm part. The 8800GTS 640MB is only slightly faster that the 8800GT 512MB.
November 12, 2007 5:45:20 PM

Guys,

Thank you SO SO much for your replies! I am going to wait for another 30-60 days and see what other options/new cards are out by then and make the switch.

Definitely saved me money on this one!

Gurt.
November 12, 2007 6:24:09 PM

gurt666 said:
Guys,

Thank you SO SO much for your replies! I am going to wait for another 30-60 days and see what other options/new cards are out by then and make the switch.

Definitely saved me money on this one!

Gurt.


Thats a good call.
!