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SLI or single faster card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 16, 2008 5:51:02 PM

I currently have two 8600GT's running three monitors on a non-SLI mobo. I want better gaming so I was wondering wheather I should get a SLI mobo or simply replace one of the 8600GT's with a faster card, such as 8800GTS. If I go with the second option my concern is this: even if I turn off the slower card (8600GT) (by disabling any video output) is there still a risk of it slowing down the faster card (8800GTS) by simply being there? Unfortunately I can't afford upgrading both cards at the moment.

More about : sli single faster card

January 16, 2008 6:09:27 PM

I would have to say one faster one, I think you may find your 8600gt sli underwhelming.

January 16, 2008 6:11:26 PM

Always, ALWAYS choose a single faster card over two cards in SLI or crossfire.

In any case, SLI requires two of the same cards to work. If you need three displays, you can use your 8600 GT with an 8800 GTS, but they won't be working in SLI mode. When you run a game, you'll be running off of the 8800... that's fine, because a single 8800 GTS will beat the pants off of two 8600 GT cards.

Another option would be to sell both of your 8600's and buy a matrox triplehead2go, which will give you three outputs from your single 8800 GTS.
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January 16, 2008 7:15:51 PM

@ cleeve: You got me all wrong, I don't intend using 8600GT and 8800GTS in SLI, I don't even have SLI yet. That's my question, should I get a SLI mainboard and use the two 8600GT's in SLI or upgrade only the primary video card and switch the other off when playing games. But won't it still slow down the faster card?

Triplehead2go won't do.

@ PlasticSas himi: Really nice OC with a B3 and 680i on air!
January 16, 2008 7:21:30 PM

Ah. Well, same advice:

If you want game performance, just get a single 8800 series card.

SLI won't be an option, but it will be faster than two 8600's.

The 8600 won't slow down the 8800. They won't be in SLI mode and games will ignore the secondary card.
January 16, 2008 7:44:25 PM

cleeve said:
The 8600 won't slow down the 8800. They won't be in SLI mode and games will ignore the secondary card.


Will they? Because I know that they definitely don't when the second card is active, in that scenario the speed of each card is the speed of the slowest card (just like in RAM - put a 400MHz module next to a 266MHz module and they will both work @ 266). I have to be absolutely sure before I upgrade, otherwise it would be pointless.
January 17, 2008 7:16:03 PM

SLI mode only works when both cards are the same, therefore two different cards will not enable SLI. One card will be used, I'm not sure how you'd set the 8800 to be your primary card but it should be doable.
January 17, 2008 7:38:19 PM

One fast card is always a better deal and almost the same preformance as two of the same in SLI.

Buy a bond/CD with your saveings.
January 17, 2008 11:58:45 PM

Ok here we go.....it al depends on what you want to use your SLI setup for.
There are people out there telling you an 8800 card would perform great. They spend a lot of money for it. They won't admit it that the first DX10 based game called Crysis is allready a big hoax in their wallet. The game only runs around 30 FPS on the most expensive 8800 ultra card. It's a big joke. Some people want to shout at me now and want to tell me they play the game just fine (in the true high detail that makes you wanna buy the game reviews) while they don't really know what a game runs like when it's running at 60 FPS or do they? ;) 
If you are in kinda slowmotion gaming maybe the card will fit you well. For me? I've bought a Sapphire X1950XT that is capable of running all Dx9 games with full settings except for...yes you've guessed it right...DX9 compatible Crysis.
But at least I've saved myself from spending hundreds of euro's too much on hardware that can't get the game running at the speed it is supposed to be running at.
Hope I helped you with this one. :)  Don't let 8800 people pull you into the same mistake they made. They will usually never admit it that 60 FPS gaming is better than slowmotion 20 to 30 FPS gaming. Save your money for 2009...that will be my advise cause the 9800 will not bring much glory either....I wonder what the joke price will be like also. YEah, it's a long wait I know. Read Gcard benchmark tests if you wanna know for sure what's best for you. Don't believe all forums as again there as sicko people out there who have spend too much money won't admit the mistake they made and tell you their 8800 card is just fine for Crysis or future DX10 games.
January 18, 2008 12:03:05 AM

My advice is never go for SLI.

Stick with a simple, single-slotted PCIe motherboard.

Then buy whatever card you can afford, upgrading every 2years or so.
January 18, 2008 5:53:56 AM

SyPheR said:
They won't admit it that the first DX10 based game called Crysis is allready a big hoax in their wallet.


Dude, I've got a single 2900 XT, and I can run Crysis beautifully at 1920x1200.
Not max detail of course, but with a lot of settings at high, and smooth as butter. In Dx9 mode no less...

...what's the hoax? That I can't run everything maxed out in Dx10?

Crysis is about 6 months to 1 year ahead of it's time... there's always going to be software that pushes the hardware envelope. That makes the 8800 series useless somehow? Or it makes it a hoax?

How does that prove that current hardware sucks? Hell - if anything, it demonstrates that you can use all the horsepower you can afford.
January 18, 2008 7:01:13 AM

Sli sucs major compared to crossfire, and crossfire even sucs a bit, A single more powerfull card all the way :) 
January 18, 2008 7:21:34 AM

I think you all are missing the other part of his question. Will the 8800GTS run slower because it is installed next to an 8600 even though the card has been disabled?

Maybe you can try overclocking one of your cards now to see if it reverts back to the slower card when the slower card is disabled?

Can you borrow a card from a friend that is not an 8600 to test your problem?

As for my personal experience, I have none in this arena. I like my 8800GTS 640MB (G80) though.
January 18, 2008 7:29:30 AM

You might want to wait a couple of months if you can for the next cards to come out, but what I hear, the 8800GT and ATi 3870 are good cards for the money. The Nvidia are better right now.

Does each card need its own specific driver to run on multi, non-sli system? If both cards run off the same driver, than the cards would have to be the same.
January 18, 2008 8:41:05 AM

cleeve said:
Dude, I've got a single 2900 XT, and I can run Crysis beautifully at 1920x1200.
Not max detail of course, but with a lot of settings at high, and smooth as butter. In Dx9 mode no less...

...what's the hoax? That I can't run everything maxed out in Dx10?

Crysis is about 6 months to 1 year ahead of it's time... there's always going to be software that pushes the hardware envelope. That makes the 8800 series useless somehow? Or it makes it a hoax?

How does that prove that current hardware sucks? Hell - if anything, it demonstrates that you can use all the horsepower you can afford.


Ok, what I ment is. Is it worth spending that much money on a card while all you do is lowering your graphics quality again to play the game? You might as well buy a cheaper powerfull card if graphics quality is not that important to you. The difference will be minimal. :) 
January 18, 2008 1:42:17 PM

SyPheR said:
You might as well buy a cheaper powerfull card if graphics quality is not that important to you. The difference will be minimal. :) 


Well, I can certianly agree with that. I think the 3850, 3870, and 8800 GT lineup are excellent performance-per-dollar cards, and the upcoming 9600 is looking to be even better. I wouldn't recommend spendiung the cash on a GTX or Ultra, that's for sure.
January 21, 2008 1:36:55 AM

ight, so im just asnwering the main question if it hasnt been ansered yet.

Get SLi if u have a resolution 1600x1200 and up. if lower or if u dotn feel liek u need SLi on 1600x1200 (liek me) then get a single card.
a b Î Nvidia
a b 4 Gaming
a c 195 C Monitor
January 21, 2008 3:06:40 AM

Get the most powerful single card you are willing to dish out for. It should outperform two slower card SLI'ed.
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