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Going from 8800GTX to SLi'd GTXs, anything needed?

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March 2, 2008 7:40:34 PM

Just a quick question (I've had a quick google for it, but didn't seem to find anything).
I'm getting another GTX tomorrow, and just wondered if there is anything driver related or XP related I need to do when I install the other card?
I've never had or set-up SLi so don't really know about anything like that!
I assume there are no dedicated Nvidia drivers, but is there anything else I need to think about?
Thanks in advance :) 
March 3, 2008 7:03:29 AM

Anyone?? :cry: 


;) 
March 3, 2008 7:26:40 AM

An SLi motherboard and a big T-shirt with the words

I PWNED THE 3870X2 on the back
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March 3, 2008 7:41:18 AM

It seems like u have everything u need hardware-wise. Just remember not all games allow u to run sli. :) 
March 3, 2008 8:10:11 AM

Ha ha, thanks dev1se! :lol: 
So just drop the card in, put the bridge on and you're good to go?
So nothing in BIOS or the nvidia control panel that needs changing/enabling etc.?
Thanks! :D 
March 3, 2008 9:16:14 AM

If nTune is installed it'll ask if you want to enable SLi the first time you boot up windows.

The BIOS sometimes needs changing, and some SLi mobo's have a 'SINGLE / DUAL GPU' chip actually on the motherboard that need's to be swapped around (Looks like Laptop Ram)... but other than this, you should have no problems since SLi is really great and your PC will now be eat benchmarks for breakfast, and small children if they get close enough.
March 3, 2008 9:45:55 AM

dev1se said:
If nTune is installed it'll ask if you want to enable SLi the first time you boot up windows.

The BIOS sometimes needs changing, and some SLi mobo's have a 'SINGLE / DUAL GPU' chip actually on the motherboard that need's to be swapped around (Looks like Laptop Ram)... but other than this, you should have no problems since SLi is really great and your PC will now be eat benchmarks for breakfast, and small children if they get close enough.

Thanks, I particularly liked the last point! :lol: 
I'll double check the BIOS when I boot after inserting the extra card. I don't have nTune installed (and I haven't since I messed around OCing my old 6800GS)is there any other benefit to having it?
Thanks for the help, I just don't want to piss anything up! :D 
March 3, 2008 9:59:33 AM

I find nTune essential... so best to install it before you add the SLi setup. Whilst I dont rate nTune too highly for its O.C settings (doesnt really test it), it's good for all the other settings.
I think I prefer ATi's catalyst though because it shows you the actual real-time 3D Image differences.
a c 271 U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 10:17:56 AM

dev1se said:
I find nTune essential... so best to install it before you add the SLi setup. Whilst I dont rate nTune too highly for its O.C settings (doesnt really test it), it's good for all the other settings.
I think I prefer ATi's catalyst though because it shows you the actual real-time 3D Image differences.

IMHO nTune = poo, I just go with Rivatuner.
March 3, 2008 10:23:11 AM

I don't have any desire to OC though, so is there any point in having such a tool?
At best I would probably just OC them to see what sort of increase they gave in 3Dmark or something. Other than that, I wouldn't have any desire, because they're going to be quick enough anyway! ;) 
March 3, 2008 10:28:28 AM

LukeBird said:
I don't have any desire to OC though, so is there any point in having such a tool?
At best I would probably just OC them to see what sort of increase they gave in 3Dmark or something. Other than that, I wouldn't have any desire, because they're going to be quick enough anyway! ;) 


I would love to see some stock (8800GTX) 3DMark06 scores on two 8800GTX's, don't believe I have ever seen scores for two before. Here is one 3DMark06 score for one 9800GTX though.


By Systemlord at 2008-03-02
a c 271 U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 10:36:08 AM

LukeBird said:
I don't have any desire to OC though, so is there any point in having such a tool?
At best I would probably just OC them to see what sort of increase they gave in 3Dmark or something. Other than that, I wouldn't have any desire, because they're going to be quick enough anyway! ;) 

OC'ing is not compulsory but there may be times when you might wish for an on screen display showing the FPS's, CPU temps, GPU temps and various fan speeds.
March 3, 2008 11:20:02 AM

LukeBird said:
I don't have any desire to OC though, so is there any point in having such a tool?
At best I would probably just OC them to see what sort of increase they gave in 3Dmark or something. Other than that, I wouldn't have any desire, because they're going to be quick enough anyway! ;) 


Its there for the AA & AF settings, aswell as being the tool used for turning on SLi .

Rivatuner is for O.C, nTune is for nVidia based motherboards / GPUs etc...
March 3, 2008 11:46:19 AM

systemlord said:
I would love to see some stock (8800GTX) 3DMark06 scores on two 8800GTX's, don't believe I have ever seen scores for two before. Here is one 3DMark06 score for one 9800GTX though.

Well I have benched my current set-up in 3DMark06 and it gave me 10.5k so I can bench with stock GTX's after, if you like :) 
I really have no idea what sort of score I'm going to get, as I'm obviously CPU bottlenecked!
March 3, 2008 11:47:55 AM

Oh and dev1se & mousemonkey, thanks, I'll have a look into those later.
I just popped hom from work and it's here, so I'll see what sort of score I get in a few hours! :sol: 
March 3, 2008 11:53:45 AM

have you checked your PSU to make sure that it has 2 6 pin connectors available for the other 8800GTX???? < thats the only thing stopping me going to SLI, my PSU only has 2 6 pin connectors which my first 8800gtx is using.
March 3, 2008 12:53:56 PM

Yeah, that was one of the first things I checked (and part of the reason why I bought the PSU) it has 4 6-pin connectors and 2 8-pin PCI-E connectors.
I know it's not as highly rated as some of the PSUs, but has been utterly reliable.
A fantastic set of cables, 6 12V rails and 1000W peak load with 850W continuous! :D 
It's a CoolerMaster Real Power Pro 850W, btw :) 
I can't wait to see what they'll do in SLi.
Just need an enormous monitor now!
March 3, 2008 2:02:36 PM

Just install it, plug in the power and the bridge, make sure you have the latest drivers and chekc to make sure SLI is enabled in the nVidia control panel.
March 3, 2008 2:27:23 PM

Thanks for the help everyone!
I'm running 3DMark06 Pro Edition 1.0.2 now with the current set-up (as in my sig, except using 2Gb RAM not 4Gb)
I'm running default settings at 1280x1024, I'll report back later with the results :) 
Once again, thanks for the help! :D 
a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 2:39:02 PM

I'd suggest going with the 171.23 beta drivers off guru3d as the game profiles work forcing fsaa and the sli mode is correctly displayed. edit: I use them and like them but see there is even a newer Win XP 32 bit one now. 174.20 -
http://downloads.guru3d.com/ForceWare-174.20-XP-(32-bit)-download-1866.html

Either way, The drivers will sense both cards and ask you if you want to enable sli. It's very simple. You can also enable and disable it yourself in NV control panel.



Things to check is (obviously) powering the cards, installing the SLI bridge, and also whether your motherboard needs to be set for SLI. My MSI P6N SLI platinum needs a SLI selector card flipped around for 8x/8x rather than 16x/1x for the speeds of the two 16x pci-e slots. I'm not familiar with your mobo off hand (whether it's 16x/16x and you don't have to change anything) so just wanted to mention this as a precaution.


March 3, 2008 4:01:48 PM

Right, done and done! I have some pics I'll post later, it was a little cramped! :lol: 
Here is the 3DMark06 run (Pro edition 1.0.2) with one GTX as per specs in sig, but with 2Gb RAM, not 4Gb-

Not bad :) 
Here is the run with SLi'd GTXs now. These are stock XFX 8800's :) 

Interestingly, in the box on the LHS where it shows bus interface, I get a different lane speed between each card and the cards have a slightly different BIOS version, here is the other card -

Do you think that's ok?
I have enabled SLi and had the message in Windows, so everything looks ok (the 3DMark score is a little lower than I thought it would be!) but it seems odd there is a different lane speed....
March 3, 2008 4:18:42 PM

so your getting a score from one card? if i were you go into the bios and make sure you have SLI on, also you may have a board with a hardware switch(normally located between the PCI-Ex slots.
March 3, 2008 4:30:49 PM

I don’t know how much you should gain...

You only gain 1,100 points with an extra $400 card???? WTF, I was thinken more like 2-3k. That is what came to my mind because I have been considering getting my second GTX also...
a c 271 U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 4:38:42 PM

grieve said:
I don’t know how much you should gain...

You only gain 1,100 points with an extra $400 card???? WTF, I was thinken more like 2-3k. That is what came to my mind because I have been considering getting my second GTX also...

[:mousemonkey:2] Chipset could be the limiting factor, 16x + 16x could be the way to go.
March 3, 2008 4:46:06 PM

Flakes said:
so your getting a score from one card? if i were you go into the bios and make sure you have SLI on, also you may have a board with a hardware switch(normally located between the PCI-Ex slots.

Sorry, should have explained myself more!
Systemlord said he would be interested to see stock GTX vs. stock GTX's in SLi, hence one card score and then two s/shots with SLi.
I checked the mobo manual and it makes no mention of a hardware switch.
I know the 570SLi chipset can only run x8 SLi, but I know I'm going to lose maybe 5% if that off FPS.
It's just odd that one card shows x16 and the other x8, I had assumed both would show x8?

March 3, 2008 4:49:09 PM

grieve said:
I don’t know how much you should gain...

You only gain 1,100 points with an extra $400 card???? WTF, I was thinken more like 2-3k. That is what came to my mind because I have been considering getting my second GTX also...

I thought it may be a little more, but I am heavily CPU limited.
With a Q6600 @ 3GHz, I reckon I could prob touch 18k with this set-up.
The card was second hand though, (so is my other one!) both came from eBay and I paid a far whack less than new.
Doesn't bother me though, because they're both now registered with XFX for lifetime warranty :) 
March 3, 2008 6:15:24 PM

Here's a couple of pictures just after I'd put everything back together.
The cables are a little jumbled behind the cards now! :lol: 


Sorry, they're not great quality, they're just off my Z8.
a c 271 U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 6:21:33 PM

:o  Cable ties are your friends.
March 3, 2008 6:22:46 PM

Oh and my RAID card is a little tight below the 2nd GTX! :lol: 
Temps on one of the cards is quite a lot higher than the other (in GPU-Z), PCB is about 5C higher and GPU core is about 13C higher.
I guess that's just because the cards are close together and airflow isn't as good.
I'm happy though, be interesting to see if bumping the resolution a lot would lessen the CPU bottleneck.
a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 6:31:25 PM

Mousemonkey said:
[:mousemonkey:2] Chipset could be the limiting factor, 16x + 16x could be the way to go.

8x/8x vs 16x/16x isn't the limiting factor. Look at this performance comparison. No difference in games, can't rule out synthetics would show a slight difference though. http://www.techspot.com/review/45-nvidia-nforce-650i-sl...

Something is giving him low scores, I'm guessing combination of cpu, mem timings, etc. Mostly the cpu though. I'm alot higher with the 8800GT (s) than that. But I really don't concern myself with 3dmarks. Only ran them as a quick cpu stability during my OC'ing trial time. default 3dmark06 settings isn't going to show you the true benefits of SLI 8800GTX.
a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 6:35:21 PM

Nice Lukebird. Now fire up crysis and try the Paradise Lost level at 19x12 or 16x10 with fsaa. You'll see huge gains in those GPU crushing levels.
March 3, 2008 6:39:08 PM

pauldh said:
8x/8x vs 16x/16x isn't the limiting factor. Look at this performance comparison. No difference in games, can't rule out synthetics would show a slight difference though. http://www.techspot.com/review/45-nvidia-nforce-650i-sl...

Something is giving him low scores, I'm guessing combination of cpu, mem timings, etc. Mostly the cpu though. I'm alot higher with the 8800GT (s) than that. But I really don't concern myself with 3dmarks. Only ran them as a quick cpu stability during my OC'ing trial time. default 3dmark06 settings isn't going to show you the true benefits of SLI 8800GTX.

Memory timings are the default (I haven't tightened them again) so are 5-5-5-15, last time I had them at 4-4-4-12 @ 2.0V.
CPU is obviously a big bottleneck as well, as you said.
Once I get my bigger monitor I'll have to see what the CPU bottleneck is like at say 1680x1050/1920x1200.
I would imagine my FPS would probably increase over what they are at 1280x1024.
Most of the cables in my case are in the clips that are in the case (CM-690) but I have cables going back to the RAID controller and the power cables for the GTXs in the way as well! The rest are quite tidy :) 
March 3, 2008 6:41:58 PM

pauldh said:
Nice Lukebird. Now fire up crysis and try the Paradise Lost level at 19x12 or 16x10 with fsaa. You'll see huge gains in those GPU crushing levels.

Should be getting my 24" (or possibly a full HD TV) in a week or two, so I'll have to try it then.
Until then, I'm stuck at 1280x1024!! :lol: 
Doubt the GTXs are really doing anything! ;) 
Thanks though, much appreciated for putting my mind at rest!
March 3, 2008 7:59:43 PM

Was just having a go on CoD4 and it started to stutter a bit and then the game crashed and I had a BSOD.
I checked my nvidia drivers and I'm on the current ones (169.21) and they're beta driver thing identified my system as 8800GTX in SLi. So it is at least seeing the system correctly!
Any ideas, or you think it was just a coincidence?
Before that, FPS were pretty good. Had up to 290 and was averaging around 120-150.
Mighty impressive! That was full everything @ 1280x1024. :) 
a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 8:23:49 PM

I'd grab the 174.20's if I were you. Even the 169.28 had SLI improvements in crysis as a main issue addressed, so the 169.21 are really kinda old now, especially for SLI. With the newe 17x drivers you can force AA easier in the game profiles, which at 12x10 you will want to do in some games that don't have an in game option. Oblivion with HDR, UT3, etc. Also (you probably already do this), but I set my game profiles to force 16xaf for games that don't have an in game AF option. (Oblivion, Crysis, etc.)

Yeah, COD4 isn't one you will need that second GTX for, not at 12x10 anyway. :) 

March 3, 2008 8:52:14 PM

pauldh said:
I'd grab the 174.20's if I were you. Even the 169.28 had SLI improvements in crysis as a main issue addressed, so the 169.21 are really kinda old now, especially for SLI. With the newe 17x drivers you can force AA easier in the game profiles, which at 12x10 you will want to do in some games that don't have an in game option. Oblivion with HDR, UT3, etc. Also (you probably already do this), but I set my game profiles to force 16xaf for games that don't have an in game AF option. (Oblivion, Crysis, etc.)

Yeah, COD4 isn't one you will need that second GTX for, not at 12x10 anyway. :) 

I just re-read your above post and see you recommended some beta drivers.
I'll have a look at them tomorrow :) 
Yeah the other GTX isn't giving much at that low res in CoD4! :lol: 
I haven't had any BS's on my system, so I think it would be too much of a coincidence to have one after putting in my other card.
Thanks for all of your help :) 
a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2008 9:05:07 PM

IMO, with SLI you don't want to wait for NV to put WHQL's on their site. They are so slow(to offer new drivers) and you can get newer WHQL's even at Guru3d. Take your pick: http://downloads.guru3d.com/Videocards---NVIDIA-ForceWa...(32-bit)_c10.html

Like I said, I have not had any issues running 8800GT SLI with the Win 32-bit 171.23's.
March 4, 2008 4:21:20 AM

LukeBird said:
Well I have benched my current set-up in 3DMark06 and it gave me 10.5k so I can bench with stock GTX's after, if you like :) 
I really have no idea what sort of score I'm going to get, as I'm obviously CPU bottlenecked!


I wouldn't say your that much bottlenecked by the 6000+. I have found out the sweat spot for only one 8800GTX, its an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.2GHz which is also where my OC 8800GTX seems to show more teeth. :D 
March 4, 2008 6:47:34 AM

pauldh said:
IMO, with SLI you don't want to wait for NV to put WHQL's on their site. They are so slow(to offer new drivers) and you can get newer WHQL's even at Guru3d. Take your pick: http://downloads.guru3d.com/Videocards---NVIDIA-ForceWa...(32-bit)_c10.html

Like I said, I have not had any issues running 8800GT SLI with the Win 32-bit 171.23's.

Didn't realise there was a such a thing as WHQL beta drivers...
I'll try those tonight and see how CoD4 performs. There's no way it can be power a issue throttling the cards and I doubt they are being throttled because of heat (up until the BSOD, the symptoms could have indicated either of those) so it must be a driver issue.
I'll try the ones you're running and see if it's ok, if not i'll try the newer ones :) 
Thanks!
March 4, 2008 6:50:40 AM

systemlord said:
I wouldn't say your that much bottlenecked by the 6000+. I have found out the sweat spot for only one 8800GTX, its an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.2GHz which is also where my OC 8800GTX seems to show more teeth. :D 

Cool :) 
I guess an E6600 @ 3.2GHz is probably equivalent to a 6000+ @ 3.8-4.0GHz as a bit of a guesstimate.
I shall hopefully have my RAM back tonight (faulty! :fou:  ) so I'll get newer drivers and extra RAM and see if it makes any difference. I'm impressed though! :D 
March 4, 2008 11:41:18 AM

With the advancement of graphics cards today (exploding faster than ever) I think we'll always be processor bottlenecked. Also it will be a while before games are fully optimsed four quad cores yet alone 8 cores.
March 4, 2008 12:08:23 PM

Make sure after you fire that thing up in the basement you tell your mom that the electric bill is going to jump up about 20 bucks a month or something :)  lol...
March 4, 2008 12:12:49 PM

systemlord said:
With the advancement of graphics cards today (exploding faster than ever) I think we'll always be processor bottlenecked. Also it will be a while before games are fully optimsed four quad cores yet alone 8 cores.

Yeah very true. I'm quite happy with my 6000+, but I would move to K10 if there was something I felt would be an upgrade I would notice.
I doubt to be honest a Phenom @ 2.5GHz is really much of an upgrade.
A B3 FX or whatever dual/tri/quad would be a nice upgrade.
But until such times, I'm quite happy with my 6000+.
I may even dabble in OCing ;) 
March 4, 2008 12:13:34 PM

jnava121 said:
Make sure after you fire that thing up in the basement you tell your mom that the electric bill is going to jump up about 20 bucks a month or something :)  lol...

Ha ha! :lol: 
It's ok, I don't live with my parents and I pay the electric bill, so I'll be ok ;) 
March 4, 2008 12:15:56 PM

Oh and systemlord, when you said you'd be interested to see stock GTXs in SLi, any other benches you want me to run?
I have my replaced RAM sat on my desk, so I'll install that later and probably re-tighten the timings to 4-4-4-12 @ 2.0V, update the drivers for my cards and run 3DMark to see what I get.
If there's anything else you want to see, give me a shout :) 
I forgot to add to my other post as well, I've tried to lessen the biggest bottleneck in having RAID'd Raptor's. They are frankly phenomenal!
March 4, 2008 4:49:21 PM

I put the RAM in and tightened the timings to their verified latencies and updated to the latest drivers on guru 3D, thanks!
Unfortunately in 3DMark I keep crashing at the same point, and have reset RAM to it's stock settings, so I guess it's the video drivers.
I'll try the ones you're running pauldh and try then.
Damned annoying!
If I crash again, I guess I'll have to use the crappy 169.21 I was using! :( 
March 4, 2008 6:13:51 PM

systemlord said:
With the advancement of graphics cards today (exploding faster than ever) I think we'll always be processor bottlenecked. Also it will be a while before games are fully optimsed four quad cores yet alone 8 cores.


Crysis is GPU bottlenecked... I don’t think I have played a game in the last 5 years where my processor was @ %100 capacity. Granted an OC will make things a tiny better but nothing like adding a second GPU..or RAM
March 4, 2008 6:59:31 PM

Problems now! ****! :kaola: 
Kept on crashing in 3Dmark with the drivers. I tried the WHQL signed 17x.xx ones, the ones you were using pauldh, the newest ones and then finally back to the current nvidia release. I hung on the same test, same place everytime.
I wondered if one of my new sticks of RAM was faulty, so I pulled both of the new ones and then on booting windows had a dll file missing which it said I needed. So am currently repairing windows as we speak (am on my PB) and will try 3DMark just to see if I crash. If I am, I'm a little lost, if not, then i'll try my RAM and make sure it isn't that!
Damned annoying as I wanted to get on with some CoD4!! :lol:  :lol: 
a b U Graphics card
March 4, 2008 7:58:22 PM

Yeah, I expect it to be the ram and not the drivers by what you've said. Go back to your original ram and timings for testing. And then, Since you've been crashing, chkdsk/r may fix your problems.
!