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Have 8800GT, go to SLI?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 11, 2008 3:28:43 PM

Hey all

I have a new system coming with:

Nvidia 780i mobo
Intel Quad Q9450 CPU
4GB DDR2 SDRAM

and from my old build I have:

500W PSU
8800GT 512MB
1 SATA 3GB/s 320 GB HDD @ 7200 RPM
1 120GB IDE HDD

And I am considering making one final push to call my system really complete:

A 700W PSU ( because of these 2: )
a second 8800GT 512MB to run in SLI
a 250GB SATA.

My question is I have never had SLI but heard it may not be worth it.

I game heavily and run 2 monitors, 1 screen being an HDTV. Any thoughts on whether or not I should pull the trigger? I am looking at another $300 for the new PSU, GPU, and HDD.

Please give me advice!

More about : 8800gt sli

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a b Î Nvidia
July 11, 2008 3:45:06 PM

The 750TX PSU is very cheap considering its power and quality. For HDD I like the WD6400AAKS most these days. Together they'd cost about $210.

SLI + using two monitors is a painful combination.

Maybe you should sell the 8800GT, get a $100 GA-EP43-DS3L instead of the $200+ 780i, and then get a single but powerful video card like HD 4870 or GTX 260.
July 11, 2008 3:45:48 PM

I should claifiy: I don't play games across 2 screens, just have 2 screen at once, a game/program displays on only 1 screen.
July 11, 2008 3:59:29 PM

the reason why SLI with two monitors doesnt work is one card is drawing the top half of an image and the other card draws the bottom half.
if you use two monitors dont go SLI.

this form the link by homerdog:

Currently, all SLI configurations work only with a single digital video output. When switching to multi-GPU SLI mode, Dualview gets disabled under Windows,[15] respectively TwinView and multiple screens get disabled under Linux.[16] It is possible, however, to use a wide resolution and split it into multiple monitors using an external device such as the Matrox TripleHead2Go.
To bypass the problem of having SLI and dual monitors functioning at the same time a new method has been devised by the members of slizone forums. By purchasing a low end video card (7100gs,8400gs,8500gt and so on) it's possible to put it inside an empty pci-e or pci slot and use it to power the 2nd monitor. By using latest drivers that have a modified (modded) .inf file, it is possible to boot to safe mode and install the same drivers onto main SLI cards and the low end card. Following the install and a boot to windows, you can disable the low end video card, go into Nvidia control panel, enable SLI which at that point will ask you to reboot. Following the reboot you can plug in your 2nd monitor into the low end card which will now power it and allow to use full SLI on your primary monitor. This has been confirmed working on various SLI systems, and even the new 9800gx2 allows this to work.


looks like you need three cards to run two monitors with an sli config.
don't do it.
July 11, 2008 4:00:56 PM

I have been reading it and I understand. I do, however, have a 7900GT hanging around. Any thoughts there?
July 11, 2008 4:16:29 PM

You can't use SLI and multiple monitors. You could SLI 2 GT's and use the 7900GT to run the extra monitor but I think there might be some driver conflicts due to them being different generations. aevm's suggestion would be your best option but it looks like your heart, brain (and wallet) belong to Nvidia.
July 11, 2008 4:20:32 PM

firetatoo said:
the reason why SLI with two monitors doesnt work is one card is drawing the top half of an image and the other card draws the bottom half.

Heh, that's so wrong. Both SLI and Crossfire now exclusively use alternate frame rendering ;)  .
a b Î Nvidia
July 11, 2008 4:21:07 PM

Do you want two 8800GT and a 7900GT in the 3 PCI-E slots of a 780i motherboard, with the 8800GT cards linked to the TV in SLI and the 7900GT handling the monitor? Am I getting this right?

I don't know if nVidia's drivers and Control Panel support this scenario.

A 750TX is probably enough even if you add that 7900GT.
July 11, 2008 5:57:51 PM

I would be using the 8800GTs to power the monitor, and the 7900GT on the TV probably. That dosen't matter so much tho.

I don't know why it seems my heart/brain/wallet belongs to Nvidia...I've had a 7900GT before, and also got a cheap 8800GT earlier this year. I got a Nvidia mobo, OK...but anyway. I'm not opposed to ATI, I just have had problems with them before.

What I think I'm going to do is to build my computer today ( my CPU/mobo/RAM arrive today) and see how it performs. Then, consider my GPU needs followed by my PSU needs and make a decision from there.
July 11, 2008 6:27:31 PM

I didn't mean to offend but it seems lately that a lot of people think that because Nvidia has the fastest (and extremely overpriced) single card currently that all their cards are superior. Also since I'm going to buy a Nvidia card since their so much better I should buy a board with a Nvidia chipset (eventhough the are extremely overpriced as well) to go along with it. The 780i is nothing more than a year and a half old 680i with an extra PCI-E controller and I have a hard time paying premium prices for recycled technology. I have a 8800GT as well and it's a great card and when I got it I had a 680i board so I decided to get another and try SLI. I'm glad I tryed it once but I won't try it again. My results were inconsistent and I just felt that other's were right in that your just better off with the single best card you can afford. My P5N32-E SLI was garbage and it will take a lot before I ever consider a Nvidia based board again, Intel based boards just work better. So again I didn't mean to offend but you should seriously consider sending the stuff back when you get it and going with a X38 or X48. Assuming you got your 780i for ~$230 you could get the Gigabyte X48 for the same money and have the base for a much more solid system.
July 12, 2008 2:12:15 AM

So it turns out my 500W PSU ( an Antec ) does not have an 8 pin 12V rail that I need. So I need a new PSU anyway. I am probably going to get the 750TX and WD6400AAKS for $220.

I am definatly staying with my motherboard, it has already been opened/installed. Also my Q9450 is installed.

Lastly, this leads to my video card dillemma.

I haven't even had the chance to see how the single 8800GT runs on my system now, so I don't know what I should do.

What thoughts do you all have? I am inclined to get a single, powerful GPU instead of SLI for futureproofing. It looks like there are lots of good Radeons AND Nvidias. What are some of the better ones that would fit for a single high-end card?
July 12, 2008 5:51:45 PM

cdietschrun said:
I haven't even had the chance to see how the single 8800GT runs on my system now, so I don't know what I should do.

I'll tell you my single 512MB 8800GT is plenty fast for every game I've ever played except Crysis, and I'm an AA/AF junkie.
cdietschrun said:
What thoughts do you all have? I am inclined to get a single, powerful GPU instead of SLI for futureproofing. It looks like there are lots of good Radeons AND Nvidias. What are some of the better ones that would fit for a single high-end card?

Radeon HD4870, hands down. Unless you have $500 to spend on a GTX280...
July 12, 2008 7:02:49 PM

I was amazed the GTX260 was released a few weeks ago and it's already been chopped more than $100, see what a little competition does. The GTX260 is still more expensive than the HD4870 and the ATI card is faster so the best option is the 4870.
a b Î Nvidia
July 12, 2008 11:56:17 PM

+1 for the 4870
July 26, 2008 1:53:45 AM

I have an XFX 780i board and 2 8800gt alphadogs and one card runs just as well as two, sometimes better.

Everything I've read suggests that I've set it up properly but the performance sucks a big fat one!
I did have an asus p5nd before I went all DIY and tried to change the chipset heatsink and perferomance on the 750i was better by a bit.

Now I have spent all this $ I wish I'd just gone for a single card solution!
Curse my friends for egging me on in tech wars!

The GT is doing pretty nicely by itself.
July 26, 2008 4:38:05 AM

halfdone said:
I have an XFX 780i board and 2 8800gt alphadogs and one card runs just as well as two, sometimes better.

Everything I've read suggests that I've set it up properly but the performance sucks a big fat one!
I did have an asus p5nd before I went all DIY and tried to change the chipset heatsink and perferomance on the 750i was better by a bit.

Now I have spent all this $ I wish I'd just gone for a single card solution!
Curse my friends for egging me on in tech wars!

The GT is doing pretty nicely by itself.

I had the P5N32-E SLI with 2 GT's and I found the same thing. I really didn't see much difference with 2 cards and the motherboard was a big headache so I sold one of the cards and bought a Rampage Formula, I'm much happier now.
July 31, 2008 5:39:52 AM

Go for a 4850 or 4870 FOR SURE. You'll get the multi-monitor set-up you want without having to hack any drivers or anything and the performance of either of those cards will beat 2x8800GT . For the record I do have two 8800GT's running in SLI in my system, i got them a while ago which is why I have them, theres no way I could suggest anythign but the 4850/4870 now though. The performance increase I got from the second card was great though.

I play a lot of World in Conflict at 1680 x 1050 and when I only had one card I could play with the important settings on high but alot of the bonus stuff like good shadows, water, tire tracks and physics (ok, this is one of the important settings) on low/off. With my 2 8800GT's I can play with every setting maxed and am getting over 40 FPS which is more than enough for an RTS...although I does drop into the twenties for a second or two whenever a nuke goes off right in the middle of my screen...but that's bo biggie since that means I'm dead anyways.

I must mention that I do have my cards overclocked, but I did this myself, you can squeeze a bit of power out of them easily without doing anythign but changing some sliders in the Nvidia control panel....even more if you have and after-market cooler on them, which I'm thinking about doing....would cost me like 70-80 bucks but it would run better, cooler, and quiter and then I could finally say my PC is finished till the Nehlam and next set of ground breaking cards come out and I finally bite and build one.
July 31, 2008 1:14:55 PM

8800GT might be nearly as good as as GTX 280 at VERY low res but not at anything over 1650 x 1080...or at that res for that matter. That review you posted is pretty flawed since for one the drivers have been updated since then and two those numbers arent very close to ANY other benchmarks ive seen anywhere, or experienced with my own rig. I've got my rig OCed pretty well and have put hours into optimizing it for gaming but it wont get those numbers...the reason? I'm willing to bet it wasn't just AA they had turned down for those benchmarks but also every other setting that makes it worth spending any money on a videocard. While the 8800GT might be close at lower res with no AA and few of the bells a whistles turned on as soon as you start chaging that it's gonna start to fall behind....don;t get me wrong, it's still a great setup but it just doesn't compare with these new cards when you really want all the eye candy.

edit: it didn't mean to say it was a flawed review cause of the driver thing since there was no way for them to use future drivers at the time they wrote the article but it does make it less applicable
July 31, 2008 6:49:38 PM

hawler said:
For the record I do have two 8800GT's running in SLI in my system, i got them a while ago which is why I have them, theres no way I could suggest anythign but the 4850/4870 now though. The performance increase I got from the second card was great though.


Same here. I have 2x8800GTs and I'm loving it. I'm still dealing with the issue of running a 3rd card in my free PCI-e slot for dual monitor setup. I tried the ATI/NV setup but used a PCIe ATI instead of the PCI like directed. No go. BSOD-ing like hell. Gonna try again today with a fresh wipe of XP x64. If that doesn't work I'm gonna try with 3x 8800gt running 2 in SLI and 1 to power the 2nd monitor.
July 31, 2008 7:03:28 PM

spacecityazn said:
Same here. I have 2x8800GTs and I'm loving it. I'm still dealing with the issue of running a 3rd card in my free PCI-e slot for dual monitor setup. I tried the ATI/NV setup but used a PCIe ATI instead of the PCI like directed. No go. BSOD-ing like hell. Gonna try again today with a fresh wipe of XP x64. If that doesn't work I'm gonna try with 3x 8800gt running 2 in SLI and 1 to power the 2nd monitor.


For XP I've read that an ATI PCI card is the way to go....not PCI-E. XP lets you install the drivers for each appearently so you can just run them fine with no problems. I'm on vista which means to do the same when i get my new monitor today means I'm going to have to slap in another PCI-E NV card. I'm gonna go with an 8600 thats on sale for like 30 bucks, i know it's over kill for running some desktop apps but I figure its good for the price and when I rip this PC apart some day its best to have that to throw into a media center or somethign since it does a good job with decoding video files. Appearently though for Vista you kinda gotta screw around/hack the drivers to get it working...I'm also hoping, but dont expect, that when the PhysX drivers come out they will se my 8600 card as well as my 8800GT's and will decide to run the PhysX on my 8600....like i said I dont expect that but it would be a nice little surprise.
July 31, 2008 9:27:03 PM

Ok so now that I know that my PCIe ATI will not work and I was hoping to use my Blu-ray player on the second monitor, can I use an NV PCIe instead of PCI? Preferably 8800gt or better? I do not know of any PCI that can handle blu-ray.
August 1, 2008 3:32:31 AM

you CAN, but it's not really officially supported by NVidia. I'm not sure exactly what needs to be done to do it and if you'll get acceleration out of the third card...I'm going to assume it still does
!