Graphics Card Choice

Aye, I need some help on deciding on a new video card. I've looked at a couple cards and a few ideas, and I came down to two choices. I could also take a few suggestions. The more help, the better. :p

I'm running a PCI-E x16 motherboard with SLI interface, 750W Power unit, and have adequate cooling to keep the computer at an easy temperature. I plan to use if for high-end gaming and engineering programs. But I have a budget of ~$250. I also am going to run an Athlon64 X2 6400 with 4gigs of DDR2-800 if it helps.

Choice #1: EVGA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

(Thought it would be good, GDDR3, good amount of it, only problem I hear about it is cooling and overheating. So if anyone can tell me what's with that, I'd be grateful.)

Choice #2: (Two of these running in SLI) XFX GeForce 8600GT XXX 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 SLI Supported Video Card

(Easier to maintain and I'm not sure if it would be just as effective as having one 8800)

Any helpful input would be greatly appreciated!
14 answers Last reply
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  1. #1 will beat the pants off #2. Always.

    However, if you're still thinking SLI, then you could try and get a pair of 9600GSO's and SLI those. I think you can get them for under $250 and they'd perform pretty well I think.

    Also your other option would be to spend the $250 on something more powerful than a single 8800GT like a 9800GTX or a HD 4850. Heck, if you're lucky, you might be able to get a GTX 260 for that money.
  2. the 8800GS OC is a very good choice too dude on a budget:

    those are nice even watch the video review on that link..

    idk what im going to get either for my video card upgrade
  3. I took a look at those, and they were PCI-E 2.0. I'm not sure if I could run those on a PCI-E x16 (not 2.0), but I could be wrong. :??:
  4. FYI 9600GSO = 8800GS, Nvidia just basically rebranded the card. However I would still get both with the same name to be on the safe side.
  5. yeah.
  6. Any card can run well on an PCI-E 16 1.1 slot with no measurable loss in performance. The bandwidth ceiling is still high enough. A gtx 260 might be your best bet because it will give you the option have sli-ing them later, but with you budget the 4870 is still the best single GPU.
  7. As mothergoose pointed out, the PCI-E 2.0 standard is backward compatible, so the v2.0 cards will run in your v1.1 slots.

    This deal looks pretty good in that price range:

    And with a little bit of hunting, you might be able to get a pair of 8800GTs for SLi for under $250 after rebates.

    I don't remember hearing anything about 8800GTs overheating either, so I'm not sure where you got that idea. Whatever you do, don't get an 8600 or below - those cards are crap.
  8. Another thought popped up. Wouldn't dual-input decrease my bottlenecking, or the use of 2 GPUs be better?

    (Between choice 1 and 2)
  9. Choice 2 is only better at very low resolution - Choice 1 will always be better at higher resolutions or with anti-aliasing enabled.
  10. Okay, thanks for all the help. I'm off to build this beast. But before I do, any advice with my other parts?

    CPU: Athlon64 x2 6400, 3.20GHz
    Mobo: Asus M2N-SLI Motherboard
    RAM: OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel
  11. 180 after rebate plus vision tech has lifetime warrenty.
    Best bang for your bucks
    I Think just getting one card, by the time you upgrade, you will probably upgrade your whole mobo
  12. 1
  13. Bah, get 2 8800GT for $130 each after rebate
    or 2 9600GT for $95
    after rebate and slap any single card (not counting 9800GX2 or the 4870x2) away from the table.
  14. 2 8800GT from EVGA or 2 8800 GTS would be reallly good better then a GX2 in most cases too
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