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New to Crossfire - System Build Questions

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
October 8, 2008 6:23:30 AM

First - I sure appreciate these forums and have spent a bunch of time reading and learning (especially the Crossfire/SLI FAQ's, a goldmine for someone like me. Thanks!

Second - I'm building a new system which will be my first venture into a 2 video card system and figured it would be a good thing to run this by you veterans, and to ask a couple of questions...

My proposed system:
Asus P5Q Deluxe
E8500 CPU
4gb G.Skill PC28500 RAM
2 x Radeon 4850 Cards

I'm wondering two key things:
1 - How big of a power supply do I need? I'll be running a couple of hard drives and a single DVD Drive, but nothing fancy besides the two 4850 cards. I purchased an Antec TruePower Trio 650w ps as part of a bundle deal, but I'm guessing that won't cut it, is that right? If so, please suggest anything you're a fan of, and specifically let me know how much power I will need.
2 - After being an Nvidia guy who usually purchased MSI or EVGA cards, I haven't a clue about an ATI brand to go with. If you can suggest any, that would also be appreciated.

Thanks! (any other advice is also welcomed)
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a b U Graphics card
October 8, 2008 6:42:59 AM

1. Your PSU will run that system fine. See my system in 'My Configuration'. That 700w PSu has been running this system for almost a year. A sturdy 750w unit may run under less load when you are asking the sytem for power, but the Antec 650w will run your system just fine. I have an Antec 650w unit as a back up for my system as well as a P C P&C 610w both new in the box. Haven't needed them during the past year. Nice choice on your system.

2. Sapphire has failed to pay rebates to me on three occasions, so I would not recommend their company. If you can find 4850's with a two slot cooler that ejects the hot air out the back of the case, get two of those. Otherwise, which ever brand provides the better price, warranty and customer service would be the choice. HIS has the two slot cooler available if you can find them.
October 8, 2008 7:14:32 AM

Thank you guys, for the quick replies and good advice. I'll give the Antec a go and expect it to work but at least now I know where to start.
Will also give some more thought to Sapphire vs HIS (both are sold by my local retailer).
Any other advice by others is welcomed!
October 8, 2008 11:05:57 AM

Something else too.. is you may want to go with a good X48 board instead of the p5q for crossfire, due to the P5Q board not having dual 16x pci-e slots.

And I second the HIS IceQ4 cards. They are wonderful.
October 8, 2008 3:33:51 PM

Hmm...I was under the impression the p5q premium did have dual 16x slots...must have gotten mixed up when i did my research. Will take another look at that, thanks for pointing it out.
October 8, 2008 4:41:38 PM

Yes HMF is correct. Don't get a P45 mobo if you want to xfire. You will need the X48 or X38 chipset. You do have multiple PCIe x16 slots but they bump down to x8 in xfire mode. It is a limitation of the P45 chipset.
October 8, 2008 5:42:04 PM

They're bumped down to x8 in xfire mode. However, PCI-E 2.0 x8 is still more than enough bandwidth for any current cards especially the 4850.

There's an article you can check on anandtech, it did a benchmark comparison of x38, x48, p45, and p35's and the P45 is the best buy out of all those 4 if you're not inching for every possible FPS.
October 8, 2008 6:22:45 PM

i seen some where the p45 comes out on top of the x38 and the x48 has the best of both
October 9, 2008 1:32:52 AM

Hmmm...see, info like that is exactly why I started this thread. You guys are saving me from finding out things like this AFTER I buy. Thank you!

Now I need to find an X48 Asus board to replace the P45 P5Q Deluxe, and so far it looks like the P5E Deluxe might be the one (DDR3 is too expensive and I don't need wifi on a motherboard). Will keep doing my research...
October 9, 2008 2:19:11 AM

Hmm, the forums don't post my pics these days. Check out the tweaktown article. Look at the back pages about the high quality AA and AF. The boards are neck and neck until you crank up the eye candy. When that happens you start to feel the affect of the x8 speeds.

October 9, 2008 4:25:07 AM

Thanks Spinach, that is a great article and confirms that I'll go with an X48 board. Now I just need to find one that I like (Asus is my brand of choice).
October 9, 2008 4:47:04 AM

I'm looking at a Asus P5E Deluxe board, which uses DDR2 memory. Would you agree that the price increase to DDR3 is probably not worth the performance increase? Thanks again
October 9, 2008 4:38:42 PM

Yeah I would agree with that.
October 11, 2008 6:48:49 PM

After finding out the Asus P5E Deluxe is no longer available from my local retailer, I've arrived at the Asus Rampage Formula. It seems to fit the bill, and supports DDR2 memory.
Just thought I'd post that in case Spinach or anyone else had any feedback on this board. Thanks
October 11, 2008 6:58:18 PM

good board but i would not spend that much, it overclocks well and i think you'll be happy with it, i would
October 11, 2008 7:10:49 PM

It is more than I planned to spend, that's for sure....but I don't see an Asus X48 option that will give me Crossfire slots that both run in X16 mode. Am definitely open to what you guys would suggest (assuming there is another option I'm missing). I would prefer Asus..
October 12, 2008 4:14:07 AM

Hmm, that sucks. Scanning the egg, I see the P5E delux is a lot cheaper. Well, the rampage is a sweet board, you should be pretty happy with it. When you open it up and gaze upon the glory you won't regret spending the extra dinero. At least you get a sound card with it...not sure how good they are but hey, better than nothing. Do you get a free version of Stalker too? It is pictured in the bundle on newegg. saved some money by going with DDR2 instead of just shifted the money into a mobo upgrade and came out neutral right? :D 

October 12, 2008 6:32:18 PM

For that amount of money, I'll spend some extra time gazing at it! But it should be a great board, though as you said I'm not sure about the sound card. Not sure about Stalker, but will check it out.