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Second 8800 640 died :-( Need replacement advice.

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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 8, 2008 4:37:08 AM

So I woke up this morning to the smell of ozone, checked my PC and one of my two 8800 GTS 640's is toast (the pockmarks around the chipset look like micro-meteor strikes on the space shuttle's heat shielding). Luckily, my wife gave me a $200 gift card to Micro Center for my birthday yesterday. Unfortunately Micro Center is not known for their inventory, and none of their stores in the entire country have G80 GTS's. With a budget of between $200 and $300, how can I match my prior SLI performance with a single current card? Selling my other 8800 is not an option as I already told my father-in-law I would give it to him so he can play Crysis. My options at Micro Center at that price are...

ATI 4870
Nvidia 9800 GX2
Nvidia GTX 260 (first version)

I've checked the benchmarks on Tom's and a number of other sites, and I'm really having a problem deciding. The benchmarks for all 3 cards seem kind of close depending on the game of course. New motherboard is not an option at this point (kids going to college this year) and I'm hoping to future proof if possible, which is why I'm leaning towards the 9800 GX2 and 260 for SLI in the future. However, I plan on upgrading sometime in late 2009, so I could go with the 4870 and a Nehalem compatible board and crossfire later. I really just don't want to purchase a new single video card and lose performance, and I can't find any sites that benchmark current games with the both the G80 8800 SLI config and modern cards.

See my configuration for my current rig. I regularly play Crysis, Crysis Warhead, Call of Duty 4, Oblivion, Dead Space, Company of Heroes, and Minesweeper. Okay, Minesweeper was a lame attempt at humor. I play at 1400x900 80% of the time, and 1900x1200 on my TV 20% of the time. AA & AF are not a huge factor. What do you guys/girls think?

(Warranty for burnt 8800 is not an option as I stupidly purchased it on Craig's List, learn from my mistake)

More about : 8800 640 died replacement advice

November 8, 2008 4:50:03 AM

the 9800 GX2 would smash your previous setup. Although it has shown crummy performance in Far Cry 2 as the drivers aren't up to date yet.

the 4870 will play Crysis with the ultra high mod at 35-45 fps (1440x900). I can't really speak for the GTX.

The real question though, is how did your 8800 fry?
November 8, 2008 4:59:06 AM

Lord Gornak said:

ATI 4870
Nvidia 9800 GX2
Nvidia GTX 260 (first version)



The only one of these cards that will come close to matching the performance of 2 8800GTS's in SLI by itself is the 9800 GX2. Unfortunately the 9800 GX2's are getting hard to find as I believe they are no longer in production. Newegg is nearly sold out of them so you may have trouble finding one at microcenter.

If you are choosing between the GTX 260 and the 4870 I'd go for whichever card you can find a better deal on as they're both pretty equal in terms of performance.
Related resources
November 8, 2008 5:01:09 AM

Honestly I don't know, I bought it from a local on Craig's list for $90.00. My main 8800 640 always runs between 56C and 66C, second card ran at 70C idle and up to 78C on load. Automatic fan control would always run my cards at 80% on the bad card at idle, and 60% on my current card at idle, core for both was 575Mhz, and Memory at 850Mhz.
At first I believed the heat issue was the card placement, but it persisted even when I switched the card's PCI-X slots.

Edit: Grammar
November 8, 2008 5:07:06 AM

Quote:
The only one of these cards that will come close to matching the performance of 2 8800GTS's in SLI by itself is the 9800 GX2. Unfortunately the 9800 GX2's are getting hard to find as I believe they are no longer in production. Newegg is nearly sold out of them so you may have trouble finding one at microcenter.

If you are choosing between the GTX 260 and the 4870 I'd go for whichever card you can find a better deal on as they're both pretty equal in terms of performance.


My local Micro Center has one 9800 GX2 in stock, so I might pull the trigger on that first thing in the morning. Off the top of your head, how about scalability with a second 9800 GX2 (I'm benchmarked out and had a couple beers or I'd check myself). I'll probably need a new power supply down the road, I seriously doubt my PCP&C 610 will handle two 9800 GX2s. But that's a matter for the future.
November 8, 2008 5:42:17 AM

Regarding Tom's benchmarks, why does the 9800 GX2 pummel other cards in some charts, but score dismally in others? Were the drivers not up to date in some of the benchmarks, and if so will it perform better with the newer drivers? The 4870 seems to stay about the same in most of the benchmarks, but the 9800 GX2 is at the top for certain games (Assassin's Creed), under the GTX 260 for others (Call of Duty 4, Quake Wars, HL2, World in Conflict).
a b U Graphics card
November 8, 2008 11:27:41 AM

i wouldnt recommend the card. 9800gx2 struggles with new games and handles aa very poorly. this is from personal experience. if your not into enabling aa then this might card might get your job done. oh ya forgot to mention card is very hot! 2 PBC in one package not the brightest idea. also look at the 4870 its a very good card or the gtx260.
November 8, 2008 11:51:50 AM

i would say that a 4870 would be a good buy. the 9800GX2 may be faster in some games, but it's not very consistent due to bad drivers and games that don't support multiple gpu's.
November 8, 2008 12:55:08 PM

i would go for the gtx , it has better driver support
November 8, 2008 1:49:01 PM

Tomshardware chart is plain bad, don't trust it. It has 8800gts sli outperforming 4870 cf in many tests, not to mention 8800gts outperforming gtx280 in tri-sli. Utterly useless.

There are better done charts out there, that produce consistent results:
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=13
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=14
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=15
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=16
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=17
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=18
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=19

As for 9800gx2, keep in mind that its internal sli behaves exactly the same way as your old g80 8800gts' external sli. All of the problems that people cite for x2 cards like 9800gx2, such as microstuttering and scaling issues, applies even more to your old setup, since it's external and slower. If you haven't noticed any problems with your old setup, you will not with 9800gx2.

Of the 3 choices, 9800gx2 is the only one that outperforms your old setup. Both single 4870 and gtx260 perform below g80 8800gts 640mb sli, making them a downgrade in the near term.

While it's true x58 supports both cf and sli, making 4870 dual upgradable, graphics technology move fast, so it's always better to get what performs the best now. Also, quad sli 9800gx2, while not ideal, is a viable choice. The complaints about "horrible" quad scaling is overblown. The driver optimizations made over the years have resulted in somewhat decent scaling in most major games.

http://www.guru3d.com/category/call_duty_4_pc/

http://www.guru3d.com/category/vga_charts_crysis/

http://www.guru3d.com/category/vga_charts_graw_2_fuel_w...

There is no reason to get gtx260, it performs the worst among the 3.

As for the burnout, look in bios and make sure that pcie is locked at 100mhz, and there is no overvoltage for pcie bus. Otherwise that rig will continue to eat up cards.

For power, your PCP&C psu is rated at 610w continuous, instead of peak, as other psus are listed. Peak output should be around 750w or more. It will handle all possible configurations in your range, including quad sli 9800gx2.
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=22
November 8, 2008 8:15:11 PM

Thanks for all of the replies, Dagger has definitely convinced me with her post. I've put the 9800 GX2 on hold at Micro Center. It's refurbished, but I'm hoping that won't be a big deal.
Also, did double-check the bios when I first overclocked to make sure PCIE was locked. Checked again today and it's still locked, maybe just a bad card?
November 8, 2008 8:37:09 PM

Lord Gornak said:
Thanks for all of the replies, Dagger has definitely convinced me with her post. I've put the 9800 GX2 on hold at Micro Center. It's refurbished, but I'm hoping that won't be a big deal.
Also, did double-check the bios when I first overclocked to make sure PCIE was locked. Checked again today and it's still locked, maybe just a bad card?


It's possible, although bad cards are rare.

As for refurbished, you should seriously reconsider it. If you can't get a new one, might as well switch to a new 4870. At least it'll be reliable. Refurbished hardware are those rmaed by people who brought them new, briefly tested by manufacturer, and repackaged. Most people rma because of a defect of some kind. You're really just paying for rejected merchandise with the original defect possibly still hidden in it.

You should never buy refurbished hardware. Some people might get lucky, but frankly, it's not worth the potential headaches.

An exception is eVGA refurbished cards. They come from the trade-up program, which allow buyers to trade in a less expensive card for a newer, more expensive one, within a 3 month period, as long as they pay the price difference. The traded-in cards are then resold as refurbished. Those aren't returned because of defect. They worked in someone else's PC for 3 month or less, which is enough to prove they aren't defective, but not long enough to wear out the hardware.
November 8, 2008 11:29:36 PM

Thank God it actually is an eVGA card, I took a look at it today as Micro Center is only a couple miles away and all it is missing is the power connector adapter, which isn't a big deal as my PSU has the required 8 and 6 pin connectors. I have 90 days with the refurbished warranty, and it's only 20 bucks more to extend it to a year and I think I might do that. I just couldn't pull the trigger as it is a refurbished card, but since it's an eVGA should I go for it?
November 14, 2008 3:50:54 PM

I just want to thank everyone for their help, and Dagger for pushing me over the edge towards my purchase. I picked up the 9800 GX2 and I love it! The heat output is nowhere near what I thought it would be, 55C idle and 70C load. I've put about an hour each into Crysis Warhead, Dead Space, and Oblivion, and have yet to see any micro-stuttering issues. The performance really is a good deal better than my previous SLI setup, and the lights on the back of the card are pretty ;) 
Thanks guys/girls!
November 14, 2008 9:06:47 PM

Lord Gornak said:
I just want to thank everyone for their help, and Dagger for pushing me over the edge towards my purchase. I picked up the 9800 GX2 and I love it! The heat output is nowhere near what I thought it would be, 55C idle and 70C load. I've put about an hour each into Crysis Warhead, Dead Space, and Oblivion, and have yet to see any micro-stuttering issues. The performance really is a good deal better than my previous SLI setup, and the lights on the back of the card are pretty ;) 
Thanks guys/girls!


Good to hear. Although that should have been expected. There is a lot of fear-mongering, by people who never actually owned the card.
!