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7900 gtx sli, still worthwhile, or new dx10 card?

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  • Nvidia
  • Gtx
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 15, 2009 12:52:05 PM

Hi folks,

i've currently got a bit of an upgrade quandry.

My current system is a few years old , and is kinda low middle range now.

E6600, 4gb DDR2 ram, 7900GTX, p5n32sli se deluxe MB.


For the most part, it managed games fine still - unfortunately I picked one of the top end last dx9 cards, so dx10 gfx are still not an option.

I'm starting to think about upgrades, and I guess the first port of call is a new GPU, for dx10 eventually (I'm guessing the processor will still be ok for a while?).

However, my concern is that for a significant enough jump from the 7900 gtx, it involves having to buy a rather high end card, which never proves that cost effective.

Also, as my machine is managing at the moment, I sort of think i should wait till it starts to struggle, and then make the upgrade, for the most cost effective jump, and to get as much time as poss out of the 7900 gtx.

As such, I was thinking of trying to grab another 7900 gtx off ebay for sli, for say 30-40 quid, as a short-medium term boost to my pc, before making the big dx10 jump.

As such do you think this is worth the a: cost, b: hassle, c: potential problems of sli, d: potential cooling issues, or is it a bit of a wasted gesture, and would I be better waiting and saving my money for a new dx10 card?

If that's the case, would you advise hanging on for a bit to make the new card upgrade? Ideally I'd be looking to spend 150-200 on a new card, that would see a significant jump in performance over the 7900gtx, aswell as the dx10 capabilty, obviously.

many thanks in advance,

Sephy

More about : 7900 gtx sli worthwhile dx10 card

a b Î Nvidia
January 15, 2009 1:25:45 PM

I take it you are from the UK?
What resoloution do you play at and what is your PSU?
January 15, 2009 1:36:41 PM

sorry! I forget resolution is such an issues nowaday.

1680x1050, and a 700wpse, which I upgraded to last year.

and, yes, I'm from the UK:) 

cheers!
Related resources
January 15, 2009 1:38:23 PM

*700 w psu
a b Î Nvidia
January 15, 2009 4:19:31 PM

SCAN CCL and Overclockers have 9800 GT cards for under 100 pounds, if you want to stick with Nvidia that`s the way I`d go.
Although faster the 9800GTX is more expensive but either single card option will give a big boost to your system and still leave the SLI option open for later.
And no, SLIing two 7900 cards would probably be more trouble than it`s worth, particularly if your card has 256 Mb of memory.
January 15, 2009 4:41:50 PM

Agreed. I'd go with a 4850 if you are willing to spend the $150 or so; that would be a huge jump from what you have...
a b Î Nvidia
January 15, 2009 7:01:11 PM

Thought about the ATI cards, but reading between the lines, the OP would like to spend as little as is reasonable and maintain the SLI option for later, hence my suggestion of the 9800 over the HD4850, which he could not Crossfire later.
Of course, the GTX 260 can be found for about 200 pounds as well and that would really make your system sit up and beg.
January 15, 2009 8:09:12 PM

Aye, I think an entire mobo change to ATI might be a bit excessive it would be nice to make use of it for as long as possible, and I've got on quite well with Nvidia in the past.

I seem to get the impression that ATI outrank Nvidia on these mid priced cards at the mo yet the GTX 260 is roughly comparible to the ATI equivalent?

Also, I'm running XP at the moment, and would rather skip vista for windows 7, so I'm thinking of running the beta on a second HD, and if this goes well, it might convince me to get a dx10 card in the meantime for dx10 gaming purposes? I've read favourable reports of its performance so far gaming wise, which seems suprising.
a b Î Nvidia
January 15, 2009 8:32:12 PM

@SEPHYUK: Right on all points mate.
The 9800 GT is a DX 10 card, which is why I suggested it, and your idea of dual booting with Windows 7 makes it an even more compelling upgrade to my way of thinking: You get an instant upgrade and also the ability to check it out in DX10.
January 15, 2009 9:04:03 PM

Thanks for all the advice coozie.

If it's between the 9800gt and the gtx260, wich would you aim for in terms of value for money, and vague attempts to future proof? is the extra money for the gtx260 worth it do you think?
January 15, 2009 9:57:57 PM

oh and one more consideration - if I decided to change to ATI at this stage, would the only downside be that I couldnt use crossifre - there are no other negatives to having an nividia chipset mb and an ati card?

I was just thinking that by the time I might be considering sli, it might be time for a new mb anyway?
January 16, 2009 2:22:23 AM

i read some problems with xfire not working on a sli-board.

you can also look for a 9600gso SLI option in case you dont want to ditch that board.
January 16, 2009 4:04:34 AM

sephyuk said:
would the only downside be that I couldnt use crossifre - there are no other negatives to having an nividia chipset mb and an ati card?


That's correct

wh3resmycar said:
i read some problems with xfire not working on a sli-board.


I would hope so
a b Î Nvidia
January 16, 2009 11:29:24 AM

Hope you`re still reading SEPHYUK.
Given your rig is most likely the same age as mine (its the same CPU/RAM) and I do not intend up upgrade for the next year or maybe more, I`d say this;
The 9800 is the least expensive option that makes sense and it will give your system a new lease of life while still leaving the SLI route clear should you need more power in the future.
The GTX260/HD4870 will probably last for the remaining life of the system as a gaming machine, by the time either card is struggling you, like me will most likely be looking to replace the core components or even build new, most likely in 18 months or even 2 years time (by which time mine`ll be 4 years old).
January 16, 2009 12:05:06 PM

Yup that's exactly the issue Coozie I was trying to juggle, and that's very sound advice - it isnt at the new system time yet, it just needs a bit of a kick, and i think a 9800 would do that, without shelling out on the more expensive gtx260, which would probably outrank the rest of the system too much.

Last question (I promise), any thoughts between the gt or gtx?
January 16, 2009 12:07:12 PM

The 9800GT is really a renamed 8800GT. Its a good card, but starting to get on...I don't know if a single 9800GT would beat SLI'd 7900's (probably, but not by much). A 260 GTX on the other hand, would be a three generation jump for an extra $75 or so, and would run most everything out there.

Also, the ATI equivalent of the GTX 260 is the 4870. Those two cards trade punches, although I give the 260 a slight overall edge. The 9800GT's competitor is probably the 4850.
a b Î Nvidia
January 16, 2009 1:29:10 PM

+1 for the 9800GTX.
Big jump from what you have. Good price.

I would not invest in another 7900 unless it is free.
The cards are just too aged IMHO to invest any more money in.

FYI, an ATI card will work perfectly fine on an Nvidia board, and vice versa.
You simply cannot run Crossfire on an Nvidia chipset. You cannot run SLI on a Crossfire board.
Exception.....The new X58 series boards for the i7 will run Crossfire or SLI either one. So if you are thinking of upgrading to an i7 platform in the future, you can keep that info in the back of your head while debating on your final purchase. SLI reportedly scales extremely well on the i7 platform too.
a b Î Nvidia
January 16, 2009 4:59:15 PM

To my way of thinking, at UK prices, the 9800GTX is simply overpriced.
I`ve just had a look at; CCL, SCAN, Ebuyer and Overclockers. In each case I looked at the cheapest IN STOCK; 9800GT, 9800GTX and HD4850. In every case, the HD4850 was cheaper than the cheapest 9800GTX, but the 4850 was about 30-40 pounds more than the 9800GT.
Unless you plan on SLI later I`d say the 4850 is by far the best choice otherwise go for the 9800GT, either way you`ll see quite a difference over your existing 7900!
January 20, 2009 11:41:49 AM

Thanks folks, especially coozie.

After a bit more digging on the net re cards (and faffing to get w7 up and running), I agree that the HD4850 seems the way to go (or if not, the 4870), but in either case it seems to outclass the Nvidia equivalents.

I'm not that worried about sli - I figure by the time I'll need ot, i'll also need a mobo upgrade anyway...

I know folks said that an ATI card on an nividia board is technically ok, but I've picked up various counts of problems people have had with sli/nforce chipsets and ATI cards, possibl;y causing driver clashes.

do you think it's worth giving such tales much attention and opting for the more expensive nvidia alternatives as a result?
a b Î Nvidia
January 20, 2009 12:18:58 PM

I`ve not seen or heard these reports recently and use an Intel chipset so can`t comment from personal experience.
What I will say is this;

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX...

A fraction over budget but that bundles got to make it the sweetest deal in the UK!
January 20, 2009 12:52:10 PM

eheheh gone from a £40 card to a £180 good work boys!!


4850 is amazing value for money, but i would still be tempted to leave it open for a sli in the future and go 9800GT. You can get one for £77 from advancetec.co.uk but i cant vouch for the vendor. Would look to the £100-115ish range.
a b Î Nvidia
January 20, 2009 3:36:29 PM

Sorry, do n`t know what came over me with the GTX 260!

pr2thej has repeated what I said earlier, it`s really a choice between the HD4850 and the 9800GT.
I`d go for the 4850, but look carefully at the cooler unless your case has good airflow (I always prefer my cards to exhaust their heat out of the case even if it means losing a pci slot).

PS Both CCL and Overclockers have 9800GT for under 90 Pounds as well;)
January 21, 2009 7:06:32 AM

Ok, so (p.s many thanks again for the continued discussion, and if you get bored of it anyone, please do save your time - I realise this is pushing it somewhat:)  ), here's my current logic re upgrades:

With my current setup, my next major upgrade, in a few years, is going to be core i7, which is of course going to need a new MB, and probably new memory.
As such, by then, a 9800gt would probably be chugging quite a bit, maybe to the point adding a second in sli might not be enough? (a bit like the 7900gtx now?)

However, a single 260 now would last for the duration of the system (as you guys suggested above), and, by the time I upgrade to corei7, could be joined by another in sli to be suitable for the new core i7 system?

My concern is that a 9800gt now might = another old card hanging around in a year or so.

As such, and next question, is there any sense in which, on my current rig, the gtx260 would be bottlenecked by the CPU/MB?
!