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Factory overclocked cards... why not just overclock the cheaper one

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 29, 2009 9:24:36 AM

I'm curious if theres any point in buying factory overclocked video cards, such as evga's sc, and ssc models, specifically of the GTX 260, and 285, which I am looking at purchasing along with the 295, since my mb does not support sli. now why would i be looking at 3 cards that are vastly different in price. I am willing to spend more if the performance increase is in line with the added cost.
at the same time, however I dont want to have my CPU and the rest of my system holding back a card I spent extra money on, therefore effectively wasting that extra money spent.
my system is as follows:

AMD phenom 9950 be (overclocked 3 ghz) i'll probably up that once I make my upgrades and squeeze some extra performance, that may warrant a better video card as well)

4 gb corsair dominator pc1066 memory (I am adding another 4 gb ocz reaper with the video card)

750 gb seagate sata hd

MSI DKA790gx motherboard (I could run 2 radeon hd4850's which I am also considering, but currently leaning towards nvidia. why did I have to buy a crossfire motherboard... my loss I guess)

OCZ 500w 17 amp at 12v PSU.

The best looking deal for what I want seems to be this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
EVGA GTX 260 core 216
Claims to be a 55nm core, is this true? never heard of that on anything other than gtx 285 and 295
576 mhz base clock

I can bundle it with the memory I want, for an extra $20 after rebate, bringing the total to $265

now theres also a SSC version of the same running at 626 mhz card for about $260
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cant I just overclock the cheaper version and have double my ram for free with the same video performance?
also is the ssc version 55nm?
Im just guessing that the SSC version might have better cooling, to account for the overclocking, but they appear to be the same. sure it would be nice to have it up and running at the higher clock speed out of the box, but how hard is it to overclock? is it a bios setting, or some silly software tool like amd overdrive?

Now with the higher end cards, I am both wondering about the overclocked models of the 285 and 295, and also the price/performance ratio I will see on my system.
we have a 285 obviously running the new 55 nm core running at 648 mhz for around $350:

and an SSC version running at 702 mhz version for $410
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
cooling looks the same, how can they charge $60 more for a simple setting? sounds like just gimmicks to me, but if the ssc and sc/oc versions have more overclocking potential then the base models, maybe they're worth it.

Now I know the 295 will be a big performance boost due to its dual gpu setup, so my question here, is how much of these advantages I will see over the 2 single gpu cards in MY system, not on the setup we all wish we had, with a core i7 965 extreme, and 12 gb ddr3 2000 memory.

I realize I may need a new PSU to run a dual GPU card, so thats something to keep in mind when deciding on a card is whether it will work with my OCZ 500w 17 amp at 12v PSU.

Thanks for any light you all can shed on the subject, I hope that together we can decide on a suitable option for me, as I simply cannot decide for the life of me. every week I debate the issue, these cards drop another $5, which is not bad, but im getting sick of the radeon hd 3300 onboard I am using, and want to play some real games.
January 29, 2009 12:06:59 PM

Because some people would rather spend the extra $10-30 on a factory overclocked card, which stores the clock settings in the BIOS and doesn't need 3rd party software to set the clock, than having to install software, mess with clock settings and do multiple burn-in benchmarks to find a sweet-spot. By then you've used that much up in electricity lol.
January 29, 2009 2:50:52 PM

ive read that the factory cards that are overclocked are luckily better manufactured and chosen to be sold at higher prices at higher clock speeds.
Related resources
January 29, 2009 3:18:41 PM

shiftstealth said:
ive read that the factory cards that are overclocked are luckily better manufactured and chosen to be sold at higher prices at higher clock speeds.


Yeh, the chip should be a higher quality and able to pull the overclock with no problem.
January 30, 2009 7:35:12 PM

Its really hard to see some chips being better than others, using the same manufacturing proccess and standards, maybe they passed higher QC ratings, can anyone confirm this either way?
also, anyone have any advice on the price/performance questions I have?
a b Î Nvidia
January 30, 2009 7:49:17 PM

febisfebi said:
Its really hard to see some chips being better than others, using the same manufacturing process and standards, maybe they passed higher QC ratings, can anyone confirm this either way?
also, anyone have any advice on the price/performance questions I have?


Some chips are better than others and the difference is as you say down to the level of testing they pass, That and sometimes you will get chips that have parts of the architecture faulty and those parts are disabled to make a lower spec model. Its been going on for ages. In fact some of the 4830 series cards are actually crippled 4870 chips.
In answer to your initial question concerning the Overclocking VS Factory cards.
The main thing to remember is that if you buy a factory OCed card/special edition etc its guaranteed to run those clocks. If you buy a standard card and try to OC it yourself then it may work it may not, some cards will actually loose performance when overclocked.
Generally speacking the vast majority of cards will OC but how much is down to the individual chip.
So you pay your money you take a chance or you pay a bit more and know for a fact. Personally its always been a price driven thing for me and you need to decide if you think its value or not.
Mactronix
January 30, 2009 8:11:06 PM

I was of the same mindset that I would just OC my GTX280 when i got it to match some of the higher end "oc'd" cards

Currently (just started oc'ing a day or two ago) i've topped my core clock to 691mhz and shadder to 1430, gonna play with my memory this weekend.

Comparatively this isn't as impressive as the clocks i've seen on some of the FTW cards which seem to oc even higher. to give you a better idea of potential for various cards check out this link:

http://www.evga.com/forums/m.asp?m=560911

basically has people post their overclocks for their specific cards and you get a better sense of what each version should be capable of
January 30, 2009 9:36:32 PM

cool that helps a lot, thank you. looks like the gtx 260's are amazingly overclockable 760 mhz with a base clock of 576 (vanilla) gtx 260). Wow. the highest listed gtx 280 was an ftw model at 756.
!