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SLI...anything I should know before I do it?

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 16, 2009 1:27:40 PM

I'm considering putting a second 9800GTX+ in my system instead of buying one of the $400 cards like the 4870X2. Is there anything I should know about compatibility? The games that concern me are WOW and TF2, which I play on a 24" monitor at 1900x1080. I like to run 4xAA at that resolution because it completely eliminates (for me) any distracting jaggies, but my system can't handle 25 player raids at 4x AA without dropping into the teens with FPS. (I also run dual monitors if that raises additional compatibility issues)

I sort of 'wrote off' SLI back when it first started becoming popular because of issues I read about it, are there still significant issues or has that all been resolved and it will be a simply no-hassle way to improve performance?

current specs

e8400 oc'd to 3.6ghz
9800gtx+
4gb ddr2 800
(psu and mobo will both be upgraded to support the SLI)

More about : sli

March 16, 2009 1:47:49 PM

Well, its up to you but, i would get a newer card like the gtx 260 or a gtx 280, then sli one of those, 9800gtx is just an older model of the new gtx 250 card.
March 16, 2009 1:53:06 PM

Well price is a big consideration.

My choices are a 260 or 280 OR SLI on the 9800gtx.
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March 16, 2009 2:04:54 PM

out of those 3, the 9800 GTX+ sli should get you better frames for sli, but int he long run you'd benefit from 1 strong GPU (less headaches 2) than 2 weaker.

If its a money thing, I would go for the 9800 GTX since it looks like it can be the cheapest, but ppl have been finding the 260 GTX for around 169.99, which is a very good prce.

Wow doesn't support sli, since its built to be played on almost any computer. TF2 uses the source engine and even a 8600 GT can run it. If those are the 2 games that concern you, 1 9800 GTX+ is enough

But @ that resolution the 512 megs of ram can pose a problem even when slied.
March 16, 2009 2:04:59 PM

You will get a better fps doing sli against the gtx 260-280 but, getting on of those cards then sli'ing of them (later on)will give you an ultimate(specially the gtx 280-285).
March 16, 2009 2:14:04 PM

L1qu1d said:
Wow doesn't support sli, since its built to be played on almost any computer. TF2 uses the source engine and even a 8600 GT can run it. If those are the 2 games that concern you, 1 9800 GTX+ is enough

Well that pretty much resolves the issue for now then.

However the thought of the 512mb of ram being limiting...what's the best way to tell if an additional 256-512mb of ram (by going to a gtx 260 896mb for example) could increase performance?
March 16, 2009 2:21:37 PM

Well for example, textures, AA and higher resolutions need to store alot more info and "pictures" in the ram.

So really the more ram you have the better especially at a resolution like yours where the image quality is bigger.

If you don't plan on going Crysis, and AA is not on your to do list, I don't see why 2 9800 GTXs or even 1 can't server you right:) 
March 16, 2009 2:22:34 PM

Well your gpu time will rise for quality but, your gonna need a better memory to keep the speed going. 512 of ram being limiting?? hows is limited?
March 16, 2009 3:52:44 PM

well 512 is def not enough for full textured games including AA and High Res+AA.

9800 GTX+ alone should reach the limit by 1680x1050 with AA and max. Anything above, adding a 2nd 9800 GTX+ should help, but even with the addition of the 2nd card you only use 512 megs, which is your limit and you start to hit a wall @ 1920x1600 with AA, and 2560x1600 with out AA can even put a stress on 512.
March 16, 2009 4:29:58 PM

thats wierd... wouldnt 2 512mb cards become a 1gb.. but, the game only uses 512mb?
March 16, 2009 4:43:01 PM

no it would remain only 512, the extra card adds raw power, but if theres no place it can hold all that then its like having a ferrari, it can pull alot if it had room.

So you'd only have 512.

And trust me, I had quad 9800 GX2s in Aug, terrible combo, and crysis wouldn't go anything past 4x AA even @ 1280x1024 with out taking a huge impact.
March 16, 2009 6:30:05 PM

I have a discontinued SLI mobo/cpu and upgraded too SLI last year. 2 7800GTx's. I bought one in 2005 for 498.00 and the second last year on ebay for 25.00. there is a definitly improvement. I have a big cardboard box of Dx9 games that havent been played yet due to lack of time so this is all I need right now. I think I read some where 2 9800GTX+ Sli'ed equiled performane to a GTX280. My old stuff works like a charm in Vista 64 so you should definitly not have any problems ether way you go. I game at 1920x1600.
March 16, 2009 6:31:57 PM

Yuck. What about a GTX 250?..na that wouldnt be much of the upgrade either, it is a better card than the 4850 though.
March 16, 2009 6:41:06 PM

the gts 250, is the same card with double the ram...on a 256 bit bus width, it won't do much.

Its exactly a 9800 GTX+, Exactly:) 
March 16, 2009 6:56:48 PM

They are right. GTS250 = 9800GTX+

a SLI 9800GTX+ is faster then a GTX280. But beware. CHECK if the games you play SUPPORT SLI. COD4, CODwaw and many others are going to be playable on FULL AA AF @ 1650x1080 and even more with this SLI. ( i own 2 GTX+ .. )

But if your main games DONT support SLI ... youll be better to go for a GTX285. Thats what im currently doing cause GTA4 dont support SLI and i only play this game ATM. Im using the BFG trade-up. So the cards arnt pricy for me....

SO : Do your homework and be sure the main games you play Support SLI.

I was REALLY enjoyed when playing Crysis - COD and more. But since i play GTA4 ... my SLI pissed me off !!!!
March 16, 2009 7:28:07 PM

boulard83 said:
They are right. GTS250 = 9800GTX+

a SLI 9800GTX+ is faster then a GTX280. But beware. CHECK if the games you play SUPPORT SLI. COD4, CODwaw and many others are going to be playable on FULL AA AF @ 1650x1080 and even more with this SLI. ( i own 2 GTX+ .. )

But if your main games DONT support SLI ... youll be better to go for a GTX285. Thats what im currently doing cause GTA4 dont support SLI and i only play this game ATM. Im using the BFG trade-up. So the cards arnt pricy for me....

SO : Do your homework and be sure the main games you play Support SLI.

I was REALLY enjoyed when playing Crysis - COD and more. But since i play GTA4 ... my SLI pissed me off !!!!



I am thinking there is a setting somewhere off, my stepson got GTA4 for Ps3 and it is playing smooth and crisp. the Ps3 has no power next too 9800gtx+ sli
a b U Graphics card
March 16, 2009 7:57:53 PM

I'd go for the 285 GTX at this point. X2/GX2 cards have given me nothing but trouble.
March 16, 2009 8:11:22 PM

@ maximiza, GTA 4 one cant compare in textures with the PC, especially with AA.

The game is CPU dependent, and the ps3 has 7 cores I believe. Don't forget that the ps3 is a gaming machine, doesn't really have alot running in the background, and even if it did, the 7 cores are highly optimized.

The PC 1 is vastly superior than the ps3, especially since the ps3 can't do the game over 720p, and is actually 640p Native resolution for the this particular game.
The 360 version runs full 720p, but lost some of the lighting and textures that the ps3 has, but they are even for lose and gains, and the PC is ontop:) 

I think that the ps3 strength lies at the 7800 GTX in sli level, or 6800 GTX sli around there, not sure which 1.
March 16, 2009 8:12:55 PM

maximiza said:
I am thinking there is a setting somewhere off, my stepson got GTA4 for Ps3 and it is playing smooth and crisp. the Ps3 has no power next too 9800gtx+ sli



GTA4 dont support SLI. only CF since theres is a patch for it.


It really depand on the games he is playing. If they support SLI .. go for IT !
March 17, 2009 1:04:26 AM

If you can afford a GTX 280-285, go for it.
!