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Sanity Check Needed! 285SLI vs 260SLI, Please Help!

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  • RAM
  • SLI
  • Graphics
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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 7, 2009 5:54:15 PM

I need a sanity check, or help, or probably even both.

First: I'm not a performance enthusiast: I'm a hobbyist at best. My most recent foray into performance is the first time since my days in the late 90's with overclocking Celerons in tandem with TNT's and Voodoo's (b/c of marriage, kids).

That said, I'm a career technologist and go pretty deep on this stuff - so, I'm no newbie, but I'm most likely very green in relation to the gurus on this board.

So.. my issue.

I've run through a few sets of hardware components trying to get the most out of my machine. My "quick" benchmark is Crysis v1.2.1, island, GPU benchmark -- my "not so quick" is 3DMark06.

My testing is -not- that scientific, so please be gentle.

Onto the details:

Motherboard: EVGA 780i FTW
\ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Memory : GSkill 1200
\ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Video Cards: 2 @ EVGA GTX 260: 896-P3-1260-AR
\ 2 @ EVGA GTX 285 SSC: 01G-P3-1287-AR
Resolution: 1680x1050

Crysis v1.2.1, 1680x1050 0xAAm, Very High (fps are all average for 4 runs)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
E8600@3.33GHz, RAM@1067-6-6-6-18, 260/SLI (182.06)/576/1242/999: 41.7 fps
E8600@3.33GHz, RAM@1067-6-6-6-18, 260/SLI (182.06)/576/1242/1202: 40.5 fps
E8600@3.33GHz, RAM@1067-5-5-5-15, 260/SLI (182.06)/648/1397/1202: 42.3 fps

E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-6-6-6-18, 260/SLI (182.06)/576/1242/999: 42.6 fps
E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-6-6-6-18, 260/SLI (182.06)/600/1293/999: 43.6 fps
E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-6-6-6-18, 260/SLI (182.06)/648/1397/1202: 45.0 fps
E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-5-5-5-15, 260/SLI (182.06)/648/1397/1202: 45.4 fps
E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-5-5-5-15, 260/SLI (182.06)/674/1453/1202: 46.2 fps
E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-5-5-5-15, 260/SLI (182.06)/674/1453/1248: 46.35 fps

E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-6-6-6-18, 285/SLI (182.06)/702/1584/1323: 47.7 fps
E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-5-5-5-15, 285/SLI (182.06)/702/1584/1323: 48.6 fps
E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-5-5-5-15, 285/SLI (182.50)/702/1584/1323: 46.9 fps
E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-5-5-5-15, 285/SLI (185.66)/702/1584/1323: 46.0 fps

Q9650@3.0 GHz, RAM@800-5-5-5-15, 285/SLI (182.06)/702/1584/1323: 40.3 fps

Q9650@3.6 GHz, RAM@960-6-6-6-18, 285/SLI (185.66)/702/1584/1323: 42.1 fps
Q9650@3.6 GHz, RAM@960-5-5-5-15, 285/SLI (185.66)/702/1584/1323: 42.79 fps
Q9650@3.6 GHz, RAM@960-5-5-5-15, 285/SLI (182.06)/702/1584/1323: 45.7 fps

3DMark06: (limited runs, b/c I only do this at the end when I'm satisfied with the above):
---------
E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-5-5-5-15, 285/SLI (182.06)/702/1584/1323: 19458
\ http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm06=10521253
E8600@4.0 GHz, RAM@960-5-5-5-15, 260/SLI (182.06)/674/1453/1248: 18877
\ http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm06=10485753

Notes:
------
a) my 260's are decently overclockable: 17% on the core & shader and 25% on the ram. my gtx 285's are sadly not overclockable at all.
b) i overclock the processors with the built-in "dummy oc". i have had no issues going 20% on either of the two proc's above.
c) i purchased the q9650 with the crazy notion that my performance was somehow being limited by my e8600. i was wrong. in an expensive way. ouch.
d) the 185.66 beta drivers are not ready for prime time. obviously, they are beta, but still.

Issues/Questions:
1) wtf. 285/sli barely eeks out performance increases over 260/sli: 10% over stock 260 and near-neglible over overclocked 260's. serious wtf.
2) should i return the 285's? there's no real other way for me to say it, but i really feel as though i got duped into thinking the 285's would perform better than 260's. seriously. look at the "improvements" above.
3) regarding (b) above: is there a way to read out the voltage/etc settings from the mobo? i may be missing something obvious, but i can't get -all- of them using windows tools (even the nvidia toolset) to correctly identify all of the changes that "dummy oc" is making.
4) i'm hoping someone from EVGA pipes in and either tells me i've got what i can get or that there's something wrong with the cards, but i seriously doubt that it'll be that black and white.

Help! I'm going crazy!

Thanks,
deusued/Will

More about : sanity check needed 285sli 260sli

a b U Graphics card
April 7, 2009 6:27:51 PM

Welcome to the forums!

Your motherboard is limiting your overclocks. Nvidia chipsets are not that great and have some problems.
Either build another computer with the extra material or return it. It is too close to what you have already.
For gaming only dual cores are generally faster than quad cores.


April 7, 2009 6:38:37 PM

evongugg said:
Welcome to the forums!

Your motherboard is limiting your overclocks. Nvidia chipsets are not that great and have some problems.
Either build another computer with the extra material or return it. It is too close to what you have already.
For gaming only dual cores are generally faster than quad cores.


can you please elaborate on the fact that my "motherboard is limiting your overclocks"? i'm interested in SLI, so where would i go from there? are you recommending a different mobo?
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
April 7, 2009 6:50:53 PM

Nvidia chipsets are poor overclocking performers compared to the newer Intel P45 chipsets (Crossfire). For SLI there is not much choice, but to go with 780i/790i or build a i7 X58 system with SLI support, which involves buying a new i7 processor and DDR3 memory. I wouldn't recommend a change, just be aware of this.

April 7, 2009 7:04:28 PM

At the 1680x1050 resolution, I doubt there is any real advantage with the 285 SLI, as you've noticed. You would need a bigger monitor to start to see anything worthwhile. I've used EVGA cards for years and think they're good cards, but the limit in frames you're getting is not the card, but the resolution. As for overclocking the 285s, from what little I've seen so far, they haven't done well. So, if you can return the 285s, I'd do it. The 260s are all you need at the moment. Just my opinion.

a b U Graphics card
April 7, 2009 7:09:14 PM

As for the 285s, for some reason, the "full" G200 and 200b , or 280 and 285s dont oc as well as the 260s do. Allowing for this oc difference, we see the 260 matching its bigger brother with ocees alot, tho your mileage may vary as with any oc. Up to you on returning them, A oceed 260 shouldnt reach a oceed 285 tho, no matter what
<<<ooops didnt see your res. Sailers right, at anything less than 19x12, even single cards dont show a difference on a few games, let alone sli
April 7, 2009 7:24:34 PM

Ignore evongugg. Nvidia motherboards can be a LITTLE bit more difficult to overclock the CPU, but you seem to be fine as I would expect since people really exaggerate that problem. The only thing that really sucks is that you should never expect a performance increase with the onboard RAID, but that is minor.

Your problem is that the overclocked GTX 260 is pretty close to a GTX 285, but when both are in SLI at such a low resolution the difference becomes extremely small. Boost that resolution up to even 1920x1200 and you will see a much larger difference (likely about 10 FPS).
a c 107 U Graphics card
April 7, 2009 7:39:09 PM

Yup, an overclocked 260 sp 216 is pretty close in performance to the 285. Those 285s will really only pull away when you crank up the resolution along with the AA and AF. Crysis is kinda wierd but you have to remember it was originally coded for a single core system and support for dual cores was added later in development. The patches give some improvement for quad cores, but since the improvements are small over dual cores of the same clock speed and architecture, Crysis generally prefers faster dual cores.

Return the dual 285s. If you really want an upgrade you'd be better served putting that money on an X58 SLI board with a 920 and some DDR3. If you're not going to go with an i7 just yet then you may as well keep the overclocked Q9650. NVIDIA drivers are optimized for more threads so you should have a better bottom speed than your overclocked E8600. Games that do benefit from quad core will appreciate the Q9650, and if you do any video encoding it will generally save you a good deal of time :D .
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