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Requesting Opinions on Upgrading from 8800GTS 512

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 24, 2009 12:40:52 PM

Sorry for double posting but I got the subject catastrophe wrong last time, Opinion on Upgrading sounds like a blog post and most the people whos help I was looking for will of ignored it, so I'll make sure to get it right this time.

Hey I'm looking at upgrading my graphics and I'm looking for opinion on what would be the best options for me, so first, my current specs:

Case: Thermaltake Black Armor LCS
PSU: Corsair Memory 1000W ATX PSU
Motherboard: Asus P5N72-T Premium nForce 780i
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz @ 3.825GHz
RAM: 4GB (2x Corsair Memory TWIN2X2048-6400C4 2x1GB 800MHz) @ 900MHz (Upgrading to TWIN2X4096-8500C5DF 1066MHz CL5 4GB SLI)
Graphics: 2x EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS "Crysis Edition" 512MB GDDR3 (Overclocked 750/1050)
HDD C: 160GB (2x Seagate 80GB SATA II 7200RPM) [OS/Programs]
HDD D: 320GB (2x Seagate 160GB SATA II 7200RPM) [Games]
HHD Z: 500GB (Seagate 500GB SATA II 7200RPG in a External Case) [Files]
Display(Left): L15CX 15'' (1024x768)
Display(Center): Samsung SyncMaster 205BW 20'' (1680x1050)
Display(Right): L15CX 15'' (1024x768)
OS: Vista Home Premium 32bit

I currently have two EVGA 8800 GTS 512MB, 99% of the time they are not running in SLI mode mostly due to the fact I use 3 monitors and constantly enabling and disabling SLI mode messes up my desktop, and also because I've never really noticed a great amount of improvement. I'm looking to upgrade them both with new EVGA cards (I prefer sticking to brands if they have never failed me), although not necessary at the same time maybe one now and the other some time later.

Looking at the benchmarks and any information I can find, benchmarks of SLI and 3-Way SLI are few and far between particularly with the cards I'm looking at, GTX 260 (two or three of), or a pair of GTX 275 or GTX 285. The only other option I can think of is since my motherboard support 3 16x PCI-E cards is getting one GTX295 and putting it in the final slot, but I don't know if I can run that as the main card, or if it will allow me to keep the other two cards connected on SLI since the GTX295 inbuild SLI, or if I can have 3 monitors running with a GTX295 installed.

Long term I can afford two GTX285 or a GTX295 but they might not be bought at the same time, and please remember I don't normally run them in SLI mode unless it give a noticeable improvement. Also I will probably upgrade my monitor to a 1920x1200 but that will be a while away, and if i do I might scrap my two 15'' monitors.

So, I think thats everything, any questions or advise you can give would be appreciated.
a b U Graphics card
April 24, 2009 4:25:51 PM

If you are not running the two cards in SLI, I don't believe you have to have the same cards in the PCI-e slots. I would recommend upgrading to the GTX295 in the first slot, which will give you the best option for a single card at 1920X1200, IMO, than you can keep one of your 8800 GTS's for the two 15" monitors. If you are using all three montors for gaming at once than your best bet would be the two GTX285's. If the other monitors are used for other applications, than the 8800 GTS is more than enough. Either the GTX285 or the GTX295 cards are overkill at your current resolutions, so there isn't a true need to upgrade until you upgrade your monitor, which by that time prices may be down or new & better cards be out in the market.

What is causing you to want to upgrade is another question to be asked? Are you running into issues where you can't play games at the level you want to? IMO, I can't see where that would be the case with your current cards and current resolutions. Or are you upgrading to be upgrading to the latest tech. on the market?
April 24, 2009 8:10:17 PM

tecmo34 said:
If you are not running the two cards in SLI, I don't believe you have to have the same cards in the PCI-e slots. I would recommend upgrading to the GTX295 in the first slot, which will give you the best option for a single card at 1920X1200, IMO, than you can keep one of your 8800 GTS's for the two 15" monitors. If you are using all three montors for gaming at once than your best bet would be the two GTX285's. If the other monitors are used for other applications, than the 8800 GTS is more than enough. Either the GTX285 or the GTX295 cards are overkill at your current resolutions, so there isn't a true need to upgrade until you upgrade your monitor, which by that time prices may be down or new & better cards be out in the market.

What is causing you to want to upgrade is another question to be asked? Are you running into issues where you can't play games at the level you want to? IMO, I can't see where that would be the case with your current cards and current resolutions. Or are you upgrading to be upgrading to the latest tech. on the market?


I only have one game that can render to two screens at once, Supreme Commander, Nvidia doesn't support Spanning on vista and I've not seen any other game that can render to two screens. I do normally still use one if not both of my 15'' for other things while playing games, but my games are always on my 20'' 1680x1050.

I'm looking at the possibility of upgrading my graphics because I've got a good few games now I can't run at the max settings with AA off and not suffer from frame rate drops or just being unplayable. To use Crysis Warhead as a bad example, I can't get it to run on Gamer (high) settings without regular drops below 30 FPS, and often lower then 20. To use another example GTA won't play on very high settings ether due to the lack of memory on the GTS 512s.

I prefer to always run all my games on max settings and I would love to see Crysis running max settings as well. I tend to upgrade well beyond what I need at the time, but I don't normally go for the bleeding edge tech partly because I can't normally afford to. I also like to spread the costs, why is why I upgrade bit by bit rather then all at once which admittedly probably isn't the best approach so I might get a new monitor and a new card if its really going to give me the best for the money.
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a b U Graphics card
April 25, 2009 1:56:40 AM

I would recommend you upgrading to the GTX295 if you have the money. I believe you will see a slight performance upgrade running GTX285 in SLI but if you don't run SLI all the time than GTX295 is the way to go. Plus, since your board supports SLI, you can always get another GTX295 down the road for a QuadSLI, the highest you can get with 2 slots. You may have to get a 1000W+ PSU to do so with all of your hard drives you are running.

Have you ever thought about getting the 150GB Velicoraptor instead of running 2x80GB in RAID0? It will be pretty much just as quick, if not quicker plus less data lost risk. Also, a nice WD 640 Black addition as your second hard for games. This drive is almost as fast as the Vraptor and again less data lost risk.
April 25, 2009 9:50:33 AM

My drives are set up as they are mostly because it was the cheapest way to do it when I upgraded them a couple of years ago but thanks for the advise. Also my motherboard is triple SLI enabled, although I know that triple SLI on GTX285 is a massive waste of money, and I do already have a 1000W PSU, my last one stopped working a month ago.
April 25, 2009 10:41:13 AM

I think I've decided on my screen configuration, I'm going to buy two more 20'' monitors and a T2G-D3D-IF (Triple Head 2 Go) and span across the screens. My desk won't fit 5 monitors so I'll get rid of the 15'' monitors.

So my resolution will be 5040x1050. I can get two 20'' monitors for the same price as one 24'' 1900x1200 monitor.
April 25, 2009 3:42:46 PM

Well first, are you running ForceWare 180 or later? nVidia added SLi Multi Monitor support in that release.

Second, if your really gonna go the 3 monitor route, definitely go for a GTX295 and plan on getting a second as soon as you can afford it. At that resolution, youll need all the horsepower you can get.
a b U Graphics card
April 25, 2009 6:28:11 PM

^+1 B-Unit,

With that resolution you will need the QuadSLI GTX295's to max out the games. Based on money though, 3SLI GTX285 will perform better since there is greater support for 3-SLI versus QuadSLI and should be cheaper that way too.

I missed the 1000W PSU you have. I mistakenly looked at the 900 for your memory and not your powersupply.
April 25, 2009 6:54:11 PM

EVGA GTX285 = £310 cheapest
EVGA GTX295 = £420 cheapest

Your maths is off a bit :p  But yer, I think I'll go with a pair of GTX 295 thanks for the advise :) 
May 2, 2009 10:54:40 PM

Finished upgrading my PC, thanks again for the help, here my full system spec with some pics.

Case: Thermaltake Black Armor LCS
PSU: Corsair Memory 1000W ATX PSU
Motherboard: Asus P5N72-T Premium nForce 780i
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz @ 3.825GHz
RAM: 4GB (1x Corsair Memory TWIN2X4096-8500C5 2x2GB 1066MHz) @ 900MHz
Graphics: 2x EVGA GeForce GTX 295 1792MB GDDR3
HDD C: 160GB (2x Seagate 80GB SATA II 7200RPM) [OS/Programms]
HDD D: 320GB (2x Seagate 160GB SATA II 7200RPM) [Games]
HHD Z: 500GB (Seagate 500GB SATA II 7200RPG in a External Case) [Files]
Displays: 3x Samsung SyncMaster 2043BW 20'' (1680x1050)
Other: Matrox TripleHead2Go Digial (Final Res, 5040x1050)
OS: Vista Home Premium 32bit

http://www.skid-inc.net/stuff/pc6.jpg
http://www.skid-inc.net/stuff/pc8.jpg

And a couple of screen shots from a couple of games.

http://www.skid-inc.net/stuff/wide1.png
http://www.skid-inc.net/stuff/wide2.png
http://www.skid-inc.net/stuff/wide3.png
http://www.skid-inc.net/stuff/wide4.png
http://www.skid-inc.net/stuff/wide5.png
http://www.skid-inc.net/stuff/wide6.png
http://www.skid-inc.net/stuff/wide7.png
http://www.skid-inc.net/stuff/wide8.png
http://www.skid-inc.net/stuff/wide9.png
May 3, 2009 7:57:52 AM

You missed one of my posts, as far as windows is concerned most games simply see one big 5040x1050 screen now, there is also a tool that comes with the TripleHead2Go that overrides game settings so they look fine at that res, that program comes with 270 games listed in it.
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