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Two Graphics Cards or One w/ the same budget?

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April 15, 2009 6:59:20 AM

Hello Toms,
I am planning out a new build for the summer and trying to decide if I should go with 2 graphics cards that will fit in my budget, or getting one and upgrading later? If I go with two I was thinking these guys: EVGA 896-P3-1260-AR GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 which will run me about 380$ for a pair over at newegg. Should I go with something like that, or spend the full 400$ on a single card and buy a second when I have more money and the price goes down.. maybe in 6 months or so?
Thanks in advance for the input.
Mike D

More about : graphics cards budget

April 15, 2009 7:20:46 AM

globalgoon said:
Hello Toms,
I am planning out a new build for the summer and trying to decide if I should go with 2 graphics cards that will fit in my budget, or getting one and upgrading later? If I go with two I was thinking these guys: EVGA 896-P3-1260-AR GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 which will run me about 380$ for a pair over at newegg. Should I go with something like that, or spend the full 400$ on a single card and buy a second when I have more money and the price goes down.. maybe in 6 months or so?
Thanks in advance for the input.
Mike D


And your monitor resolution is???
April 15, 2009 7:29:15 AM

croc said:
And your monitor resolution is???


Most likely a 24" at 1920*1080
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April 15, 2009 7:42:39 AM

Buy one 260, that should be adequate.

Anandtech.com did a series on GPU's a wee bit ago, they compared 2,3, and 4 GPU's. Might be worth a look.
a b U Graphics card
April 15, 2009 7:45:34 AM

Outlanders rule #14 for computer builders :

NEVER use two graphics cards when one can do the job
April 15, 2009 8:57:50 AM

^ +1!!!! If you absolutely don't need that SLi then ya don't need it lol. As the other member said ONE GTX260 is enough.
April 15, 2009 9:26:12 AM

it also helps to find out if your mobo can run sli since there are only 3 types of mobo's which support it.

really old intel mobo's
Nvidia chipset mobo's
X58 chipset mobo's
a b U Graphics card
April 15, 2009 9:37:42 AM

Well putting in simple words, get the single fastest graphics card that you can afford...because SLI/Crossfire are not perfect yet...It will take time for the companies to write proper drivers to take full advantage of those configurations...
a c 106 U Graphics card
April 15, 2009 5:15:23 PM

I'd say that it depends on the rest of your system and what the $400 card you were thinking of is. SLI and Crossfire add overhead to the CPU, especially crossfire, so depending on your CPU you could actually experience a drop in frame rates by going with two cards instead of one. Two GTX 260 will give you some serious power and will pretty much beat any single GPU card most of the time. If your decision is between two 260s now or a single 285 and then another 285 latter, I'd say go with the two 260s, especially if they are of the sp 216 variety. I don't believe the performance difference between two 260s and two 280s is worth the money. On the other hand the difference between two 260 sp 216s and two 285s is incredibly small and is only significant in the games and settings that make use of the extra RAM on the 280/285

If you're thinking of a Radeon 4870X2 for the $400 card, then your board needs to support Crossfire and you should have a pretty high end, preferably overclocked, CPU and/or play at a pretty high resolution to see any benefit going with two 4870X2s as opposed to one. The Radeon drivers still don't scale well past 2 GPUs as the nVidia drivers as they seem to not be as optimized for multiple threads. So unless you have a 30" monitor or something you don't really need a second 4870X2. Of course it seems you want one anyway ^_^
a c 236 U Graphics card
April 15, 2009 5:19:47 PM

Outlander_04 said:
Outlanders rule #14 for computer builders :

NEVER use two graphics cards when one can do the job


Good rule.

The card you referenced is the older version which is slower and hotter.
Look for the 216 version using 55nm construction like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With EVGA, you get the option to "step-up" within 90 days, and apply your full purchase price to a higher priced card.
April 15, 2009 5:21:36 PM

globalgoon said:
Most likely a 24" at 1920*1080


Get the 4850x2 their cheap now and it will beat the 260
!