I've looked around and can't really get a straight answer for this, anyway..
I'm building a new rig sometime in the summer (when I have the money ). I'm planning to use a 9800GT SLI setup as I have always been very impressed with my current 8600GTS SLI performace. The 8600's can handle crysis on high-very high, and GTA4 with medium-high settings, so I'm expecting good things from the 9800's.
Only question is.. should I keep with the 512MB versions, so together both cards have 1GB to play with, or is it worth going for 1GB versions of the cards and having 2GB over the two cards? What advantages does it give you? Would it provide faster loading times for graphics and textures that have already been loaded once etc?
A little light on this would be much appreciated.
It really depends on what resolution you are gaming at.
1650x1080 and below, you will see no performance gains from having 1Gb frame buffer.
At 1920x1200, especially with AA and AF, you may see some increases in performance where the games would have filled up a 512Mb frame buffer.
Once you get above 1920x1200 you will begin to see major performance increases with the 1Gb cards.
On a side note, if you are planning on upgrading your entire system, I would recommend against using 9800GT's.
Look instead at a pair of similarly priced 4770's.
They will give you much better performance and lower power draw.
As an added bonus, if your new rig is going to be based on a S775 platform, you can use a much better Intel based board.
I'm gaming at 1650x1080 on a 22" (for now at least) so I'll stick with the 512MB versions. I do play most games with AA and AF on the highest, but still only at 1650x1080 or even 1440x900 for windowed games.
The rig I'm building is almost a complete build, as I've already bought the motherboard (XFX 750a SLI) and have it running in my current system, along with my 3x WD 500GB drives (will soon have 4 for raid 1+0) which will also be in the new build.
The new chip I'll be using is a Phenom X4 (AM2+ / AM3), but yet to pick which one. I'm hoping for something around 2.5GHz which I could push to 3GHz. I stick to AMD as in my years as a techy nearly 80% of troubles with the CPU turned out to be intels and to date I've never had any troubles with AMD (and prefer their pricing!).
As for the 4770's, I have looked into ATI cards as well, but personally I just like the NVIDIAs more. I've had problems with ATI's in the past (artifacts, low life-span etc) and no problems with the many NVIDIAs I've used. Like I said originally, Im still impressed with my current setup as most people I speak to say that their computer which they thought to be good can't handle GTA4 etc, where as I can get a very playable 25-30 FPS.
I can get two 9800GT (512MB) cards for £100 a pop, and a GV1000 cooler for another £30 a card. So I'm looking at £260 for that setup, but another question is guess is would it be worth looking at the EVGA GTX285 or something like that? That card would only be £40 more than the 9800GT SLI option.. but only stock cooled (I'm one for thirdparty cooling on everything )
Gamers are still using 8800 cards today, so are the 9800GT's really that bad? Even when overclocked by say 15-25%?
acer you can get two 4770's for £158 and believe me they will completely beat the pants off sli 9800gt's.
The gtx285 isn't worth it no, if you simply must stick with Nvidia then at least go with one of their useful cards, either the 250gts 1gb, 260gtx 216 core or 275gtx. Anything else they sell is either soundly beaten by an equivalent (on price) ATI or is so expensive as to be just not worth it.
No dont get the 9800GTs...they are older gen cards and £100 a pop
well one more NO...
Always a single card solution is better...but if you really want to SLI, then get this... http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/512MB-XFX-GTS-250-PCI-E-...(x16)-Mem-256Bit-2200-MHz-GDDR3-GPU-738-MHz-HDTV-DVI-Retail
GTS 250...far more powerful than the 9800GT and costs nearly the same...
EDIT: I had not noticed that you had already bought the mobo...
After checking (though I thought this anyway) my motherboard only supports NVIDIA cards.. infact.. it's made for them using hybrid power and all over the box it has nvidia this that and the other.
If you really advise against the 9800GT's I'll take note and go for something else.
I have already looked at the XFX GTX 260 (looking for XFX boards really as I'm always impressed with quality and my motherboard is also XFX). Only downside is that the GTX 260 is a little more costly (especially with a thirdparty cooler) and that I would want an SLI setup.
I'm yet to find a graphics card that doesn't get into the 70's when gaming with stock, and for me thats just crap when with a nice cooler on them most don't go above 55C.
Why do you want SLI so badly? I always suggest get that fastest single card you can afford and add a second down the road if you need it. As for temperatures, just turn up the fan a little on the stock cooler and it should do decent (and not be absurdly loud) I think.
I have no budget for this build, only the time it takes to save for it, so why not go all out and get SLI? And with the coolers, most XFX cards I've used now make a real noise in what is already a noisy case - so if I can cut that down (i.e. 3rd party cooler) I will do. I also want everything as cool as I can so I can overclock and get the most out of my money :].
After looking around further, it's looking like the 9800GT's in SLI would outperform the GTX260, but people are going for the GTX260 so they can upgrade to SLI in the future. I've been looking, and for around the same money as the 9800GT's in SLI and with aftermarket cooling, I could purchase the XFX GTX285.
So maybe, the GTX285 for now and a second when I can?
The price difference between the 285 and the 260 is huuuge, so much so that it seems better for me to go for the GTX260 / GTX260 Core216 in SLI now instead of getting the 285 and waiting for SLI.