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Are 2 smaller cards in SLI better than 1 bigger card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
a b U Graphics card
July 30, 2009 10:47:17 AM

I'm putting together a PC and need some advice. The PC will be used for high-end 3d graphics creation in apps like 3dsMax etc. The machine will be a Core i7, 8gb RAM, Intel Smackover board, 720watt power supply.

Would it be better to use two cards in SLI like a set of Nvidia 9600GT- 512mb memory 256bit, or 1 bigger card like an Nvidia GTS250- 1 GB memory 256bit?

The machine will be connected to two 23" monitors, both probably running at full res of 1920x1080. The user would play the odd game here and there, but it's daily primary use will be for working in 3dsMax.

Any advice is appreciated on the above, and for SLI usage in general.

Thanks in advance, Barry.
July 30, 2009 11:28:53 AM

Depends on the cards and how well 3DsMax scales with SLI (and weather or not it uses the cards vs the CPU), and why 8GB with a Core i7? If you're doing 3D rendering, I would shoot for 12GB. 8GB won't use all 3 channels so you'll lose a few percentage points in performance.
a b U Graphics card
July 30, 2009 11:32:18 AM

thanks for the input about the RAM. Unfortunately, 4GB sticks aren't yet available where I live, so 8GB is only option.
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a b U Graphics card
July 30, 2009 12:01:58 PM

If you're using high end 3D apps, then I'd be looking for a 512-bit bus. And thanks to all the unknowns in scaling, its almost always a better idea to stick with a single card.