Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

SLI vs Single GPU... HELP!

Last response: in Systems
Share
July 31, 2009 6:03:00 PM

I will be ordering my parts off Newegg on Monday. I am having a very hard time choosing a video card setup (single vs SLI) for my new i7 gaming rig. Here's the setup I'm looking at so far in case certain parts (like the CPU & Monitor) are important for you guys to help me:

Coolermaster HAF 932
i7 920 2.66 (already ordered my Thermalright Ultra-120)
Asus P6T Deluxe V2 Mobo
Corsair 1000HX PSU
6GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600
640GB WD Black HD
X-Fi ExtremeGamer Sound Card
24" Samsung T240 5ms (1920x1200)
Whatever SATA DVD/RW that's available upon ordering (2 drives have gone out of stock for me in the last couple days ;P)
Either one or two GTX 275s (This is where I'm undecided).

I play various FPS games (HL2 & FEAR2 mostly) and I will be playing a pretty graphics intensive FPS MMO (which will utilize SLI) once it's released. I like to run fraps a lot and need to make sure I can record while playing with all eyecandy active (light/shadow renderings & anti-aliasing maxed out etc).

Atm I'm running on an AMD 5600+ (low-end 2.8 dual core), standard DDR2 ram and an HD 4850. So it's obviously VERY hard for me to know how well a high-end, single graphic card system would handle max graphics settings + fraps in today's games. Or...if I'll need to run SLI to get the performance I'd like. The little bit of extra $ isn't really the problem as I hardly ever upgrade (can you tell?? ;P) so I can justify spending a large chunk when I do. Now I'd really like to run a single card setup because as I understand it, SLI doesn't allow using 2 monitors while enabled...and I'm guessing the GTX295 or 4870X2 would be the same. I like my second LCD displaying vent, forums, movies etc.

How powerful are stock GTX275s coupled with an i7 920? How much will this stronger CPU help me record with fraps while gaming vs my old etch-a-sketch? (or is it strictly a GPU thing) HALP! :cry: 

More about : sli single gpu

July 31, 2009 6:47:08 PM

Considering how cheap 4850s are right now I would say just add another one to run them in crossfire till the DX11 cards are out. If you wanna go nVidia anyway one GTX 275 is pretty powerful and should be fine for most games at 1900x1200. HL2 and Fear2 aren't really too demanding so they don't really require you to get another such card to game at the highest settings even at that resolution so I would say only add a second GTX 275 when you're playing a game that needs more power (as they should be cheaper then). If you just want to buy it all now though then two GTX 275s should last you for some time. Of course, it's recommended that you overclock that 920 to get the most out of those cards in SLI.
July 31, 2009 6:59:21 PM

One GTX 285 instead of two 275's, then later another and then later another for triple Sli.
Related resources
July 31, 2009 7:08:35 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I actually thought about using my current 4850 in my new build and just getting another for CF...but like I mentioned, I would really rather not go CF/SLI unless I need to as I enjoy using my dual monitor setup. And as far as HL2 and FEAR2, yeah they don't need a ton of hardware but the MMO I am building this system for does. I'm pretty sure I'll just be going with a single GTX 275 since a single 4850 won't be enough for my liking. I can always SLI 275s if I really need to I suppose >< Just a terrible time to be buying graphics cards /sigh..

I think the largest reason I'm having such a problem with this is that I've seen a few threads on other forums (possibly on Tom's too) saying that unless you go with a GTX 295 or a 4870X2, it's a waste to game on an i7 920 without SLI. Wasting the potential of the CPU I suppose.
July 31, 2009 7:12:32 PM

baddad said:
One GTX 285 instead of two 275's, then later another and then later another for triple Sli.


I originally had picked a 285 since I wanted a single card only. But I keep hearing mixed feelings about 285s vs 275s. I might just need to do more research on 285 benchmarks :/ 
July 31, 2009 7:19:55 PM

i was in the same position.... im buying the 275 oc because its basically the same as the 285 but for alot less... im just going to oc the 275 a bit past factory.. also only getting one till more games utilize sli, no real need for dual gpus of that power atm hope i helped
July 31, 2009 7:58:03 PM

Quote:
I would really rather not go CF/SLI unless I need to as I enjoy using my dual monitor setup.


Sounds like you made your decision already but CF works with dual monitor setups -- while in CF. I don't remember if they updated the SLI drivers to do the same but CF has been working for several driver versions now.
July 31, 2009 8:04:52 PM

hardwaretechy said:
Quote:
I would really rather not go CF/SLI unless I need to as I enjoy using my dual monitor setup.


Sounds like you made your decision already but CF works with dual monitor setups -- while in CF. I don't remember if they updated the SLI drivers to do the same but CF has been working for several driver versions now.


Damn you!

Back to the drawing board... (so if I read you correctly, CF allows dual monitor support now...so I can have a second LCD displaying a movie for instance? If that's the case and SLI doesn't offer this...the decision is simple.)
July 31, 2009 8:12:16 PM

kohd said:
I originally had picked a 285 since I wanted a single card only. But I keep hearing mixed feelings about 285s vs 275s. I might just need to do more research on 285 benchmarks :/ 


Don't buy the 285 unless you are rich and can buy a second one in the near future...IMO the 285 is a waste of money unless your mobo does not support SLI and you HAVE to have it.....

Dual 260's (core 216) will obliterate a single 285...... [:lectrocrew:6]

Dual 275's is overkill IMO....But if ya really need that horsepower then go ahead....


July 31, 2009 8:22:07 PM

don't get 2 GTX 275s
get a GTX 295 at that price
it has 2 GPUS, runs well, overclockable
It enables SLI on non-SLI motherboards so... I would say a 295 is better

a 295 is just 2 underclocked 275s
July 31, 2009 8:22:50 PM

OvrClkr said:
Don't buy the 285 unless you are rich and can buy a second one in the near future...IMO the 285 is a waste of money unless your mobo does not support SLI and you HAVE to have it.....

Dual 260's (core 216) will obliterate a single 285...... [:lectrocrew:6]

Dual 275's is overkill IMO....But if ya really need that horsepower then go ahead....


Like I said...if SLI is incapable of dual monitor support then I won't be doing that. Which is why a 285 would be my best nvidia option. I'm looking over some 4890 benchmarks now as it appears CF does allow dual monitors.
July 31, 2009 8:25:02 PM

TerminatorXT said:
don't get 2 GTX 275s
get a GTX 295 at that price
it has 2 GPUS, runs well, overclockable
It enables SLI on non-SLI motherboards so... I would say a 295 is better

a 295 is just 2 underclocked 275s


GTX 295 = SLI on a single board. Still won't permit dual monitors, right?
July 31, 2009 8:26:51 PM

kohd said:
GTX 295 = SLI on a single board. Still won't permit dual monitors, right?


It does, search it up if you are in doubt

I don't use dual-monitors, I just have one 24" 1920x1200

July 31, 2009 8:34:54 PM

The need for a strong vga system like the GTX295 or sli GTX275 comes when you are using a 2560x1600 resolution. At 1920x1200, a single GTX275 should generally do well.
Why not just use your 4850 for the second monitor? Or, do you play a game that makes use of multiple monitors? I don't think there are many.
If your OS requires just one graphics driver, sell the 4850 and use a cheap nvidia card.

You can always get a second card if you find that a GTX275 is lacking. More likely, you would replace it when the next generation of cards launch in the fall. There is nothing wrong with a single GTX285, but it is not that much better , so don't pay a big premium over a GTX275.

In general, I like a single card solution so long as a single card can do the job. It is simpler, more consistent, runs cooler, and takes less power.
July 31, 2009 8:35:36 PM

nooo, dont get a GTX295 ... waste of money.

I would buy a second 4850 as some suggested. Its really the BEST choice for you right now. Wait for DX11 card to come out to buy the real machine !

July 31, 2009 8:37:00 PM

kohd said:
Like I said...if SLI is incapable of dual monitor support then I won't be doing that. Which is why a 285 would be my best nvidia option. I'm looking over some 4890 benchmarks now as it appears CF does allow dual monitors.


If you are gonna pay 360.00$+ for a 285 then just go all out with the 295...You will have 448 SP's as opposed to 240.....

You can also buy dual 275's and run them in NON SLI mode...

July 31, 2009 9:00:48 PM

i have a 200$ deal for you.

get 2 more HD4850. CF 2 of them for your gaming and the other one for your second screen. You seem to really want your dual screen. This way you can do it.

And you can still wayt for DX11 card for the real card ...
July 31, 2009 9:26:50 PM

boulard83 said:
i have a 200$ deal for you.

get 2 more HD4850. CF 2 of them for your gaming and the other one for your second screen. You seem to really want your dual screen. This way you can do it.

And you can still wayt for DX11 card for the real card ...


you dont need to... you can run dual monitors with the cards in CF. I did it about 25 minutes ago. if i were you i would buy another 4850 for 100 bucks. that will give you by far the most muscle for you dollar. it should put the hurt to a gtx275 and more than easily hold you over untill DX11 cards come out, probably longer with the titles you named. And you save anywhere from 75 to 250 dollars compared to some of the other options you named
July 31, 2009 9:30:31 PM

Thanks for the help everyone. I think I'm going to go with a single GTX 275 and see how that goes for now. After all the reading I've done, looking at benchmarks and re-thinking my power needs, chances are it'll be more than enough for the games I play. By the time I need something stronger DirectX 11 cards will be out and I'll want to upgrade no doubt ;P

Out of curiosity, anyone care to give me their insight about SSC and FTW cards? I mean, I realize I can OC a card myself but there is no guarantee I'll get lucky and get a card that is a good OCer. Do FTW cards come with better cooling/HSF...or is the extra $50 simply for knowing the card has been tested to remain stable at OCed speeds?
July 31, 2009 9:32:36 PM

ewood said:
you dont need to... you can run dual monitors with the cards in CF. I did it about 25 minutes ago. if i were you i would buy another 4850 for 100 bucks. that will give you by far the most muscle for you dollar. it should put the hurt to a gtx275 and more than easily hold you over untill DX11 cards come out, probably longer with the titles you named. And you save anywhere from 75 to 250 dollars compared to some of the other options you named


Unfortunately my old computer needs to remain intact ;P It'll still get used so I'd like to keep a decent video card in it. (4850 is still relatively decent isn't it?)
July 31, 2009 9:35:05 PM

oh that changes things a bit. yeah 4850s are very decent cards.
July 31, 2009 9:38:56 PM

I use dual monitors with a single 250 and it works flawless..One monitor for the game and the other to monitor all temps...
July 31, 2009 10:23:51 PM

1 GTX275 is WAY enough.
August 1, 2009 5:51:33 AM

ewood said:
you dont need to... you can run dual monitors with the cards in CF. I did it about 25 minutes ago. if i were you i would buy another 4850 for 100 bucks. that will give you by far the most muscle for you dollar. it should put the hurt to a gtx275 and more than easily hold you over untill DX11 cards come out, probably longer with the titles you named. And you save anywhere from 75 to 250 dollars compared to some of the other options you named


Waiting for DX11 might be a stupid move because when it comes out, the prices will be sky high, and maybe 1 out of 200 games will support it for the 6-9 months

275 SLI way better, 3 might be overkill, but 2 is just right
!