Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Nvidia GTS 250 in SLI mode VS single ATI HD 4890

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
Share
August 21, 2009 4:45:57 PM

Hello everyone! I'm looking to upgrade my video card. I was comtemplating getting two MSI N250 GTS and running them in SLI mode or a single ATI POWERCOLOR PCS+ AX4890 1GBD5 (HD 4890). I looked around for articles that would have such comparisons, but I didn't come across any - hence this thread. I'd like to spend around $250 for an upgrade and after doing a lot of looking around, those video cards seem an attractive choice. Main reason for upgrading would be to get better fps when playing games. What's your opinion?


Here are some of my computer components. Maybe this info will help:

ABS SLI certified Power Supply

Asus A8N-SLI Premium 939 socket Motherboard

4GB CORSAIR XMS 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Memory

AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 Toledo 2.6GHz

BFG GeForce 8800GTX OC 768MB


Below are the links for the video cards:

- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

thanks!
a c 271 U Graphics card
August 21, 2009 5:48:35 PM

My 939 could not handle a pair of 8800GT's, you may be better off with a single card unless you want to end up having to upgrade the entire system.
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2009 6:07:07 PM

A new motherbaord and CPU would be a better upgrade to you than a GPU. You will be seriously CPU limited and won't see much extra with a new GPU. That GPU you have is probably already runnign into a cpu wall.

Also, I would not recomend using SLI of modern cards with a pcie gen1 MB.
Related resources
August 21, 2009 6:12:20 PM

I think you'd see the best gains by grabbing an X3 720 and a good mobo, then saving the leftover for the next generation of GPUs.
August 21, 2009 6:30:42 PM

How do you determine where a GPU bottlenecks?
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2009 6:41:12 PM

It isn't exactly simple. There are thousands of factors that come to play.

Any video game is made of two things.. what we see and what we don't. What we don't see are things like AI calculations, particle locations (physics), all of the general things that go on around you. What you see is simply the representatino of what we don't, done by the GPU. A frame is more than just what we see, there are many factors that come into play and what is drawn is simply what the cpu tells the gpu needs to be drawn. How it is drawn and how long it takes to draw is dependant on the GPU.

We can simplistically assume the comptuer is linear (it is not) and roughly conclude that if worker A is faster than worker B, the task will move at the speed of worker B. With that in mind we could conclude that you would run into a bottleneck of either teh cpu or GPU if either were not donig things at the same rate. This isn't how it works as there are specific tasks done by both, only by one, and non linearities to boot.

However, generally we can say that if teh two don't match in relative performance one will bottleneck the other. How much that is the case depends on thousands of thigns and is a case by case discussion.. but we can generalyl look at things and guess pretty accurately when we have cases where one part of the hardware is separated by many generations from the other.

To put it simply, we can say one thing will bottleneck another if there is a wide disparity between two parts of hardware.

If you realyl want to test for one. The usual definition of a bottleneck is when changing gpu settings does not change the overall FPS. THus, the cpu is makign the seen we don't see as fast as it can and the gpu is sitting on its hands. Increasing the work the gpu has to do does not decrease fps much as it still has a lot of overhead.
August 21, 2009 7:23:11 PM

daedalus685 said:
It isn't exactly simple. There are thousands of factors that come to play...



For starters, let me emphasize I'm not trying to question your knowledge, simply trying to get a better feel for your logic.

You say is not exactly simple, however how did you determine I would be better off buying a new MB + CPU than to upgrade my GPU? Is it because I don't have the lastest hardware?


I came to the conclusion a newer GPU would benefit my gaming experience after noticing improvement in the fluidity of fps when I increased the memory clock of the GPU by 15% and the core clock by 5%. FPS jumped from high 20s/30s to high 40s/50s.
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2009 7:42:37 PM

Modern games do require mroe cpu power, just how it goes.

It is straight forward enough to assume your cpu (i used to have a 939 in fact) is at best an athlon x2.

Now the vast gap between that and the gpu is what would make me assume there woudl be a large bottleneck (how large depends on resolution and other factors).

It also depends on what games you play. I find the claim that you gained almost 100% performance out of a 15% overclock absolutely rediculous though. It is simply not possible, and other factors must be in play.

Like everything in life, balance is pretty important. If your cpu cant keep up, what you get is zero scaling from your investment. In the worst case bottleneck a new GPU gives you absolutely nothing, even in a case where the gpu is nto totalyl choked out you get far far less than 100% scaling. Where as a CPU+mb upgrade woudl not even be close to a gpu bottleneck. It is in that logic I formulated my oppinion about the upgrade. It is jsut a better value, a new cpu and mb might get you 20% mroe perforamcne for 100 dollars, where as a new GPU would be between 0 and 20% for 200 dollars.

Don't get me wrong.. you don't gain 0 from a gpu upgrade. Effectively what you get is that the cpu caps the fps, but you can still ask the gpu to do more for you. Thus, you get into a situation where your fps wont increase per say.. but you are able to play at higher settings without losing anything (more AA and the like).

As far as sli goes, I would not want to run a pcie 2.0 card on a pcie 1 board. I do not know how your board splits up the bandwidth but you might get into a situation where you would starve the cards.. a single card is better in that respect.

It all comes down to value of investment. If you are playing at a high resolution, and plan to upgrade teh cpu soonish, then go ahead and get a gpu to see if you can crank the AA a bit more. But you will get more of a fps boost with a new cpu with faster ram. Besides that, games will come out with more advanced settings that will cap your fps even lower. You are in a situation where the GPU is making things "look nicer." But the cpu is dictating how many of these nice things you see. In agame that requires more AI calculations you will find that your fps will simply start to drop and lowering settings won't help, as the basis of your fps will simply start to colapse.
August 21, 2009 8:04:45 PM

daedalus685 said:
Modern games do require mroe cpu power, just how it goes.

It is straight forward enough to assume your cpu (i used to have a 939 in fact) is at best an athlon x2.

Now the vast gap between that and the gpu is what would make me assume there woudl be a large bottleneck (how large depends on resolution and other factors).

It also depends on what games you play. I find the claim that you gained almost 100% performance out of a 15% overclock absolutely rediculous though. It is simply not possible, and other factors must be in play.



Seems like you take joy in typing walls of text.. lol

Maybe you didn't understand. I shall make it more simple:

Core Clock speed before changes - 600
Memory Clock before changes - 900
average fps while gaming - 27fps - 33fps

Increase core clock by 5% = New core clock speed 630
Increase memory clock by 15% = new memory clock 1035
average fps while gaming after modifying speeds - 40fps - 50fps

I could care less whether or not you believe I get such results. In fact, you haven't even address my OP. So far you haven't said anything useful.
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2009 8:06:59 PM

Fundamentally I think it boils down to the fact that there is a limit on what any part of a computer can do. Gaming brings this out quite a bit. Balance is always an important thing in system design... most of that having to do with cost effectiveness. There is no reason to spend money on part A if part B is giong to slow it down anyway.

I wuold never recommend the systems at work here be upgraded with a single part separated by a couple generations, nor would i want anyone to do it on their own.

Obviously the point at which a cpu becomes the extreme limiting factor depends on what you ask of it. But an imballance robbing value is simply how things work. In any system (computer or otherwise) it is not usually a cost effective persuit to upgrade what is already the fastest part.

I can't say for sure exactly how the bottleneck woudl behave, though I did used to own a system like that, I never upgraded the GPU beyond a 1950. But I can say with a lot of certainty that the scaling of a GPU in your situation would be massively less than the scaling of a CPU+Memory. Not to be confused with saying either would provide no increase in performance.
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2009 8:14:57 PM

Sigh.. I'm sorry information seems beyond so many people.. Generalyl when someone asks why I think somet6hing they actualyl want to know why, and not have me simply change my mind to agree with them..

I did answer your question.. by saying that sli is not a good idea (thus a single card would be better). as well as advising you that a cpu upgrade would be a better idea unless you are in the habit of throwing money out the window.. Which of course is your call.

The increase in fps you describe is simply not possible iin a controlled settign with the only change the oc you mention.. and the data means absolutely nothing unelss you show specific results in specific games instead of wild generalizations. It is not the results I dispute exactly.. I'm sure that there is one game somewhere that might have behavior like that on someone's rig.. you are describing what was a 15% overclock and getting 50% increase in average fps. 300% scaling is not exactly the norm and may folks aroudn here might want to find out how you did that..

Whether you gained anything from what I said I don't particularly care.. you asked why I thought you would have a bottleneck, and I told you. If you want to pick and choose my skeptisism in what results in an increase in clock for clock scaling (intel might want to hire you) as the point of my entire post go ahead..

Should you buy a new gpu.. no, you should not.. If you are goign to anyway shoudl you get a 4890 or a 250? you would be best served not gettign an sli set up given the pcie limitations... thus a 4890..

In the future perhaps I will use larger text and more crayola colours when I talk to folks.. I'm sorry if you have problems reading words.. I answered your questions.. If you do not notice perhaps you need to reevaluate your reading skills, or correct what seems to be a bias in your own reasoning skills..
August 21, 2009 8:30:59 PM

walls of texts... lol..
August 21, 2009 8:32:04 PM

Neuspeed said:
Hello everyone! I'm looking to upgrade my video card. I was comtemplating getting two MSI N250 GTS and running them in SLI mode or a single ATI POWERCOLOR PCS+ AX4890 1GBD5 (HD 4890). I looked around for articles that would have such comparisons, but I didn't come across any - hence this thread. I'd like to spend around $250 for an upgrade and after doing a lot of looking around, those video cards seem an attractive choice. Main reason for upgrading would be to get better fps when playing games. What's your opinion?


Here are some of my computer components. Maybe this info will help:

ABS SLI certified Power Supply

Asus A8N-SLI Premium 939 socket Motherboard

4GB CORSAIR XMS 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Memory

AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 Toledo 2.6GHz

BFG GeForce 8800GTX OC 768MB


Below are the links for the video cards:

- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

thanks!


I have the same motherboard as you and a 4200+ 2.2GHz. I currently use a factory overclocked 3870 and in every single game I play it is CPU limited, increasing the overclock did not improve frame rates at all. My recommendation would be to wait until the 5xxx comes out and then do a full system upgrade. If you have to buy a new graphics card right now and don't plan to upgrade the rest of your system go for a 4770.
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2009 8:33:40 PM

Since you asked for me to explain my logic.. yet complained when I explained it.. let me try again..

Ooo, me gpu card good, but me cpu bad. Me want mroe pew pew.

Cpu bad make gpu not run good.

maybe not buy gpu good unless cpu good?

Gpu good on cpu bad makes money not spend good no more pew pew

more pew pew good with cpu good, later make gpu gooder and even more pew pew.

Is that more the level we were looking for?

Perhaps an analogy with cars.. If I have a crappy old sunfire with flat tires and want to make it go faster the most logical thing to do would be to get a brand new Tesla but use the smae tires.. Right?
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2009 8:36:01 PM

Neuspeed said:
walls of texts... lol..


By the way.. there is no quicker way to look like a total moron (or perhaps an average IQ 12 year old) than to complain about walls of text when you yourself asked for a more detailed clarification after the first "wall of text"...

It doesn't make me look bad.. but it does make all of us feel sorry for the folks who stroll through life unable to read mroe than 16 words at a time..

Though perhaps it does explain why I never went into teaching at an elementary school..

Edit: And holy ***! more people than myself believe you have a bottleneck.. i'd never have guessed!
August 21, 2009 8:37:50 PM

Attila_the_pun said:
I have the same motherboard as you and a 4200+ 2.2GHz. I currently use a factory overclocked 3870 and in every single game I play it is CPU limited, increasing the overclock did not improve frame rates at all. My recommendation would be to wait until the 5xxx comes out and then do a full system upgrade. If you have to buy a new graphics card right now and don't plan to upgrade the rest of your system go for a 4770.



I will get more recent hardware eventually.
August 21, 2009 8:58:09 PM

daedalus685 said:
By the way.. there is no quicker way to look like a total moron (or perhaps an average IQ 12 year old) than to complain about walls of text when you yourself asked for a more detailed clarification after the first "wall of text"...

It doesn't make me look bad.. but it does make all of us feel sorry for the folks who stroll through life unable to read mroe than 16 words at a time..

Though perhaps it does explain why I never went into teaching at an elementary school..

Edit: And holy ***! more people than myself believe you have a bottleneck.. i'd never have guessed!



Everything you've said so far is based in assumptions. I can make assumptions too! Let's see: You're just a computer fanboy who stays current with the latest hardware for sheer bragging rights. You read articles published by this website religiously, and believe you have acquired knowledge second to none. I can tell because there's a list of all your computer components at the at the bottom of each of your posts (who cares?).. I can also tell your reply is likely to say something along the lines how you are employed by a ginormous software developer and secretly working for the NSA.

I could go on and on typing non-sense walls of text, just like you. pew pew pew!
August 21, 2009 9:13:01 PM

Old 393 but you are running FX-60 classic great cpu, But from a gut estimate i would just say Single powerful card esp at lower resolutions. But if you are using higher resolutions really you should get a new comp all together one with a nice cpu for large resolutions.
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2009 9:20:42 PM

ok to see if you have a cpu bottle neck download fraps at set resolution to minimum an get average fps then set it resolutoin bit higher an check fps an lil higher again if there isn't much variation on fps levels its a cpu bottle neck
August 21, 2009 9:22:06 PM

IzzyCraft said:
Old 393 but you are running FX-60 classic great cpu, But from a gut estimate i would just say Single powerful card esp at lower resolutions. But if you are using higher resolutions really you should get a new comp all together one with a nice cpu for large resolutions.



I had settled for a single card, but after seeing the low prices of the GTS 250, I began to wonder if anyone was running those in SLI and how they perform.
August 21, 2009 9:25:33 PM

obsidian86 said:
ok to see if you have a cpu bottle neck download fraps at set resolution to minimum an get average fps then set it resolutoin bit higher an check fps an lil higher again if there isn't much variation on fps levels its a cpu bottle neck



I actually have fraps. I'll try it when I get home.
August 21, 2009 9:49:28 PM

Neuspeed said:
I will get more recent hardware eventually.

What I mean is that for it to be beneficial for you to buy one of those two video cards right now you need to upgrade some other hardware. However when you do finally upgrade the other hardware there will a better video cards.
a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2009 6:27:47 AM

For gaming, your RAM and CPU are on the slow side, really really slow.

I would sell or pawn to a friend the old motherboard, old RAM, and old CPU. With that cash and the money you were going to spend on pair of GTS 250s, get a P45 motherboard and an e6300 or e8400 and DDR2 800 RAM. Overclock the CPU and you'll be amazed how much more framerates you can get out of 8800GTX!! BTW, what monitor size do you play on? Afterwards, if you want even smoother framerates, sell your 8800 GTX and go for the GTX 275 but only if your monitor is at least 23".



Anonymous
August 22, 2009 3:11:46 PM

Well after looking at the full thread, I have the following advice

If you are desperate for a little more speed then the GPU upgrade may help with games that are GPU reliant, but there are many games out there that depend heavily on the CPU for frame rate (not all games), $250 is a fair amount of money to spend on a system upgrade, and one which needs to be thought of carefully, i suggest looking at a CPU, MOBO and RAM upgrade for now using your old (But still bloody good) 8800gtx and once you have sold the old cpu, ram mobo combination, save a little more and upgrade the GPU to one that will deliver good playable frame rates in all new games at the resolution your monitor defaults at.

I always go one step above the resolution when purchasing to get a bit more life out of the GPU that way.

That said, if you were to go with the upgrade, you would be better off with the 4890 over the sli 250 setup, lees power draw, less compatibility issues and the CPU will be less of a bottleneck as well.
a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2009 5:25:11 PM

Neuspeed said:
Everything you've said so far is based in assumptions. I can make assumptions too! Let's see: You're just a computer fanboy who stays current with the latest hardware for sheer bragging rights. You read articles published by this website religiously, and believe you have acquired knowledge second to none. I can tell because there's a list of all your computer components at the at the bottom of each of your posts (who cares?).. I can also tell your reply is likely to say something along the lines how you are employed by a ginormous software developer and secretly working for the NSA.

I could go on and on typing non-sense walls of text, just like you. pew pew pew!


System design principals are not assumptions, sorry to disappoint you.. Spend your money how you wish, as it really is not my call. I don't really understand why you would ask a question only to ignore opinions you didn't already hold.. If you were dead set on buying a card I told you my 2 (maybe more than that) cents on what is best if you MUST purchase a gpu.. be warned that it is not the best expense of money. If you don't, and in fact refuse, to understand how basic systems should be put together I don't particularly give a sh$t. Just because one does not understand a point does not make it nonsense.. intelligent folks would counter point arguments, though resorting to baseless claims of my personal arrogance as is the usual fundy line of reasoning I get a lot.

If you understood forum etiquette you would know that my specs are listed as it eases troubleshooting should I have a question.. being a hardware forum it kind of helps for people to know what one is using when they ask for advice.. as most cannot find the "member configuration" button... but go on thinking what you will. it is your right I suppose.

I'm sorry your bias of grandeur gets in the way of your conversations.... I may have given a lot of text that perhaps you don't care about.. but in the end I was trying to thoroughly answer the question I assumed you were curious about.. In the future.. if you don't care, don't bother asking a question. If you have already formulated an opinion then say so.. "I don't care if it is not a wise upgrade, I want a GPU. Which one should I get?" would have been a good first response, rather than making me think you might have a semblance reasoning ability.

I must admit, your ability to be confounded by English astounds me.. I did enjoy your assumptions on my life though.. However I don't really understand why my interest in computer hardware offends you.. Though as the saying goes.. never argue with a fool for he will bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.

By the way.. I'm a physicist, I do not work for a software company, I work in nuclear research.. Your poor ability on human interaction betray your lack of interpersonal skills. Come on up to Petawawa and I'll buy you a beer.. could do you good.

Cheers sir, I hope you put a computer upgrade together you are indeed happy with.

Ya, that was another wall of text.. sue me for being talkative.
August 22, 2009 6:49:18 PM

Just so you know, Neuspeed, daedalus is a pretty smart guy, and everything he's said here is pretty dead-on. Hence why I haven't said anything. And most regulars have their computer specs in the signature, too. Read around a little if you don't believe me, it's not just people with good rigs, people with older computers do it, too.

And before you say anything about me, personally, I'm going into my senior year of Computer Engineering (so that would be hardware work, not software).
a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2009 7:05:35 PM

I don't mean to be but you ask people for help on if it would be a wise choice and when they tell you how it works and why a new mobo and CPU would benefit you more you complain they are giving "walls of text" that is call information, solid well thought about information to help you.

What it comes down to is yes. You should see some improvements with higher memory speeds like when you overclocked BUT that same speed on a new motherboard and CPU could be amazingly better. Your bottlenecking, an other words you aren't getting the full performance your card is giving you. You might see 1% when you really should be seeing 5%.
a b U Graphics card
August 23, 2009 12:14:51 AM

I agree with everyone else...

And you should accept any help you can get, rather than asking for help and then disagreeing. The point of asking is to get the persons opinion, and if you don't value their opinion, you shouldn't be posting here in the first place.
August 23, 2009 2:33:00 PM

I still use a socket 939(opteron 185) with a 7800GTX sli set up. I am still thinking how to upgrade myself(after 2 years). It really depands on what you want to spend. even though my mobo is a pcie 1.0a I could run sli'ed GTX295. But is it worth it? My opinion would be to get a GTX275 before a sli of 2 GTS250's for today. But when DX11 comes out in 2 months the prices are going to drop big time on current tech. my current problem is UT3, my cards can't do it at 1920 x 1200 fully maxed. The one advantage for say having a GTX285 is that when you see a slow down you know its not the video card, its the CPU or other mobo limitations. Spending 200 or 300 dollars is different then spending $800 or more on a new system.
!