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Which SLI for the money and future proofing?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 18, 2009 1:40:10 AM

I'm building a new system on a budget (preferably ~ $1500 but I could go a little higher if it's really justified). I've spent a week pouring over reviews, forums, and comparison charts and while it's helped me understand where each card stands in the pecking order, I'm still torn on what's the best choice for the money. :( 

End of the day, I'm doing my best within my budget to future proof my system as much as possible. I could get a single GTX 260 now and play most games and save money and PCI slots but its not going to keep up with games for long. My logic from researching this is that a SLI rig is overkill now but the extra processing will keep the rig competitive longer. So far so good? :bounce: 

If so, then here are my main issues then:

1) With DX11 cards coming out, do I max out my budget now with 2 GTX 275 in SLI (better performance than the GTX295 for less $$)? I tend to think that DX11 cards will not improve performance that much over the current high end and SLI/Xfire possibilities. The only advantage is having access to DX11 but I doubt DX11 will really become mainstream for a while. So for this one I tend to say DX11 is not that important a factor. UNLESS the arrival of DX11 cards push current DX10 card prices down. IF so, then THAT might be worth the wait. Thoughts on these points?

2) 2 GTX 275 in SLI is the most I can afford. Is the performance gain over 2 260 Core 216s in SLI worth the price difference?

3) Do 2 260 Core 216s in SLI significantly outperform 2 GTX 260s in SLI? If not, should I just go with the 260s since they're cheaper?

4) How does overclocking impact any of these card combinations so far? In other words, will OC the 275s put them in a league so high that it justifies the price as they will provide the best future proofing I can afford? Or will OC the straight 260s make them competitive with the 275s stock in SLI (which is pretty freaking good!). :love: 

Any other suggestions or help for a noob? Am I looking at the right cards for my system specs and based on my budget and goal of trying to future proof my rig as much as possible? Have I missed anything?

In addition to future proofing, my wife would also like it to be as small and quiet as possible. LOL :lol: 

Case: Antec P180 Mini
CPU: Core I7 920 3.6GHz
Motherboard: MSI X58M
PSU: Corsair CMPSU-750TX
RAM: 6GB Corsair XMS DDR3 1600
HDD: WD Caviar Black 1TB X2 in RAID-0
Graphics: ???????

Apologies for what I'm sure is a fairly beginner post. It's my first entry into graphic cards and first time posting anywhere. Thanks! :hello: 
September 18, 2009 2:06:37 AM

Another aspect to question 4 is, is it worth spending more for a factory OC card or should I buy the cheaper stock card and OC it myself?

Also, and lastly, for whichever SLI/card you recommend for my dillemma, would you also please provide a brand you recommend? With 6 or more variations of each 260, 260 Core 216, and 275, I'd appreciate your insight and experience with which one will serve me best, let me OC it best, and provide the best warranty/features.

Thanks again everyone!!! Eagerly awaiting your responses.
a c 202 U Graphics card
September 18, 2009 2:18:52 AM

Definitely wait for the 58xx cards from ATI in a few days, they will cost about as much as 2 GTX275's but should perform equally with lower power consumption. They may even come out cheaper.

Im not sure what you are asking with question 3, there are 2 forms of the GTX260, one is labeled the core 216 because it has 216SP vs the originals 192SP, so yes a 216 will significantly out perform a 192 in SLI, but if you are just looking at ones that have different labels there may not be a difference. Always check the detailed specs.
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