Sign-in / Sign-up
Your question

Is this worth it? SLI vs 5xxx series. -Updated-

Tags:
  • Graphics Cards
  • Gtx
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics Cards
September 30, 2009 8:29:56 PM

Hey, I'm thinking of getting my cousin a new 5xxx series card for his birthday in a little less than a month. However, I'm not sure whether the 5870 is worth it over the 5850 or if either are worth it over his current setup.

His rig (made by me):
E6750 @ 3.2 Ghz (possibly 3.6 again if I can get it back up there)
4GB of G.skill DDR2
XFX 680i LT
2x EVGA 8800 GTS 512mb

So am I far off to assume that the 2 8800 GTS 512s in his rig is slightly lower than a single GTX 275? When the GTX 280 came out it wasn't quite as fast but the extra memory and the newer drivers should have pushed the GTX 280 well above them and the GTX 275 is very similar.

Thanks to the limited memory and bandwidth he can't play any game with AA at his native res 1920x1200 and Crysis is only really playable at medium at his native res which has always seemed odd to me. Also Fallout 3 maxed at that res hitches a bit even without Vsync or AA, which always seemed odd to me aswell but I chocked that up to low memory bandwidth/VRAM and low minimum framerates thanks to SLI.

So do you think a 5850 would be a large increase in performance, do you think the 5870 would be a far more substantial upgrade, or do you think neither is much of an upgrade? I have a feeling that it should add a good 30% boost without AA, but far more, in the range of 50%+, with AA enabled. Am I right or am I overestimating the 5xxx series or underestimating the 8800 GTS 512s. I think the low memory bandwidth, VRAM, and the SLI problems have made his setup close to being inbetween a GTX 260 and a GTX 275. Though i have also seen people compare the GTX 260 very favorably to this setup as well, so I don't think it is just me.

Also do you think that processor will bottleneck his cards? At 3.2 Ghz playing at 1920x1200 shouldn't be a problem and the high res gaming should nullify any short comings of the CPU in every game except for GTA 4.

Thanks for any help, I can't make up my mind on this present.

More about : worth sli 5xxx series updated

a b U Graphics card
September 30, 2009 8:35:09 PM

His rig has some driver issues or something.

The 8800GTS 512mb is a G92 card that is almost equal to a 9800GTX.

8800GTS 320/640 < 8800GT/9800GT < 8800GTS 512 ~/< 9800GTX/GTX+/GTS250

Two 9800GTXs are better than a GTX285.

Your cousin's rig should be able to handle any game except Crysis at nearly max at 1920x1080.


Realistically, since a 5850 performs maybe 20-30% better than a GTX285, and 2x8800GTS 512's also perform 20-30% better, there wouldn't be any improvement by upgrading to a 5850.

There is something wrong with the drivers I'd say...
m
0
l
September 30, 2009 8:49:36 PM

I see your point and I have wondered at it myself, but when I test it via the Far Cry 2 benchmark it scores the same as a GTX 280 which is about right. You must remember 1920x1200 is a high resolution for 512mb of GDDR3 on a small 256-bit bandwidth. The G200s are limited by a 1GB 512-bit bandwidth in some instances!

When at 1280x768 Crysis can be run on high with very high textures, that is about right.

I thought something was wrong too and kept the PC for weeks of full blown testing until I found nothing wrong. All drivers were fine, re-installations of windows did nothing, upgraded the memory, tested the hard drive, prime95'd the CPU to death, used OCCT and 3dmark vantage to test the graphics, but it all ended up correct.

Also if you look online there are copious amounts of 8800 GTS 512 SLI vs GTX 260 and the general consensus is usually the GTX 260 for more $. That said I don't have a good way to test the performance difference.

Also he went from around 1200 to 1600 points in 3dmark06 with SLI.
m
0
l
Related resources
September 30, 2009 9:28:47 PM

It will come down to the motherboard on this one. CF vrs SLI, Future gaming, Upgrading, Money...
m
0
l
September 30, 2009 9:34:57 PM

There will be very little gain for the amount of money you spend upgrading. Better off buying two for CF, but motherboard is Nnivida, so it comes down to your cousins mobo
m
0
l
September 30, 2009 10:19:33 PM

True but a heavily overclocked 5850 and a 5870 can play Crysis at 1920x1200 on very high with some small AA, that's a hell of a lot better than he can. After thinking a bit, I'm starting to think something is wrong again. Does my listed performance for his setup really sound that low?
m
0
l
September 30, 2009 10:33:11 PM

I agree - the pair of 8800GTS's aren't acting like they should.

My single 8800M GTX is comparable to somewhere in between an 8800GT and a 512 GTS, and it plays Crysis about the same as that setup, and Fallout 3 at a solid 50fps at 1920x1200. Two 8800GTS's should do far better.

Play with the setup for a while, see if you can get it straightened out. If not, I think the 5870 is the better option.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
September 30, 2009 11:05:54 PM

Some (random thought) things to consider.

Those 8800s dont have much RAM so you should get much better performance with AA/AF turned off. SLI would effectively divide the RAM by 2 making the problem worse.

Did you try the same games with a single 8800 to see if you get better or worse performance?

It doesnt look like that motherboard is capable of crossfire.

If the motherboard/CPU is limiting the 8800s performance, a 5850 or even a 5870 wont give you much benefit.

If buying a 5850 results in good performance, is it worth spending any more time messing around with the old 8800s? You at least get future capability for multiple monitors and DX11.

m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
September 30, 2009 11:21:55 PM

Sli doesn't actually divide the RAM by two. The end result is still the same amount of RAM as a single card.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
September 30, 2009 11:22:59 PM

I really do think we're seeing a cpu bottleneck here.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
September 30, 2009 11:31:35 PM

Bluescreendeath said:
Sli doesn't actually divide the RAM by two. The end result is still the same amount of RAM as a single card.

The RAM per GPU is half as much, which should make the AA/AF resource problem worse. Every x2 GPU made has twice the RAM of the single core GPU for a reason.

My single core 9800 GTX+ 512MB gets large improvements (like going from 30-35 FPS to 45-50 FPS) in many games when I turn the AA off. If I did SLI, it would make an even larger difference. Basically the lack of video RAM creates a severely diminishing return on GPU power. Going into the games custom graphics settings and further reducing features that are RAM intensive helps even more.
m
0
l
October 1, 2009 12:35:15 AM

Yeah I'll have him drop it off tomorrow morning and I should have some opinions by the night. Also that 680i LT is a piece anyway and I'm not worried about him finding another, I have an X38 laying around here somewhere.

I'm thinking I need to test the slave card (2nd in SLI) by itself to make sure it is pulling it's own weight.

Thanks for the help guys.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 1:28:41 AM

dndhatcher said:
The RAM per GPU is half as much, which should make the AA/AF resource problem worse. Every x2 GPU made has twice the RAM of the single core GPU for a reason.

My single core 9800 GTX+ 512MB gets large improvements (like going from 30-35 FPS to 45-50 FPS) in many games when I turn the AA off. If I did SLI, it would make an even larger difference. Basically the lack of video RAM creates a severely diminishing return on GPU power. Going into the games custom graphics settings and further reducing features that are RAM intensive helps even more.



2x9800GTXs with 512mb = 1GB, divide that by 2 and you get 512mb...the same as a single GPU

ATI x2 GPUs actually have the same amount of RAM as two regular GPUs in crossfire.

4850x2 with 1GB basically means each GPU has 512mb, combined equaling 1GB. 4850x2 1GB = same amount of VRAM as 2x4850s w/ 512mb each.

That's why there is a 2GB version of the 4850x2...that is the version with twice the RAM.
m
0
l
a c 332 U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 1:45:25 AM

The_Blood_Raven said:
After thinking a bit, I'm starting to think something is wrong again. Does my listed performance for his setup really sound that low?


Yes, I have a pair of 8800GT's and they run flawlessly at 19 x 10, the XFX 680i LT was not one of the better 680i boards IMHO.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 1:51:07 AM

I'm telling ya the cpu isn't up to it.
m
0
l
October 1, 2009 2:53:57 AM

Also Monk is running a stock E8400 (I think I remember it being stock in an other thread) and he is doing better with 8800 GT's.

To be honest I compared it to 2 4850s and didn't see much of a difference but I guess I expected the 4850 to be a good bit faster and it isn't great in Crysis. Going by benchmarks I can see 2 4850s don't do all that hot in Crysis, but they do a hell of a lot better in other games.
m
0
l
a c 332 U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 2:57:36 AM

The_Blood_Raven said:
Also Monk is running a stock E8400 (I think I remember it being stock in an other thread)

It is indeed @ the bog stock 3ghz sir.
m
0
l
October 1, 2009 3:07:31 AM

Yeah and an E6750 @3.2-3.6 Ghz should be atleast able to match an E8400 t stock.

Edit: By the way it took me a good 5 minutes to understand the 1.1 TB hard drive array... nice!
m
0
l
a c 332 U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 3:12:41 AM

It's not a RAID array, just 4 drives totalling 1.1 TB storage.
m
0
l
October 1, 2009 3:20:29 AM

Is the SLi bridge plugged in securely? Even if it's not, most of the time the drivers still let you enable SLi. I know it's a noob thing, but you never know, it might be broken or something. Might even want to examine the traces on the connector.

You said it went from 1200 to 1600 in 3d mark? Do you mean 12000 to 16000? If not, then there is most definitely something seriously wrong lol...

You might also want to check the pcie clock rate in the bios, it's probably a set multiplier of the FSB, but it might be changable, who knows...

Mousemonkey said:
Yes, I have a pair of 8800GT's and they run flawlessly at 19 x 10, the XFX 680i LT was not one of the better 680i boards IMHO.



What CPU are you using? He's got a dual core, so if you have a higher end C2Q or PII then he has his answer.
m
0
l
a c 332 U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 3:23:23 AM

HibyPrime said:
What CPU are you using? He's got a dual core, so if you have a higher end C2Q or PII then he has his answer.

An E8400 @ 3ghz as the 680i does not play well with the 45nm Quads.
m
0
l
October 1, 2009 3:30:30 AM

Mousemonkey said:
An E8400 @ 3ghz as the 680i does not play well with the 45nm Quads.


Well that rules out his chipset and CPU.

Odd indeed.
m
0
l
a c 332 U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 3:48:38 AM

When the 680i was in it's prime I spoke with a few vendors who refused to stock the XFX 680i boards due to the failure rate they had experienced, which makes me wonder it they are one of the partners that skimped on the amount of layers used in the boards construction.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 4:10:03 AM

SLI is working, right? My old Asus SLI board got this weird glitch where it would detect the second card only about 10% of the time, though it ran fine otherwise. Of course a quick call to Asus got that fixed, and while this probably isn't your problem, it does go to show that you can have board partial failures without entire computer failures.

Edit: And just to note, even though that board is 5+ years old it is going strong still!
m
0
l
October 1, 2009 10:45:03 AM

HibyPrime said:

You said it went from 1200 to 1600 in 3d mark? Do you mean 12000 to 16000? If not, then there is most definitely something seriously wrong lol...

You might also want to check the pcie clock rate in the bios, it's probably a set multiplier of the FSB, but it might be changable, who knows...


Ah found my typo, yes I meant 12000 to 160000. I am thinking it is a video card problem, I need to test the slave card individually because it isn't always tested when OCCT is used. Also I just booted up some Crysis on my mother's GTX 285, yeah their is something wrong with his results.
m
0
l
October 1, 2009 4:49:39 PM

Bluescreendeath said:
2x9800GTXs with 512mb = 1GB, divide that by 2 and you get 512mb...the same as a single GPU

ATI x2 GPUs actually have the same amount of RAM as two regular GPUs in crossfire.

4850x2 with 1GB basically means each GPU has 512mb, combined equaling 1GB. 4850x2 1GB = same amount of VRAM as 2x4850s w/ 512mb each.

That's why there is a 2GB version of the 4850x2...that is the version with twice the RAM.



This man is correct. Your ram does not double, it is exactly what one card is. I run two 8800gtx's which is actually a generation older than the other ones, and I have no problem running Crysis at 1920x1200 on a mix of enthusiast settings and gamer settings, aa off.

And as for what the other guy said about one card sometimes "being faster than two because the ram splits in half"....that is hogwash.
m
0
l
October 1, 2009 5:17:53 PM

The_Blood_Raven said:
Ah found my typo, yes I meant 12000 to 160000. I am thinking it is a video card problem, I need to test the slave card individually because it isn't always tested when OCCT is used. Also I just booted up some Crysis on my mother's GTX 285, yeah their is something wrong with his results.



Oh the irony lol... 12000 to 160 000? holy ***, thats a monter of an SLi setup! :p 

I'm just messing with you.. ignore me...
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 5:47:46 PM

hypocrisyforever said:
And as for what the other guy said about one card sometimes "being faster than two because the ram splits in half"....that is hogwash.
Thats not what I said. I said AA makes the diminishing return stronger. Two card should always be at least as fast as one at the same settings. There are some games that do run faster if you shut one card off, but that has nothing to do with RAM.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-ram-4870,2...
The bigger your screen size and smaller your ram, the worse AA knocks down your FPS.

I was pretty sure in SLI the memory is mirrored not added so it really works more like an 8800x2 card with only 512MB RAM, not 1GB.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/245454-33-crossfire-f...
Look around the middle where it talks about doubling memory. It doesnt.
m
0
l
October 1, 2009 5:53:40 PM

i wish i were ur cousin :( 
m
0
l
October 1, 2009 6:18:26 PM

I'm sure you've tried these, but worth mentioning:
1. Check for a BIOS update
2. Re-seat the cards, and SLI connector

FWIW, I score about 16000 - 17000 (depending on the clocks) in 36Mark06 with Crossfire'd 4870s, about the same score as the machine in question.

Crossfire 4870s are about the same as a 4870X2 (roughly)

According to this chart:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5850,2433...

the 4870x2 (and perhaps by extension 8800GTS SLI) appear a little faster than the 5850.

I doubt going from 8800GTS SLI to a 5850 would be much (if any improvement) at least in Crysis.


m
0
l
October 1, 2009 8:06:58 PM

HibyPrime said:
Oh the irony lol... 12000 to 160 000? holy ***, thats a monter of an SLi setup! :p 

I'm just messing with you.. ignore me...


Damn it, this is what happens when you type on an Archos 5...
m
0
l
October 1, 2009 8:07:59 PM

rescawen said:
i wish i were ur cousin :( 


Yeah my family is all pretty much worthless, but he is a good kid and really does deserve it so all my birthday/christmas shopping for my outer family goes to him. :D 
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 8:46:43 PM

dndhatcher said:
Thats not what I said. I said AA makes the diminishing return stronger. Two card should always be at least as fast as one at the same settings. There are some games that do run faster if you shut one card off, but that has nothing to do with RAM.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-ram-4870,2...
The bigger your screen size and smaller your ram, the worse AA knocks down your FPS.

I was pretty sure in SLI the memory is mirrored not added so it really works more like an 8800x2 card with only 512MB RAM, not 1GB.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/245454-33-crossfire-f...
Look around the middle where it talks about doubling memory. It doesnt.



1. In an Sli supported game, SLi with more than 1 card will always be better than a single card...no matter the AA, resolution, settings, etc

2. The only time when 2xcards in Sli is worse than 1 card is if a game doesn't support SLi or it has bad drivers.

3. Sli/Xfire, the memory is added together, but each card still has access to its original VRAM. 4850x2 with 1GB means each card has 512mb of RAM. That is where there is a 4850x2 with 2GB.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 9:00:30 PM

Bluescreendeath said:
1. In an Sli supported game, SLi with more than 1 card will always be better than a single card...no matter the AA, resolution, settings, etc

2. The only time when 2xcards in Sli is worse than 1 card is if a game doesn't support SLi or it has bad drivers.
Thats what I said. Your way is more clear, though. I reread the OP and he said he turns AA off anyway so its not an issue.

3. Sli/Xfire, the memory is added together, but each card still has access to its original VRAM. 4850x2 with 1GB means each card has 512mb of RAM. That is where there is a 4850x2 with 2GB. said:
3. Sli/Xfire, the memory is added together, but each card still has access to its original VRAM. 4850x2 with 1GB means each card has 512mb of RAM. That is where there is a 4850x2 with 2GB.
So the x2 cards do the same kind of memory splitting as xfire/sli. Thanks for clarifying. There are so many contradicting explanations of how that works.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 9:08:45 PM

^ Aye no problem.

I was also confused at first by the video RAM issue in x2 cards - before I found out x2 cards are basically just two Sli/Xfire GPU cores in a single card...basically just the same as regular Sli/Xfire.

and that the companies labeling it as "1 GB" was just a marketing gimmick...lol

XD
m
0
l
a c 176 U Graphics card
October 1, 2009 11:40:04 PM

I remember the old days of 3dfx ware each gpu in sli had unique data rather than a mirror in todays cards and one card would draw evens while the other did odds (old sli would draw lines of pixels before being sync for display . Later the era of the quantum3d cards.





Well thats it for the history lesson, on the 8800gts 512 the frame buffer is to small for that res so any thing with a 1gb over 256/512bit would make nice improvements. I would also suggest ditching the board since it is holding back any future upgrades so any cheap 780i or p45 board will do for any multi gpu setup while providing a better upgrade path for a new cpu in the future if wanted/needed.
m
0
l
October 2, 2009 12:12:41 AM

Well I got it over here and did some benchmarking in Crysis (there is something wrong with the Far Cry 2 installation and it instantly freezes):

Settings:
1920x1200 no AA/AF
High settings with Very High Shader and Texture quality.

Min. FPS: 15.08
Average FPS: 35.44
Maximum FPS: 51.52

Seems to me that the dual cards are destroying minimum FPS, but overall this is a decent set of results.
m
0
l
October 2, 2009 1:55:42 AM

Fallout 3 still hitches every once and a while maxed at 1920x1200 with no AA/AF, does this and the Crysis results seem normal?
m
0
l
a c 176 U Graphics card
October 2, 2009 2:04:01 AM

I don't know what to tell you then but you could check to see if the cpu is heavily loaded and check the ram timings since that has quite the impact. By adjusting I got better fps in gta iv and crysis. So make sure it is nothing else like the board or very high temps. If every thing checks out as it has you are left with no option to upgrade the gpu with out down scaling the res on that monitor. 512mb at 1900/1280 is suicide even with the G80 boards that was not a good idea and the GTX295 tops out in that area with out a major loss in fps so long it didn't go above. High res gaming is limited to frame buffer and fill rate so a simple 5850 or a GTX275 would be a worth while upgrade with out the complications. With such cards I wouldn't go above 1600/1280.
m
0
l
October 2, 2009 10:43:33 AM

Well I got up early (here) a redid the testing by slapping in my mother's GTX 285 and it does about the same, but without the huge framerate drops that I attribute to SLI. Still, I'm going to put some time aside later to play Crysis with those 8800s and see how it goes.
m
0
l
October 3, 2009 2:29:51 PM

Well I just read some reviews and I see that 2 GTX 260 core 216s in SLI are slightly below a single GTX 295, slightly below a 5870 aswell. Are you telling me that upgrading from 2 8800 GTS 512mbs to 2 GTX 260s + a bit of extra performance is NOT a good upgrade? I'm confused...
m
0
l
a c 332 U Graphics card
October 3, 2009 2:34:12 PM

From all the benchies I've seen it's not worth going lower than a pair of 275's from my GT's and I would put the GTS's slightly higher, so overall no not a good upgrade IMHO.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2009 6:17:54 AM

The_Blood_Raven said:
Well I just read some reviews and I see that 2 GTX 260 core 216s in SLI are slightly below a single GTX 295, slightly below a 5870 aswell. Are you telling me that upgrading from 2 8800 GTS 512mbs to 2 GTX 260s + a bit of extra performance is NOT a good upgrade? I'm confused...


Mousemonkey said:
From all the benchies I've seen it's not worth going lower than a pair of 275's from my GT's and I would put the GTS's slightly higher, so overall no not a good upgrade IMHO.
Thats how I read it also. Twin 260s would be maybe a 50% increase over twin 8800s. Twin 275s would be close to doubling the GPU power.

m
0
l