Two cheap cards in SLI or one more expensive card?

I'm currently speccing up a new PC based around the i5 750. My only question is to do with what graphics card to get. Will I get better performance from a more powerful expensive card than two cheaper cards in SLI / Crossfire mode?

I'm looking at either two nvidia 9600GT cards, or two ATI HD4650 cards. These both work out at about £70 for the pair, so the alternative to the two cards is something like the GeForce GTS 250 which is similarly priced.

Which combination would you get?
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  1. ati has the best cards @ the moment
  2. The GTS 250 is the better of those three.
  3. and the 4850 is better than the gts250
  4. The 4850 is not mentioned in the OP, the GTS 250 is.
  5. Typically one single powerful card is better than multiple/SLI with lesser cards. Not every game (Age of Conan as example) likes CrossFire or SLI. Some games get better SLI perks than others.

    Of the ones you listed, I'd vote for the GTS 250. In today's game market, I'd do nothing less than that.
  6. 4850 performs basically the same as the GTS250, which is basically a 9800GTX/GTX+

    The 4850 is about equal to a 9800GTX+, slightly better than a 9800GTX (1%), and slightly worse than a GTS250 (1%).
  7. Thanks for all the info.

    I'm thinking I'll go for the 1GB HD4850 then.

    I currently have an Enermax 550W PSU that I bought about 6 years ago. Great PSU, but obviously doesn't have the PCI-E power connectors, will I need one of these: ? to get the card to work?
  8. Obviously you will be playing games, but what resolution is your monitor and do you plan on upgrading it?
    The GTS250 is the best option but I cannot help but feel you should wait until the 57xx series is released and reviewed before finalising this build: It seems a shame to put a 'obsolete' DX10 card into a new build when the new DX11 parts are only a few days away.
    Yes, you will need the converter, but most, if not all, retail packages contain the converter/s needed, so no need to get another.
    Does that PSU have the right MB connectors? Most new 'boards need a 24 pin and an 8 pin to run them.
    Another point on the PSU is its age: All units deteriorate with the passage of time and I would be reluctant to install an already old unit into a new build, particularly if you are going to load up an output with a fairly heavy draw from a powerful graphics card. I strongly advise you to get a new PSU.
  9. I will be playing a few games, but not many really, but I'd like to play some occasionally and not be that hindered by the graphics card - which is why I don't want to spend a fortune on it. I currently have a 24" Dell monitor running at 1920x1200 which would be nice to play games at that res. I also do a lot of photo editing with large 12MP RAW files.

    I currently have an old rig (AMD XP 3200+ and 2GB of DDR400 memory) that I've had for about 5 years. I'd like this upgrade to last the same amount of time. I wasn't planning on getting the new rig until Win7 is released (and I've been paid), so I might be able to wait until there are DX11 cards, assuming they're in the similar price range.

    I didn't realize mobo power connectors had changed. I know they've gotten cheaper (mine cost me about £150 back in the day) Could be worth it just to get a quieter one.
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