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Is triple SLI worth it?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
November 19, 2009 12:22:54 PM

I recently built myself a new computer. (i7 920, 12 GB RAM, Gigabyte X58-Extreme Mainboard), but i did not purchase the graphic card yet (i'm running it on my old ATI x1650x as of now, and gaming just hurts.). I was considering waiting for the new 3 series Nvidias, but I decided to buy a 2 series card. The reason being that 3 series will probably arrive to Peru probably 3 or 4 months after they come out in the US, and even then i'd probably feel better with a platform that is already proven to be bug free. Right now 2 series cards are mature and at good price compared to ATI 58x0s.

For almost the same price I can get 1 GTX295 ($720), 2x GTX275 (total $600), and 3x GTS250 (total $650) the GTX260 doesn't come to peru). So far I'm eyeing the 2x GTX275 as the option since it's the cheapest (and because the charts show that 2x GTX275 is better than 1x GTX 295).

The setup would require 2 monitors Samsung P2270. I've been trying to save up for a gorgeous 30" monitor.

Typical use for my pc is work and games. I spend most of my day with autocad (just 2D drawings), CorelDRAW, filemaker pro 10. and what little time I get to play it's UT3, diablo, WOW, Simcity 4. I'm into FPS and car games.

any thoughts? Thank you.

More about : triple sli worth

November 19, 2009 12:32:30 PM

GTX 275 in SLI is your best option but you might have some problems in some games at 2500x1600 due to the lower 896MB memory.

Best solution

a b Î Nvidia
November 19, 2009 12:38:52 PM

I always suggest trying to run the fewest number of cards to get the performance you demand. When you have 2 cards you have to worry about heat issues. When you add 3 cards you REALLY have to worry about heat issues. My buddy had an 780i motherboard with (3) 8800GTX cards in a huge full size case and it created alot of heat. He evened up zip tieing a 120mm fan facing directly over all 3 to blow the heat out, and he had to remove the side of the case. Also, on that 780i motherboard the performance from 2 to 3 cards was virtually nothing. HOWEVER, not to long after that he upgraded to an i7 with an x58 chipset(obviously). With 3 cards in this setup the difference between 2 and 3 cards was MUCH different. There was a good improvement. So the x58 chipset DOES benefit from 2 to 3 cards. With that said, you will STILL have to compete with the heat. The bottom card run pretty cool, the middle card will run much hotter, and the top card will run ALOT hotter. That is the issue with multiple cards. I had the issue running 2 4870's in crossfire. The top card hit 100C+ in gaming and crashed the drivers and game. The bottom card ran pretty normal.

My suggestion is get the best single card you can for your budget. If you get 2 cards, I would suggest making sure you have a case and cooling to accommodate it. And I would NEVER recommend tri-SLI because its a pain in the arse.
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November 19, 2009 12:44:32 PM

Thanks for the info. I did think about the heat issue, but i didn't think it would be so serious.

I have a Cosmos S with the huge 220 mm fan on the side. I hope that would be enough for whatever i put in.
a b Î Nvidia
November 19, 2009 12:48:23 PM

Heat will be your biggest issue. and making sure your PSU can handle it. On a x58 board the performance should be good.
November 19, 2009 2:20:09 PM

If you have money to burn then yes, if not then don't even bother. You will need massive airflow and low ambient temps just for normal operation.

November 19, 2009 2:39:05 PM

Thanks everyone. I'll go for the dual GTX275. My case with all its fans can probably handle that.
a b Î Nvidia
November 19, 2009 2:42:27 PM

^ Mostly likely you are good. It seems people have more issues with cards that have coolers that don't exhaust the hot air out of the case.
November 19, 2009 2:46:53 PM

yep^^, i had dual 250's in SLI not too long ago and they ran pretty cool for a dual GPU setup....
November 20, 2009 2:01:48 AM

I'm disappointed. I just tried to install the 2 GTX275's I bought from the store, only to find out that the ECS brand, model NBGTX275-896MX-F, I bought don't fit side by side. :fou:  The coolers that come with the card are extra thick, it turns out the card would occupy the equivalent of 2.5 slots. So i thought to just go for installing it in one of the 16x slots and the other on the 8x slot, but it turns out the 8x slot is too close to the PSU that it won't fit... Argh.

So either I buy the dual GTX275 in Gigabyte Brand for $690 (which seem to have the usual coolers and slimmer size) or the GTX295 for $720....
November 20, 2009 1:28:01 PM

Where do you live??^^

720.00$ for a 295??
November 20, 2009 1:39:24 PM

Peru. Prices include our lovely 19% sales tax. I definitely think i need a cheaper hobby. :p 
November 20, 2009 1:51:46 PM

Peru.... ahh I have a few friends here at work that are from Lima .....

Anyways as far as the cards go, I would get the dual 275's just cause you might be able to sell one of them in the future if not needed.

Is there a reason why the cards have to be Nvidia? Have you looked at the 5870?
November 20, 2009 2:05:57 PM

ATI's have 5xx0 series haven't arrived yet. My supplier has been claiming they would be a arriving since late october. Last update said they'd be in by december 15th at a starting price of $540-580 (for the ATI 5850), i have my doubts they'll be in by that date.

With that in mind i'd rather stick to the 2 nvidia GTX275s which should prove easier to sell if i want to upgrade to the nvidia 3 series (which i assume will probably start arriving here in the later half of 2010).
November 20, 2009 2:09:50 PM

OvrClkr: I'm curious, you said you had dual 250s, but now you have a GTX 260. what made you take the decision to go from dual SLI to single card?
November 20, 2009 2:12:12 PM

Well let us know how it goes after installation =)
November 20, 2009 3:17:57 PM

I think the temp issues are being greatly overstated here if you have a case that is worth a crap. older cards yes, dual 295's, yes, dual 4870x2's yes. a pair of 275's or 260's isn't going to be an issue if you have a decent power supply. dont even bother with the 8800GTs, i mean 9800, i mean the 250! thats its name today!
November 20, 2009 3:23:05 PM

azndood79 said:
OvrClkr: I'm curious, you said you had dual 250s, but now you have a GTX 260. what made you take the decision to go from dual SLI to single card?

Yea cause I was low on cash and had a buyer on ebay that was willing to pay 275.00$ for both cards. They were pratically brand new at the time, still under lifetime warranty as well.

Then I had a third GTS 250 (1BG) that was installed in a used Dell XPS at home and I traded it in for the GTX 260 I have now..(BFG trage up program)