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.
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.
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, http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWebSite/Products/ProductsDetai... I bought don't fit side by side. 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....
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).
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!