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Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2H Crossfire question

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August 21, 2010 11:41:13 PM

Hello

I have played video games since I was 5.... I'm 33 now, married 2 kids blah blah blah. And for the majority of this time iv'e always been a console gamer as I was scared about the whole PC scene in general.

So I took the plunge and built a PC at my local store. I built the pc in the shop with assistance so I couldn't do anything wrong (free of charge also) the original specs I was aiming at where a little high, so the assistant scaled down my option to suit my needs. (this again was excellent service)

The wife wasn't happy about me spending a load of cash on a new toy for myself but went along with it. However after only owning it for 2 months iv'e got the "needs more power" vibe and want to upgrade my graphics.

My specs are as follows

OP : Windows 7 64 bit
Board : Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2H
CPU : Intel i5 650 3.2 Ghz stock speed, running at 3.4 Ghz minor change to BCLK in bios
RAM : 4GB DDR3 1333Mhz Sorry cant think of the name here
PSU : 800W Cant think of the name again but cost around £65 and was heavy (I'll open my case later and write it down)
evo labs 800t i think
GPU : Powercolor HD 5770 1GB DDR5 uncased version big visable fan, mild overclock using ccc 865 core 1320 mem. No volatge tweaks or anything complicated


I want to run games in there highest settings, and I thought I would be able to do so with the set up I bought. I now realsie why you can get carried away and spend a fortune getting those extra few fps :) 

Currently I can run Crysis warhead in 1920x1080 with a mix of high to very high settings, with no AA and no AF at around 30fps.
Most other games dont seem to be a problem but I wish to be able to tick all the boxes if possible. so... I have a couple of options

1. Can I buy another Powercolor 5770 and run crossfire with my set up PCI-E X16 +X4. Will this improve my fps and graphic options greatly on the current board etc
2. Do I actually listen to the wife for once and wait for the 5870 to drop in price and upgrade later?

Sorry if iv'e missed anything or waffled on to much. Please help me out here

Many thanks
a b V Motherboard
August 22, 2010 5:32:05 AM

That article is not as useful for an H55/H57 motherboard, or a P55 motherboard that only offers lanes at x16, x4. The reason is that second slot, the x4 slot, doesn't run at the full PCIe 2.0 spec. The transfer rate of PCIe 2.0 is 5.0 GT/s, the rate of PCIe 1.x is 2.5 GT/s. So that second slot you would be sticking a card into is not running PCIe 2.0 x4 and is not directly comparable to the article. http://www.intel.com/Assets/PDF/prodbrief/323192.pdf

See what used 5770s are going for (i.e. if you sell yours) and watch for sales on 5870s. Unless a few more fps in Crysis is that important to you.

There are articles about that gimped x4 slot out there. I only turned up one in a quick search but I'll share the link and the quote worth noting (yes I know this is P55 and you have an H55; same transfer rate limitation):
Quote:
Less surprising was the horrific performance of the x4 slot available on many P55 motherboards through the chipset’s PCIe hub. These lanes offer only PCIe 1.1-class bandwidth regardless of their PCIe 2.0 labeling, dropping 26% behind even the x4 slot available on similarly-priced X58 motherboards. A slot that slow might be useful for adding a graphics card, but only if that card is used for lower-performance applications, such as a dedicated PhysX processor or 2D desktop expansion.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/p55-pci-express-sca...
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a b V Motherboard
August 22, 2010 4:13:25 PM

I would suggest with your setup if a 5770 won't let you run enough eye candy, you are going to have to swallow hard and spend some money. The 5770's are great cards for the money. That is the kicker here, the part about "for the money". They are inexpensive, so.....well, you know you kinda get what you pay for, and with the 5770 you definitely do get what you pay for, you just aren't really paying for all that much, if you really stand back and look it for what it is.
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August 22, 2010 4:30:32 PM

Thank you for your comments all

I'm very happy to be able to play PC games at last, there is a lot to catch up on. And the system itself will be able to play them, just not quite as high as I originally thought. At the end of the day it took some serious brownie points to buy my first PC for gaming so I should be happy lol

So I have decided agaisnt the crossfire idea, but might think of upgrading my card in a year or so if needed :) 
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