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9800GT in Sli or GTX 260/HD4860/4870

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February 27, 2010 1:51:42 PM

So I have a 9800GT 512Mb, the single slot energy efficient one from PNY. Microcenter has the 1Gb edition of the same card for around 90 bucks right now, and its a very tempting price to upgrade(I live near Cleveland, Ohio, so there is a b&m store). I have read varying reviews on several forums, including toms, either putting the 9800 SLi ahead of the GTX280 or somewhere slightly behind a GTX260. I am running an i7 920 so bottlenecking shouldn't be an issue, and both my PCI-e's run at the full x16. Since I already have a 9800 i'm leaning towards that route, but one of my friends has a 4860 and he's pretty happy with it. Another option, as long as it isn't too expensive, is to just get a higher end card and use the 9800 as a physx card, since that would probably be more valuable than trying to sell it for 40-50 bucks. A few questions are: How does the 4860 compare to the 4870 for around $40 less? Would I be able to use my 9800 as a Physx card with an Ati card? and if I got a higher end card, what is the improvement like for having a seperate Physx card when running the i7? I am aware that in the future I would have to replace both cards if I went with the Sli, but I would probably end up keeping one as a physx anyways, and do have other computers that could use a graphics card, so it wouldn't be a total loss. Also, my case is kinda cramped, another friend has a BFG 260 and it doesn't fit, but i dont know if there might be a smaller version of it? the 4860 does fit, however, figuring a case upgrade into the price right now might break the deal.

Sorry about the long post, I just wanted to cover everything in one post, even though i'm sure i'll be adding information later :lol: 
EDIT: yup, added info already. My monitor is 20" at 1600x900
a b U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 2:18:46 PM

Hey,

The biggest problem with SLI 9800GTs is that you would be limited to 512mb ram. On a medium sized monitor im not sure how much the SLI will help.

The 4860 is a crippled 4870--not a great deal unless its $120ish. Discussion here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/278618-33-4860-what

4850/4860 isnt that big of an upgrade from what you have--so I tend not to think it worthwhile. My advice is to either get a noticeable upgrade or save for when you can.

The value of PhyX is debatable. In games that are optimized for Nvidia it would give you better visuals/performance, but really only in those games..

If you were upgrading to a stronger card in a case that you think may be "cramped" I would strongly suggest you go for a newer card like a 5770--it will run a lot cooler and have performance similar to a 4870. Newegg has one for $142 after MIR right now.

I'm not sure I have a strong opinion either way on the options though-- the 9800GTs would be more powerful... but you dont really need it on a monitor that size, and the 5770 would offer DX 11.. etc. ..
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a c 271 U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 2:22:05 PM

deadlockedworld said:
The biggest problem with SLI 9800GTs is that you would be limited to 512mb ram.

I'm running SLi'd 8800GT's @19 x 10 and have had no issues with the supposed limitation of only having 512MB of RAM on the cards.
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February 27, 2010 2:28:27 PM

deadlockedworld said:
Hey,

The biggest problem with SLI 9800GTs is that you would be limited to 512mb ram. On a medium sized monitor im not sure how much the SLI will help..

The 4860 is a crippled 4870--not a great deal unless its $120ish. Discussion here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/278618-33-4860-what

If you were upgrading to a stronger card in a case that you think may be "cramped" I would strongly suggest you go for a newer card like a 5770--it will run a lot cooler and have performance similar to a 4870. Newegg has one for $142 after MIR right now.

The value of PhyX is debatable. In games that are optimized for Nvidia it would give you better visuals/performance, but really only in those games..

4850/4860 isnt that big of an upgrade from what you have--so I tend not to think it worthwhile. My advice is to either get a noticeable upgrade or save for when you can.


Yeah, I was figuring just wait until some new cards come out and maybe around fall of this year? get something that would be alot better, which would give me more time to save anyway. I was just wondering about all the intricacies of Sli and if that is a path you would even consider with those cards being so old. And would the 5770 be a viable choice now? I suppose I could always crossfire that in the future if I wanted more performance, and it would at least step me up to DX11. Any info/rumours floating around about what is around the bend for Ati or Nvidia?
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February 27, 2010 2:32:41 PM

Mousemonkey said:
I'm running SLi'd 8800GT's @19 x 10 and have had no issues with the supposed limitation of only having 512MB of RAM on the cards.

How do your like your setup? And how does it compare in actual games vs the other cards in question? Do you feel like you will need to be upgrading soon?
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a c 271 U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 2:50:05 PM

kyledoo said:
How do your like your setup? And how does it compare in actual games vs the other cards in question? Do you feel like you will need to be upgrading soon?

I have yet to have any problems with any game, the only game that dropped below 60fps was Crysis which is a special case in itself. If I could have picked up a pair of GTX275's for a reasonable amount then I would have done but as that didn't happen I'll stick with the 8800's until the second gen Fermi cards arrive as most games in the last three years have been DX9 titles and the few that have been DX10 have not been all that great. IMHO DX11 is going to take a little while before it becomes a 'must have' DX10.1 was stillborn and DX10 died with Vista.
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a c 172 U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 3:09:01 PM

I and mousemonkey can say this first hand that a G92 sli setups do very well even though my rig isn't perfect compared to others and I can play just about any game i please except GTA IV due to my cpu. As for Vram they can and do take advantage of 1GB but usually people only aim for fps with only some eye candy. I prefer eye candy over fps so with sli aa things look great in games that do take advantage. If you are on a budget and have a board that is SLI certified (BS I know) then that is a good option while a 4850/4870 would cream a single G92 fairly easily. If you are able to scrounge up another $50-75 then a 5770 would be a great option.
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February 27, 2010 4:02:56 PM

lol now my decision is even harder! I have seen different benchmarks on the 5770, but most put it a fair bit below the 4870, which is pretty much unanimously below 9800 SLi. This is making my original thought seem more and more tempting, especially at such a great price. However, if the 5770 would give me equal or even slightly less performance than the SLi rig, then i might consider it. Also a note for future upgradability, my PSU is only 530 watts with 37A on the 12V, which I assume is enough to run the 9800SLi, but way too low for Crossfire of something like the 5770? Keep in mind that i'm using the "Energy Efficient" models of the graphics cards, which are supposedly rated for 66watts.
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a c 172 U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 4:12:24 PM

kyledoo said:
lol now my decision is even harder! I have seen different benchmarks on the 5770, but most put it a fair bit below the 4870, which is pretty much unanimously below 9800 SLi. This is making my original thought seem more and more tempting, especially at such a great price. However, if the 5770 would give me equal or even slightly less performance than the SLi rig, then i might consider it. Also a note for future upgradability, my PSU is only 530 watts with 37A on the 12V, which I assume is enough to run the 9800SLi, but way too low for Crossfire of something like the 5770? Keep in mind that i'm using the "Energy Efficient" models of the graphics cards, which are supposedly rated for 66watts.



Don't worry those EE cards don't need much and can't use no more than 75 max so you have more than enough. I have two standard 9800gt 1gb that are rated for 105w each but only use about 85w. They don't put out to much heat so don't worry about temps unless the coolers are crummy even for those cards.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 4:16:49 PM

I don't think the EE models will give you the same kind of performance I'm getting from my icecap melting 8800's so if you are going to consider only one card then I would go for the GTX275 or HD4890 simply because I've seen far too many posts on this forum and others concerning issues with the 5 series.
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February 27, 2010 4:24:16 PM

Mousemonkey said:
I don't think the EE models will give you the same kind of performance I'm getting from my icecap melting 8800's so if you are going to consider only one card then I would go for the GTX275 or HD4890 simply because I've seen far too many posts on this forum and others concerning issues with the 5 series.

What are your clocks? I can see if I can get my OC to that level, I was able to get to the standard specs.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 4:34:11 PM

The 8800's are at standard clocks (600/1500) and the CPU is at 3.0 in XP and 3.6 in Vista32.
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a b U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 5:33:30 PM

I want to jump back in and clarify that a 5770 and ATIs other new 5-series cards wont use much more energy than your 9800GT. (I would say less-but i dont know the usage on the EE versions) Even though they are more powerful cards the modern design is much more efficient.

Also--the arguments that a 4870 is more powerful than a 5770 are primarily based on the age of the drivers--we should assume that the 5770 will improve slightly with age.

Gigabyte 9800GT 550mhz for $79 after MIR:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Both twin 9800GTs or a 5770 and a 9800GT would be good options and probably somewhat similar in performance. The 9800GT is the cheaper option while the 5770 + 9800GT would offer you a mix of display technologies better able to optimize all games.
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February 27, 2010 6:03:38 PM

deadlockedworld said:
I want to jump back in and clarify that a 5770 and ATIs other new 5-series cards wont use much more energy than your 9800GT. (I would say less-but i dont know the usage on the EE versions) Even though they are more powerful cards the modern design is much more efficient.

Also--the arguments that a 4870 is more powerful than a 5770 are primarily based on the age of the drivers--we should assume that the 5770 will improve slightly with age.

Gigabyte 9800GT 550mhz for $79 after MIR:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Both twin 9800GTs or a 5770 and a 9800GT would be good options and probably somewhat similar in performance. The 9800GT is the cheaper option while the 5770 + 9800GT would offer you a mix of display technologies better able to optimize all games.

So you are saying that it is possible to run a 9800GT as a ppu while running a 5770 as the GPU. And if I run it like this, the performance will be equal to that of twin 9800GT's?
How about the size of the 5770? I think I have around 9.5" - 10" in my case.
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February 27, 2010 6:05:50 PM

Mousemonkey said:
The 8800's are at standard clocks (600/1500) and the CPU is at 3.0 in XP and 3.6 in Vista32.

I was able to get my EE model up to the standard 600/1500 clocks easily with memory clock at 900. This is up from 550/1375 for stock on the EE.
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a c 172 U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 6:51:45 PM

kyledoo said:
So you are saying that it is possible to run a 9800GT as a ppu while running a 5770 as the GPU. And if I run it like this, the performance will be equal to that of twin 9800GT's?
How about the size of the 5770? I think I have around 9.5" - 10" in my case.


Don't worry about size the 57x0 cards are about the same as your EE G92 card. Want to try some monster cards go take a look at a 5970 now that is large or a 7900gtx duo or a voodoo5 6000 those cards are over 12".

Tiny 8400gs meets 7900gtx duo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlS3yvPNFdM

8400gs small as nvidia gets
7900gtx duo their largest thus far

5770 is about the same size as your current card.


http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=n82e168...
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a c 271 U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 7:01:19 PM

kyledoo said:
I was able to get my EE model up to the standard 600/1500 clocks easily with memory clock at 900. This is up from 550/1375 for stock on the EE.

Nice, fingers crossed it can run under stress considering how much less power it's receiving (less than 75w for the EE/ more than 115w for the 8800GT).
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February 27, 2010 8:05:15 PM

Mousemonkey said:
Nice, fingers crossed it can run under stress considering how much less power it's receiving (less than 75w for the EE/ more than 115w for the 8800GT).

Any suggestions on what to use to test stability? I ran passmark benchmark and it did that with no problem, and with a notable performance increase over stock.
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a c 172 U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 8:11:59 PM

kyledoo said:
Any suggestions on what to use to test stability? I ran passmark benchmark and it did that with no problem, and with a notable performance increase over stock.


If the card doesn't crash during games and benchmarks then it is stable. What are your temps?
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a c 271 U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 8:20:01 PM

kyledoo said:
Any suggestions on what to use to test stability? I ran passmark benchmark and it did that with no problem, and with a notable performance increase over stock.

3D '06 or Vantage are the usual ones, there is also Furmark but I'm not so fond of that myself.
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February 27, 2010 8:25:55 PM

nforce4max said:
If the card doesn't crash during games and benchmarks then it is stable. What are your temps?

65 with fan speed on auto after running a benchmark.
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a c 172 U Graphics card
February 27, 2010 9:44:31 PM

kyledoo said:
65 with fan speed on auto after running a benchmark.


That isn't to bad just keep the card under 70c and your good. As for sli make sure that you have decent air flow and you are set once again.
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