Thanks for the quick response time . And am I correct in thinking that it is OK to go ahead and overclock the cards' speed and voltage too? Sorry for reconfirming this if you had already seen that question and meant your last post as a response to it as well. I have sunk a lot of money into this power guzzling PC, so I want to make sure I don't damage anything with insufficient wattage! :-D
Although i don't see the need for you to overclock the GPU's, you may as well try it but only after giving them a nice initial run together.. What i mean is to first give them a run on the stock settings.. After that, if everything feels ok then you may as well try out overclocking then..
The GTX480 3 SLI consumes 1010W of power (according to guru3d) and if you overclock the CPU and the 3 GPU's you would go up to the 1100W or more I think it would be stretching your PSU a little. Isn't it?
i know its been a while since u posted the question but i felt the need to express a few thoughts.
1. first, u are using 3 gtx480s with a i7 930 CPU, where the CPU is already a bottleneck for your cards even at stock clocks, even if u do OC the CPU to say 4.0GHz it will still bottleneck them.
2. second, say u replace that CPU with the 980X, which at this point would be the only CPU powerful enough to keep up with your setup, u will not be able to actually see the difference with the OCed GPUs because there isnt a game on the planet that can stress them. not now, not in the next 2 years, at least. not to mention, the game needs to be SLI-friendly in order for u to take full advantage of the multi-SLI-configuration. also, there are a few games where an above 2way SLI config, would not mater at all, in terms of performance (same FPS) or even go down (lower FPS). exception here is ofc Metro2033 which will stress even a 4way sli config of gtx480s cause its a benchmark-game and thats what its supposed to do.
3. third, all i have stated above is out of personal experience, in case u thought i was just quote-ing someones review on the mater. i, myself, have an i7 920 and wanted to go for the 3way SLI gtx480 config, but i then realized that the CPU will bottleneck the setup. so, i only got a 2way gtx480 SLI config now. only after pushing the CPU past the 4.0GHz threshold, was i able to come close (89% scaling now) to the perfect scaling (of 100%) of the two gtx480s.
4. as a final thought, with the CPU OCed to its max, 3way gtx480s SLI config, 2 HDDs, 2 Optical Drives, a sound card and hopefully some watercooling for those GPUs, the PSU will approach its limits really fast during an intense gaming session.
Hope u get to see this reply and hope it will help u decide if u didnt already.
I appreciate the response. I have, in fact, already made my decision. I got the 3rd card, and it runs fine with the PSU. I did not overclock the cards for just the reason you say.
I do want to mention, though, that given your system, you should really download the latest beta nVidia drivers if you haven't done so already. They help remove a lot of the CPU bottleneck you are talking about. The more your CPU is currently bottlenecking your system, the more the driver will help you. I gained an extra 7k on my 3dmark gpu score on the performance test, which is an unheard of boost from just a driver switch.
i doubt any new/beta/upcoming drivers would help me much past this point. i am at ~90% SLI scaling, which is pretty good given the fact u will never be able to achieve a perfect 100% (95% at best). even so i will give the drivers a try, not to optimistic about it though. thx for the advice