Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Time to upgrade the ole 8800GT SLI cards?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
Share
June 18, 2010 2:35:42 AM

System Specs:

Motherboard - XFX nForce 680i SLI - LGA775 Socket

Videocards - XFX GeForce 8800GT 512MB SLI

CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor

Memory - 4gb DDR2

PSU - OCZ-XS 700w


Here's the story. I have $700 burning a hole in my pocket. I saved up for the ATI HD5970 and now can purchase it.

A friend of mine told me I should spend the cash on a new Mobo/Memory/CPU combo instead. ($700)

I can't do both. =(

Which is the better choice? Is there an option C?

Ninefingers
June 18, 2010 2:42:13 AM

For straight gaming bang for buck is nearly always on a new gpu. at the same time I do love my i7 so maybe an option c is get your new gpu now and then upgrade the rest at a later date?
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
June 18, 2010 2:56:56 AM

One of the new usb3 x58 boards / i7 930, o/c hyperthreading , 1600 ddr3, might breathe some new life in to your existing sli combo.
m
0
l
Related resources
a c 171 U Graphics card
June 18, 2010 3:27:24 AM

I assume this is for gaming? Before I vote, what resolution are you gaming at?

Option C depends on this answer.
m
0
l
a c 106 U Graphics card
June 18, 2010 3:38:30 AM

Depends on the games you want to play. For the most part though, a more powerful GPU setup is going to be bottle necked by your CPU at it's stock speed. You may want to consider overclocking it, though 680i boards aren't exactly the best overclockers generally. If you like to play at a really high resolution, at least 1080p, and find that your current cards are choking a bit without lowering some graphic details, then I would say you may want to go ahead and get that 5970.

Option C would be to get a powerful single GPU card, like a 5870 or GTX480, a quad core CPU for your motherboard, a big air cooler or water cooler, and overclock the crap out of the CPU. Of course, if you're motherboard isn't a good overclocker then that's not really a good option :p .

m
0
l
June 18, 2010 3:43:23 AM

1920x1080

I'm gaming on a 37" Westinghouse.
m
0
l
a c 171 U Graphics card
June 18, 2010 4:01:58 AM

The 5970 is ok to go. You might want to consider getting the 5870 and a Q6600/Q6700 instead so you can get a quad core. You should be fine for most FPS, get the quad if you do a lot of RTS or RPG games.
m
0
l
June 18, 2010 4:50:05 AM

Thanks!

I'm not an OCer really so I may just go for the card and rebuild the other parts when I have the cash. The 680i mobo has done me well, but I am not sure it makes sense (unless I do get the Q6600/Q6700 - but then that would be it I would think.)

I'll try to find a good deal on a 5970... if that is even possible at this point in time. 5870 will be my fall back.

Two last questions...

1) If I get a 5970 now... can I crossfire it with a 5870 in the future or do all XF systems have to have the same card models?

2) Say I get the 5970 and upgrade the mobo/cpu/mem at a later date. Will crossfiring 5970's really be a waste of money with the current gen games? Do games even recognize 4 GPUs?

Thanks all (4745454b)
m
0
l
June 18, 2010 5:08:50 AM

In order to crossfire, you do not have to have a same brand.

With current gen games, I believe that 5970 for that res is an overkill. This card is meant to be played at 2560 or above res.
m
0
l
a c 171 U Graphics card
June 18, 2010 6:37:37 AM

You can tri fire if you want, not on that 680i board of course. You need a CF capable board.

The second question is harder to answer. Some games respond well to CF while others don't. The most famous game I can think of that didn't was GTA4, which did worse on the x2 cards then the single GPU cards. Hans is right though. You shouldn't need quad fire for 1080. A single 5970 should be fine.
m
0
l
June 18, 2010 1:52:49 PM

Again, thanks so much. I'm getting closer to dropping the cash on the card. Still trying to justify spending $700 on a videocard, but I'll figure something out.

Gracias,

Ninefingers
m
0
l
June 18, 2010 11:44:00 PM

you still dont have to buy a 5970, you could just get a 5870 now then crpssfore it later when prices drop, and you need the performance, that way its not such a big initail investment, and you can use the rest of the money upgrading the other parts, id reccomend just getting an am3 crossfire board with a phenom 2, because they will be using that board for a while, and you have the option to upgrade when you need to, their boards also support ddr2 which you can use untill the latencies on ddr3 goes down, and there is a real performance differece in gaming, instead of the synthetic benchmarks that they use.
m
0
l
a c 1367 U Graphics card
June 18, 2010 11:50:14 PM

For your resolution drop the money on HD5870 it is good upgrade from your SLI setup. Then you have $300 in savings towards the I7 system, just one step closer.
m
0
l
June 22, 2010 4:58:13 PM

Thanks guys.

I made the huge investment of 5970. Overkill for my current system, but I found out that I would be coming into a bit of extra work in the coming month that will put me in line to get the other parts for my system.

I found the ASUS card for $609 (free shipping) and pulled the trigger. The lowest price for a 5970 prior to yesterday was $678 (with shipping). Once I found it for the 609 mark, I couldn't pass it up.

Since I will be getting the newer system parts soon-ish I felt pretty good about the decision. I almost paid $678 this weekend. Thank God I waited.

Again, thanks guys. It is great to find a place to ask questions! Now I have to make sure I install it correctly. These the right steps?

1a) Download ATI drivers and place them on desktop
1b) Uninstall NVIDIA drivers and shutdown PC.
2) Pull both 8800GTs and install 5970 into first PCIe slot. Make sure all power plugs are installed.
3) Boot that baby up and see if it will post. Once it starts, run the ATI drivers.
4) Fire up BFBC2 and weep at phat framerates!

Sound right?
m
0
l
June 22, 2010 6:19:50 PM

Also...

Can I keep one of my 8800GTs in the system to provide nvidia physics in games? I read somewhere that was possible.
m
0
l
June 22, 2010 6:26:51 PM

The 5970 is way too bottlenecked on your setup why bother wasting your money? Even a 5850 is bottlenecked on that!

For $700 you may aswell save till $1000 and buy a new CPU, card and mobo in a package deal
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
June 22, 2010 6:39:51 PM

He's got a E8500, it's not going to be that bottlenecked.
He said he'll upgrade the rest of his system too, and yes it is possible to use one of the 8800GT's as a dedicated PhysX card, if your running Win7 then just download the nvidia drivers too, if your using Vista use hacked nvidia drivers.
m
0
l
June 22, 2010 6:40:14 PM

Next month I'll have enough for a new MOBO, Intel i7 930 CPU and 6gb DDR3 memory. :D  (crosses fingers!)

I just pulled the trigger on the card because it was the simplest to install and use until I could get the rest of the parts in.

Rash purchase? Probably.
m
0
l
June 22, 2010 6:46:02 PM

sabot00 said:
He's got a E8500, it's not going to be that bottlenecked.
He said he'll upgrade the rest of his system too, and yes it is possible to use one of the 8800GT's as a dedicated PhysX card, if your running Win7 then just download the nvidia drivers too, if your using Vista use hacked nvidia drivers.



True sabot00. I have Win 7 so I'll probably keep one for PhysX and give one to my wife. Unless I could get enough on ebay for them, but I doubt it would be worth the hassle.
m
0
l
June 22, 2010 7:02:41 PM

Ofc the E8500 is a bottleneck its ancient now, sure buying other parts 1 by 1 is ok but its alot more expensive, just trying to help thats all.
m
0
l
June 22, 2010 7:09:41 PM

weehamish said:
Ofc the E8500 is a bottleneck its ancient now, sure buying other parts 1 by 1 is ok but its alot more expensive, just trying to help thats all.


Any help is appreciated. Thanks weehamish.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
June 22, 2010 7:12:51 PM

There are going to be some game/settings where a o/c 8500 would probably return the same #'s as a o/c980x, but imo, since the 5970 is a dual/gpu crossfire card, it will benefit most times with more cpu.
m
0
l
June 22, 2010 7:22:37 PM

notty22 said:
There are going to be some game/settings where a o/c 8500 would probably return the same #'s as a o/c980x, but imo, since the 5970 is a dual/gpu crossfire card, it will benefit most times with more cpu.


Any suggestions on the type of cooling fan I would need to O/C the E8500. I have enough case room to put something fairly big.


I read the E8400 were pretty O/C-able. Never O/Ced but no time like the present eh?
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
June 22, 2010 8:15:06 PM

Any decent HSF would be fine, with a good mobo (and your's is pretty good) you should be able to OC to around 3.6GHz very easily.
m
0
l
a c 171 U Graphics card
June 22, 2010 10:41:13 PM

Quote:
if your using Vista use hacked nvidia drivers.


Actually, because he has the 5970 in his system he'll have to use the hacked drivers. Nvidia's official drivers won't work as soon as they see the 5970. Look around, I'd get the 217.xx(?) from a site. They are the most recent.

I'm with some on the 8400 causing a bottleneck. It wont' be with all games, and most FPS should be fine. But good luck getting GTA4, Metro2033, and probably most RTS games at 1080.
m
0
l
June 22, 2010 10:49:12 PM

But the OP is upgrading the rest and within a month or so, so whether it is a bottleneck or not is immaterial as its only a temp solution now.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
June 22, 2010 11:00:04 PM

weehamish said:
The 5970 is way too bottlenecked on your setup why bother wasting your money? Even a 5850 is bottlenecked on that!

For $700 you may aswell save till $1000 and buy a new CPU, card and mobo in a package deal

It's not that simple. You may want to take a look at our Balanced Platform series. Part 3 includes an overclocked E8400 and HD 5970. Part 1 has a stock E8400 and the 4870 X2 and GTX 295.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/balanced-gaming-pc-...
m
0
l
June 22, 2010 11:17:50 PM

Nice link, yeh well you just proved it totally bottlenecks it haha it performs much better on the i7s unlike my GTX 285 which performs better on the q9000s, weird but i guess i have the correct card for my CPU atm :\
m
0
l
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 23, 2010 3:13:09 AM

4745454b said:
Quote:
I'd get the 217.xx(?) from a site.
Quote:

The 257.15 beta driver is the one to go for, no hacking required apparently.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
June 23, 2010 3:14:32 AM

We all know the E8400 will bottleneck the 5970, but the bottleneck won't be all that great.
What you're not simply comprehending is WHENEVER the i7 920 was playable the E8400 was playable TOO.
In fact, in Crysis playing at very high settings (what he will be doing) at 1650x1080 and above the E8400 got more FPS, as was Far Cry 2 at max settings.

So your conclusion that the E8400 was "ancient" and a huge bottleneck is completely unfounded.


Yeah, it seems nvidia slipped as once they found out they pulled the driver but after a backlash they put the driver back on but said they won't do it in future releases citing "expensive to maintain for ATI cards".
m
0
l
a c 171 U Graphics card
June 23, 2010 3:26:43 AM

Its my understanding that the official 257 drivers on Nvidia's site have been fixed. You can't run them and use an AMD card at the same time. You have to find a site hosting the original drivers. If you do a web search for them I'm sure you can find them on some legitimate sites. It doesn't matter what OS you have, you have to use those drivers. If you have vista, you won't be able to do it at all as it can only load one graphics driver.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
June 23, 2010 3:36:16 AM

Yeah, it's 257.21 WHQL now.
m
0
l
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 23, 2010 3:38:26 AM

The 257.21 WHQL driver won't work for ATi cards and I don't know if the 257.15 beta on the Nvidia site works for ATi or not but the one from Guru3D is supposed to be the original and working one.
m
0
l
a c 171 U Graphics card
June 23, 2010 3:50:34 AM

Thats the one, I couldn't remember the name of the site. They have a copy that was released originally and it doesn't check for a different card. (more proof that its nothing but a choice by Nvidia to not allow it.) Guru has a copy of the original driver so I'd start there. I'm sure there are others as well.
m
0
l
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 23, 2010 3:56:32 AM

4745454b said:
(more proof that its nothing but a choice by Nvidia to not allow it.)

It's always been known and indeed has been confirmed by Nvidia that it was a concious decision to lock out ATi, the bone of contention has been why that decision was taken.
m
0
l
June 23, 2010 12:56:49 PM

Awesome info on the drivers. I'll do some digging to find the right one. I should be getting the card in tonight. I'll jump on BFBC2 Pre-install and get some framerates and then replace my 8800GT SLI and do capture framerates. Should be interesting to see how much of a difference it will make.

Here's hoping it is enough!

Looks like I came to the right place for advice.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
June 23, 2010 5:20:26 PM

I'll play on BC2 with you.
m
0
l
June 24, 2010 3:13:51 PM

Username in BFBC2 is Foozlekiller. Feel free to join me and kill me.

Forgot to do Fraps last night before I put new card in. I think I was just so excited when I got it in.

Freaking huge.

BFBC2 with DirectX 11 is unplayable.
BFBC2 with DirectX10 is pretty good. (Need to do more testing here)
BFBC2 with DirectX9 with Max Settings is smooth as butter!

Can't wait to upgrade Motherboard, CPU and RAM next.

I'll post more info soon.
m
0
l
June 24, 2010 3:59:58 PM

bfbc2 is unbelievably cpu limited. You probably didn't notice any difference going from the SLI setup to the 5970.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2010 6:30:36 PM

Alright, I added you, if you didn't get the invite add me "ReLaTiviTY00"

You'll probably see higher still framerates with a better CPU but I'd like to see some detailed results.
m
0
l
a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2010 3:46:00 AM

They used a i7 920 @ 3.33GHz, plenty to push a 5970.
m
0
l
!