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The "Future-Proofing" Argument

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August 8, 2010 7:10:19 PM

One GTX 480 vs. 2 GTX 460 in SLI mode.

This is a frequented Google topic and Youtube video extravaganza. We've probably all read the benchmarks over and over again. There's no question that 2 460's in SLI defeat the GTX 480 in every which way: performance, power consumption, noise level, and sometimes even price. I haven't fully decided, yet, which one i want, however, as I keep hearing the argument for "future-proofing."

I was committed on two different occasions to purchase 2 460's until a few people here, and at various other locations on the interwebs, swore I had to get the GTX 480 so that I could buy another one down the road to better future-proof my system for the next generation of DX11 games. My problem with this argument is the fact that it MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE!!! For one, all of the current games run better on 2 GTX 460's in SLI than on the GTX 480. So I'm set for the current crop of high-end games. Furthermore, the next generation of games - meaning ones that will be troublesome for the current crop of GPU's - are about 18 months (or more) away. By that time, there will be a new generation of graphics cards, thus rendering the Nvidia 400 series (and the ATI 5000 series) obsolete anyway.

In other words, upgrading with a 2nd GTX 480 later is a completely wasted prospect when the next line of graphics cards will likely blow that configuration away at the same price point. By the time I have the money to upgrade my graphics solution(s), I will likely buy all new.

As an aside: if I had the money, I'd get two GTX 480's now; but I don't, so I can't.

By the time there are games that will completely chew through a configuration of 2 GTX 460's in SLI, they will chew through the 480's as well and there will be better, more cost-effective graphics options available from both Nvidia and ATI.

So, if YOU are going to buy a GTX 480, that's fine. They are a powerhouse, they gain on the 460 SLI setup at extreme resolutions, and they look freaking cool. If you are going to buy it for "future-proofing," then it's my opinion (based on research) that you are wasting your efforts and your money. Again, by the time you've saved up again to upgrade your configuration, there will be newer, better options at that price point.

-The Doog
a b U Graphics card
August 8, 2010 8:10:54 PM

It's not about future proofing so much as forward looking.

Getting a GTX480, HD5870, GTX460, etc is a good choice looking towards the future, rather than buying something more limited if a longer term hold is a question.

For the example you give, it depends on alot of factors as to whether or not a dual card strategy makes sense. Sometimes buying a second card at the time of the next big launch or next big game title makes sense (G92 had a few of those moments, HD4870 too), but that's usually due to the high cost of games and the not so large leap from generation to generation.
One of the few exceptions was the GF8800 series which even the GF8800GTS-640 made it difficult on the GF7800/7900 crowd even in older DX9 titles.

You also have to factor in two cost items most people don't consider;

A) the added cost of the Xfire/SLi mobo

B) The resale value of the card you wanted to pair up and if it make more sense to sell it and buy new rather than just double-up on the old.

Pursuing 'future-proofing' is usually a fools'-errand, but being prepared for the future is always a good idea, even if you don't know what games are on the horizon that you might be specifically preparing for.
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August 8, 2010 8:11:41 PM

Quote:
There is nothing as future proofing in gaming world.cutting age gpu of today will be an useless junk tomorrow.I always buy a system which will give me max performance for min money.If 2gtx460 gives better performance than 480 at less price then buy it.But personally i always prefer a single powerful card in system to avoid multi gpu problem like microstuttering,overheating ect.


Exactly. Future-proofing doesn't exist with gaming systems.

You do make a good point on the microstuttering and heat solutions. My current decision is based on the pros and cons of those (minor) stipulations, versus the increased stability, but poorer performance of the single GTX 480.
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August 8, 2010 8:13:23 PM

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
It's not about future proofing so much as forward looking.

Getting a GTX480, HD5870, GTX460, etc is a good choice looking towards the future, rather than buying something more limited if a longer term hold is a question.

For the example you give, it depends on alot of factors as to whether or not a dual card strategy makes sense. Sometimes buying a second card at the time of the next big launch or next big game title makes sense (G92 had a few of those moments, HD4870 too), but that's usually due to the high cost of games and the not so large leap from generation to generation.
One of the few exceptions was the GF8800 series which even the GF8800GTS-640 made it difficult on the GF7800/7900 crowd even in older DX9 titles.

You also have to factor in two cost items most people don't consider;

A) the added cost of the Xfire/SLi mobo

B) The resale value of the card you wanted to pair up and if it make more sense to sell it and buy new rather than just double-up on the old.

Pursuing 'future-proofing' is usually a fools'-errand, but being prepared for the future is always a good idea, even if you don't know what games are on the horizon that you might be specifically preparing for.


Those examples really don't deter my main point. Also, there's no such thing as a "good" motherboard that doesn't support SLI (2 at x16, no less) right now. Finally, if one does plan to add another GTX 480 down the road, the power supply of the current system would likely have to be upgraded as well, not to mention the cooling system in the case. The resale value is moot to a guy like me who has humbly accepted the fact that computer parts depreciate like cars.

What I really wonder now is, what's the value of the GTX 470? Is that a good enough single card solution by today's standards? If so, it's cheap enough that I could add a second one in the near future while that's still relevant, and the 470's seem to scale pretty well in SLI. Thoughts?
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a b U Graphics card
August 8, 2010 8:28:00 PM

GF8800GTX does exactly that. Waiting didn't bring down prices, but saving up for the launch was a great deal for a forward looking rig (although no one at the time knew what it meant to DX10), and dual anything else didn't matter. The difference this time is nV launched their upper middle class equivalents before their mid-range, so the launch is different from others, even the HD4770 launch which would be closest.

doogansquest said:
Also, there's no such thing as a "good" motherboard that doesn't support SLI


And there's no good gaming rig that doesn't have at least two of the very latest top of the line cards in Xfire/SLi. [:thegreatgrapeape:5]

Quote:
The resale value is moot to a guy like me who has humbly accepted the fact that computer parts depreciate like cars.


If money doesn't matter, then once again, get a dual system from the start, otherwise stop being lazy and ignorant and resell the card and go from latest & greatest you can afford to latest & greatest you can afford. If you aren't willing to at least sell and re-invest into the next generation, then you're really not making an effort worth getting worked about. :pfff: 
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 8, 2010 8:34:02 PM

I would forget about the GTX 480. It's quite a poor choice for the money. As you have noted the SLIed GTX 460s are better but even if you want to go with a single card the GTX 470 is a much better buy because of its huge overclocking ability. The GTX 480 and 470 when overclocked tend to max out around the same speed because they are really the same processor. At that point the advantage the GTX 480 has over the GTX 470 is that is has an extra block of 32 shaders is enabled. This is a 7% increase while the GTX 480 costs about 50% more. So unless you are quite wealthy the card is a very poor financial decision.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 8, 2010 9:27:57 PM

Then "everyone" has rather irrational fears. How many reviews have you read where they overclocked a card? How many have you read where they said they overclocked the card and it died? The answers are almost all of them and zero. The dangers of overclocking are VASTLY overstated by many. There was a time when overclocking was a complex and sketchy process but those days are long gone. Current CPUs and the current generation of cards almost seem specifically designed to leave large amounts of overclocking head room. If you have half a brain and are smart enough to keep your eye on temperatures it is very safe and there's no reason to avoid it.
Consider this. As I stated before the GTX 470 and GTX 480 ARE the same processor; one with one shader block disabled, the other with 2. So the different stock speeds of the cards is essential the same as a factory OC. Just like you shouldn't pay a manufacturer to OC your card for you you also shouldnt pay Nvidia or ATI to do it either just because that is where they set the base speed for the card. The base speed of the GTX 470 was a marketing/pricing decision and has nothing to do with the actual ability of the card.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 8, 2010 9:48:54 PM

So you take the ambient temperature into account when doing your overclock and perhaps also when choosing a card because you know a better cooler is necessary where you live.
If you have an HD5850 and you don't overclock it then you are simply choosing not to have a faster video card for no real reason. ATI also sells the HD5870 which, once again, is the same processor as the HD5850 with some shaders disabled. If ATI themselves sell a card with the same processor running at a base speed 125mhz higher than your card do you really think it would be unsafe to put your processor up to that same level? Of course not. There is no danger in it at all. If you think that then you are saying ATI is selling a card at a speed that is unsafe. Frankly I'll trust ATI on this rather than you as they designed the processor.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 8, 2010 10:11:03 PM

Well if an HD5850 at 850mhz is unwise with the ambient temperatures where you are then so is the HD5870 in general.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 8, 2010 10:12:21 PM

Quote:
Ati designed the Cooler of a 5850

They designed the reference cooler which is actually kind of hard to buy these days even if you want one.
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a c 130 U Graphics card
August 8, 2010 10:14:33 PM

I am of the opinion that buying X card now to add another later just doesn't work. An up to date GPU for your system now can be sold on when you upgrade to the next gen as there are always those who adopt a gen or so later to save money. This gets you in a cycle of never paying full price for a brand new GPU and you always have the latest features/performance.
If you need dual cards you need them now, waiting until your system as is needs a second card usually ends with one of a couple of scenarios.
1 You cant actually buy the card you need to add to your system
2 There is a better option single card released and by now your old card isn't worth nearly as much if anything to offset the cost.

Mactronix
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 8, 2010 10:28:43 PM

Yeah, the egg cooler is not the best. That said I still think you should try an OC. The power/temps only really spike much when you raise the voltage and I don't think the cards with the egg cooler even allow you to do that. Even without a voltage increase you can probably still get up the 850mhz the HD5870 is set at, although that card does have a higher stock voltage. Might as well give it a try and see how the temps look. It's a very mild OC for that card and I honestly doubt the temps will go all that much higher because of it. You can always put it back to stock if you don't like what you see.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
August 8, 2010 10:47:43 PM

I agree about when it comes to the heat. I have power bills that set me back $200 a month which I can barely afford. If I turn off that A/C I can watch the temps slowly clime into the 30+c range /90f and above. The hottest we have had so far was around 106f with index values as high as 118f (CNN) so it is hot enough to bake cookies in the car or fry an egg on the pavement. I would hate to get out a fresnel lens and melt beer bottles all day or burn a hole in the ground.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVAEfHyZW3I A lens in action melting concrete.

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August 9, 2010 12:18:10 AM

My Opinion..... With And SLI Board, Id Say Get A Single GTX480, Then Toss In Another At A Later Time When The Boost Is Needed. I Dont Run SLI For A Reason But Im Not Saying Anything Against SLI Necessarily.

The Reason?.... Well When Your Only Running A 1600x1200 Display Like Me, And You Dont Care What My Framerate Is As-Long As Its At 40FPS Or Better, You Simply Buy A Card Thats Fast Enough For That Requirement. So Who Cares If Two GTX460s Is Faster When You Know That A Single GTX480 Will Be Fast Enough.
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August 9, 2010 12:46:43 AM

Maybe I should have done a poll...

I'm starting to lean towards the GTX 470 now! It seems to be able to crank most games, and my monitor is/will be on 1920 x 1080 (like most people). Visually, it probably won't look any different on screen compared to a GTX 480, and the marginal fps difference someone pointed out above (7% vs 50% cost) seems to get me slightly tilted towards the little brother.

@ mactronix : You make the same point I have been trying to make, only you phrase it better. That's EXACTLY what I'm trying to say! :-)

I live in a perfectly temperature controlled home, so I'm not too worried about any of that. What I'd like to see for a change, however, is a gaming rig benchmarked without the CPU or GPU having been first overclocked. Drives me bananas when I go to read reviews on the i7 930, but the 357983 reviews on Newegg all start with, "Fast! Got this baby overclocked to..."

Great...but how is it without overclocking? Could I buy it, use it, and not bottleneck my GPU?

Anyway, for my final thoughts before selecting a best answer:

OPTION 1
2 GTX460 in SLI

OPTION 2
1 GTX470

OPTION 3
2 GTX470 (if I can squeeze the $)

OPTION 4
1 GTX480 (can't afford two)
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 1:25:29 AM

What resolution do you plan on using exactly?

EDIT: Missed it. At 1920x1080 a single OCed GTX 470 should already be extremely good. You can always get one and try it out then make your decision on whether or not you need another. I bet you'll decide one is enough for now.
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August 9, 2010 4:37:38 AM

jyjjy said:
What resolution do you plan on using exactly?

EDIT: Missed it. At 1920x1080 a single OCed GTX 470 should already be extremely good. You can always get one and try it out then make your decision on whether or not you need another. I bet you'll decide one is enough for now.


I'll be using a 1920x1080. By the time I go bigger (30" or 3 screens), there will probably be better graphics solutions available.

So you think the GTX 470? I'm liking that more and more. I want to hardcore game as much as I can with my pc budget of right around $1850-$2000; for those who saw my other thread, that has to include speakers, keyboard & mouse, monitor, etc.
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August 9, 2010 4:56:27 AM

Do you understand what obselete means? Outdated maybe, obselete um no. If you got a 480 now, that's gonna last a couple years even if you have to turn down settings here and there. Adding another 480 will give it new life. This isn't the 90's progression while still growning with hardware isn't insanely jumping on software. So why yes there will be new cards that will put the 400's or the 5000 series to shame. Doesn't mean they will be obselete. They'll still probably run anything need to run.
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a c 216 U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 5:00:40 AM

There are a couple reasons you might want to go with the single, more powerful card now.

1) Not all games will utilize SLI/CF. In those cases, the single faster card is definately better.
2) SLI/CF is noisier and hotter, for the most part. (maybe not with the 460's compared to a 480).
3) There are cases were SLI/CF show to have a higher average FPS, but also have a lower minimum FPS, which can result less smooth game play.
4) It leaves you an option to add another card if you find you still want more power in the near future. Future proofing doesn't have to mean 2 years down the road. You might not have the cash now, or have an increased desire for more performance within 6 months.

Anyways, there are a lot of different ways to look at it. In the end, both have pros and cons.
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August 9, 2010 6:13:53 AM

kingnoobe said:
Do you understand what obselete means? Outdated maybe, obselete um no. If you got a 480 now, that's gonna last a couple years even if you have to turn down settings here and there. Adding another 480 will give it new life. This isn't the 90's progression while still growning with hardware isn't insanely jumping on software. So why yes there will be new cards that will put the 400's or the 5000 series to shame. Doesn't mean they will be obselete. They'll still probably run anything need to run.


But they will be much more difficult to get a hold of during that time, and I may have whatever the new mobo is in the future which only supports (insert new PCIe x.0 not backwards compatible with the 2.0/2.1 format, etc.) technology. Whatever the reason may be, the complications of trying to double-back on technology for a boost that may be unnecessary in 2 years, especially if I'll be shopping for new by that point...

bystander said:
There are a couple reasons you might want to go with the single, more powerful card now.

1) Not all games will utilize SLI/CF. In those cases, the single faster card is definately better.
2) SLI/CF is noisier and hotter, for the most part. (maybe not with the 460's compared to a 480).
3) There are cases were SLI/CF show to have a higher average FPS, but also have a lower minimum FPS, which can result less smooth game play.
4) It leaves you an option to add another card if you find you still want more power in the near future. Future proofing doesn't have to mean 2 years down the road. You might not have the cash now, or have an increased desire for more performance within 6 months.

Anyways, there are a lot of different ways to look at it. In the end, both have pros and cons.


For all of the SLI/CF cons you've given in your reasoning, none of those have applied to the 460x2 vs. 480 benchmarks and game play tests. Noise, heat, minimum fps, etc. And a window of time between 6-24 months when I may be able to afford an additional 480 as opposed to the new graphics solution of the day seems like wasted money, to be honest.

Given that the buzz around the web is how 2x 460's whoop a 480 in every way, shape, and form (with little to no drawbacks), with a 2 GPU card on the way (the 49X), as well as ATI's 6xxx series hitting in October, the question among enthusiasts has become, "Why doesn't Nvidia just pull the 480 now and forget about it?"

If I knew I could buy one today, and then another in a few weeks or less, I'd totally do it. Seriously. Or if I had 2560x1600 or higher res, I'd totally do it.

For the here and now, the performance I want/need, I'm going 2 460's or a single 480, and so far, the former is way in the lead on the professional front, and amongst the members of the gaming community.
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a c 216 U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 6:37:29 AM

doogansquest said:
For all of the SLI/CF cons you've given in your reasoning, none of those have applied to the 460x2 vs.


That's not entirely true. There are pretty recent games I own now that don't support SLI/CF.

As far as the min fps problem, I haven't seen any tests that have tested it on this site at least (I couldn't find any on a bing search either). I would be curious to see some benchmarks that did show min fps with the 460 in SLI.

However, my pros/cons list was more of a general set of rules. The 460's may be a good option regardless, just be aware of it's draw backs.

p.s. - my list was from personal experience. I do have CF'ed 5870's. I however started with just 1, but decided a few months later I wanted more power. Since, I have experienced some of the draw backs of CF. As an experienced PC user, I have been able to work around most, but it is more effort.
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August 9, 2010 5:46:49 PM

There are tons of them with the Min fps scores:

http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/gpu_displays/asus_ge...
http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=229490...
http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/998/pg14/nvidia-g...
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/07/26/geforce_gtx_4...

In each example, the minimum fps is a touch better on the 460 sli setup than with the 480, while the max fps is considerably higher.

A discussion and voting poll:
http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=126446

There's of course, this one, which simply showcased the overall performance, heat, and power requisites of the two setups:
http://www.fudzilla.com/reviews/reviews/reviews/evga-gt...

AA scaling with 460's in SLI vs. a single card solution:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-sli...

Also, the 460 SLI setup costs right around $9 per fps, while the 480 comes in around $12 per. The 470 apparently scales terribly in SLI (compared to how the 460's scale), although the min fps in some DX11 titles were pretty good:
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

I will say that your arguments for the inconveniences/inconsistencies of an SLI or XF setup are convincing, however. I would like something that is headache free, and now Gigabyte offers their 480 for $449 on newegg. I am still considering it, but I will need some serious convincing. ;) 

I'm as flip-floppy as a politician on this issue, I swear... :pt1cable: 
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a b U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 6:16:10 PM

Quote:
I also didnot get the reference cooler with my xfx 5850.i got egg shaped cooler.this different makes it more difficult how good a cooler really is.


That's the problem, has nothing to do with your ambient temp. As a lower ambient will definitely lower your overall GPU temp but the "egg" cooler does a horrible job at cooling that particular GPU. I run my 5850 in extremely hot conditions during the daytime and still manage to keep it under 60c (stock or slighty OC'ed).

Example :

http://i683.photobucket.com/albums/vv199/OvrClkr/DSC028...


Slight OC @ stock voltage :

http://i683.photobucket.com/albums/vv199/OvrClkr/82F_am...

900/1200 @ 1.2v

http://i683.photobucket.com/albums/vv199/OvrClkr/Direct...


so in the end it's better to pay the extra $$ for a superior heat-sink when high ambient temps come into play.
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a b U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 6:18:45 PM

doogansquest said:
Maybe I should have done a poll...

I'm starting to lean towards the GTX 470 now! It seems to be able to crank most games, and my monitor is/will be on 1920 x 1080 (like most people). Visually, it probably won't look any different on screen compared to a GTX 480, and the marginal fps difference someone pointed out above (7% vs 50% cost) seems to get me slightly tilted towards the little brother.

@ mactronix : You make the same point I have been trying to make, only you phrase it better. That's EXACTLY what I'm trying to say! :-)

I live in a perfectly temperature controlled home, so I'm not too worried about any of that. What I'd like to see for a change, however, is a gaming rig benchmarked without the CPU or GPU having been first overclocked. Drives me bananas when I go to read reviews on the i7 930, but the 357983 reviews on Newegg all start with, "Fast! Got this baby overclocked to..."

Great...but how is it without overclocking? Could I buy it, use it, and not bottleneck my GPU?

Anyway, for my final thoughts before selecting a best answer:

OPTION 1
2 GTX460 in SLI

OPTION 2
1 GTX470

OPTION 3
2 GTX470 (if I can squeeze the $)

OPTION 4
1 GTX480 (can't afford two)


I say option 3, if you can stretch your budget.
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a b U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 7:16:47 PM

Quote:
How will i know which card has which cooler without opening the box.i go to the shop ask them for 5850 they open it up and i see the card with egg shaped cooler.now they will not change it just becoz it has egg cooler.lol i think now i need xray vision.


Don't you think ? It was more of a case of you wanting a 5850, and you wanted it NOW. So you had a selection of 1, and decided to buy. Your other options would of been a online store or another vendor. The model you bought I'm sure was on the cover of the box ?
I don't think the 'egg' cooler is all that bad. Its just one of the model's made after the reference that was probably made to save a few dollars of the original design. And still get the job done. But its not a model that is screaming, a more advanced cooling solution than stock !
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August 9, 2010 7:33:53 PM

There are actually some instances in which buying a single GTX 480 is a better option than using 2 460's. For example, if you are a big MMO fan, games like World of Warcraft have huge problems with SLI/CF, and actually run better on one card. So, getting 1 card that is really powerful is advantageous in that situation.

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a b U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 7:53:10 PM

bertimus said:
There are actually some instances in which buying a single GTX 480 is a better option than using 2 460's. For example, if you are a big MMO fan, games like World of Warcraft have huge problems with SLI/CF, and actually run better on one card. So, getting 1 card that is really powerful is advantageous in that situation.


WoW works well in SLI, its just a PITA to get it working out-of-the-box. Many users tend to slap a second card and expect the game to perform flawlessly, you need to adjust a few settings in order to get it working properly.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 8:08:30 PM

I still think one OCed GTX 470 for now is more than enough at your resolution. The only games in which something more than that will be of any real benefit are Crysis and Metro 2033 and in those the difference will just be mainly about what level of AA you can apply. If you upgrade the monitor or want to go for a 3 monitor setup you can always add another. It's a smart choice financially and from an upgradeability perspective. It also might leave room in your budget for fancy stuff like a solid state drive or bluray burner that will be much more useful than maxing out AA in two games.
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a c 216 U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 9:18:47 PM

bertimus said:
There are actually some instances in which buying a single GTX 480 is a better option than using 2 460's. For example, if you are a big MMO fan, games like World of Warcraft have huge problems with SLI/CF, and actually run better on one card. So, getting 1 card that is really powerful is advantageous in that situation.


WoW might not have used to support SLI/CF, but it does now. I have confirmed this as I do have a CF'ed setup.

However, many people, like myself, enjoy to play it in windowed mode, so you can monitor ventrillo, and check wowwiki when doing new boss fights. In windowed mode, CF does not work.
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a b U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 9:30:56 PM

I like to play around in windowed mode, sometimes, for benchmarking myself. Thats one in the plus column for the 'single powerful card'.
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a c 130 U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 10:02:04 PM

@ doogansquest
Plain and simple, you already know based on what you have posted that a single card is the way to go and you just want someone to tell you that you are right and you wont loose out on "possible" performance gains of a dual card set up.
Well im here to tell you that you are right.
Take this scenario as a for instance, it actually happened as well. You just got a new dual card set up that rocked and owned every single card set up that existed. Now what happens is that a new system killer of a game gets released that is the dogs dangly bits and your alright because no one has more graphics grunt than you do right ? WRONG the game in question was Crysis and it didnt actually support dual cards out of the box so you had to wait for a patch,

Mactronix :) 
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a b U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 10:09:12 PM

Whats the status with Dirt2, anyone with SLI ?, does the game now support it fully.
I know with the demo, it didn't , then it did. Then with the final game, something changed, I know that would have been frustrating for me.
EDIT: Nevermind, TH, tested Dirt 2 in dx11 SLI with the gtx 460's, it was one of the cards higher points.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-sli...
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a c 130 U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 10:31:08 PM

@ OvrClkr
Mate if you dont konow how to size your Pics then please use links instead, its not nice having to scroll 3-4 pages and its actually detrimental to the forum.
Most other forums i use go mental if you use a full link never mind 3 fullpages of needless pictures.

Just saying

Mactronix

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a c 173 U Graphics card
August 9, 2010 10:57:23 PM

I got a little dare for a few of you out there thinking that their 512mb card is enough for every thing. Run your favorite game in windowed mode then log 3 or more instances of that one game. That is what I do with wow and it takes a 1gb card just to have playable frame rates. 4 accounts at once on my dual display setup. My x1900xt played like my 3870 and my 8800gtx was only a little better till I got desperate only to take my 9800gt 1gb edition out of my main rig :s At least I can quad log now with out lag. Haven't tried 5 or more accounts yet.
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August 9, 2010 11:56:00 PM

OvrClkr said:
I say option 3, if you can stretch your budget.


I'm starting to like that option more and more. Read my reply to the OCed GTX 470 comment below...

bertimus said:
There are actually some instances in which buying a single GTX 480 is a better option than using 2 460's. For example, if you are a big MMO fan, games like World of Warcraft have huge problems with SLI/CF, and actually run better on one card. So, getting 1 card that is really powerful is advantageous in that situation.


I never play WoW. Don't have the time. I can't commit to a group that plays the drama game over Raid times not being met, refusing to play with you if you aren't level 80 (why even have levels in the game?), and where you have to fit a specific niche within the party's needs to mathematically maximize their ability to do a particular amount of damage in just a particular fashion in order to defeat a particular boss and acquire a particular piece of wargear.

That's not a game. It's virtual socialism. I hate everything about it. I'm not going to tell you that you can't play it, but I will never play it. Or really any MMO for that matter...

jyjjy said:
I still think one OCed GTX 470 for now is more than enough at your resolution. The only games in which something more than that will be of any real benefit are Crysis and Metro 2033 and in those the difference will just be mainly about what level of AA you can apply. If you
the monitor or want to go for a 2 monitor setup you can always add another. It's a smart choice financially and from an upgradeability perspective. It also might leave room in your budget for fancy stuff like a solid state drive or bluray burner that will be much more useful than maxing out AA in two games.


This may win best answer. From what I've seen, the GTX 470 can play maxed out Crysis and Metro 2033 on that res without a hiccup, so I wouldn't be too left out, I'm sure. Thanks for the advice!

mactronix said:
@ doogansquest
Plain and simple, you already know based on what you have posted that a single card is the way to go and you just want someone to tell you that you are right and you wont loose out on "possible" performance gains of a dual card set up.
Well im here to tell you that you are right.
Take this scenario as a for instance, it actually happened as well. You just got a new dual card set up that rocked and owned every single card set up that existed. Now what happens is that a new system killer of a game gets released that is the dogs dangly bits and your alright because no one has more graphics grunt than you do right ? WRONG the game in question was Crysis and it didnt actually support dual cards out of the box so you had to wait for a patch,

Mactronix :) 


Interesting take on my situation. Close, but not quite. ;) 
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a b U Graphics card
August 10, 2010 1:20:41 AM

mactronix said:
@ OvrClkr
Mate if you dont konow how to size your Pics then please use links instead, its not nice having to scroll 3-4 pages and its actually detrimental to the forum.
Most other forums i use go mental if you use a full link never mind 3 fullpages of needless pictures.

Just saying

Mactronix


what do you mean scroll down 3 pages? :lol: 

Edit, i guess you mean the pics were not cropped correctly.. My bad, [:lorbat:6]

anyways I edited the post, like it now?
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a b U Graphics card
August 10, 2010 1:44:27 AM

I don't really believe in future-proofing, because if you try to, you'll always be surprised at what comes out in 2 years (that goes for both the hardware and the games it will run). It rarely works out exactly the way you'd hoped. Just get what's good and within your price range at the present, is my motto.
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August 10, 2010 3:24:22 AM

capt_taco said:
I don't really believe in future-proofing, because if you try to, you'll always be surprised at what comes out in 2 years (that goes for both the hardware and the games it will run). It rarely works out exactly the way you'd hoped. Just get what's good and within your price range at the present, is my motto.


That makes the most sense. This is basically what I'm trying to come up with: the best for now. By the time I'm concerned with getting an upgrade, I'm probably getting a new rig.

One more question for you guys (though I'm sure many more will actually follow)...

Q: Is it worth it to save on the processor and mobo by dropping from an i7 930 to say, an i5 750/760, or even a Phenom ii x4 965 BE processor, so that I can buy more GPU and/or monitor? Will this scenario create an unwanted bottleneck with 2x GTX 470's for example?

P.S. I watched a Youtube video of a guy who got the 1156 chipset i7 (860 - I know, not cheaper, but the mobo's are cheaper) with a single 470 to post at around 72 fps on Crysis with max settings (38-40 minimum). He SLI'd a second one and was touching 128-130 max, with minimums in the 50's. So the minimums took a big hit in SLI, but the max was an insane jump.
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August 10, 2010 3:48:06 AM

Wouldn't a single OC 460 gtx easily last 18 months if you're just waiting for the next series of cards? I guess it depends on how important graphics are to you. 470 also sounds like a great option since you're considering getting 2 460's and the 470 is $160 cheaper than that. A 460 is $70 dollars less than a 470. Maybe something to consider.
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August 10, 2010 4:27:53 AM

Shirosaki said:
Wouldn't a single OC 460 gtx easily last 18 months if you're just waiting for the next series of cards? I guess it depends on how important graphics are to you. 470 also sounds like a great option since you're considering getting 2 460's and the 470 is $160 cheaper than that. A 460 is $70 dollars less than a 470. Maybe something to consider.


I want both smooth gameplay (for new and old games), as well as eye candy. I want all settings maxed out (I play mostly FPS and RTS games) without compromising smooth and speedy play.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 10, 2010 4:29:58 AM

I'd probably stick with at least an i5. With your budget that shouldn't be that difficult. If gaming is the most CPU intensive thing you use the computer for regularly then there isn't all that much difference between an i5 and an i7.
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August 10, 2010 4:41:23 AM

jyjjy said:
I'd probably stick with at least an i5. With your budget that shouldn't be that difficult. If gaming is the most CPU intensive thing you use the computer for regularly then there isn't all that much difference between an i5 and an i7.


Right. I wouldn't drop below the i5. Are the Phenom ii's below an i5 these days?

Would an SLI setup be worthless for games that are only graphics-intensive when a million models are on the screen like say, Dawn of War 2 or Starcraft 2? I play RTS's more than anything else (but I will be acquiring Crysis 2), as I still find my 360 to be uber-better at FPS games than even the newest gaming rigs.
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a c 216 U Graphics card
August 10, 2010 5:00:41 AM

If you are going with a high end SLI/CF setup, you will end up putting most the stress on the CPU, unless you play at an extreme resolution. To make it worth the investment, I'd make sure you have a high end CPU and OC it. Otherwise, you might as well just get one 460/470.

Look at these benchmarks: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/radeon-h...

Notice that many of the benchmarks, once in CF, continue to perform better and better the higher the i7/phenom II systems are OC'ed. This means the CPU is the bottleneck of the system. Also note that in the case where the CPU's are the bottleneck, the i7 pulls ahead of the phenom II's when OC'ed. (the i5 performs on par with the i7 for the most part).
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August 10, 2010 5:08:52 AM

doogansquest said:
Right. I wouldn't drop below the i5. Are the Phenom ii's below an i5 these days?

The have always been below the i5 processors. They are more AMDs competition for the Core 2 Quads. Here is a comparison of the i5 750 with the 965BE;
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/109?vs=102
As you can see the i5 is clearly faster but that doesn't tell the whole story. The i5 is running at 2.66ghz while the 965BE is running at 3.4ghz. Once you overclock and set them to a similar speed the i5 would just crush the 965BE.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 10, 2010 5:15:04 AM

doogansquest said:
as I still find my 360 to be uber-better at FPS games than even the newest gaming rigs.

Ug, seriously? The mouse/keyboard combo is so much better for first person shooters it isn't even funny. As for performance/graphics you need to keep in mind that console games at most operate at 720p and even that is rare. When they run at 1080p the image is simply upscaled to that resolution. On the PC the games can operate at the actual resolution of the monitor which is often over twice as high as the real output of the consoles. Add on top of that the extra graphical settings and enhancements of DX10/11 in games that use it and there is simply no comparison.
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a c 216 U Graphics card
August 10, 2010 5:24:08 AM

doogansquest said:
as I still find my 360 to be uber-better at FPS games than even the newest gaming rigs.


You do have to keep in mind that the 360 will limit the graphical options to settings that your system can handle. PC verions allow settings that are far high in visual quality, because some people can and do take advantage of them.

Most 360 games play at settings that are at best compariable to a PC games medium settings at lower resolutions as well.
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August 10, 2010 5:35:15 AM

jyjjy said:
Ug, seriously? The mouse/keyboard combo is so much better for first person shooters it isn't even funny. As for performance/graphics you need to keep in mind that console games at most operate at 720p and even that is rare. When they run at 1080p the image is simply upscaled to that resolution. On the PC the games can operate at the actual resolution of the monitor which is often over twice as high as the real output of the consoles. Add on top of that the extra graphical settings and enhancements of DX10/11 in games that use it and there is simply no comparison.


Ug, seriously. The controller (in my opinion) is far more convenient, sensible, and reaction-friendly than a clunky, spread out keyboard and mouse where one slip means I click a "Q" instead of a "W". I played the keyboard + mouse for years and have never turned back once I grew accustomed to the 360 controller. INFINITELY BETTER than ANY keyboard and mouse setup. Period. Furthermore, there's virtually no load times, absolutely no choppiness in the game play, and the graphics rendering have been better for me than even the crazy 6400x4000 Crysis video running around Youtube.

Features or no, my vision is just about perfect, and my eyes know what they see.

That said, the computer has many uses not available to me on the console. Particulary, RTS, fast internet usage, and *some* FPS's. Plus, I like playing with the hardware (as a hobby). I do want to get the most muscle I can for the budget, however, which is the purpose of this thread. While I will never be as satisfied with a PC as I am with the consoles - I can't wait to see how long it takes PC's to catch up to the next line of consoles, btw - I want them to be as amazing as possible in a certain price-point.

Again, will I be wasting time/money popping for the 2x GTX470 config based on what I want to do? If it's worth the performance/appearance ratio, then I'll do it. I just can't quite do 2x 480's, so the 470 setup is my top of the line. If an i7-930 with a 1920x1080 monitor won't be able to take full advantage of that setup, then I'll pick something else.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
August 10, 2010 7:15:40 AM

Well, I can unequivically say you are simply flat out wrong about the graphics compared to to consoles. It's not even something that one can begin to question. If your vision is really alright then all I can think to explain is that you've never played the right games on a sufficiently equipped computer with a decent HD monitor. That seems to be about to change though so perhaps you'll understand soon enough.
As for the controller thing... well I guess it really is a personal preference. FYI your 360 controller can actually be used on a computer. It is even the standard controller for a lot of games these days. I must warn you though you will be raped hard and repeatedly if you attempt to use it vs people using a keyboard/mouse in multi-player first person shooters.
As for the card like I've said all along OCing one GTX 470 would be my recommendation. It really should be great for your resolution. You can always add another if you decide you want to. I'm a big fan of not overspending for something of little practical value. $150 more for just a 7% increase in performance after OCing? Nah. Add another $300 card to max out AA in a few games? I'll pass. That's just me but I always look for the sweet spot in performance vs price. People talk about "future proofing" a lot but I think the best way to do so is to buy smart and keep your options open rather than lock yourself into something for years to come because you spent so much on it. When you drop $600-900 on a graphic card setup you better be ready to stick with that for a long time unless you are rich. It is a very fast moving technology so I think that is a mistake for most people. Who knows what card will be on the market and what they will cost a year or two from now?
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a c 130 U Graphics card
August 10, 2010 10:08:39 AM

OvrClkr said:
what do you mean scroll down 3 pages? :lol: 

Edit, i guess you mean the pics were not cropped correctly.. My bad, [:lorbat:6]

anyways I edited the post, like it now?



Oh yes much easier :love:  :lol: 

Mactronix
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a b U Graphics card
August 10, 2010 10:29:29 AM

1) Not all games will utilize SLI/CF. In those cases, the single faster card is definately better.
said:
1) Not all games will utilize SLI/CF. In those cases, the single faster card is definately better.


are you living under a rock by any chance? modern games utilize sli/cf. can you also check if your calendar says 2010 not 2006 (the year a statement such as the one you posted made sense).

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