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Considering X-Fire instead of higher end single card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 11, 2010 4:20:22 PM

I recently bought a GTX 465 that I successfully flashed to a GTX 470. While the performance is excellent it belches a lot of heat into the small bedroom I use for an office. My previous card was an 8800 GTX and the difference is noticeable (and I always thought the 8800 GTX was a space heater!).

As an alternative I'm considering crossfiring two HD 5750s: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... They should be in the same neighborhood as far as performance goes, but I'm not sure if two lower midrange cards would be an improvement in heat generated. My other option is to go with an HD 5850 or GTX 460 1GB.

As far as Crossfire goes, are there any drawbacks to it? I've never considered it before but back in the day I read that there are potential stuttering issues, a number of games without X-fire profiles, etc... Does this still hold true? Thanks for any info or opinions.

Phenom II X4 955 @ 3.6 Ghz
ASUS AM3 X-fire mobo
750W PC Power and Cooling PS.
August 11, 2010 4:30:12 PM

First of all, nvidias current offerings are less efficient than ATI's when it comes to performance per watt. So a single 470 may produce more heat than crossfired 5750s. On the flipside, ATI crossfire efficiency is far behind Nvidia's. So the net performance gain from adding a single card may not make up for the more efficient cards in tandem. On the plus side, CF scaling efficiency is so far most impressive on the 57xx line of cards.

Microstutter was mostly a myth, and definitely a thing of the past. Don't sweat that. As for crossfire profiles, there are still titles that don't support it. Using crossfired cards may leave you with single card performance in some titles. Thats the major drawback.

At this point, a single 460 1gb model is an excellent choice, as is a 5850. You may even want to wait for the 450 model line to be released. If the gains in efficiency and price/perf that were found going from GF100 (465, 470, 480) to GF104 (460) are repeated with GF106 (45x) than a pair of those they might be the best choice for you.

EDIT: Realized that you probably can't sli on your motherboard, so yeah, a single 460 1gb or 5850 would probably be the best choices as far as heat production is concerned, with the 5750s probably close behind.
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August 11, 2010 4:31:22 PM

Any budget limits?
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August 11, 2010 4:33:50 PM

I always opt for the single card. There are less issues. Two cards whether ATI or NVIDIA can have their problems. Internal heat can sometimes be an issue as the cards are stacked. I ran into this issue with two 4870's. Some games just simply do not like multi-GPU setups until there is a driver update released.

I would honestly keep your current setup. Does it REALLY throw that much heat? It shouldn't at idle.
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August 11, 2010 4:37:03 PM

Since dual 460s are out of the question, consider dual HD5770s, a 10 step provides you with 20% greater performance.

But if heat is an important issue to you, get a single card, Crossfire setups even with 2 cool cards can get hot and less efficient compared to single card solutions.
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August 11, 2010 4:42:43 PM

ekg84 said:
Any budget limits?


Less than $300. The flashed GTX 465 was $260 (fancy MSI with a solid copper HSF :D  )

jay2tall said:
I always opt for the single card. There are less issues. Two cards whether ATI or NVIDIA can have their problems. Internal heat can sometimes be an issue as the cards are stacked. I ran into this issue with two 4870's. Some games just simply do not like multi-GPU setups until there is a driver update released.

I would honestly keep your current setup. Does it REALLY throw that much heat? It shouldn't at idle.


Its not bad just surfing the net since it downclocks a lot. Just any demanding game starts overpowering the AC vent!
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August 11, 2010 4:42:45 PM

Personally I would go with a single 5850 and later on add a second one if needed. With the 460 you are limited to one card since your board is CF only.

The problem with the dual 5750's is the fact that once those go obsolete it will be harder to upgrade since you will have 2 cards to get rid of as opposed to a single 5850 where all you have to do is add a second one down the road. You should not have any issues with CF other than updating the drivers and setting them up properly in CCC.

If you can get by with a single 460 then that would be your best option money-wise, if not the 5850 will do just fine.

I have a 5850 and it runs nice n cool even in high ambient (temp) situations, normally sits at 36c idle and 55c load at stock. Hope this helps =)

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August 11, 2010 4:47:35 PM

To be honest i've never liked multi gpu setups and always tried to avoid them but recently gave it a shot and got 2 5770s in crossfire and im pretty happy. But u do need a good airflow inside of your case in order to keep them cool. Performance wise they beat gtx470 and even 5870 in some cases, but produce about the same amount of heat as a single gtx470/465. 5750s will be cooler but noticeably slower as well. Take a look at this review:
http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/ati_radeon...

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August 11, 2010 4:50:25 PM

ekg84 said:
Performance wise they beat gtx470 and even 5870 in some cases, but produce about the same amount of heat as a single gtx470/465.


Sounds like that defeats what I was trying to accomplish. Probably should stick with considering an HD 5850 or GTX 460 1GB.
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August 11, 2010 4:54:57 PM

Honestly from a 465 to a 460, the performance is quite similar (460 seems a little bit better in some cases) and I guess it's a little less hot. If heat is such a major issue for you, then I guess that's a good way to go but I can't see the point, personally.

A 5850 will perform better. And two in crossfire is a force to be reckoned with, I know with first hand experience. Personally, I only had any CF issues with the Starcraft 2 beta but they've been fixed in 10.6 and 10.7 drivers. IMO, any game that doesn't support CF is probably so old you don't need to use more than 1 card for max FPS anyway. 5850s are also much cooler, but if you get a reference version the fan gets quite loud. I put on Scythe Setsugen cooler, it's probably not even as good as, say, the Asus DirectCU fan, but boy is it quiet. Playing games, temps are around 58C (Not sure of exact ambient, living in an appartment and it gets quite warm probably 23-26C) And that's at stock volts but OCed to 870/1230 (from 700/1000). They also can OC higher but VRM temps start to be an issue, plus performance is great at this point anyway.
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August 11, 2010 4:58:55 PM

Well, I do have it flashed to a GTX 470 and its performance is tearing up my old games! No complaints there. Maybe I should just game late at night or early in the day and wait for cooler weather. Either that or an HD 5850 for the power savings and similar performance. Think that card is about the only one that makes sense if I do send this current card back.
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August 11, 2010 5:00:02 PM

If you want good performance and low power/heat then the HD5850 is the way to go. It beats the GTX 460 in both of those areas.
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August 11, 2010 5:05:35 PM

Just a thing about flashing the BIOS... I guess the 470 must have the same BIOS as a 465... but anyway, IMO it's probably a lot safer to use the original BIOS and just edit the clocks. Techpowerup has software for doing this... I just personally don't think it's good to flash a BIOS that's made for slightly different hardware, although perhaps the BIOS doesn't have any difference other than clocks anyway.
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August 11, 2010 5:09:10 PM

This GTX 465 has 10 ram chips and the same PCB as the GTX 470. The CPU clock after flashing is the same, RAM is a little faster. Basically all it does is enable those two dormant RAM chips. Temps only went up about 2-3C after flashing. This is the model and discussion. Everyone that tries it easily unlocks this card. Its pretty amazing.

http://www.overclock.net/nvidia/789983-msi-gtx465-twin-...

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August 11, 2010 5:15:05 PM

jeffredo said:
This GTX 465 has 10 ram chips and the same PCB as the GTX 470. The CPU clock after flashing is the same, RAM is a little faster. Basically all it does is enable those two dormant RAM chips. Temps only went up about 2-3C after flashing. This is the model and discussion. Everyone that tries it easily unlocks this card. Its pretty amazing.

http://www.overclock.net/nvidia/789983-msi-gtx465-twin-...

The gold Twin Frozr should cool pretty well, just trn up the fans manually and see.
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August 11, 2010 5:15:28 PM

wolfram23 said:
Just a thing about flashing the BIOS... I guess the 470 must have the same BIOS as a 465... but anyway, IMO it's probably a lot safer to use the original BIOS and just edit the clocks. Techpowerup has software for doing this... I just personally don't think it's good to flash a BIOS that's made for slightly different hardware, although perhaps the BIOS doesn't have any difference other than clocks anyway.

The GTX 465 and GTX 470 actually have the same stock speed, 607mhz. The difference between the two cards are 96 more shaders, 8 more ROPs, 256 more mb of memory and a wider memory bus(320 vs 256 bit.) It is the new BIOS that enables all the changes. It only works on certain versions of the GTX 465.
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August 11, 2010 5:21:07 PM

Timop said:
The gold Twin Frozr should cool pretty well, just trn up the fans manually and see.



Actually the card is running quite cool for a Fermi! Idles between 36C and 40C and games at 60-69C with the fan on auto. Furmark topped out at 76C (also on auto). It still is producing heat though and that's whats warming up the small room. Yeah, I know, its August. ;) 
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August 11, 2010 5:25:12 PM

Air conditioning?
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August 11, 2010 5:26:50 PM

jeffredo said:
Actually the card is running quite cool for a Fermi! Idles between 36C and 40C and games at 60-69C with the fan on auto. Furmark topped out at 76C (also on auto). It still is producing heat though and that's whats warming up the small room. Yeah, I know, its August. ;) 

Try venting the air out through a tunnel directly out of the window. :pt1cable: 
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August 11, 2010 5:54:41 PM

Very interesting about the unlocks! That's awesome. Too bad so few cards can do that.
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August 11, 2010 6:37:05 PM

Timop said:
Try venting the air out through a tunnel directly out of the window. :pt1cable: 


LOL! I was actually thinking of something like that last night. Seriously. :lol: 

Thanks for all the responses guys. I think I'll go with an HD 5850 should I send the GTX 465 back. Sounds like the best balance of performance, thermals, energy consumption and price. With my 22" monitor I probably would notice no difference between one and my current card flashed. I been looking at power consumption figures and the HD 5850 is doing about 80W less at load. That should make some difference.
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August 11, 2010 6:38:20 PM

Best answer selected by jeffredo.
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Anonymous
August 13, 2010 9:58:21 PM

If you want sli you can download hacked drivers for nvidia cards to work in sli mode on any am3 motherboard just try googling it.
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February 25, 2012 6:04:07 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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