Hello guys, i have a few questions that i want to ask. I have never used a graphic card before, yet, i love gaming. Recently, i have made up my mind to build a gaming pc. After doing a lot of research myself, i know what components i should buy except for graphic card. I have a 1920x1080 monitor and i do like to max out everything during game play. I am going to build my pc around thanksgiving(want to save some money) Right now, i have two options: Buy a AMD cayman(probably coming in late nov) or buy a pair of MSI N460GTX Hawk GeForce GTX 460(or a pair of AMD bart)
I know SLI and Crossfire is probably going to outperform a single cayman, but is it worth it? I heard people saying SLI/Crossfire tend to run very hot, is it true?( i wasn't able to find any review on the temperature chart of gpu running in SLI/Crossfire. Also, will the life span of the gpu be shortened if i run them in SLI/Crossfire?(I want to keep this gaming pc for 2 years at least) Will SLI/Crossfire have a lot of driver issues? If they do, are the problems easy to fix(I really don't like sitting in front of a computer for 2 hours trying to figure out what go wrong) And for the games that don't support SLI/Crossfire, is it hard for me to set up the profile?
At last, what will be a good FPS for game play?
Thank you for all your input. I greatly appreciate it.
Generally, nVidia's SLI tends to get a better return (it scales better). Though some game titles do like ATI Crossfire. Between the two, if you wanted dual cards, I slightly lean toward nVidia. If you go that route, the GTX 460 1 GB's in SLI will beat a single GTX 480 by as much as 20%.
I have not personally used a Crossfire setup anytime recently. But I can tell you setting up an nVidia SLI setup is really, really, really easy. Install both cards. Boot into windows, install the latest drivers. Right click desktop, go into nVidia control panel. Activate SLI (it's a check box). Done.
The latest Fermi cards (GTX 460, 470, 480) scale in SLI extremely well. And nVidia has been very good about driver updates to improve SLI performance in games fairly frequently.
Now, with all that being said, I am a fan of "Buy one good card, over two lesser cards". This gives you great performance now, and allows you to use Crossfire or SLI as an UPGRADE path later on, rather than doing it now and replacing both cards later.
For 1920x1080, just buy a single GTX 470, GTX 480, ATI 5850 / 5870 (or a new 6000 series) and be done for now. Later when games evolve more, a second card will cost less and you won't be entirely replacing your existing GPU.
Make sure you identify your motherboard's capability first. Not all do both SLI & Crossfire, but some do.
Edit: By the way. If you go with ATI, the current 5000 series run fairly cool. So you'll be fine with Crossfire. If you go with nVidia, the GTX 470/480 run very hot. So running them in SLI can create heat issues if your ambient temps are high, or if you don't have adequate case cooling. The GTX 460's however, if you buy the right card, don't run quite as hot.
We're also in a fairly unique situation right now too. A lot of the "non-cutting edge" enthusiasts (I know it sounds like an oxymoron..) still have DirectX10/10.1 class graphics cards. So to buy another one of those and crossfire/sli it right now doesn't exactly make a ton of sense, simply because you're investing even more money in "old technology".