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Need Nvidia GPU advice for gaming rig...

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April 9, 2011 11:13:21 AM

Hey guys,

I've been milling around the forums gathering advice and trying to decide which parts to put in my upcoming gaming build. The general consensus has been that having "the latest and greatest" is a waste of money because literally nobody is taking advantage of new tech. This is good for the frugal (poor) builder such as myself :D 

At any rate, I'm a noob (I have yet to build a rig on my own), and I need help narrowing down my parts list.

After coming to these forums again and again, I've decided that the Intel Core i5-2500K is the best gaming CPU that can be had at a decent price (and that performance doesn't scale with price in any reasonable fashion, so it's the logical "bang-for-your-buck" option). However, I've had a hard time finding a graphics card that'll do a good job without costing an arm and a leg. I'd really like to have a GTX 590, but it sucks a lot of juice (it loves the electricity), and it costs a freakin' ton of cash.

So, here are my goals:

1) Play games maxed out (full detail, decent AA and AF) at 1920x1080

2) Steady framerate that doesn't dip below 40 fps

I'm thinking about getting a pair of GTX 560 TIs. I've heard that they'll put out power comparable to the GTX 590, and judging by current prices on Newegg, they'll do it for a couple hundred bucks cheaper.

So, that's what I'm looking for advice on. How well does the i5-2500K/sli GTX 560 TI combo work for games? I'm looking consistent high (40+) framerate in current (and hopefully 1-2 years in the future) games. Also, how much of a cap for graphics performance is the i5-2500K? Will I see a difference in quality between it and higher-priced Intel Core-series CPUs? How many years do you think the i5 will last before it starts to bottleneck my GPU performance?

Anyways, do any of you use this setup? I'd really love to hear your opinion on this matter. I would also appreciate your help with deciding on such things as a motherboard/PSU/case. I'm a super-noob, so any component-selection help would be greatly appreciated :D 

Thanks for your time, and for all the help TH users have given so far :) 
April 9, 2011 12:58:55 PM

Yeah I would say 560 Tis are the way to go ....and its not comparable to a 590. A 590 is comparable to 570's in SLI. If you want to make the argument you can OC the cards fine but you can then OC the 590 also. I am building a comp with the same goals as you, Newegg often has deals for 570's for sub $300. Last week I picked up 2xMSI 570's at 279.99 from newegg with a coupon code. But the 560's will smoke any current game. I just wanted 570'sx2 for Battlefield 3. Also you could always buy a 580 today and SLI it later.
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April 9, 2011 7:35:44 PM

Uh-oh, overclocking! I've lived in fear of OCing for the longerst time. I'm very afraid of just frying my new toys.... but I guess it's become extremely commonplace in recent years. I'll just have to do the research and try my best not to ruin anything ":|

Is there a better option than the 560 TIs for a similar price? I can put down a little more cash if it's worth it, but what I'd really like to know: is there any current game that 2x560 TIs can't handle at max?

I mean, Metro 2033 is really demanding, but frankly it barely looks better than your average FPS and it just crawls on all but the most high-end GPUs (and I've always called that "poor optimization" rather than something to be proud of X_x). At any rate, if two 560 TIs can deal with Metro 2033 maxed out, then I know for sure that there's far more than enough power to play anything for now.

Can anyone vouch for this setup running really demanding games at max settings like the Crysis (1, Warhead, 2) series? If the 560 TIs have Crysis and Metro in the bag, I've got a feeling I'll be happy with them for a good long while.
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April 9, 2011 7:55:30 PM

I had 2x460s a while back and had them OCed to 850/1700/1800MHz core/shader/memory, and they could handle Metro 2033 on full settings, DX11, AA x4 (I think; I know it was at least on) @ 1920x1080 resolution. The OC brought my 460s to a little past stock 470 abilities.

Metro 2033 is phenomenal if you can play it on full settings. It's also pretty cool in 3D :D 
Crysis 1 and Warhead run fine on 2x470s, so you should be good in that regard as well.

The GTX 560 performs about 25% better than the 470, so with 2x560 you should get the same/better performance at stock settings as I did with 2x460 OCed. Also, the GTX 560 is a great overclocker like the 460, so you shouldn't have any trouble getting 2x570 performance out of the GPUs.

I use MSI Afterburner to OC my GPUs (even though I buy EVGA all the way ;) ), and it's really simple to use. There are plenty of guides to OCing GPUs online, and it's relatively safe compared to CPU OCing. GPUs tend to shut off automatically before reaching a damaging temperature.

What brand do you plan on buying? EVGA and Asus make the best cards out there IMO, and EVGA has amazing customer service if you ever run into trouble. EVGA's warranties are NOT voided by OCing and will still allow RMAs with aftermarket coolers (if that is not the cause of the problem).
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April 9, 2011 7:57:58 PM

envymert said:
Yeah I would say 560 Tis are the way to go ....and its not comparable to a 590. A 590 is comparable to 570's in SLI. If you want to make the argument you can OC the cards fine but you can then OC the 590 also. I am building a comp with the same goals as you, Newegg often has deals for 570's for sub $300. Last week I picked up 2xMSI 570's at 279.99 from newegg with a coupon code. But the 560's will smoke any current game. I just wanted 570'sx2 for Battlefield 3. Also you could always buy a 580 today and SLI it later.


This brings up a good point, although the 590 hasn't OCed well in reviews.

Another thing to keep in mind is that 2x560 will be maxed out from the get-go, whereas a 1x580 system is still upgradeable.
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April 9, 2011 8:10:35 PM

I've had terrible experiences with ASUS customer support (for example, it shouldn't take 4 months to RMA a laptop), but I've heard good things about EVGA. I might just go with whoever's got the cheapest card at the time of buying (but if it's only like $10 more for an EVGA vs some unknown manufacturer, I'll go for the EVGA).

Boiler1990 makes a good point about sli being maxed out without any headroom for upgrading. Also, a single 580 is about the same price as two 560 TIs. How would the performance stack up between the two? I'll bet the 560 TIs are a little more powerful, but I can't just drop another card in when I need more power down the road.

Is the 580 weaker/as strong/stronger than the two 560 TIs?
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April 9, 2011 8:23:36 PM

A great site with alot of vid card single/sli and tri slied is guru3d.com check this one out
The 560 tis are faster than a single 580 by a bit but, you can always OC/SLI the 580 later.

http://guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-560-ti-sli-review...

At the bottom it shows where all cards stack up.

The 580 is a sick card ......
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April 9, 2011 8:30:41 PM

Hey, thanks for the link. I'll check it out. The 580 is starting to look pretty sweet for the current price...

EDIT: Okay, I read over that review and looked at the benchmarks. The 580 looks like a beastly beast. I think it's probably the best bet for the money because upgrading later will be easy with sli...

So, anybody want to help me come up with a parts list for this sli rig :D 
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April 9, 2011 9:49:41 PM

guitarjanitor said:
I've had terrible experiences with ASUS customer support (for example, it shouldn't take 4 months to RMA a laptop), but I've heard good things about EVGA. I might just go with whoever's got the cheapest card at the time of buying (but if it's only like $10 more for an EVGA vs some unknown manufacturer, I'll go for the EVGA).

Boiler1990 makes a good point about sli being maxed out without any headroom for upgrading. Also, a single 580 is about the same price as two 560 TIs. How would the performance stack up between the two? I'll bet the 560 TIs are a little more powerful, but I can't just drop another card in when I need more power down the road.

Is the 580 weaker/as strong/stronger than the two 560 TIs?


2x560s will be a bit better (stock) than a 580, but I think that OCed the 560s will be faster than the 580 (even OCed). However, you can upgrade to a second 580.

I'd say the extra money you'd put into an EVGA card is well spent.
If you went with 560's I'd get these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For 580s, I'd get: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
They have the lifetime warranties, but I doubt you'd need to deal with their fantastic support.
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April 9, 2011 11:12:17 PM

If you go easy on the AA/AF (I never had any use for AA/AF in first person shooters), you might find even a single 560 runs pretty nice at 1080P.....
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April 10, 2011 4:02:24 AM

Oh, I gotta have me some AA and some AF :D  What's the point of playing at high resolution if I've got little high-res jaggies and high-res muddy textures?

I think I'll go with the 580. If I get the right motherboard, I can sli up to... what like 3 or 4? That kind of upgrade route will keep me in good graphics and smooth framerates for at least a couple of years.

Well, I think I'll be off to find some parts and look for some advice on what pieces will go into this build! Thanks for all the help, everybody.
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April 10, 2011 4:04:20 AM

Best answer selected by guitarjanitor.
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