2x SLI GTS 450 or a single card such as the GTX 560 TI?

I'm upgrading and trying to spend around $250. Currently, with rebates I could get three GTS 450's at NewEgg (3 @ $94.99) although I'm only buying 2 of them. Not even sure how to get the hardware to set up three-way SLI, but I know I have a 2x connector.
The GTS450 overview sounds great, assuming it runs fine in a 2x SLI configuration.
But I have no idea how to compare two/SLI to a single GeForce card in the same price range, such as the GTX 560 TI...which has no availability in EVGA at newegg, but there are some at Amazon for $271 or Tiger Direct for $245..

I have built my last 5-6 computers and used to work user support, so I'm not a novice, but I don't keep up with hardware changes and I've never dealt with SLI before.

BUDGET RANGE: $250 preferred; maximum $299.99 including rebates, tax, S&H

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: MMO Gaming (probably SWTOR), Turn-based strategy (e.g., Civ V), RTS, rarely DVD's, Netflix instant, or action games

NewEgg calculator says with three GTS450 I'd be at 685W (on my 750). Shouldn't be an issue for 2 cards.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750
MEMORY: 4x Crucial 2GB DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
I don't have any special cooling other than paste on the CPU, but I do have a lot of fan cooling with an XClio A380.
OS: Windows 7 x64

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg or Amazon (cheap with good customer service and easy returns) and I have accounts there. Willing to do TigerDirect or whoever, if they have easy returns.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Nvidia for the board; EVGA mfg seems to be best for EVGA board/SLI, according to users at EVGA forums

SLI: Yes, if I buy 2 cards


OTHER COMMENTS: Are newegg extended warranties a ripoff for (EVGA) graphics cards? If you're buying two, it seems like you could just pay for one warranty and assume that only one is likely to fail in a couple years. Unless they make you register the SN# at the time you buy the warranty...
I've heard EVGA service is fine, and I've heard it sucks. If it's impossible to get warranty service from the mfg, then the NewEgg warranty is probably worth it when you can buy two for the price of one. [Unless you have two failures.]

P.S. How do I know if the cards will physically fit in my board when I try to cram 2 (or 3) of them in there? Some of the graphics cards can be kind of tall. I think mine has plenty of spacing, but I might be wrong. I asked that question at EVGA (along with compatibility), hopefully I'll get an answer there.

Edit: Added RAM and OS.
43 answers Last reply
More about single card
  1. Cards get outdated in 2 years anyway, I would not bother with extra warranty. To the real question now. Your CPU is pretty weak compared to the hardware you want to buy. I would stick with 1 gts450, or else bottleneck. If you really want more, (probably shouldn't) I would go GTX560 Ti. If I were you I would get this and this When you get the money, I would SLI 'em. Although, really you won't see any difference with two GTS 450's vs. one GTS 450 with that CPU. That is why I recommend that CPU. OC it also, you would probably get 3.2~3.5Ghz out of it.
  2. Just to be clear, when you say "you won't see any difference with...that CPU" I assume you are referring to the old CPU and not an upgraded CPU.

    A new CPU sounds necessary to make any real headway. I'll assume the Q8300 is a good choice based on the latest gaming hierarchy and your recommendation.

    So after I get the new CPU, the original question still stands, more or less:
    2x GTS 450's for $239.99 (plus $50 NewEgg gift card = sort of $189.99) , or a single GeForce card in that price range such as the
    GeForce GTX 460 for about $189 at NewEgg (plus a $30 NewEgg gift card), or spend
    $249.99 on a GTX 560 TI by waiting until March or April for the GPU?

    Note: Going with a single video card ensures no SLI hassles, so that's worth something.

    Just for reference, I ran 3D Mark (Vantage, default performance/trial settings--didn't tweak anything beforehand) and got 6000, which is basically median for my setup, if sad. Should be fun to see new results with new hardware.

    P.S. Obviously you're right about the GPU's being outdated in 2 years, should have thought of that.
  3. Yes, the new CPU should give you some head-room, but you will see major improvement if yoou OC it to say, 3~3.5Ghz. My choice is the GTX 560 Ti. No SLI hassles, and it is cool, quite, and fast. i know you said you didn't want to OC your GPUs, but I mean, why not? The GTX 560 Ti is a great OCer. But it is your choice. But yeah, the q8300 OCed to 3+ Ghz and you should be good to go. I recommended the q8300 (needs some OC, but that doesn't matter too much) because all the other core 2 quads are really expensive, and you don't need to upgrade your mobo. So, in the end, GTX 560 Ti, and a q8300 OC to 3+ Ghz = awesomeness. BTW, if you do not know how to OC, look it up on youtube, it is really easy.
  4. I am going to bed now, I will get back to you in the morning. It is past midnight were I am at, plus school tomorrow. UHHHHGGGGGG :na: Good night. :sleep:
  5. a q8300 is not really what you want. its not really much of an upgrade. it will perform similarly for games that dont take advantage of more than 2 cores. see proof here You want a q9550 at least to make it a worthwhile upgrade imo. but i think your better off switching platforms completely and just sticking with what you have for now. For your monitor resolution, a gtx460 would be perfect, should be able to max out nearly any game. there will be a CPU bottleneck in some games that are really CPU intensive, but overall most games should run with good framerates. If your into overclocking, your cpu can be overclocked... If i were you i would get a gtx460, of which you can add another later for sli if its not fast enough (after you get a better cpu), then think about CPU choice, a q9550 is a decent amount faster than what you have but will still bottleneck 2 gtx460's in sli, but would be great with just 1. If i were you i would change up platform, maybe wait for AMD's new bulldozer cpu or at least wait till intel fixes its faulty motherboard problem and go with a new core i5.
  6. Well, obviously he is on a budget, that is why a q8300 is great for him. He can OC it to over 3Ghz probably removing all bottlenecking while still using a quad instead of a dual. With the OC it will equal MUCH better performance because of the OC and for CPU intensive games more cores factors in.
  7. if he was gonna oc he would have already done this with his cpu. and like i said the 8300 isnt any faster in most games than his current cpu. Im basically in the same boat with my core2 e6600. Ive overclocked it as much as is safe with stock cooler and the price of the core2 quad cpus is rediculous so may aswell save for a platform upgrade. so if he saves a bit of money by getting a single mid-range card (gtx460) which is perfect for his res, he can put that toward a platform upgrade instead of wasting it, and he will have something that can push a second gtx460 when he needs more gfx power.
  8. Do not spend a dime of that $250. Btw, I like your case. I almost bought it.

    Wait and build a new computer for $600 when you have $600. If you absolutely must spend $250 because the money disappears at the end of the week, buy a Radeon HD 5870. That way if you go AMD down the line, you can Crossfire it--it's also the most bang for your buck out there. You also MUST overclock your CPU to get the full potential out of this card.

    After you get a new GPU, you can wait around a few months and upgrade the rest of your rig when Bulldozer and Ivy Bridge come out this Fall/Winter.
  9. Look, if he doesn't buy a quad core CPU, CPU intensive games will bottleneck is GPU. Like I said, he mu OC his quad core (only $150 on Newegg) to around 3+Ghz and then there will never be a bottleneck. If he got a quad core running @ 3+Ghz, a GTX 560 Ti, and his 8gb RAM, that machine would be really nice for any gaming needs.
  10. Btw, a balanced system is a happy system. ;)
  11. Hit up Craigslist and see if you can snag a Q6600 for $50.00 like i did (very lucky) they are VERY overclockable and still quite capable CPU's even in today's standards.
  12. Yes, that is true, but some used CPUs can be pretty messed up, like people who don't know how to OC correctly and screw with the CPU. That is why I recommended the q8300 OC to 3+ Ghz so there would be no bottlenecks.
  13. Well, the one i got was out of a Dell system so i know it couldn't be overclocked and i made sure that the person showed it to me in working condition and i made him run 20-min of Prime95 before i took it...
  14. Yeah, that was probably smart. :lol:
  15. I do not think so.
  16. Dear Triton,

    Have you made a choice? I would like to hear something from you about what you think. If I were you, I would get a Q8300 and OC it and then get a GTX 560 Ti.
  17. I'm willing to overclock, but I don't care enough to tinker with it to squeeze out every last Hz. If I can get +15% in an hour (or whatever), I'll do that, but if I have to spend ten hours tinkering and reading forums to get +18%, that frankly ain't gonna happen.

    My e6750 is a good OC candidate, but it's obviously not quad core.
    iam2thecrowe's links are pretty clear that there isn't much of an upgrade [if any] for the Q8300 (although technically on that site you have to use the 8400, I'm assuming they are comparable). I'm assuming those benchmarks are not overclocked, however.

    My CPU + GPU was fine for awhile, but recently, I've noticed graphics settings in games falling from all High to customized-High to Medium and now sometimes to medium-customized to get acceptable performance. I don't need maxed out graphics settings to enjoy good gameplay, but I don't want to play a game with the trees turned off (happened recently). That's unacceptable.

    I really don't want to mess with my mainboard right now. I've had that go flawlessly and I've had it be a huge pain in the ass. The last time it was bad enough that I almost vowed never to home-build again. (That's pretty bad.)

    So where does that leave me? I think I'll just overclock my current CPU and save for a bigger upgrade down the road.
    A single GTS 450 for around $100 isn't an issue, so I'll probably do that for now. I'm fine with going up to the GTX 560 TI, but if there's no point with my CPU, then why bother?
  18. Yes, a single GTS 450, and an OC CPU would work until you want a real upgrade. You would really gain from an OC quad core instead of an OC dual core in CPU intensive games.
  19. I'd prefer to just buy the GTX 560 TI for $250 and not worry about this stuff for a year or more, but if you are saying that the bottleneck makes that a waste of money, I won't do it.

    Two things:
    1) @greghome Yes, it can SLI the 450, I found that somewhere at EVGA.

    2) @dalauder
    I love my case, but it has to go on my desk (not under it) and the bottom-side fan can make it pretty cold when you are sedentary in a chair for a few hours.
    I make up for it by cramming as much stuff around the bottom as I can, forcing it to vent away from me.
    All the other fans are intake fans and that's not an issue.
    [Edit: I suppose this would apply to the floor and bare feet, as well.]

    The only thing I don't like is there's no switch for the LED, at least not on my 2.5 year old model. The front panel light flickers, and in a dark room, it's pretty annoying.
  20. Well, this is how I look at it, you can buy a GTS 450 and go with a balanced system is a happy system, or you can get the GTX 560 Ti and not use full potential, but when you upgrade you will still have that great card and then you can use it to its full potential. For you right now, I would get the GTS 450 and OC the CPU, when upgrade time comes, get a new quad core CPU and a GTX 560 Ti. If you have the money for the Q8400 now, I would get it and OC it to 3+ Ghz like I have said a bunch of times. :lol: Then after that, I would get the GTX 560 Ti.
  21. I have the money for a CPU and card, say $400. I absolutely cannot go higher than that or Spouse will kill me. I promised her I'd try for $300, but nothing over $400. Just bought a plasma TV and blu-ray, but at least she can use that. The PC upgrade is for my birthday, so it's a one-time opportunity in 2011.

    I'd love to get the GTX 560 TI if it's doable. That's ~$250 and leaves ~$150 for a CPU with my lga 775. This has to including shipping to zip code 65203. Rebates are fine, though.
    That leaves the Q8300 as my only option, as you said.

    [Edited some of the $ values.]
  22. GPU: After lower price and rebates $224.99 CPU: Total comes to $382.54. Fits right into your budget. One GTX 560 Ti will almost out-due 2x GTS 450 SLI. So if you end up getting that, make sure you OC the CPU to 3+Ghz, or as close as possible, and you should be fine.
  23. for a single card now, the gtx460 or amd 6850 would be the best choice. Both scale very well if you want to add another for sli/crossfire in the future, and will play any game maxed at your resolution now. I just dont believe that with your current cpu and at 1650 res that you will see any performance benefit from spending more on a gtx560, there is too much of a cpu bottleneck even if you overclock. SLI gts450 will give you similar performance to a gtx560 or gtx470, both of which you can pick up for less than the cost of 2 gts450's.
  24. If he OCed the CPU he would be just fine with just about any single-card set up. Just no GTX 570, GTX 580, or hd5970. If he got the OC to 3.5Ghz he could do ANY card he wanted. Look, my AMD Athlon II X3 440 @ 3.5Ghz doesn't bottleneck my hd6850, so a core 2 quad @ 3+Ghz would not bottleneck a GTX 560 Ti. Remember, Intel CPUs run faster than AMD CPUs, so my 3.5Ghz AMD doesn't beat a 3Ghz Intel. You will be fine with the OCed core 2 quad and a GTX 560 Ti.
  25. If you go to Futuremark (my current score is 6,000) there's a lone 19,000 Vantage* result for a Q8300 + 560 TI.
    That's a very significant upgrade.

    Yes, it sucks that for another $250 I could redo the whole system, but that's not gonna happen.

    Again, I don't play action games and I don't watch movies on this PC. I prefer RPG's, MMO's, and turn based strategy games.
    My monitor is small by current standards (sad to think of the $400 I paid for it so many years ago).
    So I can get by with less. Doing the q8300 + GTX 560 should do me for another 2 years.

    The biggest game I'm waiting on is Star Wars The Old Republic, and MMO's are virtually always targeted at mid-range systems.

    * Since it's a DX11 card, really he should have been running 3DMark 11, but those numbers don't scale with my current DX 10 system.
  26. So you won't get the GTX 560 Ti and q8300?
  27. Forgot to add the benchmark for a q8300 and 450 gts.
    It's about 9000-10,000.

    Note that if I keep my CPU and get the 560, I get almost the same benefit as without getting a new CPU: around 17000. (vs 19000 for that one guy with the q8300)

    Too bad we only have the one datapoint for the 560TI.

    Also, I realize these are all "Performance" settings, but that's all the free version allows.
  28. Well, you could OC either CPU. If I were you, I would grab a GTX 560 Ti, then OC your CURRENT CPU and see how it runs. If you are happy, don't get the Q8300. If you are not happy, get the Q8300 and OC it to 3+Ghz.
  29. That's my plan. I'm ordering the GTX 560 Ti right now.
    As JonPaul37 pointed out, given time I might get lucky with a used CPU or something.

    Now I just need to find a good step-by-step OC guide. The e6750 is a good overclocker.
  30. Sounds good, man! Have fun with your new GTX 560 Ti! :D I am happy I could help you. ;)
  31. the only trouble you will have with overclocking the 6750 is the motherboard FSB. The cpu uses 1333fsb so you will be pushing your motherboard's FSB pretty hard to overclock it. a used q9550 would be great, they are comparable to AMD phenom x4's. But yeah, even with a q8300 you will see big benefits in general app performance and there are many games not listed in anands benchmark that do take advantage of quad core, and you would expect future games to use more cores also.. Good luck with all that!
  32. Well, he couldn't afford a q9550.
  33. Yeah, greghome has a good point.
  34. If only that was the case, but she has her own PC.

    Thanks for all your help, everyone! I'll post benchmarks after I get the new GPU. After that, new CPU soon.

    $150 is doable. The problem is, for that money, the options for my LGA 775 [no new mobo, don't suggest it :p] are limited, looking at NewEgg.

    What do you look at to determine where the throttling occurs? Without knowing that, I have absolutely nothing to base a CPU decision on.

    The performance advantage of a new CPU in and of itself isn't that great [see e6750 v q8400], so obviously I'm just trying to un-bottleneck to enhance the GPU.

    For example, comparing Q9550 and the Q8400 (for example) definitely doesn't merit an extra $100/55% cost, but I don't know what that translates to in terms of the GTX 560 Ti.
  35. The reason the q8300 is good is because it can OC to a way higher speed than the q9550 is. You can probably push it to 3~3.5Ghz. I am not sure what you meant about throttling, but if you mean when does the bottleneck come, it is when yoou CPU/GPU is fatser than your CPU/GPU. With a GTX 560 Ti you want somewhere around 3Ghz on your processor that is a tri-core or higher for newer games.
  36. Yeah, I guess what I meant was, when looking at the specifications for any CPU alongside any given GPU, how would I know if there's going to be a bottleneck, without resorting to bugging nice people on Tom's forums? Is someone able to roughly gauge that by merely looking at specs, or do we have to look up a lot of benchmarking and tests? In which case, it's easier to simply ask people who have read all those.

    Thanks for the specifics on the >3 Ghz for the GTX 560 Ti. That's exactly what I needed to know since I've settled on that card.

    My current e6750 can go to 3.4 OC'd, but that's dual-core. So I have no idea what that means in terms of graphics processing loss. 50%? Less? More?

    My 560 still hasn't shipped (Circuit City/Amazon) but lists expected arrival by Feb 23, so hopefully I'm a week away!

    As for "throttle," I know people say bottleneck, but I prefer throttle because a throttle or choke can be adjusted or tinkered with to improve flow, but the neck of a bottle can't. Thus, "throttle" would be more accurate. What can i say, I have an annoyingly literal mind, even when it comes to metaphorical speech. :)
  37. If you do not play CPU intensive games for dual core OC'ed to 3.4Ghz is just fine. Well, you cannot just look at a GPU and then a CPU and say, "Oh, yeah, that would bottleneck that." because it relies on architecture. With those two, architecture 3+Ghz would be fine for a GTX 560 Ti. You can really rely on what the last GPU/CPU series performed like and kinda go from there too. Looking at benchmarks help A LOT too.
  38. Had some issues with the case--the screwless fastener for the PCI slots couldn't quite hold the (huge) new GPU. Because of that I couldn't get it 100% seated.

    Now that it works, I ran 3DMark 11 and got P3195. Of course I can't compare that to my old card since it wasn't DX 11*.

    I played League of Legends before and after, with all the in-game settings on Very High (maximum).
    8800 GT: Frame rate in tutorial (i.e., repeatable) combat was 6-10 FPS, generally around 8..
    GTX 560 Ti: ~50 FPS.

    I was having so much fun I forgot to check the framerate.

    Rather than save for a new CPU, I'll just wait and get a new Mobo and CPU at some point in the future.
    The only problem is that will likely mean abandoning my DDR2 RAM...particularly if I want multiple PCIe-2 slots.
    Not that I really need them with this GPU.

    But what I have right now is more than sufficient. I'm running a fairly representative game at max settings with 50 FPS.

    Thanks everyone! I'm really happy with my purchase. Need to try it out for a couple weeks before I leave a review or try to OC.

    * Edit: unless I wanted to buy the full version of the DX 10 3d Mark just to run one more test, and I really don't.
  39. NICE! It sounds like you made a good decision. ;)
  40. Okay, I uninstalled Vantage, deleted registry entries for it, reinstalled, then used a new email address.

    Here are the results for both cards with 3DMark Vantage:
    8800 GT: P6008
    GTX 560 Ti: p9638

    That's a 60% increase, without overclocking.'s not even in the ballpark for that CPU + GPU combination, which all range from 16,000 to 19,000.

    Well, I didn't turn off my antivirus [Webroot], which is always a massive speedbump. [It was on for both tests.] Still, I'm like 10 standard deviations below those other results. Is my mobo really that bad?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm still happy with the new card.
  41. You cannot always look at your set-up, and then another and compare bench-marks. As you said, you left the anti-virus on. If you get good frames in games, (like you said) you sound fine.
  42. Also, if that bench-mark is CPU intensive, you will get a bottleneck. If it is GPU intensive, and not CPU intensive, you are fine. I wouldn't worry about it. By the way, when and if you upgrade your CPU and MoBo, get a AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE. It is an amazing CPU from what I have read. It looks like it performs very well in benchmarks and OC'ed very well. It would be cheaper than those LGA 775s and better than almost all of them.
  43. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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