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Surround w/ two 2gb 560's, or Eyefinity w/ two 2gb 6950s?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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For 5760 x 1080 gaming, which is the better option?

Total: 17 votes (5 blank votes)

  • two GTX 560 Ti (2gb vram model)
  • 50 %
  • two HD6950 (2gb vram model)
  • 50 %
February 27, 2011 3:02:28 PM

Hello,

I'm currently deployed to Afg, and have used my spoils of war to start a multi-monitor gaming setup for when I return home (roughly 1 month from now). I've purchased 3 1920x1080 monitors, and am currently up in the air over which GPUs to power them with. Main games will be Flight simulators (FSX, DCS:A10), WoW, BF:BC2, and BF3 upon release.

I'm looking at either two HD6950s, or two (Palit) GTX 560 ti's. Whether I go AMD, or Nvidia I will get 2gb versions of 'card x'. Thus far, the 6950s seem to get higher benchmarks, but the results I've seen are mostly single screen oriented. Also, I've noticed the 560 reviews are mostly done on 1gb versions of the card. On multimonitor gaming at 5760x1080, 2gb of vram could significantly increase performance over the 1gb models.

My main concern: 6950s would require two monitors connect via DVI, and one via DP adapter. This will cause the unfortunate 'screen tear problem' when using Vsync. I know Vsync is not necessary in most situations, but this would be an experience killer if I were to need it. The 560 option would connect all 3 via DVI.

I am also considering to see how the GTX 590/HD 6990 compete, but I prefer to stick with at least 2gb of vram at a $600 price point. The 590 will likely have only 1.5gb(Edit: 3 in total, but 1.5 available per gpu), and nobody knows pricing until they release. So my options on the table are these two mid-rangers.

I do not prefer Nvidia or AMD over one another, and am looking for the best option for my situation. Please feel free to share your reasoning for one or the other, I'd love to hear why card x over card y. I appreciate any comments, suggestions, or points of information and look forward to seeing how this poll goes. Thanks!

EDIT: 3d is NOT a consideration. Thanks for mentioning that Diesel!

Summary:
~$600 budget
Will be using at 5760 x 1080 resolution
Two 2gb 560's, or 6950s
Vsync tear is a concern for me
Will purchase in ~30 days
Games: WoW, flight sims, FPS

-System specs: Case: HAF 932, MB: EVGA X-58 SLI (xfire capable despite the board's name), CPU: Core i7 920 @ 3.8ghz, Cooler: Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme w/ push pull, RAM: 6gb OCZ Gold DDR3 @1600mhz, SSD: Intel X-25m 160gb, PSU: Corsair HX1000, and current GPU: GTX 285
February 27, 2011 4:39:14 PM

590 Will have 3gig of Vram total But they are going to be north of 600. Also depends Do you want Vision surround in 3d?
February 27, 2011 7:00:15 PM

Thanks for the response Diesel. Unfortunatly, the 3gb on the 590 is total Vram, with only 1.5gb available to each GPU (two 580 chips on one board). It is possible Palit will make a 6gb 590, so 3gb are available to each GPU (similar to their 3gb 580) but as you said, the price will be probably be more than I'd like to pay (considering their 3gb 580 is 600 bucks right now)
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
February 27, 2011 10:02:28 PM

The 6950 scaling has greatly improved over the 5xxx series and their extra VRAM is an added bonus as 1GB cards choke at that resolution.
February 28, 2011 8:53:49 AM

Thanks for the input plznote, the vram choke at 1gb is why I'm set on 2gb w/ either card.

Anyone know how xfire scaling compares to SLI's on res's that wide? I've looked about for a while now, but have had a hard time finding solid info that relates to my setup. Single screen bench's aren't too hard to find, but I'm curious if the results could be different (from single screen bench's) when tripling the output
February 28, 2011 1:13:59 PM

Thanks MrMotion, seems the 6950's scale a little better @ 1920x1080. I've noticed the 6950's tend to beat the 560's by several fps in most single screen situations. The only thing holding me from going AMD is the screen tear problem w/ mixed outputs. If 6950s overpower the 560s on 3x screens by a decent margin, that will probably shift me over despite the tearing (since it's only when vsync is enabled). The hard part is finding performance data that specific
a b U Graphics card
February 28, 2011 1:33:25 PM

Dude, I've been looking for an answer to the exact same question.

The truth is that generally speaking, Nvidia has the easier surround setup and functionality (it just works in most games). However, you need two cards to use it. Now this isn't a problem for you because you are willing to spend for two cards.

The real issue is that Nvidia has only ONE GTX 5*** series card currently AVAILABLE with 2GB of VRAM or more, the GTX 560ti as you have obviosuly seen.

I wanted to do the same thing as you, but I am eliminating ATI as an option, I don't want to use DP adapters, I am not impressed with the 6950, and the 6970 has heat/sound issues when paired in CF. Plus, I want to keep my Physx card and be able to 'dabble' with 3D gaming, because I have the hardware.

That leaves me (and you) with little room to manuver going with Nvidia. The real issue is that the GTX 560 2GB, while an excellent card, is going to run out of juice at such high resolutions. What's the point of 2GB of Vram on two mid range cards running at absurd resolutions ?

What I mean is, you will probably run out of GPU horsepower before even worrying about how much Vram is being used.

The only 'solution' I can come up with is a pair of GTX 580's, which have a decent amount of memory for Surround (still not what I would want though). And have lots of horsepower to plow through those high resolutions.

If you had a higher budget, I would suggest this route. With that being said, I voted for the SLI 560 2GB route, because it will still give you what you want, and they are excellent little cards.
a b U Graphics card
February 28, 2011 1:40:43 PM

Take a look at this article: http://www.guru3d.com/article/gigabyte-gtx-560-ti-soc-r...

It is a review of the Gigabyte SOC GTX 560, the card is clocked to 1000 Mhz Core.


Why am I linking you to a 1GB 560 card review ? Simply because you can see more clearly the potential of the 560 SLI setup. Pay attention to how close in performance it is to a stock GTX 570.

If you are willing to buy two GTX 560 2GB and get them clocked anywhere near the Gigabyte SOC 1GB 560, then you will effectively have the graphical performance of GTX 570 SLI (BUT with 2GB of VRAM instead of 1200mb)

The catch is, are you willing to crank the voltage on those puppies and get them near 1000Mhz ? If you are then you are looking at a *decent* solution to your problem.
February 28, 2011 2:01:31 PM

thanks for the insight Annisman, good to know I'm not alone! The Vram is a huuuuge deal because even with mild AA at 3x wide resolutions, the vram gets eaten up. I started out considering dual 580's, but check out this link:

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1573598&page=21&h...

My setup is nowhere near that extreme, but the 1.5gb seemed to get eaten up quite easily. This is why I set my bar at 2gb. That eliminates 570s, but I think 6950s/560s will still have enough GPU power for the resolution (especially if unlocked/overclocked).

Now, Palit makes a 3gb version of the 580, but I'm not willing to spend $1200+ when 28nm solutions will likely out do it in a year or so. I arrived at my price of $600 because a pair of either card can get a little more px than a single 580, but also because they've got enough vram to not be a limiting factor. My main dilema is that 6950's scale better (on 1 screen for sure, having to assume so on 3) but the display port thrown into the mix causes the screen tear w/ vsync enabled. I'm having to decide on a little more px for the same price, vs the potential screen tear issue. I would be irate having to 'deal' with that after throwing this much money in the mix, but it might just sound like a bigger problem than it really is ya know? Why I'm really interested to see what the community sais before I go down the rabbit hole
a c 609 U Graphics card
February 28, 2011 10:18:26 PM

Whatever you do, when comparing benchmarks, be aware that 90% of the 560's sold are factory overclocked, while 90% of the 6950's are sold at reference speeds. It is not realistic to look at benchmarks showing the performance of the reference GTX 560 at 822 mhz, when the cards you are most likely to find for purchase will be clocked at 880, 900, 950, or 1000 mhz. So the strategy should be to look at reviews of specific GTX 560's, which will be compared to the stock clocked 6950, rather than the other way around. Like this, for example, showing a 1GB GTX 560 @ 950 mhz vs. a 2GB 6950 at very high resolution:



February 28, 2011 10:53:14 PM

Great point, Matto. The paricular GTX 560 I am considering is the Palit version with 2gb vram...it comes clocked at 822 mhz, so it would be the standard 'stock' clocks. Thanks for pointing that out though, as there does seem to be a good deal of variation between available models.

With as many views as this thread has gotten, I was hoping for a higher voter turn out, but the feedback recieved thus far has been very beneficial
March 2, 2011 3:56:27 PM

Thanks for the suggestions and votes everyone! I have decided to go with two GTX 560s. My primary reason, is that the 6950's only beat it by a few FPS in the newer game bench's, but with the GTX route there is no worry about the screen tear issue (caused on eyefinity due to the mixed outputs not timing properly).

The only ripple in my pond right now, is if the 6990 releases in the next two weeks (I head home in 4 weeks, I'll order in 2 so it'll be waiting for me when I get back). The 6990 can connect three monitors through DP, which would also negate the screen tear concern, and meet my 2gb vram req.

If the 6990 out-performs dual 560s, I will go with that for my solution...so long as its price over the 560 set is proportionate to its performance edge. Thanks again everyone!
a b U Graphics card
March 2, 2011 4:37:23 PM

Great choice, give us some benchmarks when you get them.
a c 609 U Graphics card
March 2, 2011 6:32:04 PM

There is also a GTX 590 dual GPU card coming out soon as well. It is due to have 3GB of RAM and multiple display ports to run 3 monitors on a single card. I gotta guess the dual GTX 560's will offer more bang for the buck.
March 2, 2011 7:17:16 PM

I ruled out the 590 due to the ram limitation mentioned a few posts up. It has 3gigs total, but an effective amount of 1.5gb, as it's split between two chips and their frame buffers :-(. The 6990 is similar but since it starts at 4gb, she meets my 2gb criteria

I'm set on 2gb so I can has 2x, maybe 4x AA without hitting a wall. Once Vram is maxed, performance drops significantly...Even on the current king: GTX 580. Cards with 1.5gb might be able to handle it(probably would on single screen res's), but with 2gb options available I'm inclined to go with one of them, be it 560's, or a 6990...depending when the latter actually shows up, and how they compare, hehe.
!