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CF 6950s vs. SLI 560 Ti - Which to choose?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 10, 2011 5:09:12 PM

I'm a bit stuck on whether I should go with 6950s in Crossfire in my new rig or two 560 Ti's in SLI. I already know that should I go with 6950s I probably won't be getting reference cards, so no unlocking, but the OC potential on the 560s seems impressive.

These are the cards I'm considering using:

MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI N560GTX-TI Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Any thoughts on which might be better, or another alternative someone can offer at the same price point? I should note that I'm only using a Corsair 750tx V2, so I don't have super-amazing headroom power-wise, but easily enough to get by.

More about : 6950s sli 560 choose

April 11, 2011 7:16:50 AM

The 560Ti outperforms the 6950 in single card layout, but the 6950 beats the 560Ti in dual / triple mode. Complicated, eh?
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 7:55:18 AM

You can get 1 GB 6950s instead, if you want to save a few $.
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 2:16:33 PM

Are you sure your motherboard supports crossfire AND Sli?

Nobody can make a knowledgable graphics suggestion to you without knowing what cpu you have.
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 4:13:56 PM

your psu is fine but whay are your full system specs? I prefer NV drivers so personally I vote for 560ti sli
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 4:22:27 PM

actually in single card performance 6950 is better than 560, also when compared OC vs OC, you can unlock the 6950 so it'll be like a 6970 with lower clocks *OC and you'll have 6970 or even higher*, in CF 6950s are very VERYY close to 570s not 560s, both have problems, but luckily for nVidia SLI has less, also the 6950 is better @ higher res and multiple screens, it's almost always better to have a single *even a worse performing card* over a CF/SLI
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 4:31:57 PM

yeah I mean sli drivers are far superior to crossfire drivers imo so thats why I said the 560s
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 4:33:12 PM

shrkbay, no offense but you always are telling people how great xfire is and you are running an igp? By no means am I rtying to put your system down I'm just giving you an honest opinion from a first hand experience. I too understand that both have problems and that many of AMDs issues with drivers are fixable, but some of them are not and they will plague almost any xfire system, but that is an ambiguous statement to say the least, I really think it is important that people know that AMD treats crossfire customers as a minority, trust me when I say that it is not worth it, or learn the hard way
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 5:45:27 PM

Crossfire customers ARE a minority, as are overclockers.

There are many people here running crossfire without any issues. There are ton's of reviews here on Tom's about crossfire, never once does Tom's mention any driver issues. Amazing.

Not even in the "crossfire/sli: 3 way scaling" article where 3-6950's put 3-GTX570's to shame. Even though the 570's are more expensive.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/crossfire-sli-3-way...

Not one mention of ANY driver issues. I guess you just have to know what your doing.



If I were you, I would go with what give me the best performance for the money, and that is the 6950 by a mile.
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 5:48:10 PM

Quote:
shrkbay, no offense but you always are telling people how great xfire is and you are running an igp? By no means am I rtying to put your system down I'm just giving you an honest opinion from a first hand experience. I too understand that both have problems and that many of AMDs issues with drivers are fixable, but some of them are not and they will plague almost any xfire system, but that is an ambiguous statement to say the least, I really think it is important that people know that AMD treats crossfire customers as a minority, trust me when I say that it is not worth it, or learn the hard way


Right, i know how bad CF is, but you can't deny that SLI isn't perfect, both of them have issues, like low FPS, bad drivers *more AMD* and they aren't supperted that well *more AMD*

...actually not all my posts are about "the mighty CF", i was only trying to say that performance is better.


http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/forum2.php?config=t...

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/forum2.php?config=t...

just 2 examples.

btw, my IGP is fine :)  and i won't be getting a new GPU before i get internet to my PC
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 6:13:36 PM

geekapproved said:
Crossfire customers ARE a minority, as are overclockers.

There are many people here running crossfire without any issues. There are ton's of reviews here on Tom's about crossfire, never once does Tom's mention any driver issues. Amazing.

Not even in the "crossfire/sli: 3 way scaling" article where 3-6950's put 3-GTX570's to shame. Even though the 570's are more expensive.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/crossfire-sli-3-way...

Not one mention of ANY driver issues. I guess you just have to know what your doing.



If I were you, I would go with what give me the best performance for the money, and that is the 6950 by a mile.



first off, you are exaggerating on many accounts and referencing 3 way scaling is a totally different subject in itself. Tom's always hides the inadequacies of products in several of their reviews, for that matter many people must not be as anal as I am to notice the microstutter caused by low minimum fps of the 6870 crossfire setup that I had, not to mention a whole list of other issues I had. Yes, many of them were an easy fix and many of them persisted through several driver updates. I'm just speaking from personal experience. After spending 400+ in 6870s and being totally dissatisfied after waiting 8 months for drivers....AMD has left a bad taste in my mouth at this point. For me, with 6870s (not 6950s) crossfire did not work as advertised, that's all I'm saying 6950s could be a completely different experience but for now I don't trust it and rather would pay for (for the most part) good driver releases, Look at the article of the gtx 480 the thing saw some really nice gains over a years worth of drivers and I always see many more AMD complaints then Nvidia although yes, they do exist on both sides. So hopefully that clarifies things a bit for you. Hopefully now you understand that I'm not some moron that cannot tweak a driver aside from that I prefer quality of quantity (of this case of FPS). Crossfire does suffer from slightly worse minimum FPS however when compared side by side to their "more expensive" Nvidia counterpart.

how are you so knowledgeable? do you own a crossfire setup?
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 6:21:38 PM

well probably i am in the club of these, who get highest performance for the money cards :D , but i also would think trice about the warranty and what both cards have to offer
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 6:28:07 PM

shrkbay said:
Quote:
shrkbay, no offense but you always are telling people how great xfire is and you are running an igp? By no means am I rtying to put your system down I'm just giving you an honest opinion from a first hand experience. I too understand that both have problems and that many of AMDs issues with drivers are fixable, but some of them are not and they will plague almost any xfire system, but that is an ambiguous statement to say the least, I really think it is important that people know that AMD treats crossfire customers as a minority, trust me when I say that it is not worth it, or learn the hard way


Right, i know how bad CF is, but you can't deny that SLI isn't perfect, both of them have issues, like low FPS, bad drivers *more AMD* and they aren't supperted that well *more AMD*

...actually not all my posts are about "the mighty CF", i was only trying to say that performance is better.


http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/forum2.php?config=t...

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/forum2.php?config=t...

just 2 examples.

btw, my IGP is fine :)  and i won't be getting a new GPU before i get internet to my PC


yeah your IGP is fine but imo first hand experience speaks volumes louder than what you interpret in the text of reviews which are the collective assessments of other people not yourself, not trying to be a dick, just saying, if an IGP works for you than great.

Also in your statement you say "Right, i know how bad CF is, but you can't deny that SLI isn't perfect"

and I agree with you but in the end if why would you want less than flawless performance, (which in my mind equals "not perfect") from a ~600+ Dual GPU solution of any kind. My point is that for the money I'd rather just get the under performing gtx 580 instead... or for that matter just a single 6970
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 6:46:27 PM

One GTX 580 is more stable than most of SLI/CF systems, *for example GTX 470, only a bit stronger, much higher power consumption, high temps* and it's also more future-proof if you'll want to add an additional card

btw, my IGP is fine for every day use, not for gaming etc, because all the games i've bought *except for ROME: TOTAL WAR* are from steam so i'd need to download them, but i don't have internet in my PC atm
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 6:51:26 PM

Quote:
Crossfire does suffer from slightly worse minimum FPS however when compared side by side to their "more expensive" Nvidia counterpart.


It depends on games, there are a lot of games where nVidia suffers from low FPS and a lot where AMD does
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 7:14:28 PM

Well considering Nvidia has released 2 drivers this year that cause cards to overheat and burn up, they certainly have had issues too.

Every company has growing pains.
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a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2011 8:33:05 PM

to each his own but I'm just letting people know about problems of the past
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April 11, 2011 10:06:06 PM

The war of fanboys (nVidia VS AMD) lol
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April 11, 2011 10:21:34 PM

I'll be neutral here and I said neutral, so please no misunderstanding.

Actually AMD has worst reputation than nVidia in terms of quality/support/drivers etc... also while nVidia had some fallback in the 400 series, she returned for good in here 500 series (especially in 560);

to not forget, nVidia has already a better tessellation implementation than AMD also she supports Physx which is great for games, have CUDA and have better Opencl supports than AMD (in case you want run some heavy processing APP).

so it is nVidia -for me- not AMD (although, I actually have an AMD :)  )


Kalian; could you tell us the full specs of your system (or at least you Mobo, CPU, Memory), so we could help you.
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 12:02:33 AM

yes +1 to tessellation, forgot to mention how most of the amd cards are rendered near useless under heavy tessellation, not that its really implemented that much now I'm just saying its like more vram or more tessellation/dx11 power, its a tough choice that I was faced with myself and I ended up going with a gtx 570 bc I get a good deal on one for $300... having said that I'd still probably want a 6950 over a gtx 560 for its potential to have a 6970 level of performance and its 2 gb or vram... not that the tx 560ti cannot be oc'ed nicely but just showing how there are suttle differences
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April 12, 2011 12:21:49 AM

SLi is faster lol? Who tells you this crap? Crossfire is way ahead these days and 6950 crossfire obliterates 560 ti sli
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 2:57:42 AM

never said such a thing sli is not faster just more reliable, go ahead and make another exaggerated and ambiguous statement
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April 12, 2011 3:00:39 AM

Righto. Didn't mean to start war of the fanboys in here.

Full system specs:

Antec 902 V3
CPU: Intel i5-2500k OC'd to ~4.1ghz using a CM 212+
MB: Asus P8P67 Pro
Spinpoint F3 1TB HDD
OCZ Vertex 2 60GB SSD
RAM: G.Skill Sniper 8GB 1600mhz
OS: Windows 7
PSU: Corsair 750TX V2

Re: a couple of the posts in here, I'm looking for a 2GB version of the 6950 to give me headroom on textures. And yes, I'm sure the mobo will support either CF or SLI.

If you notice the 6950, it's not a reference, and I'm pretty sure it won't unlock. In any case, I don't intend to unless I know I'd be stable on my PSU running them both, which I don't know I'd be able to do. I'd prefer not to drop the money for a GTX 580 right now, what I'm planning to do is buy one card now and the second in a few months when I'm able to.

Are the CF drivers really as bad as you folks are saying? I've heard tell that the 6xxx series is much improved, and haven't seen anything suggesting massive problems.
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 1:54:46 PM

11.3 are alright, probably non-references also unlock in 90% of cases, and probably there's no big difference in tesselation between AMD and nVidia cards... and AMD lately has improved itself really a lot, they have higher quality VRAM *nVidia's 590 blows up due to high temps and bad quality VRAM*, still i don't see any improvement for nVidia from 400 to 500 series, they just made stronger cards that's it, 560Ti was made like a 460,while AMD made different 6950s *non-reference/ reference/ 1GB/2GB*, so the 6950 1GB is like a 6850
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 2:09:34 PM


^^^lol First, you are not even close in saying the 6950 1 gig is a 6850, next, cards blow up when users misuse them usually increasing core voltage beyond where they should be. The 560ti is built much differently from a 460. Next, there is a big difference between tessellation power in amd 5 and 6 series vs nvidia 4 and 5 series! AMD chips choke when heavy tessellation is utilized (if it ever will be in games) where are you getting this crap? Ever make a unigine heaven run with any of these cards!? From Nvidia 4 to 5 series the cooling is far superior, again have you owned any of these cards or are you going off a review on newegg? The nvidia 5 sereis runs cool and silent.

honestly bro, you are losing credibility here, almost every statement you make is incorrect. Again im not dogging you for having an IGP but the way you talk it is clear to me that you have had very little first hand experience with any modern gen cards, thanks for your input but you are quite incorrect...
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 2:14:34 PM

Kalian said:
Righto. Didn't mean to start war of the fanboys in here.

Full system specs:

Antec 902 V3
CPU: Intel i5-2500k OC'd to ~4.1ghz using a CM 212+
MB: Asus P8P67 Pro
Spinpoint F3 1TB HDD
OCZ Vertex 2 60GB SSD
RAM: G.Skill Sniper 8GB 1600mhz
OS: Windows 7
PSU: Corsair 750TX V2

Re: a couple of the posts in here, I'm looking for a 2GB version of the 6950 to give me headroom on textures. And yes, I'm sure the mobo will support either CF or SLI.

If you notice the 6950, it's not a reference, and I'm pretty sure it won't unlock. In any case, I don't intend to unless I know I'd be stable on my PSU running them both, which I don't know I'd be able to do. I'd prefer not to drop the money for a GTX 580 right now, what I'm planning to do is buy one card now and the second in a few months when I'm able to.

Are the CF drivers really as bad as you folks are saying? I've heard tell that the 6xxx series is much improved, and haven't seen anything suggesting massive problems.


sounds good as long as you understand that with current game demands (speaking as of today) will see no benefit with 2 gigs vs 1 gig imo, now far down the road yeah you might use it but if you are playing at 1080p or less it makes no sense to worry about 2 gigs of vram imo, the 6950 is a good choice and many are seeing nice results in crossfire so it will certainly be a good buy, but that is just my .02 cents on the 2 gigs of vram. I think that you are smart to not want to unlock. It may have a 90% success rate but then there is also the people who are seeing problems such as artifacting down the road, personally with the price of a 6970 being pretty cheap I would just spend a few extra bucks to get the full 6970, that is if unlocking was your prerogative. In the end aftermarket 6950 crossfire should serve you well if you can deal with the drivers and misc problems that you will encounter here and there, etc.
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 2:22:16 PM

^you don't get what i mean, i said that 6950 1GB is a "new" 6850 not is 100% the same card, there is big difference in tesselation between 5 and 6 series on AMD, but not big on nVidia, yes i agree that 5xxx sucked @ tesselation

if you're going to say that 560 is running much cooler than 460,which ran also cool and quiet then you are really mistaken. it is logical that the card architecture improves, but i think your brain does not get it when i compare 6850 to 6950 1GB and 560Ti to 460

have you owned a 69xx series card? probably not, almost every post you post is about how bad the CF and AMD is, and there were also many ppl saying that 590s blew up @ stock voltage and clocks, probably you don't get the things
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 2:25:11 PM

Quote:
sounds good as long as you understand that with current game demands (speaking as of today) will see no benefit with 2 gigs vs 1 gig imo, now far down the road yeah you might use it but if you are playing at 1080p or less it makes no sense to worry about 2 gigs of vram imo, the 6950 is a good choice and many are seeing nice results in crossfire so it will certainly be a good buy, but that is just my .02 cents on the 2 gigs of vram. I think that you are smart to not want to unlock. It may have a 90% success rate but then there is also the people who are seeing problems such as artifacting down the road, personally with the price of a 6970 being pretty cheap I would just spend a few extra bucks to get the full 6970, that is if unlocking was your prerogative. In the end aftermarket 6950 crossfire should serve you well if you can deal with the drivers and misc problems that you will encounter here and there, etc.


^+1
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 2:26:42 PM

560 vs 460: didnt say it ran cooler, just different design, yes Ive ran a 6950 (single) it was fine, I have ran almost all the cards you have mentioned, whereas you have not. I would never buy a 590 nor would I recommend it but that does not mean you should make a generalization about all 5 series cards.

Most importantly the biggest lie AMD has tried to put forth is "improved tesselation" where the 5 and 6 series are actually both dick suckers, Nvidia has superior tess and dx11 performance..

why don't you get a real gpu then post your opinion about it rather then going off what you have read
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 2:55:09 PM

Quote:
560 vs 460: didnt say it ran cooler, just different design, yes Ive ran a 6950 (single) it was fine, I have ran almost all the cards you have mentioned, whereas you have not. I would never buy a 590 nor would I recommend it but that does not mean you should make a generalization about all 5 series cards.

Most importantly the biggest lie AMD has tried to put forth is "improved tesselation" where the 5 and 6 series are actually both dick suckers, Nvidia has superior tess and dx11 performance..

why don't you get a real gpu then post your opinion about it rather then going off what you have read


i've ran many GPUs in my system, i'm just waiting for an upgrade, so don't say that what you don't know, i have never said 560 is bad, and cooling mostly depends on card and the manufacturer

Quote:
Ever make a unigine heaven run with any of these cards!?


http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/amd_...

6950 scores 48,2 ; 41,6 ; 37,1 ; 31,7

http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/NVID...

560 scores 46,6 ; 38,0 ; 32,0 ; 25,5

...and please quote the post where i said that whole 5xx series are bad so i can take my words back.
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 2:56:59 PM

well what tess settings were used in this? well, good info anyways thanks, I will agree to disagree overall, till next thread...
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 3:00:28 PM

ok maybe im a bit off in the tess comment but nvidia still pulls ahead in most situations where tess is heavily utilized which I have stated many times is questionable whether actual games will use it like this or not.. anywasy I'd like to know what the actual settings for heaven was on that review although this is what is concluded at the end of the charts:

"Both the graphics cards performed very well during the Unigine 2.1 benchmark and again it was the higher resolutions that brought out their best in comparison to the Fermi graphics cards. Equally impressive is that the Cayman cards performed better any other graphics card at their price point during this test. This leads us to conclude that the new architectural improvements greatly improve the tessellation performance, and that the 2GB of available memory decreases the performance loss while increasing the in-game resolution"
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a c 217 U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 3:22:58 PM

jjb8675309 said:
first off, you are exaggerating on many accounts and referencing 3 way scaling is a totally different subject in itself. Tom's always hides the inadequacies of products in several of their reviews, for that matter many people must not be as anal as I am to notice the microstutter caused by low minimum fps of the 6870 crossfire setup that I had, not to mention a whole list of other issues I had. Yes, many of them were an easy fix and many of them persisted through several driver updates. I'm just speaking from personal experience. After spending 400+ in 6870s and being totally dissatisfied after waiting 8 months for drivers....AMD has left a bad taste in my mouth at this point. For me, with 6870s (not 6950s) crossfire did not work as advertised, that's all I'm saying 6950s could be a completely different experience but for now I don't trust it and rather would pay for (for the most part) good driver releases, Look at the article of the gtx 480 the thing saw some really nice gains over a years worth of drivers and I always see many more AMD complaints then Nvidia although yes, they do exist on both sides. So hopefully that clarifies things a bit for you. Hopefully now you understand that I'm not some moron that cannot tweak a driver aside from that I prefer quality of quantity (of this case of FPS). Crossfire does suffer from slightly worse minimum FPS however when compared side by side to their "more expensive" Nvidia counterpart.

how are you so knowledgeable? do you own a crossfire setup?


As someone who has used both a crossfire setup and an SLI setup in the last year, I can tell you there isn't much difference. Both companies can have micro-stuttering. It's usually a game issue, not a brand issue. When I attempt to google search for info on it, I see a lot more cases of SLI micro-stuttering, even in some recent reviews.

I agree that the game reviews seem to push CF/SLI, and the best GPU for the money article always seems to push CF/SLI, despite the fact that both have issues. As someone who experienced the same issues with both brands within the last year, I do recommend a single card over a dual card setup, unless you are doing some sort of eyefinity/surround/extreme resolution setup.

After doing CF and SLI, I currently use a single 6950 flashed to a 6970 and I'm happy.
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 3:43:57 PM

+1 I agree with you and im hesitant to sli my 570 for that same reason, in the end a single card solution is the best imo
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 3:52:06 PM

^+1that's what i was telling half of the time...
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 3:57:29 PM

alright good well I guess we are pretty much on the same page now, as much as crossfire/sli has improved in the past few years, it seems like it is still just not there. Not to mention that there are single card options from both companies that are pretty much more than enough for 1080p right now. The only people using crossfire/sli should be those who are trying to run multi monitor/ high res setups, imho...
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September 28, 2011 1:54:41 AM

I dont know if I'm contributing to a dead thread or not, but I felt like my experience might help others:

I've had a single 5870 since the 5870 was "The" card to own, and never had problems playing games at highest settings, 1080p until the Crysis 2 texture update came out. Even still, my FPS wasn't noticeably laggy except in certain open and large maps.

Decided to buy a second 5870. Most all of my computer is relatively top-end, except my PSU, which was advertised as SLI/Crossfire capable (OCZ 700w) wasn't truly. So I had to upgrade my PSU to accommodate the second card.

In the end, the 5870 crossfire has performed nicely - no more unacceptable slowdowns in Crysis 2, at full textures and settings.

I have had no issues with driver problems, although I have not had the card long enough to experience a major game launch. Nonetheless I have heard that most big game launches are anticipated, and have crossfire profiles ready.

The big question is, should you bother with a 2 card solution, or stick with a single card? At a time like this, there is no pressing reason to REQUIRE a 2 card solution, unless you want high-resolution eyefinity/multiple monitor setups. I think that a person benefits most from buying the "ahead-of-the-curve" single card, (aka a GTX 580/AMD 6970) and then adding an SLI or Crossfire card in later.

It is quite a hassle to accommodate any 2 of today's desirable GPU's into your computer! You have to really be sure that your existing components are complementary to the addition, before you simply conclude that a 560 SLI setup will be worthwhile.

Will your PSU supply enough watts AND have enough connectors?
Does your motherboard have enough space for your expansion as well as ports that may be blocked?
Will any other components (CPU cooler, memory heatsinks etc.) get in the way?

I would be lying if I were to say that it was a bang up easy thing - myself having to do away with a soundcard (not enough space) and a PSU (not enough PCI-E connectors).

Am I happy with the setup though? yes! but I was not put out financially because of the upgrades, and the performance met my expectations. If I were buying a new card today however, I would opt for a better single-card before I considered SLI/Crossfire.
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