Time for New Graphics Cards ?

I'm currently playing (STO) Star Trek Online on a gaming rig built by Digital Storm that's about 18 months old. I want to be able to play with all the settings maxed out at a fps of 60+, but my fps is fluctuating between 25 and occasionally hitting 60. My computer has two NVIDIA GTX 285 (1 gig) in SLI, and my monitor is a Dell U3011. I have a cable internet connection that gives me about 20 over 5 so I don't think that's the problem. I bought the monitor about a year after I bought the computer.
So I'm trying to figure out if, 1) is it time to get a new video card(s) to give me the speed I want on this monitor, 2) There is an issue with the video cards or some other hardware, (all the drivers are up to date),or 3) this is just the nature of online gaming...fps speed is unpredictable and inconsistent.
Thanks for any info you can offer.

Here's an overview of my computer:
Processor: Intel Core i7 940 2.93 GHz (Quad Core)
Motherboard: XFX X58 3X SLI (Intel X58 Chipset) (Supports Triple SLI or CrossFire)
System Memory: 6GB DDR3 1866MHz Corsair Dominator DHX Power Supply: 1000W Corsair HX (Dual/Triple/Quad SLI Compatible)
Hard Drive Set 1: Operating System: 1x (128GB Solid State (By: Corsair) Set 1 Raid Options: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 2: Multimedia\Data: 1x (1TB Western Digital (7200 RPM) (32MB Cache) (SATA) (Extreme Speed)
Video Card: 2x SLI Dual (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 1GB) (Includes PhysX Technology)
Extreme Cooling: H20: Stage 3: Specialized FrostBite Separate Dual Loop System for CPU & Two Video Cards
Windows 7 Ultimate edition
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Your GPUs are watercooled, so you'll have to take that into consideration. Will you also get a watercooling version of the card/s you will buy? Will you buy a waterblock for them? Will you run them on air?

    One thing you can do for the meantime is to OC your GPUs. It helps especially in minimum frame rates, so your games will feel less sluggish.

    If you're shopping for a new video card (and I presume you want to stay with nVidia), look at the 570/580.
  2. Best answer
    First we need to remember that NVIDIA runs STO better than AMD, so you've got an edge there. Second is the game is unusual for an MMORPG in that to make it look fairly good you need a lot of firepower in your system.

    I have Crossfire Radeon 5850 and with things maxed in space combat I'll get between 30 and 60 (Vsync is enabled so 60 is max). With a few of the settings, namely the distance setting, lowered I can regularly stay in the 50-60 range. The distance setting doesn't affect things up close, only how close objects need to be before you can actually see them. Ground combat is a different story: AMD and STO don't seem to be compatible there and I have to turn post-processing off, so of course I max out all the time.

    According to some of the tests I've seen, the 5850 is just a skosh higher than the 285 on some tests and lower on others so I imagine overall we are in a similar situation.

    From what I've seen some people who actually run STO completely maxed out were using either 470 or 570 in SLI, but I'd use Google and check. Some of the people on the STO forum report that with a 560 they can run fairly smooth at near max settings, but to my knowledge no one has done an extensive test to determine what is really needed.

    If I were starting again I'd probably by either a 570 or 580 and see how the game runs. If not to my satisfaction then I'd pick up another.
  3. you have pretty strong GPUs and probably i'd stay with 'em until the new series come out, the prices will be lower by that time and you could get better card(S) for less, as mentioned above, nVidia GPUs handle MMORPGs better than AMD, also try OCing your cards, only upgrade that would be seen in performance would be a 570 SLI or higher and that's a sh*t load of money to waste imo, so just turn the settings down a bit and "enjoy", but if you really can't stand it, then
    1. try to OC your cards as i already said
    2. get a new GPU
  4. Those are still really good GPU's by todays standards.Try your CPU.Your CPU speed seems to be the weakest link to me.
  5. Yup, overclock your GPUs first. Just be sure to watch your temps.
  6. Best answer selected by Musicmonkman.
  7. Thanks to all who provided info. I've lowered my settings a bit and am getting between 50 and 60 fps. I'm going to wait for another six months and see what else comes out in terms of video cards before upgrading.

    Thanks again to all!
  8. This is a good plan. Actually it's my plan, too: wait until a single GPU card comes out that offers 25-50% more performance than my 5850 in crossfire offers. I'm guessing it will be at least the generation after this, but I'll be OK waiting.

    As a related note, I recently downloaded a different driver set and it actually dropped my FPS in STO, but this is mainly because I have morphological AA turned on (AMD attempt at better AI/transparency AA). I had to drop AA from 8x down to 4x, but I feel the visuals are better with the MLAA enabled then 8x with just the adaptive AA.
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