Time for a new graphics card?


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 set to 2560 by 1600. 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 not sure if these cards can get me where I want to go with this monitor.

So I'm trying to figure out if, 1) is it time to get a new video card(s), 2) There is an issue with the 285s or some other hardware issue, (although 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
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  1. My guess is that the graphics is holding you back. But to get some insight, run these two tests:

    1) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
    If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

    2) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
    If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

    It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.

    Online response time can always be inconsistent. There is no telling if your traffic may go through a slow or overloaded link.

    Also, GTX285 with 1gb ram might not do as well with a 2560 x 1600 monitor. More modern top cards like the GTX580 will have 1.5gb or more.
  2. Thanks for the reply.

    So I tried your suggestion, and yes in deed, once I lowered the settings I was able to get the frame rate up above 100. So it seems a video card update would be in order.

    Many thanks for you help!
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