Im in the process of building a new gaming PC for myself. The last components I need to buy are my video cards and I just wanted to see what kind of cards you would buy for my setup. Due to the fact that I dont know a whole lot about newer PC Hardware, I bought my core PC components from the 1st quarter enthusiast PC list TH put together and doubled the RAM.
System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $1000 Enthusiast PC
I have some extra cash to play with for my video cards and would like to overengineer a bit in that area. I primarily play mmorpgs like Rift, WoW, and will be Betaing Diablo III when it releases next year. I'd be willing to spend close to $800.00 for my video card(s).
Also, if you recommend a SLI or Crossfire setup - would you just air cool the Video card(s) or would water cooling be more appropriate to keep down temps?
CPU INTEL|CORE I5 2500K 3.3G 6M R
MB ASROCK|P67 EXTREME4 (B3) P67 R
MEM 2Gx4|GSKILL F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH
CPU COOLER CM| RR-B10-212P-G1 RT
DVD BRN ASUS | DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS%
SDCD CREATIVE | 70SB088600007 R
CASE ANTEC|NINE HUNDRED TWO V3 R
PSU CORSAIR|CMPSU-750TX 750W RT
29" Hanns G 1080p LCD Monitor
Crucial 128GB SATA3 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 2.5" SSD
(2) Seagate 1TB SATA3 Mirrored
Water cooling would be great to keep down temps, except that I wouldn't recommend it if you don't know what you're doing. Air cooling can be fine as long as the rest of the case is cooled well. You also probably don't need to go TOO crazy if all you're playing is MMO's. Would be different if you were playing FPS's on a 3d surround setup or something.
Just note that you're limited already by your power supply as it's only 750 watts, so no dual 580's for you!
Two 6950's in crossfire or GTX 560's would be good, and you would even have plenty of cash to splurge on a nice 1000 watt PSU if you wanted for futureproofing.
6990's are CRAZY loud. They're really only useable with water cooling, in which case you may as well just get a GTX 590.
You really have no use for an SLI setup for what you'll be using it for. Just buy a single GTX 570 (or if you want to be more practical about it, a single GTX 560Ti, which can be on sale for $205 after $25 rebate). If the single card isn't good enough, you can just buy a second for cheaper a month from now. And it should be good enough.
SLI/Crossfire: A TX750W can handle up to SLI'd GTX 570's (according to SLIzone). So you should either go for those or dual Radon 6950 2GB. The Radeons scale for better total performance and save you $200 total.
For those who aren't aware, Rift does take quite a lot of graphical power. To play on Ultra settings @ 1920x1200 requires quite a lot of power. I play at those settings with a single unlocked 6950 and an i7 920 @ 3.4Ghz and get between 30 and 45 FPS and it dips into the 20's occasionally.
I do get higher FPS when I OC my CPU higher, so that is one way to improve performance. I recently tried it with two unlocked 6950's and performance increased to 40-60 FPS with occasional dips into the 30's.
This is using Ultra with SSAA on. MSAA option doesn't give any difference in performance, but the screen looked blurry, even though SSAA is supposed to be the one which makes it blurry, but they don't give you much option in AA settings.