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Single card HD 6950 OR SLI nvidia card

Hi,

I have an sli motherboard ASUS M4N75TD along with a Phenom II x4 955 BE overclocked to 3.9 Ghz.

The other specifications are:

8GB DDR3 1600Mhz
500GB SATA2 3.0 HDD
Cooler Master GX 750W PSU
Benq G2220 HD monitor (1920x1080 resolution)

I am looking to buy a graphics card. My motherboard supports SLI but I actually would not be doing any SLI due to multi card issues. I will be better with a single card itself. If I even plan to do SLI then I will not be doing it until next year or two.

So should I go with a single HD 6950 2GB reference card and then unlock its shaders when I feel that there is a need for it
or should I go with a GTX 560Ti 1GB card and then SLI another one maybe after 2 years or so.

Please suggest me the best solution.
58 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about single card 6950 nvidia card
  1. The performance of 6950 and 560Ti is nearly identical;however,unlocking the 6950 to reach 6970 speeds wont give you a huge boost compared to adding another GTX 560
  2. Hey Maziar,

    I am actually looking for a graphic card that would last me for 3+ years. So what do you suggest me. The maximum that I can afford is a 6950 2gb.

    I cannot afford a GTX 570 nor a 6970. I know that what ever you suggest is going to be beneficial to me but please suggest me something based on my budget.
  3. Do you think you'll be upgrading your CPU/Motherboard in the next couple years? If so, it doesn't really matter.

    If not, or you don't know, the 560ti at gives you more options.
  4. I think you are suggesting me to go with the GTX 560 Ti itself. Ok then can someone tell me what would be the disadvantages of using SLI. I can probably opt for another 560 after a couple of years or so.
  5. There is no real disadvantage to getting a 560ti. However, there are advantages to going down the 6950 route.

    As you mentioned already, you can unlock the shaders and over clock it to 6970 levels for similar performance.
    You also gain MLAA (morphological anti-aliasing) and officially supported SSAA.

    But if you plan to make the card last a couple years, you may want to SLI/CF. If you plan to upgrade your motherboard at some point between now and then, that leaves the upgrade path open. If you don't, that leaves you with only the possibility of selling your card to buy a new one.

    If you'd rather sell your card and buy a new one down the road, that would give the 6950 a small advantage (unlocked shaders).
  6. How long will a HD 6950 or a 560Ti last me. I play games on 1920x1080 resolution.
  7. irfan88 said:
    How long will a HD 6950 or a 560Ti last me. I play games on 1920x1080 resolution.


    There is no way to know. It depends on your opinion on what's good enough for not and what comes out in the next couple years. What's your track record in the past? What card are you upgrading from? If it dates back 2 years, you may be able to wait 2 years on a single card now.
  8. I am using an XFX 9500 GT 1GB now. I bought it 2 years back and I am not happy with it. I can hardly play games even at 1280x1024.
  9. Well, that's harder to judge, because either option is better by todays standards than your current card by the standards of when you bought it. But you did keep it for 2 years, so I'd be inclined to say you be able to get 2 years out of one card, but you'll likely be unhappy with performance down the road.
  10. SLi has only few (and very rare) disadvantages. If your MB only supports SLI, not CF, i would go for GTX 560 Ti, it's more or less the same as 6950 (well.. maybe a bit slower) and you will be able to add another one later. Even the 6970, which you can get by unlocking the shaders on 6950, won't beat 560Ti SLI. 6950 only has sence if you won't SLi or you will upgrade your MB.
  11. Ok, I got that. But what do you suggest.

    let me tell you that I will not be upgrading my cpu nor my motherboard for a while. So the only option is left with the GPU.

    So what do you suggest me -

    go with a single 560ti and then sli it after a couple of years or

    go with a hd 6950 and then unlock it to a hd 6970 and when the need is required for more graphics, sell the card and get another one.

    please note that if I opt for SLI then it will serve me for over 3 years but I will have to sell both the cards in future but if I opt for HD 6950 then I can sell it and get a new card maybe after 2 years or so.
  12. Go with the GTX 560ti. You are buying the same level of performance as the 6950, which is the best that you can do at the $200-250 price range for a single card. You have the NVidia logo as your profile pic, so I suspect you have a preference for them (which is ok- we all have preferences and the two brands both have great, comparable products). The fact that you have the option of adding another card is just an added benefit.

    Don't worry about how long it will last. That all depends on what kind of performance you want to get and what kind of games you play (and at what settings). That card will provide you with great performance in almost any game up to very demanding settings for quite some time.

    When you are 2 years down the road that will be when you should decide if you want to add another 560ti (which will be far less expensive than it is today) or get a newer single card. You shouldn't base this decision on the state of GPU products in 24+ months!
  13. As long as consoles keep games' graphcis back, 560Ti will be enough @ 1080p. And there is really not much to lose to 6950.
  14. ok, I will take your advice and get a GTX 560Ti itself. Maybe the ASUS one. It looks good and has better cooling.

    One last question:

    what are the disadvantages of SLI??

    is it only heat problems (then I have good cooling in my case with 5 120mm fans and there is also enough space between the 1st PCI E slot and the second one)

    or is it power consumption (then I have an adequate power supply Cooler Master GX 750W Bronze PSU)

    or is it driver issues (As far as drivers are concerned, I trust nvidia a lot more than AMD because there are minimal chances of nvidia going wrong with the drivers).
  15. I'm on my third SLi rig in a row and I'd say that there are zero disadvantages.
  16. I think a single 6950(2gb) is a better deal than the 560Ti....
  17. Why do you say that a HD 6950 2gb a better deal than 560Ti. Any reason for that.
  18. Mousemonkey said:
    I'm on my third SLi rig in a row and I'd say that there are zero disadvantages.


    How about your wallet?
  19. brentkhack said:
    How about your wallet?


    Smart SLI choices are usually more powerful and less expensive than powerful single card routes.

    So I'd say his wallet is fine. :)

    A great example of this was the whole GTX 460 SLI > GTX 480.
  20. I just cant imagine all the money being thrown around on this stuff. I can't afford the computer I got for free, jk.
  21. Everyone pays for their hobbies. Some like comics, some like toys, some like cars, some like model airplanes, some like antiques etc etc. And here, most people enjoy building and upgrading computers. :)
  22. Now can you tell me which card do I go for a HD 6950 2GB or a GTX 560Ti.

    I am looking for a card that would last me for atleast 2 years.
  23. irfan88 said:
    Now can you tell me which card do I go for a HD 6950 2GB or a GTX 560Ti.

    I am looking for a card that would last me for atleast 2 years.


    If you aren't upgrading in the next 2 years, then the 6950 2Gb. You can unlock the shaders down the road.

    If you aren't apposed to upgrading in a year, then the GTX 560ti, because you can add another in a year.
  24. However, both are almost identical in terms of performance.
  25. Ok then I will probably get the GTX 560ti because my motherboard does not support crossfire and even if I flash the 6950, it wouldn't give me enough boost in performance. It will only give me around 3 to 5 fps more :(

    If I add another 560 in sli in another year or two, I will definitely get superior performance equal to a GTX 590. Am I right!!!

    Please correct me if I've one wrong somewhere.
  26. Flashing the HD 6950 will turn it into a HD 6970, and give a roughly 10-12% increase in performance.

    However 2 GTX 560Ti will not be equal to a GTX 590, since SLI on AMD rigs with nforce chipsets do not scale that well.
  27. why do you tell me that there is a problem with the AMD nforce chipsets running sli.

    why don't they scale well. There must me some reason for that. Can you help me out clearing this. If there is a problem, then I would be better of buying a single card (AMD or nvidia) and later upgrade my motherboard to the upcoming 990 FX chipset as it supports both sli and crossfire.
  28. Do you have any proof for that. Please check before you tell something. I just discussed this in the motherboards section and came to know that 2 GTX 560Ti's will run perfectly without any problems on that nforce motherboard in SLI.
  29. Actually,your board supports SLI at dual x8 speed which performs pretty much the same as dual x16,so you can run 2 GTX 560s just fine
  30. You can check out my SLI GTX 560Ti thread here for real-world performance. Two of these cards are a beast. Then again, so are two 6950's. You can't lose either way....
  31. Thank you Maziar. I always trust your comments (considering you being an expert of all). So I would be better of buying a GTX 560Ti and then adding another one after a year or two when it shows its age.

    Thanks again. One last question. Will this power supply be good enough to run my rig with the GTX 560Ti sli setup. I have a cooler master GX 750 W PSU. I have also looked at some reviews and particularly this one:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-psu-efficiency,2796-8.html

    Can you help me out with this.
  32. A good 750W PSU is plenty for SLI 560Ti's...
  33. I know that. But what about my PSU Cooler Master GX 750. Is it any good. Will it be able to handle my setup of Phenom II x4 955 BE overlocked to 3.9Ghz and the GTX 560Ti in SLI??
  34. Yes it's fine, 2 GTX 560Ti' TDP's are 170w(idle) and 225(Peak,3D)
    http://www.geeks3d.com/20090618/graphics-cards-thermal-design-power-tdp-database/
  35. Here's proof that SLI does not scale well on with AMD CPUs(as of now):
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-cpu-build-a-pc,2700.html
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/newegg-combo-toms-hardware,2753.html

    Even with 2 GTX 460s, the Core i7 970 is faster than the Phenom II x6 1055t and 2 GTX 480. This is because of scaling problems as well as a CPU bottleneck with AMD processors.When it comes to multi-GPU with high end cards, Intel rules, simple(you can call me a fanboy if you wish).
  36. GTX 560Ti SLi will not be faster than a GTX 590, because GTX 590 is SLI on 1 board (underclocked GTX 580 SLI). Tamz, AMD is better than Intel in mid-range (price vs performance), just their high-end CPUs are mostly junk.

    OP: your PSU is enough to run GTX560Ti SLI, so you don't need to worry about that. Also you will get a lot more than 3-5 FPS by unlocking 6950. 6950 would be a better option if it was a lot cheaper or if you had a CF MB.
  37. Yes, but the GTX 560Ti is a high end card at least in my book.
  38. I never said GTX560Ti wasn't a high-end GPU.
  39. If you want the 560 Ti you should upgrade it in ~2 years.
    You'll be hard-pressed to find it after that.
  40. brentkhack said:
    How about your wallet?


    My wallet is stuffed full of cash, just like my bank account. :sol:
  41. Tamz_msc said:
    Here's proof that SLI does not scale well on with AMD CPUs(as of now):
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-cpu-build-a-pc,2700.html
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/newegg-combo-toms-hardware,2753.html

    Even with 2 GTX 460s, the Core i7 970 is faster than the Phenom II x6 1055t and 2 GTX 480. This is because of scaling problems as well as a CPU bottleneck with AMD processors.When it comes to multi-GPU with high end cards, Intel rules, simple(you can call me a fanboy if you wish).

    It depends really.
    In some games such as most RTS ones and other such as GTA IV,prototype etc./Or gaming on fairly low resolutions such as 1680x1050 or lower benefit a lot from a faster CPU,so that's why i7 970 w/slower cards can beat X6 1055 w/faster cards but in other types of games such as most FPS ones,the difference isn't much(also playing on high resolutions such as 1080p benefit more from a faster GPU than CPU)

    The OP has a pretty fast rig and running 2 GTX 560s on it is fine(since he's going to OC the CPU which help)
  42. Yes, that's the perfect answer that I was looking for. Hats off to you Maziar. When it comes to these things, you're the expert of all and not to forget mousemonkey too....

    I will be overclocking my CPU upto 3.9 to 4 Ghz. I have a decent cooler (Hyper 212 plus). I will be gettting a single GTX 560Ti now for my 1920x1080 monitor and add another 560Ti in a year or two but don't worry, I will definitely get another one in about a year itself.

    and I have to agree scaling mainly depends on the CPU power and resolution of the monitor. So I need not worry about the nforce motherboard. Even though my CPU is not an i7, its pretty decent though. I can have enough SLI scaling to play games at higher resolutions.
  43. I agree that going to higher resolutions will shift the load to the GPU, but even at 1080P, the CPU has a little part to play.

    The OP will no doubt get a performance boost with SLI GTX 560ti, but even at 4 GHz, the AMD CPU will be behind a similarly clocked quad core i5 or i7 by a noticeable margin.
  44. Imo it would be better to get a 6950, ill tell you why:

    -Here you can see that the 6950 performs faster in most games and is less power consuming : http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/330?vs=293
    -You can flash the 6950 to a 6970 wich will give you even better performance :
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/330?vs=292
    - And why are you forgetting that you can Crossfire two 6950s ? They will perform better than two SLIed 560TIs. Or why not even two flashed 6950s ? If you are going to buy a 560ti and after a year get another one, why dont you get a 6950 and get another one when you deside you need it ?
  45. oc_mania said:
    Imo it would be better to get a 6950, ill tell you why:

    -Here you can see that the 6950 performs faster in most games and is less power consuming : http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/330?vs=293
    -You can flash the 6950 to a 6970 wich will give you even better performance :
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/330?vs=292
    - And why are you forgetting that you can Crossfire two 6950s ? They will perform better than two SLIed 560TIs. Or why not even two flashed 6950s ? If you are going to buy a 560ti and after a year get another one, why dont you get a 6950 and get another one when you deside you need it ?


    irfan88 said:
    My motherboard supports SLI but I actually would not be doing any SLI due to multi card issues. I will be better with a single card itself. If I even plan to do SLI then I will not be doing it until next year or two.



    What makes you think the OP has forgotten?
  46. Mousemonkey said:
    What makes you think the OP has forgotten?

    In the same post he said that he prefers not to go SLI and that if he does it, it will happen after ~2 years . After 2 years he will most likely be looking for a different Cpu and Motherboard.
  47. oc_mania said:
    In the same post he said that he prefers not to go SLI and that if he does it, it will happen after ~2 years . After 2 years he will most likely be looking for a different Cpu and Motherboard.

    Maybe, maybe not. I know that I'm still using kit from over three years ago and I'm not alone in that.
  48. Mousemonkey said:
    My wallet is stuffed full of cash, just like my bank account. :sol:


    You must not be married to my wife then, ha ha.
  49. brentkhack said:
    You must not be married to my wife then, ha ha.

    I don't think I've met your wife let alone married her! :lol:
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