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ATI 6990 vs GTX5XX SLI or ATI 6XXX

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June 20, 2011 4:40:49 AM

Hey guys,

I first chose the 6990 4GB for my future rig but as I read up on it, the more I am doubting my choice. I'll be buying a GIGABYTE 990FX mobo so I'll have plenty of PCI slots and assuming that my budget can fit in a few high end cards, I was wondering what would be the better choice for having my new rig last graphics wise.

I'm not biased on nVidia or ATI, I've used a GTX275 for the past few years and it's been great for anything I have played. One of the reasons I chose the 6990 was the fact that if I wanted or needed to beef up my graphics later down the line I could get another card and crossfire the two.

On that note I have looked at SLI and CF set ups that match the 6990 at the moment and I was curious if that would be suitable for me. With the 990FX it also means I can add more cards as I need to the set.

If you guys could suggest some excellent SLI or CF configurations you have used yourself or read up about please do. Noise factor isn't too important but heat ratings would be appreciated. I'll be looking to buy a 1200W PSU for the rig as well so I should have enough power.

Thanks.


TL;DR:
-What SLI or CF setups could surpass a single 6990?
-Which setup could be upgraded with more cards in the future?
-Mobo space, budget and power not so much of an issue.

Best solution

a b U Graphics card
June 20, 2011 5:05:25 AM

A pair of 6970s or GTX580s will outperform a single 6990 ot GTX580, which is essentially already a pair of underclocked 6970s/GTX580s (respectively) on a single card....

A pair of 6950s ($550 total?) or GTX570s almost matches a 6990 or GTX590...

Unless you are running triple monitors, anything beyond a single 6990 or 590 is just short of wasted money, IMO....
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June 20, 2011 7:05:45 AM

Thanks for the suggestion. I've had a look at the 6970s on Newegg and it seems like a great card. I considered it when I looked at GPUs and I should have looked into it more.

From this benchmark: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/298?vs=308

It seems the performances are close and I since the 580s are dearer in price I'll probably go with the 6970 CF and just add on others as I need them. Will probably end up with a block of cards on the PCI slots in the future :pt1cable:  .

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June 20, 2011 7:24:27 AM

The best video card setup at the moment is GTX 590 SLI. Period. End of story.

It is the best and most technologically advanced solution. It has better performance, less driver issues, and is much less noisy than HD 6990 CF.

GTX 580 TRI-SLI is far less efficient because they are single GPU rather than dual-GPU cards, not to mention they will be louder than GTX 590 SLI. And with improved drivers, GTX 590 SLI performance will most likely surpass GTX 580 TRI-SLI performance.

Critics of the GTX 590 on these forums basically don't like it only because it supposedly doesn't overclock well, which is a ridiculous reason to criticize it. The GTX 590 doesn't need to be overclocked; it is a BEAST of a card!!
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June 20, 2011 8:29:52 AM

Viper2 said:
The best video card setup at the moment is GTX 590 SLI. Period. End of story.

It is the best and most technologically advanced solution. It has better performance, less driver issues, and is much less noisy than HD 6990 CF.

GTX 580 TRI-SLI is far less efficient because they are single GPU rather than dual-GPU cards, not to mention they will be louder than GTX 590 SLI. And with improved drivers, GTX 590 SLI performance will most likely surpass GTX 580 TRI-SLI performance.

Critics of the GTX 590 on these forums basically don't like it only because it supposedly doesn't overclock well, which is a ridiculous reason to criticize it. The GTX 590 doesn't need to be overclocked; it is a BEAST of a card!!


I'll have a look into the GTX590 though the ~$1000 price tag is a bit dear for me. I don't plan to buy anything for a few months so I'll look out for any price drops on that card.

mdd1963 said:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4254/triplegpu-performanc...

Here is an framerate comparison between 580, 580x2, 580x3 and 6970x1/2/3, plus single 590/6990 performance....

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/05/19/quadgpu_perfo...

Some quad action with triple monitors.....

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/05/19/quadgpu_perfo...


Thanks for that, I've been looking for some benchmarks with the 6990 and 590 in it.
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a b U Graphics card
June 20, 2011 8:48:47 AM

willonidas said:
It seems the performances are close and I since the 580s are dearer in price I'll probably go with the 6970 CF and just add on others as I need them. Will probably end up with a block of cards on the PCI slots in the future :pt1cable:  .


http://www.anandtech.com/show/4239/nvidias-geforce-gtx-...

At merely $550-$600 for a pair of Crossfired 6950s, note that still it delivers 90-95% of 6970x2 performance at hundreds fewer dollars....

In my opinion, the 590 is a nice card, but, is usually matched or outframed by a pair of 6950s, and for $200-$250 less dollars or so....

Ultimately, you will have to decide on which dollar/performance ratio you desire for your chosen resolution....

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a c 106 U Graphics card
June 20, 2011 5:10:07 PM

Viper2 said:
The best video card setup at the moment is GTX 590 SLI. Period. End of story.

It is the best and most technologically advanced solution. It has better performance, less driver issues, and is much less noisy than HD 6990 CF.

GTX 580 TRI-SLI is far less efficient because they are single GPU rather than dual-GPU cards, not to mention they will be louder than GTX 590 SLI. And with improved drivers, GTX 590 SLI performance will most likely surpass GTX 580 TRI-SLI performance.

Critics of the GTX 590 on these forums basically don't like it only because it supposedly doesn't overclock well, which is a ridiculous reason to criticize it. The GTX 590 doesn't need to be overclocked; it is a BEAST of a card!!


No, no it's not. It is not always faster than 6990s in crossfire and is slower than 4 GTX 580s in Quad SLI or 4 6970s in 4 way crossfire (when those cards work properly anyway). You also should not count on 590s in SLI to be more efficient than 580s in Tri SLI, but rather the opposite. Since the 590 has a PCI-E switch on the card there is an increased latency between each GPU and the CPU compared to the 580s. There is also the issue of the 590s dying even at their stock clocks.

Anyway, since you now have an SLI board, why don't you just add another 275 to run in SLI? If one is good for now then adding a second one (and maybe even a 3rd one) should be good for some time. By the time two 275s aren't doing it for you the new cards will be out. AMD should have new cards out by the fall and nVidia will probably follow suit. Besides, anything more is a bit wasted on current AMD CPUs unless you're going with 3 monitors. If you are thinking of even a single 6990 or GTX 590, you may as well wait for Bulldozer CPUs to be out.
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a b U Graphics card
June 20, 2011 5:26:28 PM

The trouble with the above suggestion (SLI'd 275's) is their lack of availability. You'd probably end up looking for a "reliable" used one on eBaY or a similar service.

Gigabyte's 990X board only has 3 PCIe slots, and the 3rd PCIe slot is x4. Three slots means triple SLI/CrossFire support, which would end up in a 8x-8x-4x bandwidth sharing config. Are you certain you wouldn't prefer the 990FX chipset and it's 16x-16x (dual), 16x-8x-8x (triple), or 16x-8x-8x-4x (quad) possibilities?
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June 20, 2011 8:40:18 PM

megamanx00 said:
No, no it's not.


Yes, yes it is.

Get a clue.
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a b U Graphics card
June 20, 2011 9:11:21 PM

No, it's not. A Quad-SLI GTX580 setup would beat a pair of GTX590's, just a like an SLI'd pair of 580's beats a single 590.
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a b U Graphics card
June 20, 2011 9:54:17 PM

Good article on different gpu sets ==> Read through if you care to

6990's and 590's I consider bragging right cards. If you want the much performance, get 6950/70 in CF or 570 sli.
And the 6990 is the fastest card, period.
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June 21, 2011 12:04:00 AM

megamanx00 said:
Besides, anything more is a bit wasted on current AMD CPUs unless you're going with 3 monitors. If you are thinking of even a single 6990 or GTX 590, you may as well wait for Bulldozer CPUs to be out.


Yeah I was waiting for the new CPUs to come out since I was told my i7 920 was decent enough not to bother with the Phenom II x6 1100T. I'll just buy the graphics cards now and install them in my current rig and buy the other parts as they go on sale or all of it when the new Bulldozers come out. I was planning to go with a dual monitor setup in a later date, will a 6970 CF handle that okay? The monitors are going to be two ASUS 24 inch widescreen 1080p at 1920x1080.

RazberyBandit said:
The trouble with the above suggestion (SLI'd 275's) is their lack of availability. You'd probably end up looking for a "reliable" used one on eBaY or a similar service.

Gigabyte's 990X board only has 3 PCIe slots, and the 3rd PCIe slot is x4. Three slots means triple SLI/CrossFire support, which would end up in a 8x-8x-4x bandwidth sharing config. Are you certain you wouldn't prefer the 990FX chipset and it's 16x-16x (dual), 16x-8x-8x (triple), or 16x-8x-8x-4x (quad) possibilities?


Not sure if you read my OP wrong but yes I was going with this motherboard. Was this the one you were talking about?

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

Embra said:
Good article on different gpu sets ==> Read through if you care to


Thanks, any reviews and benchmarks help out a lot.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
June 21, 2011 12:17:09 AM

I would stay away from the GTX590 and 6990.They offer no custom models with aftermarket cooling.As you probably already know it's going to get very very hot when your running more than x2 cards.

I'd reccomend going for a 6950 or 6970 crossfire so that you can get an Asus or MSI aftermarket heatsink.Thos will pay off a lot in the long run in terms of heat.Not to mention the overclocking capabilites.I haven't heard much of GTX590 or 6990 being able to O.C. at all.I believe they downlockeded the cards so that they can keep it in the power requirements of just x2 8pins,that means O.C.ing is probably going to be limited.

I know your really set on the Gigabyte 990FX board but I urge you to take a look at the Asus 990FX board.When I watched the review of it their was a surprise I wasn't expecting.Asus has a secondary board they call the "no overhang" board which is essientally a PCI-Express x16 slot board that snaps into x4 slots and become a board made for quad crossfire and SLI setups.It gives lots of room bettween each card for better airflow.

Watch from 29:40 onwards.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT7YSsEFqTk&feature=play...
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a c 217 U Graphics card
June 21, 2011 12:28:30 AM

Viper2 said:
Yes, yes it is.

Get a clue.


As was posted above, and you clearly didn't bother to look at the benchmarks, I'll post them again for you:
Quote:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4254 [...] ng-part1/4

Here is an framerate comparison between 580, 580x2, 580x3 and 6970x1/2/3, plus single 590/6990 performance....

http://www.hardocp.com/article/201 [...] a_vs_amd/7

Some quad action with triple monitors.....

http://www.hardocp.com/article/201 [...] a_vs_amd/7


It's not the 590 or pair of 590's that are in the lead.
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June 21, 2011 1:28:24 AM

purple stank said:
I know your really set on the Gigabyte 990FX board but I urge you to take a look at the Asus 990FX board.When I watched the review of it their was a surprise I wasn't expecting.Asus has a secondary board they call the "no overhang" board which is essientally a PCI-Express x16 slot board that snaps into x4 slots and become a board made for quad crossfire and SLI setups.It gives lots of room bettween each card for better airflow.

Watch from 29:40 onwards.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT7YSsEFqTk&feature=play...


What a monster :o 

I'll have to watch the whole video at home since there's no sound at work. I wonder if I'll still be able to fit a V10 heat sink in there with the secondary board though.

I'll consider it for my rig, thanks for the suggestion.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
June 21, 2011 2:10:10 AM

It looks like it just covers the bottom half of the board and it has a fan for the SB heatsink.I just learned that it doesn't actually come with the mobo it's something you have to buy seperatly but well worth it if it's priced right.I haven't found it yet tho so I can't comment on the priceing.
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June 21, 2011 2:31:16 AM

I would recommend the HD 6990

Anyway why would you need to SLI a HD 6990?
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June 21, 2011 3:00:01 AM

purple stank said:
It looks like it just covers the bottom half of the board and it has a fan for the SB heatsink.I just learned that it doesn't actually come with the mobo it's something you have to buy seperatly but well worth it if it's priced right.I haven't found it yet tho so I can't comment on the priceing.


Yeah I can't find any specifications or pricing for the secondary board either. Good looking board regardless, another option for the finalized rig.

Dereck222 said:
I would recommend the HD 6990

Anyway why would you need to SLI a HD 6990?


To host full 3D holographic dance parties to appease our robot dinosaur overlords in the future? :pt1cable: 

Childhood fantasies aside, it was just a possible option (if I went with the 6990) for when I really needed to upgrade at a much later date.

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June 21, 2011 10:40:48 AM

RazberyBandit said:
No, it's not. A Quad-SLI GTX580 setup would beat a pair of GTX590's, just a like an SLI'd pair of 580's beats a single 590.


GTX 580 QUAD-SLI is clumsy and impractical because of the heat and noise such a setup would produce.

GTX 590 SLI is a much better choice.
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a b U Graphics card
June 21, 2011 4:16:36 PM

LOL Viper2. When you SLI two GTX590's, you're creating a Quad-SLI setup. (Each has 2 GPUs, and when SLI'd, 2+2=4.)
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a c 217 U Graphics card
June 21, 2011 4:25:05 PM

Viper2 said:
GTX 580 QUAD-SLI is clumsy and impractical because of the heat and noise such a setup would produce.

GTX 590 SLI is a much better choice.


I don't believe there is a motherboard capable of running quad-SLI 580's on air. The only way it's possible is with water cooling, taking away the heat and noise issue.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
June 21, 2011 7:20:49 PM

If you used that Standalone PCI-Express board for the Crosshair V You could easily do it.
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June 22, 2011 2:14:10 AM

Thanks everyone for the replies,

I'll be going with the 6970 CF set up since it'll be 200 bucks cheaper then buying a single 6990/590 card. The benchmarks posted and videos I've watched put the CF in leagues with the single cards anyway which is good news.

Thanks again!
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June 22, 2011 2:15:31 AM

Best answer selected by willonidas.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
June 22, 2011 2:56:09 AM

Goodluck.

You won't be disapointed.
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