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Card replacement within current setup restrictions

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
July 15, 2011 4:48:29 PM

I'm looking to put something newer in my computer, in means of graphics. Currently I'm still running a pair of 6800 Ultras in SLi, and want something new now. Here in lies the "problem" I'm not a everyday gamer nor video editor, just want something for the "times" I need my stuff to work (off the lows and poor).

My computer is about five years old, and not really looking to throw hundreds into.

Asus P5ND2-Sli Deluxe
Pentium D 3.2ghz (840)
4 GB (2X2gb) Corsair Dimms (5-5-5-18) (another additional 4gb laying around never installed) ><
Silverstone 650w PSU w/ single rail of 52amps. (So I'm told)
250 GB 7200 rpm standard ATA HD
Again super old 6800 Ultras in SLi.
Win 7 32/64 bit (both installed)

Issue now becomes now and where do I look to replace them, limiting myself to what I have and not starting from scratch.
I'm lost in the 7800s, 8800s, 9800s, gt's, gtx's.
I just asked EVGA this and was told something along the lines of a 450/460 or 550.

Things I'll use computer for will be World of Warcraft, Batman Arkham Asylum/Arkham City game wise, School/career programs of AutoCAD/Google SketchUp, etc. and not to forget Blu-rays.
a b U Graphics card
July 15, 2011 4:57:15 PM

A GTX 460 1GB will be a nice upgrade. It will also be perfectly compatible with your current system (although your CPU will cause some amount of bottleneck).
July 15, 2011 5:04:09 PM

My rig currently is running dual/sli mode, why do you suggest a single gtx 460 only? Does running one give a benefit compared to running two @ x8 in slower sli mode(early supporting sli motherboard)? Thanks for your fast response! :) 
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a c 271 U Graphics card
July 15, 2011 5:48:00 PM

A single GTX460 or better still a GTX560Ti is more powerful than your current setup of SLi'd 6800 Ultras.
July 15, 2011 6:26:29 PM

I understand newer cards will trump my older ones, but still a question remains. Does running one card in or @x16 any better or equal to running a pair @ or on x8? Does running a single, lets say gtx460 in full x16, or will two gtx460 running in sli @ X8 beat it, tit for tat? no real difference? Which brings up the conclusion at what point do I see or stay running sli x8 if I can get the same aspects with just one card? I understand slight or margin of differences, but if not worth the money or effort, one card shall win out, right?
a c 271 U Graphics card
July 15, 2011 6:30:55 PM

Running two of the current generation of mid to high end cards on a rig with your current CPU will end in tears, that CPU will not be able to handle the overhead generated by two of these cards and the x8 Vs x16 bit doesn't even come into the equation.
a b U Graphics card
July 15, 2011 7:03:56 PM

Like suggested by mousemonkey, it will be wasting money if you plan to employ a dual card setup on your existing system. If you have that much cash then opt for a complete system upgrade.
July 15, 2011 7:05:47 PM

Okay, should I stay in the 8xxx series or 9xxx series cards for a quick improvement, understanding that the "newer" cards are too much for what I can use or obtain from my system. Or is that a lower range "new card" that is correct to use.

About the x8, x16 speed. That furthermore losses me. When I bought this computer years ago, sli was the thing and assuming it still is. Just I've seen where this old computer only can apply speeds of x8 per card while in sli, and if I opt single card I can then get the x16 speed. At what point does this apply to the cards I'm looking for. If my system is truly as old as I'm afraid, I should just forgo SLI capabilities all together right? Thanks for your knowledge and responses, hopefully I'll understand it shortly and be able to apply it in stores.
a c 271 U Graphics card
July 15, 2011 7:14:45 PM

A recent article on THG showed that the difference between x8 + x8 and x16 + x16 was less than 5% and that was using the latest most powerful CPU's and cards, in some cases the performance of x16 + x16 was lower than that of the x8 + x8 rig.
July 15, 2011 7:35:04 PM

I actually upgraded from a 7800GTX SLi to a single 5870 card about a year ago. It actually freed up resources for the mobo where it ran faster.
July 15, 2011 9:21:19 PM

I'm narrowing down the information pool, Silverstone my PSU manufacture has confirmed that doing nothing but changing cards out, I have 150w and 25amps to supply each card. Any ideas from those numbers?
a b U Graphics card
July 16, 2011 4:21:45 AM

You should not be worrying about your PSU. It has enough to handle any single card out there.