I am looking upgrade my graphics card for the 3rd time in my life. I have gone from a TNT2 Ultra to a 9800gtx and now I am looking to once again upgrade. I am happy with the performance of the card I have but I am beginning to notice that it is getting less stable with age and with BF3 coming out soon I would like to be able to play the game with some of the eye candy turned on and up.
I have been checking around and I have narrowed my choices to either running 2 465's in SLI or getting a 6950 and unlocking it.
Here are my current systems specs:
P5N-T, Q9650 oc'd to 3.9, 8 gigs of ram, 500 gigs SSD RAID 0 OS/Swap File, 2 TB primary storage, 2 27' asus 1080p displays, 1000W PSU
My current system usage in order of importance: app development for iOS and android, Blender, Premier Pro CS5, Gaming (Bad Company 2, BF3 when it comes out, Source engine based titles)
If you were about to be making a purchase and were looking for the biggest bang for your buck, what would you choose to do here? I think the 465's in SLI would deliver a considerable punch but the 6950 is slightly more future proof. I will also be moving more and more into GPGPU computing development so that is a consideration as well, although not a very important one.
My personal feeling is to just get the 2 465's but I would like some input before I make a decision.
I have 2 GTX 465s in SLI, they are bad ass and destroy pretty much any single GPU card out there, especially at DX11 tesselation, but they are very hot and noisy and use lots of power. I live in Texas and get cheap co-op power, blast the a/c and play at pretty high volume levels so it's not an issue for me, but for most people the 6950 is probably a better choice even though 465s are signifigantly faster.
If I go with the 6950 - will I have issues with my motherboard being based around the n-force chipset?
I am planning on upgrading my motherboard/cpu/ram once the sledgehammer based cpu's are released if they provide a compelling enough reason to from a performance/price standpoint. Also, it is ok to purchase the same model card down the road and use it to SLI? I remember a time where I had to go to some length to purchase a pair of pentium pro cpu's that were from the same production run because the tiny differences between runs was enough to potentially cause headaches. Going SLI/Crossfire down the road concerns me because...well..I'm old. If it's not an issue then I would be much more inclined towards getting the 6950 now and then getting another one if/when I need it.
As for unlocking the 6950 into a 6970: I have heard some rumors that newer versions of the boards are shifting away from the reference designs or that AMD has locked out the ability to unlock by flashing the bios. Is there any credibility to this?