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Will SLI be beneficial?

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August 23, 2011 6:13:24 AM

Hi. I currently have an Alienware Intel Core 2 (Quad core) Extreme CPU x 9770 @3.20 GHZ (about 3 years old) with 4 GB of RAM running Windows 7. I currently run one GTX 460 super overclocked video card and am considering going with a second GTX460 SOC in SLI.

Would this be worthwhile? I am just trying to get a little more from my system before considering buying a new system in a year or so but I hate to waste any money on this if it's not going to give me additional performance.

Thanks

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August 23, 2011 6:38:19 AM

The 460 scales pretty good inSLI so you will see a 60-80% increase in performance and most new games HOWEVER SLI can (but not always) causes micro-stuttering which can cancel the performance gained from SLI.

This article from 2 days ago explains micro-stuttering in detail with various cards.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

If I were you I would sell the 460 and buy a 560 Ti/ ATI 6950 depending on your budget. And in a year you can build your system instead of buying and reuse the gfx card so you dont waste the money for a new card than.
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a b U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 7:07:55 AM

I've never heard of any 460 SLI users complain of microstuttering....
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a b U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 7:53:15 AM

You've got *plenty* of cpu, and really won't need to replace it for . . . a while.

In the past I don't think anyone would have hesitated to recommend 2x460. The scaling was outstanding and useful. The *only* hesitation I have now comes from this quote from the last page of the article shening linked above:

(Talking about SLI/Crossfire . . .)

"Getting the best possible results often comes down to driver installation. What is usually a fairly routine process when you use one GPU on its own can quickly turn into a test of patience when multiple cards are involved.

For example, it is rather difficult to get two Nvidia cards obtained from different vendors, which deviate from the reference specification, to cooperate in SLI. From a pool of six different GeForce GTX 580 cards, only two would work together consistently. From a pool of five different GeForce GTX 570s, only three would. We had problems mixing clock rates, BIOSes, supporting platforms, and so on."

I guess if I could get an identical 460, and had the case and PSU to support it, I'd go for 2x460. (Or if I could return a card I couldn't get to SLI with mine.) If not, I'd consider selling the card and buying a single card replacement depending on your screen resolution.
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a c 130 U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 8:26:56 AM

I have never personally dealt with Nvidia drivers as far as SLI is concerned, With AMD drivers i know the newer drivers drop complete support for older tech pretty quickly.
I would choose to sell the 460 and use the cash towards an upgrade if it was me facing this decision. there are however a couple of things to consider.
Cam you get a second 460 really cheap ? If yes then that swings things back in favour of getting the second card for SLI.
You basically need to weigh up the pros and cons.
Cost Vs Performance VS possible issues with running SLI
Now as i said i have no experience with SLI so cant speak from personal experience but i have yet to read a post where someone was slating the SLI performance of a couple of these cards, in fact everyone of the press reviews were over the moon about it at the time and the performance at the time rivaled cards costing a fair bit more than two if these cards new.

Considering the potential performance you could get from having 2 460's running nice in SLI i would try the 460 but make sure its returnable just in case as mentioned above it wont play nice.
Buying either the 560 Ti or ATI 6950 to me would be a minimal upgrade and not worth it unless you can offset most of the cost by selling your 460.

Long story short. Go get a second 460 try it if it wont play nice then return it and after that i would sit tight and save towards a new system.

Mactronix :) 
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a c 173 U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 1:42:05 PM

Nvidia in two way sli usually is much more stable than what the article says as I have been running it for years. Micro shutter is more or less rare if setup properly.
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August 23, 2011 3:25:22 PM

So I guess I'll reconsider the SLI. I actually purchased the second card (Amazon - so have 30 days to return) and tested it out last night. I saw almost no difference from what I had before. I'm not sure if I have a CPU bottleneck or if it just didn't set itself up correctly. Everything shows up as in SLI but I saw no big improvement in performance. I had originally ordered the 560ti card and tried it but also saw no improvement in games.

Do you think with my current CPU running at 1680x1050 ... that perhaps the 460 is the best performance I can hope for?
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a b U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 3:32:41 PM

no way.....keep that card......are you sure you have enough power to drive 2???

i saw MASSIVE gains with a second 460...... truth be told 2x460sli>580

keep tweeking your settings......

reinstall drivers???

enabled sli???

keep trying,,,,its worth it!!!
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a b U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 7:42:25 PM

TBH, gaming at 1680 is a piece of cake for a 460. In what game do you get less than 40 FPS?

Is the second card you got IDENTICAL to your old 460?

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a c 173 U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 9:05:48 PM

Twoboxer said:
TBH, gaming at 1680 is a piece of cake for a 460. In what game do you get less than 40 FPS?

Is the second card you got IDENTICAL to your old 460?


SLI does not require clock synchronization and doesn't require that both cards be entirely the same so long the gpu core is the same. The only other limitation is left to the driver.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2011 8:57:35 PM

nforce4max said:
SLI does not require clock synchronization and doesn't require that both cards be entirely the same so long the gpu core is the same. The only other limitation is left to the driver.
Well, I was reacting to this quote:

"For example, it is rather difficult to get two Nvidia cards obtained from different vendors, which deviate from the reference specification, to cooperate in SLI. From a pool of six different GeForce GTX 580 cards, only two would work together consistently. From a pool of five different GeForce GTX 570s, only three would. We had problems mixing clock rates, BIOSes, supporting platforms, and so on."

from this article:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

Apparently Igor and Greg had some difficulties, so I thought the OP might too.

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a c 130 U Graphics card
August 25, 2011 7:15:28 AM

I have seen a lot of post on this and different forums, While the stipulation from Nvidia is exactly as nforce4max is saying it would seem the weight of experience says that this is not quite correct.
Things do change slightly between generations but for example i have seen posts not too long ago where an OPs cards would only play nice once one card had been flashed with a bios to match the other one.

As the article specifies Non Reference cards then i would surmise that matching two of these cards should be from the same manufacturer to avoid possible complications/issues.
Reference cards may well mix and match indeed there is no real reason for them not to as they are basically all the same but with different stickers on them.

Mactronix :) 
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September 4, 2011 2:08:58 AM

Best answer selected by JohnD212.
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