I am in the process of trying to work out which GPU would be best for my new system. (not brand new)
I have a DFI LanParty x48 T3RS motherboard with a Intel® Core™2 Extreme Processor QX9650 (12M Cache, 3.00 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB). I have 4 x 1gb 1333 DDR3 ram, and I will be running 2 x 1tb WD 7200rpm HDD in RAID.
What I am looking for advise on is What is the best graphics card to optimize my setup?
Will the high end GPU's like a gtx580 or 6970 be overkill and would my system be wasting alot of their potential?
If yes, what would be the best card to work with my system? Am i better of getting 1 better card or would my system better utilize a dual card setup? The motherboard has 3 PCIE2 slots (16, 16, 1).
My motherboard only runs dual cards in Crossfire, not Sli.
I'm not worried about the cost, i just want to get the right setup for my system. I mainly play FPS games.
With my MB and CPU I will probably be looking into overclocking but again i'm not sure how that will effect the GPU choice.
Thanks very much and I hope there might be some good suggestions for me.
Your CPU is still excellent for gaming. You can probably use any single-card even a 6990 or the 590 without too much worry about a cpu bottleneck. Make sure your PSU meets the power requirements. What resolution will you be gaming at? If you're just doing 1920x1080 you should be able to get most if not all the goodies with a 580. That's generally what I'd recommend especially if money isn't a problem. Previous generations of Crossfire (5xxx and below) were annoyingly inconsistent and didn't scale well at all. That's why I usually don't recommend doing crossfire (especially @1080p or lower). However, the 6xxx line of radeons is supposedly much better in crossfire. Meh, your call.
As far as games go the Core 2 Extreme QX9650 is still a great processor. It's not going to be quite as good as the 2500K in games and in heavy cpu related tasks. But I don't think it is going to be the limiting factor. Graphics card wise, depends on your res, if your running 1080p than two 6970 in crossfire would max any game on the market right now plus some. They could handle multiple monitors and still be fine with your rig. You could save some money and get the 6950s and unlock them, but based on your comment that doesn't seem to madder though.
You'd also need a good PSU for two of any high end card. Which one do you have currently? Crossfire 6950 use ~330 watts by them self, two 6970 use upwards of ~410 watts together. Not including the rest of your computer.
If your computer can't put two GTX 580's together than one 6970 now and another later (if you need it) would work very well. But if you only want one card than the GTX 580 is better than one 6970.