Wow what a topic name. I suppose I had better explain this a little.
First off, I will advise that I have a Cooler Master 1100 UCP power supply, an Asus P6T6 WS Revolution Motherboard with an i7 clocked at 4.4GHz. I have also enough 'radiator' space to accept another GPU if required. So I have no 'limitations' on the GPU sub-system due to other hardware. I run a resolution of 5040*1050 in Surround.
I'm currently running, 2xGTX470, they are under water with EK blocks and back plates, but I'm looking for an upgrade, budget is about £200 ($300ish).
My options are:
1. Buy a 3rd GTX470 (eBay), and purchase a new waterblock and back plate - £200 give or take.
2. Sell both GTX470s along with their blocks and plates for about £350 (after eBay fees), and buy 3xGTX560ti - £175 (Not an option, you can't Tri SLI GTX560Ti's!!!)
3. Sell both GTX470s along with their blocks and plates for about £350 (after eBay fees), and buy 2xHD6970 - £200
So, my question is, what is the best option. If I go for either the 560s or the 6970 I will lose the water cooling option (I will NOT reinstall later), so they run hotter and louder than my 470s.
I have clocked my 470s to 800/607 core, 1600/1215 shader, 1800/1600 memory (at work so not 100% sure, but it is close enough). Knowing that SLI setups don't clock as high as single cards these arn't bad OCs, I could probably push them higher if I really wanted to.
I am also aware of the 'SLi scaling issues with 3 cards, mostly due to CPU bottle necks and some driver issues, but Tri SLi is certaintly better in the scaling than it was only 12months ago.
What do we think is the best option? I know that the 560s are faster than the 470s at stock, but I need to take into consideration the temp / noise they run at because the 470s are under water. I will almost certaintly be able to get a higher % OC out of the 470s due to the lower temps.
I also know that the 6970s would give me an option later to expand to a 3rd, but I have never opted for the 'red' team and my experiance with 'green' has been almost flawless. Point to note, my i7 @ 4.4GHz will basically be at the point of CPU bottle necking with any of the suggestions here, so adding a 3rd 6970 later would be pointless unless I upgrade to an i9 at the same time.
It would make no sense to sell your 470's and buy 560ti's they are almost the same performance. The 6970 is only one step over the 470 and 3 470's is going to be better than 2 6970's , so the thing to do and least problematic would be to add the 470 and do three way sli. If you were going to sell everything and get new then you want to go at least two to three levels above what you have , so that would mean you need to get two 580's in sli or a 6990 in crossfire. Option one is my recomendation.
For the sake of consrving your sanity, i would first try how will the 470 watercooled "already" work on that resolution you want.
I dont hink you can tri sli 560Ti, i think you can only do it with 570 and 580.
now, the 6970 are good, no doubht, but they sometimes even "cant" run in crossfire becouse of the heat.
The noise will drive you mad if you switch to a regular cooling now.
Personally if i was in your situation, id wait for the next generation of cpus/gpus and then decide (my last jump was from a 4850 crossfire to a single 560 Ti).