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GTX 560 Ti SLI vs 6950 CrossfireX

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 7, 2011 1:03:57 AM

Specs -
Core i7 920, overclocked to 3.73 GHz, Hyperthreading off
SLI-ready EVGA X58 motherboard
6GB OCZ Gold RAM
896MB EVGA GTX 275 GPU
Corsair 750W power supply

I typed up a more elaborate explanation, but unfortunately I accidentally clicked the "back" button, which erased what would have been my entire post. So I will try to keep this brief and concise.

I've already ordered two of these -
MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II, 2GB MSI GTX 260 Ti
To run in SLI. I should receive them either Saturday or Monday.

I want to spend between $500-600 to remain eligible for the 12-months no interest financing program of the Newegg Preferred Account. I simply cannot justify a purchase above $600 before rebates. I want to meet benchmarks somewhere between a reference GTX 580 and an HD 5970, if not a little bit higher. I play at 1920x1080. I want to be able to play a game like Battlefield 3 on Ultra settings, with 2x or 4x AA. And I know that any of the following setups can readily achieve that, so I'm just looking for some subjective advice on which of the following cards are "best" in my case.

Oh, and I do not care to wait until the next generation of cards from AMD/ATI and Nvidia are announced.

I have a threetwo-part question.

1) One of the few reasons that I'm even considering buying two 6950 cards or a single GTX 580 card over the GTX 560 Ti SLI setup that I already ordered is because many games such as Bad Company 2, Crysis 2, Grand Theft Auto 4, and the Battlefield 3 beta use more than 1024 MB of VRAM at resolutions 1920x1080 or higher, with any amount of anti-aliasing enabled. The 2GB of memory on the MSI cards that I ordered seems to remedy that issue, but I've read that the relatively low memory bandwidth cannot take full advantage of that 2GB compared to a 6950 CrossfireX setup, or a single GTX 580 card. Is there any truth to this assertion?

2) Should I decide to return these GTX 560 Ti cards and order a pair of Radeon 6950 cards instead, which of the following is the best choice for a CrossfireX setup?
Sapphire
HIS
XFX
MSI
Edit: Crossed out two cards because I decided that the HIS and MSI models are better choices.

3) Finally, should I decide to disregard the SLI/CrossfireX setup entirely and go with a single card for the sake of convenience, and to allow for the possibly of adding a second powerful card later down the line, which of the following GTX 580 cards, in your opinion, is the best choice?
Zotac (this card is under $500 but I'm willing to consider it anyway, as it's the cheapest GTX 580 model, by far)
EVGA SuperClocked
Zotac AMP!


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I've been doing some more research, in an attempt to answer my own question. From what I've been able to gather, the Radeon 6950s in Crossfire perform marginally better than the GTX 560 Ti cards in SLI, and run a bit warmer, but the GTX 560 Ti cards consume marginally more power. I don't think that should be a problem for my 750W power supply though.
October 7, 2011 1:56:41 AM

I apologize for the double post, but I've narrowed down my options to either the 2GB MSI GTX 560 Ti cards to run in SLI (which I already own but haven't received yet), and the 2GB MSI Radeon 6950 cards to run in CrossFireX.

The only real reservation I have about sticking to the GTX 560 Ti setup, as I've said before, is...
Quote:
The 2GB of memory on the MSI cards that I ordered seems to remedy that issue, but I've read that the relatively low memory bandwidth cannot take full advantage of that 2GB compared to a 6950 CrossfireX setup, or a single GTX 580 card. Is there any truth to this assertion?

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October 7, 2011 3:49:47 AM

If its just for running Battlefield 3 I'm currently running the beta fine @ 1920x1080 ultra settings and 4xAA with:
AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE (All 4 cores unlocked) @ ~3.2GHz
Asus M4A78T-E
4GB Corsair Tracer
1000w Antec Quattro
Crossfire Sapphire 6870's

You should be fine either way
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a b U Graphics card
October 7, 2011 4:32:56 AM

You seem worried a bit. A pair of GTX 560 Ti's will deliver amazing performance. Returning them for a pair of cards that are just a bit faster for a few more FPS isn't logical. A pair of 560 Ti's will make out most if not any game with +60 FPS, which is all you need. I honestly prefer single card setups over multi-card setup. I would have gone for the 580. If it isn't too late to cancel your order, then just get a single card, such as a GTX 580 or a Radeon HD 6970/50 if you want to go AMD.
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October 7, 2011 5:24:25 AM

I'll admit, I'm quite the dilettante on this subject, to say the least, so I tend to second, triple, and quadruple-guess myself when I go out and dish $500+ on an upgrade like this.

My only real concern at this point relates to the matter of "memory bandwidth," specifically in terms of whether I'm really getting the full effect of 2GB of VRAM with these cards. So if someone could give me some coherent, concise information on that subject, I would greatly appreciate it.

And I agree. A consistent 60+ frames per second on pretty much any game that isn't Metro 2033 or whatever the GTX 6XX or HD 7XXX games will be benchmarked with is good enough for me. I'm never going to use Eyefinity/NVIDIA Surround, or NVIDIA 3D Vision, nor am I ever going to run my games at a resolution any higher than 1920x1080. Any other advanced features are nothing more than extraneous bonuses, for me anyway.

I've still been thinking about returning my order (I'm not sure whether Newegg will actually do that) for a single GTX 580 card, but according to the benchmarks/reviews I've read over the past week -
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_5...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-560-ti-sli-re...
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/02/21/msi_n560gtx_t...

I think this multi-card setup is the perfect balance between price, performance, futureproofing, and convenience. Performs better than a single GTX 580 card and costs a lot less than two GTX 580 cards, especially given that I'd probably have to buy a larger power supply to support two GTX 580 cards.

tl;dr - I'd still like to read some more information about memory bandwidth as it relates to these GPUs, but otherwise I think I'm happy with this purchase and I'm extremely eager to get my damn package already! :) 
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October 11, 2011 4:27:00 AM

Best answer selected by corpnothing.
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