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6950 CF vs. 560 SLI???

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October 7, 2011 11:15:12 PM

I am building anew rig and have come to an problem with my selection of video cards. I am going to have a 2500k and 8 gigs of ram and two slots for SLI or Crossfire. I have a budget of $550ish dollars for the gpu/gpu's (Canadian). I was thinking of getting 2 6950's, most likely the 1gb version or maybe the 2 gb. I thought that I could save some money and get 2 560 ti's. Would they preform much worse? I cant get the benchmarks for it on anandtech but I found a review site that says they are very similar. I want the cards to last a few good years running games at max, so which is better with price in mind?

More about : 6950 560 sli

October 7, 2011 11:37:36 PM

I can only offer some user feedback on the 560 Ti:

I have an Intel Core i5 2500k and two MSI Twin Frozer II GTX 560 Ti. I have been very pleased with the performance they offer. It's the first time I've been able to run Crysis with the highest settings (2xAA) at 1080p with v-sync enabled, and keep a "buttery" smooth frame rate.

I hear the 6950s are good cards. But, you know, I've never owned an ATI card ever - I've always had Nvidia. Maybe I'll try them out some day, ha.
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a b U Graphics card
October 7, 2011 11:38:06 PM

Not to tell you off, but xfire and sli are too much of a hassle imo with driver support, compatibility, etc. Also, at this point most games don't need more than one solid card. A 580 GTX can handle almost anything.

My opinion aside, here is a couple reviews to look at:
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6950-crossfirex...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-560-ti-sli-re...

The 6950 xfire setup seems to have slightly better performance when it scales properly, but on several games the xfire setup barely gets higher fps than a single 6950. SLI seems to be more consistent, although slightly less scaling than the 6000 series.

If you want a multi-card setup I would suggest two OC 560 TI's. Gigabyte makes a decent model:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
October 8, 2011 12:18:01 AM

If you decide to go with the GTX 560 Ti SLI setup, I'd recommend two of these -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you decide to go with the HD 6950 CrossFireX setup, I'd recommend two of these -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The fact is that either setup, assuming your cards scale properly, will give you 20-40% better performance than a single GTX 580 or HD 5970 card, for about $50 (USD) more. However, you have to risk dealing with all of the potential complications that might come with running a CrossFireX/SLI setup to begin with.

I was in the same situation as you earlier this week. I ultimately decided to go with the GTX 560 Ti SLI setup. I chose the cards that I listed above (MSI 2GB GTX 560 Ti). The 1GB models are a bit cheaper, but the extra gigabyte of VRAM should help ensure that you don't lose performance when you use more than 1GB of VRAM, which is pretty common in games like Crysis 2, Bad Company 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, and the Battlefield 3 Beta, on high/ultra settings, 1920x1080, with anti-aliasing enabled.

That extra gigabyte of RAM is what gave the 2GB 6950 CrossFireX setup an advantage over the stock 1GB 560 Ti SLI setup at higher resolutions, but I'm hoping that won't be the case with these new MSI cards. I'll share my results with you guys once I receive my order.

--

Edit: If you're torn between a single GTX 580 card versus a multi-card setup, one thing you should consider is whether you think you'll have any desire to add a second or third GTX 580 card to your later down the line, assuming your motherboard and power supply can handle it. If you're cool with dropping another $400-500 USD later down to add another GTX 580 card, then you might want to just go with a single-card setup instead, for now anyone. But from the benchmarks I've read, two GTX 580 in SLI only perform marginally better than two GTX 560 Ti cards in SLI. It's not a drastic difference.
October 8, 2011 12:25:41 AM

From what I know, the 580 is far worse than 2 6950's. It has higher fps in all games, no exceptions. As for the scaling, I thought it was just a problem with fps dropping low, but still keeping a good rate at most times ( correct me if I am wrong ). I was just thinking to save money, but the way you made it sound.....with 2xAA running it smooth....I would expect the the 6950's to play it at an average of 50 fps. With that in mind I want to have the cards playing games at max for a couple of years. Is that even realistic with my budget?
a b U Graphics card
October 8, 2011 2:10:26 AM

dokod said:
From what I know, the 580 is far worse than 2 6950's. It has higher fps in all games, no exceptions. As for the scaling, I thought it was just a problem with fps dropping low, but still keeping a good rate at most times......


Far worse is subjective, but no the 580 does not get as high of FPS. The 560 SLI setup only gets 43 FPS in Metro 2033 whereas the 580 gets 33 FPS (as per my earlier link).

I think both setups will get you maxed or close to maxed out for the next couple years, but by that time there will be a single card that can outperform either.

Anywho, I would read this before you commit to a multi-card setup:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...
October 8, 2011 3:04:44 AM

Thanks for the link, Soma42. I'm wondering how much of a problem this micro-stuttering phenomenon will turn out to be when I install my cards on Monday. Worse case scenario, if I'm greeted with a nightmare of problems, I'll just know better than to drop another $500+ on a multi-card setup when a single-card setup would easily suffice.
a c 143 U Graphics card
October 8, 2011 4:22:32 AM

Soma42 said:
Far worse is subjective, but no the 580 does not get as high of FPS. The 560 SLI setup only gets 43 FPS in Metro 2033 whereas the 580 gets 33 FPS (as per my earlier link).

I think both setups will get you maxed or close to maxed out for the next couple years, but by that time there will be a single card that can outperform either.

Anywho, I would read this before you commit to a multi-card setup:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

from the link you provided by Toms explaining Microstuttering
Quote:
The improvement in performance would be negated by the phenomenon's impact. Currently, it seems like cards less powerful than the Radeon HD 6950 are not well-suited for dual-card CrossFire. Even if the frame rates look decent, the slower the GPU, the more pronounced you'll see micro-stuttering during gameplay.

Quote:
Cards like the GeForce GTX 550 Ti seem to be wasted on a SLI setup for this reason alone, achieving decent frame rates in the charts and nasty micro-stuttering in the real world.

the problem is still presets with both AMD and nVidia GPUs when running 2-way GPU configurations, and the problem disappears with both 3-way and 4-way setups.
the OP needs more FPS which is the SLI/CF major job. Microstuttering won't be noticeable when running a game that have avg FPS of 40 and with decent GPUs such as HD 6950s
and all the hassle you said about CF/SLI is related to hardware configurations, drivers issues and barely the game support, as all the modern games supportive for CF/SLI
a c 143 U Graphics card
October 8, 2011 4:32:31 AM

AMD HD 6K series scales better than nVidia's GTX 5K series and a pair of HD 6950s in CF beats a pair of GTX 570s SLI (depending on the game) and beats a single GTX 580.

@ Op if you're going for the 1 GB version it's your best option if you're using 1080P monitor, the 2 GB version, the more VRAM the less frame buffer issues specialy when dealing with resolutions above 1080P, besides the 2 GB VRAM is more future proof for VRAM hungry games.

and if you're thinking that the HD 6950s in CF will let you max out all the upcoming games for the next 2 years, you're totally wrong. Nobody's can predict what the gaming industry will bring to us, and the new AMD HD 7950 which equipped with XDR2 rambus memory which is twice faster than GDDR5 is said to be performing better than HD 6990. besides, 2 HD 6950s can't get to 60 FPS in Metro 2033 so how will it look like when "Metro 2034" come out ?
October 8, 2011 2:34:27 PM

The gaming market is unpredictable, so either of my options are effected. All my choices are related to the game market, so if it started coming out with crazy cool graphics, all cards would be effected making your point useless.

I want to see micro stuttering!!!! Is there a video that shows it clearly? The stats show that those 6950's get great fps in all the newest games, unless I see what micro stuttering really looks like, I think you are all just to picky and finicky with your fps.
a c 143 U Graphics card
October 8, 2011 2:42:56 PM

dokod said:
The gaming market is unpredictable, so either of my options are effected. All my choices are related to the game market, so if it started coming out with crazy cool graphics, all cards would be effected making your point useless.

could you explain pls ?
Quote:
I want to see micro stuttering!!!! Is there a video that shows it clearly? The stats show that those 6950's get great fps in all the newest games, unless I see what micro stuttering really looks like, I think you are all just to picky and finicky with your fps

the link provided above explains what's microstuttering and where it will be seen
a c 88 U Graphics card
October 8, 2011 2:48:17 PM

Most of the peeps that complain about microstuttering don't even have a SLI or CF set up, I say go for it.......Once you SLI you never go back :) 
a b U Graphics card
October 8, 2011 7:23:48 PM

monsta said:
Most of the peeps that complain about microstuttering don't even have a SLI or CF set up, I say go for it.......Once you SLI you never go back :) 


You think Tom's doesn't have multi-card setups????

They're the ones who wrote the article about it so it's not like I'm making this up...
October 8, 2011 10:37:46 PM

Fair enough, but the cards I am getting aren't in the "zone" were micro-stuttering is most visible. I would be getting great fps close to 100fps and if every second frame was delayed, appearing like 50fps, I would be ok with that. Are there any video of micro stuttering?
a c 271 U Graphics card
October 8, 2011 10:56:30 PM

Soma42 said:
You think Tom's doesn't have multi-card setups????

They're the ones who wrote the article about it so it's not like I'm making this up...

And I'm on my third SLi rig and I've yet to see any of this microstutter that you speak of, so go figure.
a b U Graphics card
October 8, 2011 11:04:53 PM

dokod said:
Fair enough, but the cards I am getting aren't in the "zone" were micro-stuttering is most visible. I would be getting great fps close to 100fps and if every second frame was delayed, appearing like 50fps, I would be ok with that. Are there any video of micro stuttering?



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOtre2f4qZs

Best one I've seen. I think it's even referenced in the article somewhere.

A lot of people are very happy with multi-card setups and I'm sure once you're over the refresh rate of your monitor (60/120 Hz) it doesn't matter that much.

Once the SLI/Crossfire setup is not powerful enough you're better off with a single card.
a b U Graphics card
October 9, 2011 12:16:44 AM

Mousemonkey said:
And I'm on my third SLi rig and I've yet to see any of this microstutter that you speak of, so go figure.


Maybe I'm stressing the point too hard. Just wanted the OP to be aware of it :ange: 
October 9, 2011 1:58:39 AM

I think my eyes are broken 'cause I saw nothing wrong with the top screen (when it showed top and bottom comparison). I thought the top was smother than the bottom, but I could be wrong. I did see a bit of the quick frame pair followed by the larger gap, but I dont think I will mind. I think I will get two 6950's 2gb each. Hope it turns out well!
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