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Best GPU Set up on a $300 dollar budget?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 3, 2012 1:13:54 PM

The build I plan to run is a 965 black edition sitting on an asus crosshair board that supports 3 way sli. Because of this i'm having a hard time deciding which card (or cards) to pick. I can't decide if I should run 3 older cards (3 x GTX 285's), 2 somewhat recent cards (2 x GTX 460's or 470's), or just got with a single GTX 560, or possibly something different altogether? To be clear i'm looking for what's going to be best right now. I understand that buying a 560 today means I can add a second in sli later on, but i'm only interested in what will provide the best performance immediately. From what i've read the 460's out perform the 560, but not all games utilize both gpus. I also haven't been able to find much on 3 way sli with the 285s. Any help is appreciated. I've also considered 2 x GTX 295's, but i've read pretty mixed reviews about them.
January 3, 2012 1:14:38 PM

Also, to be clear, i'm mostly interested in used cards.
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January 3, 2012 1:20:35 PM

two gtx 460's would be better than a single 560.
just make sure your power supply can handle the two cards.
GTX 285's don't support DX11.
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a c 192 U Graphics card
January 3, 2012 1:24:06 PM

If you've not already bought any of those parts, I'd seriously reconsider and use an Intel CPU and mobo. I have yet to see any detailed tests as to why (is it the CPU, the chipset, or just bad firmware?) but AMD systems bottleneck multi-GPU setups very badly.
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January 3, 2012 1:25:50 PM

the HD 6990 can dominate the cards of invidia 500 series, and this single card will satisfy you mostly in games,but the 7000 series of amd has much better to come
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a c 160 U Graphics card
January 3, 2012 1:32:58 PM

ighamerz said:
the HD 6990 can dominate the cards of invidia 500 series, and this single card will satisfy you mostly in games,but the 7000 series of amd has much better to come


Uneducated fanboy! BEWARE!!!

Don't get the HD6990.

I do not think a second hand card is worth it. You could lose your money at any times without any warranty to go back on.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That would be my suggestion.

And later two of those are BEASTS!!! Most suggested duel-GPU setup on any of these forums.
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a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2012 1:36:27 PM

Personally, I would go for an i5-2500k with an Hyper 212+ (easy 4.5+ ghz OC) and wait for the AMD 7000 series. If you really want used cards then wait because the new gen will make people sell their old cards, so its a win-win situation.
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January 3, 2012 2:00:02 PM

Thanks for all of the suggestions, however I already have the cpu, motherboard and heatsink. I'd love to go with an i5 build and crossfire ati cards, but it's out of my price range so i'm trying to work with what I have. If it helps, I mainly play starcraft II, but occassionally take a break to play bf3 and TOR. The build doesn't have to be able to run bf3 on ultra, just medium settings at a playable framerate and upcoming games at low-medium.
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January 3, 2012 2:03:38 PM

Onus said:
If you've not already bought any of those parts, I'd seriously reconsider and use an Intel CPU and mobo. I have yet to see any detailed tests as to why (is it the CPU, the chipset, or just bad firmware?) but AMD systems bottleneck multi-GPU setups very badly.


Can you show me your source? I was very happy with my previous build of a phenom ii x4 840 with 2 4870s. I'm not trying to argue, i'd just like to see just how badly amd systems bottleneck multi-GPUs. If it's as bad as you make it out to be I may just sell the components I already have to buy an i5-2500k.
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a c 192 U Graphics card
January 3, 2012 2:05:36 PM

Some previous posters missed the "$300 budget" part.
Because of possible platform limitations on AMD, I'd get this single GTX560Ti: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for a mere $210.
Use the balance, if necessary, to upgrade your PSU to a quality 500W-550W model.
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a c 192 U Graphics card
January 3, 2012 2:09:51 PM

There was the recent $1200SBM article, but the one I really tried to find is an older one from a few years ago that used a nVidia chipset board; I couldn't find it, but it was here on Tom's. I'll take my lumps for not being able to find it...
FWIW, if you'll look at my current system, I'm running a GTX560Ti with a 970BE @3.8GHz.

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a b U Graphics card
January 3, 2012 2:24:19 PM

When you refer to the 560 make sure you are referring to the 560ti. There is a pretty big difference.

If you are doing a single card then I wouldn't go with any card lesser than a 560ti especially if you want to SLI in the future. The 570 is an even better choice but I don't know what the used market looks like.

It'll probably be easy to find the gtx460 and a couple 460s (preferably the 1gb) in SLI do a pretty good job but that puts you at around the same performance as a single 570.

My advice is to wait till after Jan 9 when the 7970s start becoming available (since the used market will be bolstered). But if you can't wait then get a single 570 or an AMD 6950 (but remember these will likely become more available/cheaper used after Jan 9) and if you want in the future get another and SLI/XFire.
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January 3, 2012 2:29:08 PM

I suggest a single GPU worth using in a new build a year or 2 down the line. The 560ti may be your best choice. This said you may get a 570 in the coming month for under $300 as the new AMD cards should put some price pressure on Nvidia. AMD has all their 79xx, 78xx, and 77xx cards launches in the first quarter of 2012.
http://media.bestofmicro.com/W/Y/320002/original/produc...
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January 3, 2012 3:00:46 PM

+1 on the 6950 2gb. Can run multiple monitors, might unlock to 6970, handles higher resolutions better than the 560ti, and the 6950 runs on sheer amount of stream processors, so intense moments in gaming will be handled better
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a c 192 U Graphics card
January 3, 2012 3:08:48 PM

Starcraft II prefers nVidia cards; why I suggested the GTX560Ti over a HD6950. Unless you are playing a very high resolutions (higher than 1920x1080) with lots of AA, 2GB will give you no advantage over 1GB.
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