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Upgrading GTX 550 Ti, $400 budget

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week
BUDGET RANGE: <= $400
USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
1. Flight sim (X-Plane v10 specifically)
2. Vehicle sims (Train sims, transportation sims ... yes, I'm one of those weirdos!)
3. Skyrim
CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY:
- EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16
- Rosewill RV2-500 500 W PS
OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS:
- MB: ASUS Sabertooth X58
- CPU: Intel Core i7-970
- Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com is pretty much a requirement here
PARTS PREFERENCES: Don't care as long as I can get decent usage on the products listed above
OVERCLOCKING: Never done it. What are the risks?
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION:
- Monitor 1 @ 1920x1200
- Monitor 2 @ 1600x1200
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
I am concerned about:
a. The physical clearance in my case. When I put this together, I recall that the clearance of my current card at 8.25" long was somewhat tight, but I think that this was because the power connection to the card was horizontal, essentially taking up additional length.
b. Information that I see about issues running two displays @ different resolutions. Will this slow down the framerate or does it simply increase heat and power consumption?
c. Will I need to purchase another power supply?

At the top end of my budget, I see an EVGA GeForce GTX 580, but the length and (I would assume) additional power consumption concern me. Should I be looking for another card? Is this overkill anyway? While the applications I list above function "OK"--I get 30fps in X-Plane 10 with the graphics in what I would term a "little-less-than-medium" setting--I'd of course like smooth video. Skyrim functions "OK" at the Default settings, but same situation: I'd like fluid play whereas it stutters a bit in complex scenes.

I'm at work right now and I'll be physically measuring my case when I get home tonight, but this should be a good start.

So, can anyone give me recommendations?
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about upgrading budget
  1. Well any way you go. Your gonna have to get a bigger PSU. I don't recommend trying to SLI either on that Power Supply. You may be satisfied with a GTX 570 and if budget allows it. a 650 watt PSU is a bigger upgrade than you think
  2. Rockdpm said:
    Well any way you go. Your gonna have to get a bigger PSU. I don't recommend trying to SLI either on that Power Supply. You may be satisfied with a GTX 570 and if budget allows it. a 650 watt PSU is a bigger upgrade than you think


    I hear you. Can you tell me what you mean by the PSU being "a bigger upgrade than you think"? You talking $$$-wise?
  3. nuggetboy said:
    I hear you. Can you tell me what you mean by the PSU being "a bigger upgrade than you think"? You talking $$$-wise?


    PSU are not that bad really.. I got a Corsair 750w Enthusiast for $109 before rebate a few months ago.. Modular one was only like $139
  4. Best answer
    Couple of options:

    1) Twin 560 Ti's ... would cost ya $430 minimum minus what ya get for selling ya 550 Ti ...say $80. This would require a 750 watt PSU, 850 would be better if ya overclocking the GPU's and CPU.....while these GPU's can be seriously overclocked, the OC draws huge amounts of extra wattage

    http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/nvidia_asus_gtx560ti/4.htm
    http://www.pureoverclock.com/review.php?id=1201&page=17
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%20600094002%20600107147&IsNodeId=1&srchInDesc=900Mhz&page=1&bop=And&CompareItemList=48|14-121-425^14-121-425-TS%2C14-125-363^14-125-363-TS

    2) One 570 would cost ya $340 ish and ya could keep the 550 Ti as a PhysX card. 750 watter should be good here
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006662&IsNodeId=1&Description=570&bop=And&Order=PRICE&PageSize=20

    Good 750 watters
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007657%20600014023&IsNodeId=1&page=2&bop=And&CompareItemList=58|17-371-049^17-371-049-TS%2C17-371-052^17-371-052-TS%2C17-116-011^17-116-011-TS%2C17-139-021^17-139-021-TS%2C17-207-016^17-207-016-TS

    Great 850 watters
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007657%20600014024&IsNodeId=1&page=2&bop=And&CompareItemList=58|17-371-024^17-371-024-S01%2C17-207-017^17-207-017-TS%2C17-139-015^17-139-015-TS%2C17-139-011^17-139-011-TS%2C17-151-102^17-151-102-TS
  5. OK, so treat me like I'm 5 years old in regards to knowledge on SLI/CrossFire; I know nothing.

    In neither case above am I actually utilizing the second display in a gaming situation, and I'm actually fine with that. Doesn't SLI/CrossFire only help you in multi-monitor situations? Or am I completely wrong? i.e. does the "stacking" of the cards improve performance even for the one display?
  6. I've never used SLI/CrossFire myself, but I believe the graphics cards take turns on each frame. So if you're running at 60Hz, each card only needs to run at 30Hz. They pretty much have to be the same card in order for this to work well.

    I'm actually in a similar situation with my computer. I have a Core 990 and a 500W PSU and want a better graphics card soon. I've been thinking that the GeForce 570 would work for us. The processor's TDP is 130W and the Geforce's TDP is 220W. That leaves 150W left for everything else, which sounds OK to me. However, I'm not in a big rush, so I'm planning to wait for Nvidia's new lineup of cards, due out around April.
  7. Best answer selected by nuggetboy.
  8. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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