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SLI GTX 460 Performance

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March 23, 2012 7:46:14 AM

So I posted a week or so ago about the 2 GTX 460's that I was trying to run in SLI mode and how they performed worse when linked than a single card.

I found out through the help of these forums that it was my motherboard and the fact that I was using a PCI 16x and a 4x, which wasn't suited for SLI. They recommended that I purchase a new motherboard that was capable of at least PCI 8x/8x.

I purchased an Intel DP55WG, which claims to be SLI compatible, and it seems to be. On the NVIDIA control panel, the SLI activation is available and the properties say that each card is running at 8x.

That having been said, I feel like my cards are still under performing. When playing Battlefield 3 with ONE GTX 460, I can play on Ultra settings, but it gets choppy as the action gets intense. I would assume that a second GTX 460 would make it run rather smoothly, but when I run it now it will get so choppy that the game actually crashes.

I really don't know what else to do. I've updated / re installed the card drivers and I'm going to reformat (just because I changed out the motherboard, I figure that couldn't hurt).

Is it possible that one of my cards is defective? Is there some setting that I'm not using? Any help would be much appreciated.

My system specs are as follows:

Intel DP55WG motherboard
Intel Core i5-760 2.8ghz quad core
2x EVGA GTX 460 1gb
Raidmax Hybrid 630 PSU
4 gigs ddr3
Windows 7 64b
Nvidia 296.10 drivers
March 23, 2012 7:51:35 AM

check that physics is set to auto and that it says its useing the card #1 and that the sli is acctually turned on.
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a b U Graphics card
March 23, 2012 8:20:09 AM

In Nvidia control panel set to Maximize 3D and see that both cards are in SLI as indicated by the blue line in the graphic on that page.
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March 23, 2012 8:42:15 AM

SLI was definitely enabled. However, I'm not sure what you mean by selecting auto for the PhysX AND making sure that its using card #1. It seems like it is either auto, card 1 or card 2.
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a b U Graphics card
March 23, 2012 9:03:41 AM

Switch positions of cards in their slots and see if anything changes. I don't think you are gong to be able to run Ultra with 460's. You can run faster frame rates though. SLI'ng 460's should up frame rates by at least 170%
if not a bit more. I trust you have an SLI bridge installed.
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March 23, 2012 9:21:42 AM

I will try switching positions. You really don't think 2 460s can handle Ultra? I can run Ultra with one 460, it just isnt always smooth. I can't imagine it wont be with a second card...but I wont know until I get the SLI working properly.

The way it is now, I can't even play medium unless I disable SLI.

And I do indeed have an SLI bridge installed.

I called tech support at EVGA, and the guy said that it could be about a million different things. Not that it was really his fault, but I was a little underwhelmed at the amount of help I got. He did mention that my PSU might not be capable of adequately powering 2 460's, so not much I can do there (aside from shelling out MORE money).

So, my plan is to:

1) Try a different SLI bridge.

2) Try both cards independently to make sure they aren't deffective.

3) Try cards in different PCIe slots.

I'm really running out of options, I think. If it does turn out that I don't have enough of a power supply, I think I'm going to return my new motherboard and my second card and just pick up a MSI Radeon HD 6950 2GB. I hear its pretty beastly, and my PSU should handle it no problem. This SLI stuff seems to be more trouble than its worth. At least in my experience.

How does this sound? Thoughts? Comments / Suggestions?
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a b U Graphics card
March 23, 2012 9:44:11 AM

I had sli gtx 460 MSI cyclones with an i7 920 on with a gigabyte ex58-ud3r motherboard. I recall only being able to play in high settings to maintain 60fps at 1920x1080. If I turned off all AA and shadows I think I could turn everything else up to ultra. BF3 is extremely problematic! I had to quit playing about 2 months ago due to constant game crashes. I am talking 2 to 5 minutes then crash. I play a lot of games and my system is 100% stable yet bf3 continues to have problems for me. Have you tried other games or is it just bf3?
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March 23, 2012 1:31:37 PM

matchgrade said:
I will try switching positions. You really don't think 2 460s can handle Ultra? I can run Ultra with one 460, it just isnt always smooth. I can't imagine it wont be with a second card...but I wont know until I get the SLI working properly.

The way it is now, I can't even play medium unless I disable SLI.

And I do indeed have an SLI bridge installed.

I called tech support at EVGA, and the guy said that it could be about a million different things. Not that it was really his fault, but I was a little underwhelmed at the amount of help I got. He did mention that my PSU might not be capable of adequately powering 2 460's, so not much I can do there (aside from shelling out MORE money).

So, my plan is to:

1) Try a different SLI bridge.

2) Try both cards independently to make sure they aren't deffective.

3) Try cards in different PCIe slots.

I'm really running out of options, I think. If it does turn out that I don't have enough of a power supply, I think I'm going to return my new motherboard and my second card and just pick up a MSI Radeon HD 6950 2GB. I hear its pretty beastly, and my PSU should handle it no problem. This SLI stuff seems to be more trouble than its worth. At least in my experience.

How does this sound? Thoughts? Comments / Suggestions?


Welcome to SLI, mate.

One thing I'm surprised nobody has mentioned yet is to check the GPU usage in a program like EVGA Precision or MSI Afterburner. If both cards are running at 100% then your system is going as fast as it can.

If you're getting c*** frames and only 50-60% of your cards are being utilised, something is wrong.
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March 23, 2012 3:12:49 PM

To answer previous questions, both cards are the exact same model, so that isn't a problem. I installed the drivers after a reformat, so that also isn't an issue.

When I run Kombustor, it always seems as if my GPU 1 is doing a lot more work than GPU 2. By that I mean it's temperature is much higher, and it typically is around 97% GPU usage, whereas GPU 2 is at least 20 degrees cooler and around 50% usage. The only options I have in control panel that I know of is which GPU should handle PhysX and "SLI disabled or Maximize 3D Performance".

If SLI GTX 460's are supposed to be on par with a GTX 580, I certainly don't think I'm operating at that level. I'm not sure what would be preventing my cards from working well together. I'm going to be running some tests on each card, so I will post those when I have the results.

As far as the motherboard, I know it isn't the best, but it was all I could afford and from what I read, the fact that its PCIe are 8x/8x should not be hindering the performance to this extent.

I guess I'm also not really sure what I should expect if it IS working. The only thing I have had to go off of is the fact that BF3 was running poorly. What kind of FPS should I expect in 1920 x 1080?
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March 23, 2012 3:33:30 PM

matchgrade said:
To answer previous questions, both cards are the exact same model, so that isn't a problem. I installed the drivers after a reformat, so that also isn't an issue.

When I run Kombustor, it always seems as if my GPU 1 is doing a lot more work than GPU 2. By that I mean it's temperature is much higher, and it typically is around 97% GPU usage, whereas GPU 2 is at least 20 degrees cooler and around 50% usage. The only options I have in control panel that I know of is which GPU should handle PhysX and "SLI disabled or Maximize 3D Performance".

If SLI GTX 460's are supposed to be on par with a GTX 580, I certainly don't think I'm operating at that level. I'm not sure what would be preventing my cards from working well together. I'm going to be running some tests on each card, so I will post those when I have the results.

As far as the motherboard, I know it isn't the best, but it was all I could afford and from what I read, the fact that its PCIe are 8x/8x should not be hindering the performance to this extent.

I guess I'm also not really sure what I should expect if it IS working. The only thing I have had to go off of is the fact that BF3 was running poorly. What kind of FPS should I expect in 1920 x 1080?


The problem isn't the fact that you're running at 8x/8x - even a GTX 480 can't fully saturate a PCIe 2.0 slot running at 8x.

My next suspicion is that your CPU, which is clocked quite low, is causing a bottleneck.

Is there any way you can overclock to at least 3.4GHz to re-run your assessment?
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March 23, 2012 3:41:54 PM

Quote:
no overclocking on Intel board.


Not even with a tuner program like EVGA ELEET?! :cry: 
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March 23, 2012 5:22:54 PM




I ran a benchmark, 3d mark 11. Seems like my system isn't running up to par, according to its results. Most of this stuff doesn't mean much to me, hopefully you guys can make sense of it / see what's wrong.
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March 23, 2012 5:24:23 PM

And yes, I do have "Maximize 3D" checked. Should I try that EVGA ELEET or whatever it was you were talking about?
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March 23, 2012 6:45:51 PM

matchgrade said:
And yes, I do have "Maximize 3D" checked. Should I try that EVGA ELEET or whatever it was you were talking about?


Yes give it a try. You can increase your clocks through the program
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March 23, 2012 6:47:29 PM

I just downloaded it and installed it. I'm not going to lie to you guys, I have NO idea what I'm looking at / or doing.
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March 23, 2012 6:51:06 PM

matchgrade said:
I just downloaded it and installed it. I'm not going to lie to you guys, I have NO idea what I'm looking at / or doing.


When you run the utility, go to the "overclocking" tab. Then increase the BCLK. Depending on your CPU's multiplier this will increase ie, 200 BCLK x 20 multiplier = 4000

Sometimes you'll need to provide more voltage to the CPU to be able to run at the increased speed. You can also give the CPU some more voltage in ELEET under "voltage" tab.

Let us know how it goes.
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March 23, 2012 6:54:43 PM

Ah, I don't even have the option to adjust the BCLK in that program.
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March 23, 2012 6:59:43 PM

Quote:
I'd have to take out each card and run them in slot 1 one at a time.
make sure (verify) same speed and specs (when running) and not on paper.

then install in SLi (physically) then see where your at then.
question, have you updated the BIOS.?


Ahhh BIOS update. Nice one
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March 23, 2012 7:04:14 PM

I have not updated the BIOS, I just got the board, so I suppose I ought to do that.

That tweaker program lets me adjust the multiplyer, but it just snaps back down to 9 after I hit apply.
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March 23, 2012 7:08:19 PM

Quote:
when I first got my P55 SLi set-up, the SLi wouldn't enable at all.
then when on the phone with EVGA (great customer service on this one) I filled out a RMA.
in the meantime I tried to brick the motherboard because they were sending me a new one.
so I had it overclocked and everything and flashed the BIOS
(they say never flash BIOS clocked)
well, it worked and BIOS flashed, SLi activated and enabled.
didn't RMA.

instead sold on eBay... :whistle: 


BIOS updates can make it or break it.

SLI is still worth it :D 
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March 23, 2012 7:09:25 PM

Quote:
Intel board, there's your answer why on that one.
yes, check for BIOS update.


Don't adjust the multiplier, your processor isn't a K series and is not unlocked.

Increase the BCLK rather and voltage if the system becomes unstable.
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March 23, 2012 7:14:49 PM

I really don't see a way to alter the BCLK. The multiplier is the only thing I can actually change. I'm sorry, I've never messed with overclocking CPU's before, so please forgive my ignorance on the subject.
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March 23, 2012 7:15:26 PM

^ That is with the Tweaker program. Like I said, ELEET won't let me adjust BCLK
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March 23, 2012 7:29:01 PM

matchgrade said:
^ That is with the Tweaker program. Like I said, ELEET won't let me adjust BCLK


I see. It seems we're going to need to get you a new motherboard to unlock the full potential of your processor as well.

At 2.8GHz it's more than likely causing this lack of performance.
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March 23, 2012 7:42:17 PM

I'll check the BIOS (which I updated, by the way) once more. I just bought this motherboard so that I could run SLI. Finding a motherboard that supports my processor and SLI isn't easy, especially when I need the price to be reasonable. The cost of a higher end motherboard, plus the second gtx460 far exceeds the cost of a new card. Granted, from what you guys say, the SLI GTX 460's are hard to beat, but I was looking for an inexpensive way to boost my GPU power and it seems like the SLI route is only going to get more costly.
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March 23, 2012 7:52:24 PM

I'm in Austin, TX.
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March 23, 2012 8:02:41 PM

So then the consensus is leaning towards my processor speed being inadequate? And the ability to overclock it, which the motherboard you linked me would do, would resolve the issue?
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March 23, 2012 8:10:49 PM

matchgrade said:
So then the consensus is leaning towards my processor speed being inadequate? And the ability to overclock it, which the motherboard you linked me would do, would resolve the issue?


If both of your GTX 460s are performing fine when tested one at a time, and your power supply isn't under too much stress, then yes your processor is holding the whole system back.
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March 23, 2012 8:17:38 PM

I'm not sure what fine necessarily is, but both of the cards tested exactly the same individually. I really have no idea how to tell if my PSU is under stress or not. I feel like I could make a better call if I knew that weren't the case.

I would have no problem ordering that motherboard and installing it if it would for sure fix the problem. The only issue is I can't return my second GTX 460 passed Monday. So if I ordered that mobo, and it turned out that it didn't help the issue, I'd be stuck with a video card that I can't use or return.

You guys really seem to know what you're talking about, so if you were in my shoes, would you order the motherboard?

And by the way, I just want to say thanks a million for being so prompt and helpful with your responses.
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March 23, 2012 8:25:23 PM

matchgrade said:
I'm not sure what fine necessarily is, but both of the cards tested exactly the same individually. I really have no idea how to tell if my PSU is under stress or not. I feel like I could make a better call if I knew that weren't the case.

I would have no problem ordering that motherboard and installing it if it would for sure fix the problem. The only issue is I can't return my second GTX 460 passed Monday. So if I ordered that mobo, and it turned out that it didn't help the issue, I'd be stuck with a video card that I can't use or return.

You guys really seem to know what you're talking about, so if you were in my shoes, would you order the motherboard?

And by the way, I just want to say thanks a million for being so prompt and helpful with your responses.


I'd go ahead ahead and order the board, you need a motherboard where you can overclock, that's how we save money on processors.

I'm 99% sure that your CPU is holding the whole setup back. No need to send the cards back if they both check out OK like you said.
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March 23, 2012 8:34:14 PM

Matchgrade I hate to be the bearer of bad news...

Since you're planning on overclocking your CPU, it will demand more power.

A 650W PSU is borderline for SLI GTX 460s. I recommend looking at a decent 750-850W PSU as well.

I've just looked into this for you. A single GTX 460 will munch 450W alone. Now since the second card wont use as much, we're looking at 550-650W. Add the overclocked CPU and we're talking close to 700W.
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March 23, 2012 8:41:58 PM

Quote:
what's the current power supply.?
I run my SLi GTX 460's with 965BE on 700-watt.

for exact quotes and numbers, gimme a minute..


OP has a Raidmax Hybrid 630 PSU, 2 rails each @ 22A.

I'm not convinced that this is adequate.
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March 23, 2012 9:07:39 PM

0.o So the PSU DOES look flimsy then? Is it likely that it is both the PSU and the processor? I'm just trying to figure out if I can even throw enough money at this problem to make it go away, haha.
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March 23, 2012 9:21:45 PM

I know, I thought I was just grabbing an extra card like it was no big deal and its turned into this huge deal. I've learned a lot though, so...not all bad.

Will that EVGA board work with this RAM?

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

That is what I have in my machine now. I'm not opposed to buying different RAM if it isn't too ridiculous.
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March 23, 2012 9:25:29 PM

matchgrade said:
I know, I thought I was just grabbing an extra card like it was no big deal and its turned into this huge deal. I've learned a lot though, so...not all bad.

Will that EVGA board work with this RAM?

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

That is what I have in my machine now. I'm not opposed to buying different RAM if it isn't too ridiculous.


It's DDR3 and so it will work, but that board supports RAM up to 2000MHz. Nice if you want to upgrade to 8Gb in future. RAM is so cheap nowadays anyway.

No need to buy more now, though.
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March 23, 2012 9:28:39 PM

Well thank you both for everything. I would have been really lost without your collective help! I'm going to get those parts and go from there.

Would either of you mind terribly if I contacted you once the parts came in, just for a little help with the processor OC?
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March 23, 2012 9:31:42 PM

matchgrade said:
Well thank you both for everything. I would have been really lost without your collective help! I'm going to get those parts and go from there.

Would either of you mind terribly if I contacted you once the parts came in, just for a little help with the processor OC?


Send me a PM if you ever need any more help, or start a thread here. My email address is exactly the same as my username with (at)hotmail.co.uk at the end. Hope that doesn't violate forum rules!
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March 23, 2012 9:33:55 PM

Quote:
you want DDR3 1600MHz if you can.
then you can set the XMP profile, it's like overclocking RAM.
(not quite but better performance.)

steam id: malmental


My Steam ID: graemevermeulen
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March 23, 2012 9:39:30 PM

Awesome, thanks again gents. Cheers
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!