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Upgrading from 9600gt to gtx 680?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 28, 2012 1:31:25 AM

Hello toms hardware,

I will be upgrading to a gtx 680 as soon as newegg restocks them, and I have a few questions.

First, to replace the 9600gt I am currently using with a 680, I simply just turn everything off, replace it, start windows and do a fresh install of the drivers correct? Are there any complications I could run into upgrading from such an old card to a new one?

Secondly, there are so many different 680's to choose from. I would like to hear everyones opinion as to which brand 680 is the best and why. Like the actual card itself wether it is lowder and cooler or not, how the software side of things are like the drivers for that brand, support, everything. I have no problem if you prefer one over the other but simply saying, "Asus ones are the best just because" is not very informative.

And finally, I might have plans in the future to go into SLI. Now I know there are many complications with sli and I have done alot of research, but if I do go with an sli setup, no more than 2 cards, should I stick to reference cards that vent air out the back or use non-reference cards which do not? I do have a coolermaster HAF X which has over 6 ginormous fans in total, what are your opinions here? Also, I have an Asus z68 so I would not be stacking the cards one on top of another, I could place the second card down a few slots to give better air flow.

thanks guys, looking forward to being apart of this community.
a c 179 U Graphics card
March 28, 2012 3:30:19 AM

Yes to your first question. Just make sure your power supply (PSU) will support the 680 and also support SLI. But before turning eveything off you have to uninstall your old drivers. Here is a link to that.

http://phyxion.net/item/driver-sweeper.html

Secondly I could not tell you some of what you ask because I don't have the card so I don't know how it run. I do know this that two of my friends took there 7970's and sold them on Ebay.

Then went out and bought the 680's and they say they love it. They are 10% faster. $50.00 dollars cheaper and they have all the good stuff. I like nVidia over AMD anyway. The brands of XFX, EVGA, and MSI are my top choices.

I like SLI I would never go back to one card. there are people out there who like one card. I guess you have to try it and see if you like it or not. Good you have the 200mm fans inside your case.

I have 7 case fans in mine, it keeps eveything cold. My mother board (MOBO) is a Z68 and I have 3 PCIe x 16 x 4 x 8 in that order. most MOBO's come with x16 x8 x4 in that order.

So make sure that you know where the x8 one is for your second card if you get one. I wish you good luck on your new card and If all else fails here is a video on how to replace a GPU.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-k8qPubNiY&feature=rela...
a c 140 U Graphics card
March 28, 2012 4:28:18 AM

The big question, as DM186 mentioned above, is your power supply. The Nvidia minimum requirement is a 550W PSU. I would say that might be fine if you are running at all stock clocks and it was a GOOD, high amp, power supply. I'd lean more toward a nice 650W unit. If you plan to go SLI you are probably looking at 750W minimum or 850W recommended. However, if you are going from a 9600GT to a GTX680, that is going to knock your sicks off as it is and I wouldn't worry about SLI just yet. I just installed my GTX680 today and did a quick 30 minute game of BF3 and I was able to crank up every single setting to Ultra with every option enabled. It sat at 60 FPS with vsync the entire time. That was at 1920x1080. So I have no real worries about this card running anything. I dabbled with overclocking and that has some huge headroom as well.

As far as brands. Right now they are all stock cards with branded stickers on them. It really isn't going to matter what card you get until the aftermarket coolers and specialty cards make it to the shelf. The brands will determine how good their support is though. I tend to go with ASUS because I've dealt with their support and it's not that bad.

Good luck. Not sure when they are back in stock, but I upgraded from a GTX580 and felt it was well worth it. I reclaimed about 2/3 of my cost from selling the 580 on eBay. So it wasn't that bad on the wallet.
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a c 236 U Graphics card
March 28, 2012 5:13:19 AM

The reference GTX680 needs a 550w psu with two 6 pin pcie leads and 38a on the +12v rails.
That is all you can buy today. It is plenty, and probably overkill for a single 1080P monitor.

To install,
1) I first downloaded the driver for the GTX680 from the nvidia web site, and saved it.

2) removed the old GTX580 and replaced it with the EVGA GTX680.

3) On booting, you get a low res display, so navigate to the previously downloaded driver and run it.
The process will uninstall the older drivers for you and install the new. All of your desktop settings will remain intact.

4) Enjoy. It is certainly a more capable card, and one thing I noticed is that it is very quiet. I hear nothing at idle, or under load.

I picked EVGA, primarily because of previous good experience. They have an active local support forum which I hve rarely needed. They were also cheaper $499 than some of the others.

Today, all the cards you see are stock reference designs, and they differ only in who is selling them and what the support and warranty might be.

If you will need sli, then plan on adding 200w to your psu requirements. I prefer a single card, so long as it will do the job. If, in the future, I want an upgrade, the GTX680 will have a good resale market in favor of the next big thing.

I always like to use a card with a direct exhaust cooler. Some coolers do a good job of cooling the gpu, but they then dump the heat back into the case, heating up both the gpu cooling air AND the cpu cooling air. Not good.
March 28, 2012 6:07:24 PM

I am sorry I forgot to mention my PSU is by corsair and its a 1200watt gold.

And if I do decide to go with a 2-way sli setup, should I stay with a card that vents the hot air out the back or can I get the double or even triple fan cards which spray it out everywhere? Again my concern is that with possibly two cards venting hot air into my case, even with my case having wonderful airflow, wouldnt it heat everything up and cancel any gain maid by the improved aftermarket coolers?

thank you for your replies
a c 236 U Graphics card
March 28, 2012 6:31:51 PM

You will get a massive jump in performance from a 9600GT to a GTX680. It would be hard to imabine that you would want anything more with any single monitor.

The heat problem with dual cards comes from the close proximity of the cards, particularly in some motherboards. The top card does not have access to as much fresh air.

Graphics cards do run hot, but they are designed to tolerate high heat, so that may not be that much of a real problem.
The newer 28nm cards will also run cooler, particularly if not highly overclocked.

Personally, I would think about upgrading by replacing a single GTX680 with a stronger single card. There will be an even stronger follow on to the GTX680 later in the year. Dual chip kepler and amd cards are in the works too. It is hard to imagine that they would not be very strong alternatives.
a c 179 U Graphics card
March 29, 2012 2:47:08 AM

^+1
I have to agree with him, just buy the one card and if it meets eveything you wanted then just stay with one card. Then if the games start to become more powerful and you see a loss in fps.

Then get another card and see what or how it inproves your fps. If it doesn't take it back and get your money back. The 680's will get better then what they are now. Good luck to you.
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