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SLI or Upgrade?

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April 18, 2012 4:23:30 AM

Hey guys, so I'm dieing to really max out every game and want 60 fps in just about any game i play so i was wondering if i should SLI my 570 or upgrade to a new card entirely? Let me know your thoughts and thanks for taking the time to read and comment. (and i know i would have to upgrade my mobo so i can SLI)

My Rig:
AMD Phenom II X4 840 @ 3.2 GHz
Gigabyte GA-M68MT-S2P Mobo
Galaxy GTX 570
1 TB HDD
8 Gigs of DDR3 @ 1333 MHz
Ultra X4 1050W PSU
Thermaltake V3 Black Edition

More about : sli upgrade

a b U Graphics card
April 18, 2012 4:59:16 AM

Would upgrade your CPU first or else you'll experience bottlenecks with SLI. Ivy Bridge = April 23th - wait if you can.
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April 18, 2012 5:07:44 AM

Would my CPU be that much of a bottle neck?
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a b U Graphics card
April 18, 2012 5:15:20 AM

your cpu would definitely bottleneck another 570. im convinced you are seeing bottlenecks on the single 570 with your current cpu. as far as ivy bridge wait. get yourself a gen3 1155 z68 board and an i5 2500k
ivy is reported only about 5% faster per clock as sandy.
the gen3 z68 1155 will make ivy an option to upgrade later if you so need it but as it stands still reported to not be entirely worth it.
get yourself the aforementioned setup and you will see gains immediately and then sli can.be a true option for you
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April 18, 2012 5:28:13 AM

I've actually noticed that my GPU doesn't get the FPS i should be getting, i didn't know my CPU was that bad lol
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April 18, 2012 5:40:07 AM

Your CPU maybe a bottle neck since it is an aging model and one that was near the bottem of the line when it was new. The speed of the processor is not that bad but the lack of L3 cache hurts and the fact that it is a locked processor also rules out easy and high overclocks to gain more performance.

While I do agree with e56 that you would benefit from a new processor before you chose SLI or a new card, I do not agree that it should be an intel processor. This is based on the fact that you already have an AMD board. There is no need to run out and spend $400 on a new Ivy Bridge platform when you can drop in a $100 chip and have all of the processing power you need for any game you want to play.

Back to your original setup. I am going to end up facing this question soon myself (with a different card). Since you say you are willing to buy a new 570, I am going to estimate your budget around $300 so I see you having 3 options:

1. Sell your current card for at least $200, hopefully more and buy a new 600 series GPU from nvidia (try a 680). This would be pretty sweet as all of the benchmarks I have seen of these cards make them out to be beasts. The only problem with this is that the 600 series cards are hard to find in stock right now.

2. Sell your current card and buy a new 7000 series GPU from AMD. These are also beasts (especially the 7970). The nice thing about these is that you will be able to find them in stock.

3. Don't sell and buy another 570.
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April 18, 2012 5:44:44 AM

What are you playing right now that your 570 cant handle? That is still a great card, getting the MOA POWA bug? Yeah I get that too, gotta be happy with what you got 570 is still a beast IMO
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a b U Graphics card
April 18, 2012 5:49:30 AM

Can you overclock more ? (CPU)
What resolution do you play at ?
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a b U Graphics card
April 18, 2012 5:54:16 AM

j2j663 said:
Your CPU maybe a bottle neck since it is an aging model and one that was near the bottem of the line when it was new. The speed of the processor is not that bad but the lack of L3 cache hurts and the fact that it is a locked processor also rules out easy and high overclocks to gain more performance.

While I do agree with e56 that you would benefit from a new processor before you chose SLI or a new card, I do not agree that it should be an intel processor. This is based on the fact that you already have an AMD board. There is no need to run out and spend $400 on a new Ivy Bridge platform when you can drop in a $100 chip and have all of the processing power you need for any game you want to play.

Back to your original setup. I am going to end up facing this question soon myself (with a different card). Since you say you are willing to buy a new 570, I am going to estimate your budget around $300 so I see you having 3 options:

1. Sell your current card for at least $200, hopefully more and buy a new 600 series GPU from nvidia (try a 680). This would be pretty sweet as all of the benchmarks I have seen of these cards make them out to be beasts. The only problem with this is that the 600 series cards are hard to find in stock right now.

2. Sell your current card and buy a new 7000 series GPU from AMD. These are also beasts (especially the 7970). The nice thing about these is that you will be able to find them in stock.

3. Don't sell and buy another 570.

do not listen to this
your current cpu is not yielding the results you need as stated earlier
you do not have to spend 400 bux on a new platform.
the extra 570 will yield amazing results but only after you get a better platform; i.e. a z68 gen3 and 2500k.
if you must stay amd then a 980be if supported will work to increase your single 570 but wont yield the same results in sli down the road. for the sake of your gaming future the earlier suggestion by me will be your best bet more cost or not it will be better in the long run
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a b U Graphics card
April 18, 2012 7:04:32 AM

I second FlintIronStagg's sentiment about ignoring j2j663.

I know it's already been discussed, but a Phenom II x4 840 (actually Athlon II since it has no L3 cache) can't push 60fps in A LOT of games. To be clear, there is NO AMD CPU that will give you 60fps in all games (at stock speeds). There is NO AMD CPU that will give you 60 fps in Skyrim or BF3 (at stock speeds).

Have you attempted to overclock your CPU? If not, you should start a thread on that and link it hear. Don't go do it without looking into it because if you know absolutely nothing about overclocking, you can damage your components. If you know what you're doing, then you're not gonna hurt any components.


The earlier posts about upgrading to an Intel platform have merit, but it's hard to recommend it with the launch of Ivy Bridge right around the corner and Piledriver coming up soon. If your motherboard supports it, a Piledriver CPU might end up providing the best performance, especially after accounting for overclocking benefits.

But really, the first thing you should do is overclock your CPU and see how that goes. If that doesn't fix your problems, then spend more money.

I have a single GTX 570 and I can't really imagine why I would need more GPU power.
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a b U Graphics card
April 18, 2012 10:53:37 PM

Quote:
I want to mention I read everyones posts before saying anything, because clearly people don't do that. I also researched before posting anything.

The first thing that is important (for me) to know is what resolution are you running, and are you using any form of anti-aliasing? Personally, I leave AA on low settings, but turn everything else to ultra. Why? Because I don't have perfect vision, and so I can't see the quality difference with AA on or off, but I do see the benefit of ultra settings (Such as on Skyrim).

No one here mentioned to you that using SLI / Crossfire can be a pain, and that in general, single card solutions are simpler and easier. Oh, and I agree that your CPU is likely hurting your FPS, you might consider reading this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-l3-cache,241... "Finally, it remains to be said that L3 cache memory is imperative if you want to reach the highest performance levels." - Second last sentence in that article.

A couple people (Dalauder for one) made some unfortunate mistakes. He said "there is NO AMD CPU that will give you 60fps in all games (at stock speeds)". Frankly, that's unfair, because if you look at Metro 2033 ( http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-core-i... ) you can see 2 AMD CPUs (both will work with your motherboard, I checked the product page) that can get an average of over 60FPS, even though Metro is a VERY demanding game (They had AA on). The most powerful GPU they used is a GTX 580 in those tests. Also, if you ranked it from which CPUs had the highest minimum FPS, AMD gets 1st and 3rd place. I mention that because to me, lowest FPS is more important than average.

Start Edit 2: Clearly Delauder is even more ignorant than I thought. He said that no AMD CPU can get over 60 FPS in BF3... Well, http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a... says that even an OCed i5 2500k (4GHz) with an AMD 7970 CAN NOT get avg 60 FPS, yet the general consensus is that the i5 is the most powerful CPU you need for gaming. Also you will notice that on page 3 of that article is the Skyrim benchmark. Don't go by that as being the average now, but because Skyrim and BF3 has since been patched to greatly improve performance, consider that the lower bound of what you can get. In reality, those games do far better today than they did when that review was published. It just goes to show that even unpatched, AMD does fine.
End edit 2.

I run a 1090T (at stock) with a 6950 TF2 (Factory OC only) and I get usually around 50FPS (using MSI afterburner) on Metro 2033, and I am always hitting the 60FPS cap in Skyrim, both games turned up to Ultra / max.

I'm not sure where you live, so I checked newegg in Canada and the US: The AMD 965 BE $120

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

Change the .com to a .ca to search it in Canada. In the US it is free shipping, in Canada, $6 shipping.

Why the retail and not OEM? This way you can sell your current CPU (with heatsink, because it is more valuable that way) and you don't have to buy new thermal compound.

That CPU should be more than enough for 1080p, and is easily OCed (go OEM with aftermarket cooler for high OCing, but you can easily get another 200MHz without even changing voltages). That CPU and your current GPU should be more than enough for now, and, when more high end GPUs are released (that is, more 6xx series cards) then you can sell your GPU and upgrade.

Edit: Fixed broken link
If you want to act like I don't know what I'm talking about when I say a Phenom II x4 840 is bad at gaming, why don't you look at the other benchmarks from the link you provided? Or were you just looking for technicalities to critique me on when I was still correct? Obviously some AMD CPUs can do games like Metro 2033, which is specifically GPU heavy and NOT so CPU heavy. I mentioned Skyrim and BF3 because they're relevant to the CPU heavy issue and I believe the OP said "max out every game and want 60 fps". Let's look at that Skyrim benchmark where you claim, "AMD does fine".

The Phenom II x4 955BE and Athlon II x3 455 can be consider the upper and lower bounds of the OP's 840. How is 27-31 AVERAGE fps "fine"? Because a stock i5-2400 gets 46fps AVERAGE and stays above 30fps MINIMUM. It's clearly 50% faster and when the OP's goal is 60fps, how can you say "AMD does fine"?

"lowest FPS is even more important that average"--usually true...however, when we're talking 14fps, it's a show stopper regardless. The point to take from this is that Metro 2033 hits your system HARD from time to time and will show a lockup at some point--no matter what. So do you want to berate me as you search for technicalities where my overall point is less correct, or do you want to accept what the overall picture is--that AMD CPUs are worse at gaming (although cheaper and viable when overclocked)?

We didn't discuss SLI because it's not relevant to his question. He ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT SLI his GTX 570 with a stock Phenom II x4 840. It's a waste of money for framerates he'll usually not even see. Pretty much every game an 840 can do at 60fps, a single GTX 570 will max out.

I am VERY irritated that you have the audacity to call me ignorant and post this benchmark: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...
Then you claim that it shows the inadequacy of the i5-2500K. Do you have ANY idea what that benchmark is showing? Because it sounds like you, the rude person calling other people ignorant, fail to realize that benchmark shows a GPU bottleneck! With an i7-3960X @ 6.0GHz, it would show the same framerate because the GPU is limiting, not the i5-2500K!

Look, it's fine to be a blind AMD fanboy that's completely missing what these articles are showing. But I don't appreciate you being blatantly rude while providing misinformation. So I'm being as civil as I can restrain myself to be when I say, stop giving advice until you research a bit more. Or at least don't mix your facts (fact: your 1090T stays over 60fps in Skyrim) with your non-facts (that i5-2500K bottlenecks the same as an 840 in BF3).


It's not like I EVER said to go out and buy an i5-2500K. I actually was pushing for him to keep his current AMD CPU and see what performance he gets with an overclock. Or, secondly, an AMD Piledriver CPU if you reread my post.
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a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2012 12:23:42 AM

All right, children. The basic rules here are discuss and argue all you want, but no personnel attacks.

At this point, I do not care who started it. Play nice or I will close this thread and temporarily ban whomever I decide is offensive.
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a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2012 1:54:55 AM

jsc said:
All right, children. The basic rules here are discuss and argue all you want, but no personnel attacks.

At this point, I do not care who started it. Play nice or I will close this thread and temporarily ban whomever I decide is offensive.
I'll play nice :D 
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a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2012 3:25:08 AM

bottom line the cpu is holding op back not the 570. currently id be willing to bet his cpu is bottlenecking that 570 and would see performance gains AND prepare for sli down the road with a 2500k setup
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a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2012 4:26:27 AM

Man you guys and the cpu bottlenecking crap again.The AMD Phenom II X4 840 is not bottlenecking a single gtx 570 in sli yes it most deffinetley would.As far as another poster saying no amd cpu can run battlefield 3 at 60 fps maxed out your full of absolute crap.My 965 be with a 7970 could do it easily.Ive now upgraded to an i5-2500k and yes they are killer proccessors but in all honesty oustside of benchmarking there wasnt a huge difference at all.For example in a cpu intensive game like arma 2 my 965 be clocked at 3.4 ghz was only 12 fps slower then my i5 2500k clocked at 4.5.I can agree with both sides on this issue however i think some should get there facts straight before posting
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a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2012 4:57:55 AM

Quote:
Man you guys and the cpu bottlenecking crap again.The AMD Phenom II X4 840 is not bottlenecking a single gtx 570 in sli yes it most deffinetley would.As far as another poster saying no amd cpu can run battlefield 3 at 60 fps maxed out your full of absolute crap.My 965 be with a 7970 could do it easily.Ive now upgraded to an i5-2500k and yes they are killer proccessors but in all honesty oustside of benchmarking there wasnt a huge difference at all.For example in a cpu intensive game like arma 2 my 965 be clocked at 3.4 ghz was only 12 fps slower then my i5 2500k clocked at 4.5.I can agree with both sides on this issue however i think some should get there facts straight before posting
I never said that Phenom II's were worthless and you're jumping in late and missing my point. The OP said he was only interested in playing ALL GAMES at 60fps. If that's his goal, his CPU is holding him back. That is a fact (unless there's more to it than conventional wisdom indicates, but I'll get to that in 2 paragraphs).

Personally, I'd be okay with a Phenom II x4 955BE and playing at 45fps with occasional dips to 30fps. But the OP isn't--so if we're trying to help him, then we should mention that it's an issue.

If your MINIMUM fps with your stock 965BE is 60fps in BF3 multiplayer, I'd like to see a benchmark of that (just Fraps spreadsheet output would be fine). I've never heard that that CPU could pull that off, but if it can, then this issue deserves more discussion. We should bring evidence of the improved performance of BF3 since recent patches to some of the Tom's Hardware staff if the performance improvement is as dramatic as a couple of Phenom users have claimed.


EDIT: I really would like to see how much benchmarks have improved on some software since recent patches and driver updates. Do they rerun all benchmarks for every card in the tables they make for new graphics reviews?
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a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2012 5:07:01 AM

dalauder said:
I never said that Phenom II's were worthless and you're jumping in late and missing my point. The OP said he was only interested in playing ALL GAMES at 60fps. If that's his goal, his CPU is holding him back. That is a fact (unless there's more to it than conventional wisdom indicates, but I'll get to that in 2 paragraphs).

Personally, I'd be okay with a Phenom II x4 955BE and playing at 45fps with occasional dips to 30fps. But the OP isn't--so if we're trying to help him, then we should mention that it's an issue.

If your MINIMUM fps with your stock 965BE is 60fps in BF3 multiplayer, I'd like to see a benchmark of that (just Fraps spreadsheet output would be fine). I've never heard that that CPU could pull that off, but if it can, then this issue deserves more discussion. We should bring evidence of the improved performance of BF3 since recent patches to some of the Tom's Hardware staff if the performance improvement is as dramatic as a couple of Phenom users have claimed.


EDIT: I really would like to see how much benchmarks have improved on some software since recent patches and driver updates. Do they rerun all benchmarks for every card in the tables they make for new graphics reviews?


There isnt anything single card wize that can run bf 3 at minimum 60 fps nor any cpu that can pull that off on ultra max.even with my i5-2500k clocked to 4.8 ghz with a 7970 overclocked to 1125 mhz ill still drop into the mid 40's so there isnt anything out there that can do it unless your talking crossfire or sli.I could still average 60 but does not always stay above that.your point about staying above 60 fps holds true for intel to.You guys totally underestimate the phenom II.You look at benchmarks instead of real world gaminf performance.In most benches my i5 beats my 965 be by 20-25% however in actual games its knowhere near that even with an extreme overclocked i2500 vs a stock 965 be
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a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2012 5:34:03 AM

Quote:
There isnt anything single card wize that can run bf 3 at minimum 60 fps nor any cpu that can pull that off on ultra max.even with my i5-2500k clocked to 4.8 ghz with a 7970 overclocked to 1125 mhz ill still drop into the mid 40's so there isnt anything out there that can do it unless your talking crossfire or sli.I could still average 60 but does not always stay above that.your point about staying above 60 fps holds true for intel to.You guys totally underestimate the phenom II.You look at benchmarks instead of real world gaminf performance.In most benches my i5 beats my 965 be by 20-25% however in actual games its knowhere near that even with an extreme overclocked i2500 vs a stock 965 be
You're right, the graphics will limit on BF3 so long as the CPU is adequate. I think I may have lost my point somewhere.

Anyhow, I am curious about the discrepancy between benchmarks (such as BF3) and real life. I assume you mean that benchmarks show an i5-2500K @ 50fps average, for example, and a 965BE @ 36fps? But that's because it's a non graphical intensive part. Then in actual gameplay, the i5 only plays at 42fps versus the 965 @ 39fps?

Anyhow, I'm pretty sure my original point was that he should overclock his 840. And I think we can both agree that he should do that.
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a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2012 10:12:26 AM

I agree an overclock of the cpu would be neccassary if he were bottlenecking his gtx 570 and even if he were bottlenecking it im pretty sure not by much.Official poster is your 840 just an 840 or 840t?If its the 840t it can be unlocked to 6 cores.dalauder the few cpu intensive games ive played i didnt see much difference between a 965 be and an I5 2500K.I think the biggest difference i seen clock for clock was in arma 2 and it was 6 fps.To be fair though i only played at 1080p when comparing maybe higher res would widen the margin.The 965 be is comparable to the I7 920 and that is still a very capable cpu
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a b U Graphics card
April 21, 2012 9:19:24 PM

If there is more OC headroom then that is what should be done, no doubt.
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