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Attempting to understand single/double cards

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 29, 2012 7:55:34 AM

I just bought this desktop, and was looking to upgrade both the PSU and GPU. The specs say that it only contains one PCIe x16 slot for graphics.

GPU's I've been looking at: HD 6870, 7750, 7770, GTX 560

I randomly saw on a thread that the GTX690 wasn't a single card. How did that person know?
And for that matter, how can you tell whether or not a gpu is a single card or not? I'm told that if it says "Crossfire" or "SLI" it'll be a single card that has the capability of doubling up on cards. (ex. this) Some pages on Newegg that I come across for GPU's, though, don't tell me anything. (ex. this and this).

How can I tell what gpu's will fit in my desktop?
May 29, 2012 7:58:24 AM

onstrings said:
I just bought this desktop


I forgot to add that the mini tower I bought came with a i5-2400 and 4gb DDR3 ram. That wasn't specified in the specs.
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May 29, 2012 8:01:45 AM

it think your getting SLI and 1 physical card with 2 GPU's mixed up.. the 690 is actually a single card with dual GPU's so it will fit in the 1 pci-e slot that you have sir..
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May 29, 2012 8:05:55 AM

cell55 said:
it think your getting SLI and 1 physical card with 2 GPU's mixed up.. the 690 is actually a single card with dual GPU's so it will fit in the 1 pci-e slot that you have sir..

Exactly. The GTX 690 has two GPU cores, like a Dual-core CPU, and takes up the space of two cards, but requires only one PCIe slot.

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May 29, 2012 8:07:56 AM

onstrings said:
I forgot to add that the mini tower I bought came with a i5-2400 and 4gb DDR3 ram. That wasn't specified in the specs.


ok.. that mini tower looks small.. and thats kinda bad for having an i5 in and a powerful graphics card like the ones you seek..

first off looking at those specs.. before i even fudge with upgrading the graphics card if i was you id.. first.. upgrade the powersupply.. 300watts is kinda low by todays standards..

second.. ill beef up my cooling.. for the CPU and the Case..

then if i was you id get a 560TI..

so based on that system you could put any card you want in that system you wanted.. as long as its PCI-E.. and as long as your powersupply is strong enough (which 300watts isnt) you will be fine.. that motherboard only has 1 pci-x1 slot.. so you should be fine.. most PCI cards are thin unless you have some fat soundcard for the pci-x1 slot.. you might not even use it.. you should have enough clearence though.. one thing i forgot is.. its a mini tower.. so you might run into a problem of a card your looking for may be tooo long.. so you will have to figure out your dimensions.. and take it from there
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a b U Graphics card
May 29, 2012 9:30:52 AM

From the case picture seems its no height problem, normal sized card is ok.

edit : u may need manually check the length between inner back panel of the case to HDD or HDD rack for length clearance .......
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a b U Graphics card
May 29, 2012 11:06:57 AM

onstrings said:
I just bought this desktop, and was looking to upgrade both the PSU and GPU. The specs say that it only contains one PCIe x16 slot for graphics.

GPU's I've been looking at: HD 6870, 7750, 7770, GTX 560

I randomly saw on a thread that the GTX690 wasn't a single card. How did that person know?
And for that matter, how can you tell whether or not a gpu is a single card or not? I'm told that if it says "Crossfire" or "SLI" it'll be a single card that has the capability of doubling up on cards. (ex. this) Some pages on Newegg that I come across for GPU's, though, don't tell me anything. (ex. this and this).

How can I tell what gpu's will fit in my desktop?



The best way to find out anything about a gpu is to go to the manufacturers website. Heck, just google 'AMD 6870' and you don't even have to navigate the website. You need at least a 500W power supply for the gpu's that you are looking at buying. As long as your case is not 'low profile' meaning you can only fit half sized cards in the slots you should be able to fit most gpu's in it. Some cards like the monster sized AMD 6990 are 12" long and will have a hard time fitting in a lot of cases. The gpu's you are looking at are all a standard size. As for knowing what gpu's are dual, it takes some research. Most gpu's are single but cards like the AMD 4870x2, 5970, 6990 and the yet to be released 7990 are dual gpu. The Nvidia GTX 295, 590 and 690 are dual gpu's also. I am sure there a few that I missed but I am only going back a couple of years here. These are basically a single card with two gpu's in either crossfire or sli on the same card which requires only one pci-e x 16 slot but the coolers are usually large and require the space of 2 x pci-e x 16 slots to fit in the case. Dual gpu's also usually perform a small percentage worse than having two of the same cards in sli or crossfire. For example the 6990 is two 6970's on the same card. The clock speed of the 6990 had to be reduced to 830MHz from the 6970's 880Mhz and the memory had to be slowed to 1250MHz from the 6970's 1375MHZ due to power restrictions in a single pci-e lane. If you figure each 6970 runs at roughly 225W under full load, you would need 450w to run the 6990 if it were not limited. A single pci-e lane supplies 75W and each 8 pin pci-e power connector can only provide 150W. For this reason, dual gpu's usually suffer a bit from their single gpu relatives.
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May 29, 2012 6:48:00 PM

cell55 said:
ok.. that mini tower looks small.. and thats kinda bad for having an i5 in and a powerful graphics card like the ones you seek..

first off looking at those specs.. before i even fudge with upgrading the graphics card if i was you id.. first.. upgrade the powersupply.. 300watts is kinda low by todays standards..

second.. ill beef up my cooling.. for the CPU and the Case..

then if i was you id get a 560TI..

so based on that system you could put any card you want in that system you wanted.. as long as its PCI-E.. and as long as your powersupply is strong enough (which 300watts isnt) you will be fine.. that motherboard only has 1 pci-x1 slot.. so you should be fine.. most PCI cards are thin unless you have some fat soundcard for the pci-x1 slot.. you might not even use it.. you should have enough clearence though.. one thing i forgot is.. its a mini tower.. so you might run into a problem of a card your looking for may be tooo long.. so you will have to figure out your dimensions.. and take it from there


My budget doesn't really stretch enough for the 560ti, but just for clarification's sake, what is the difference between this and this?

And I've been looking at 600W and 700W brands and a bunch of them don't have the best reviews. Is there a recommended brand to get? Someone told me corsair was a good brand but those are a bit pricier. (Corsair 600W is more expensive than Apevia 700W) But I guess its reliability is worth the (admittedly small amount of) money?

Also, where exactly do I install a cooling unit?
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May 29, 2012 7:03:49 PM

The first GTX 560 Ti has 448 cuda cores and the second has 384 so the first one will be faster. The first one also has more video memory. I have the second one and it has performed well for me. The recommended PSU is 550 watts for the first and 500 watts for the second.
I would get the Corsair PSU. I use them and have never had a problem with them.
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May 29, 2012 7:37:02 PM

Desert Eagle said:
The first GTX 560 Ti has 448 cuda cores and the second has 384 so the first one will be faster. The first one also has more video memory. I have the second one and it has performed well for me. The recommended PSU is 550 watts for the first and 500 watts for the second.
I would get the Corsair PSU. I use them and have never had a problem with them.


So one is faster than the other. Am I correct in assuming both would be faster than the HD6870?
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a b U Graphics card
May 31, 2012 1:46:02 PM

Have a look for yourself. The 6870 looks to edge out the 560 in the guru3d review. The tom's review has the 560 ti coming out ahead in some games and on par with the 6870 in others. The 560 ti looks to be better at lower resolutions but once you pass 1920x1080 the 6870 catches up. I think it is fair to say the 560 ti is faster but not the 560.


http://www.guru3d.com/article/ecs-geforce-gtx-560-revie...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-geforce-gtx-...
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June 10, 2012 6:02:42 AM

Best answer selected by OnStrings.
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