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SLI vs Crossfire and which cards to buy?

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Crossfire
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 14, 2012 5:18:37 PM

Like the title says. I have a Radeon HD 6950 2gb version(which is odd because it looks like the 6970 on XFX website) http://www.amazon.com/Radeon-XFX-6970-Graphics-Card/dp/... that is what my card looks like but it is the 6950. I wanted to get another one to do Crossfire but I cannot find the exact same card anywhere. Maybe I got an oops card lmao. I just RMA through XFX because of the hdmi port coming loose.

Basically, here is my scenario. I had someone offer me $200 for my 6950. I wanted to know if I should just sell it and upgrade to a better card and run 2 of that card? I am looking to spend $500 or less. (Cheaper the better, I wish I could run 2 for $350 lmao). I have a 600 watt PSU, is that enough? It only has 2x6 pin for graphics cards, and it has 2 pin connectors that come off of the 6pin one. Im confusing, I know :p .

What do you guys think? Would I need to get a beter PSU? What card(s) do you recommend?

Oh yeah, I prefer Amazon over Newegg because of prime. I can have the cards over nighted to me for $3.99 or free 2 day shipping. Lol. I will go with whatever site has the cheapest prices though.

More about : sli crossfire cards buy

a c 106 U Graphics card
August 14, 2012 5:32:20 PM

take the 200, 200$ is how much a brand new 6950 would be worth


You would run less issues with 1 strong card vs 2 cards. and since you are basically getting full price for the 6950 as it is used, I think its a steal
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August 14, 2012 5:36:57 PM

dudewitbow said:
take the 200, 200$ is how much a brand new 6950 would be worth


You would run less issues with 1 strong card vs 2 cards. and since you are basically getting full price for the 6950 as it is used, I think its a steal



What card should I upgrade to then?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 14, 2012 5:39:01 PM

I'd sell it and buy a 7850 if I was you. If you want more performance than that, then you should either overclock or get a faster single card. Starting off with Crossfire or SLI when it is not much faster than comparably priced single GPU options is usually not the best idea. Two 7850s is somewhat faster than the 7970 GHz Edition that has a similar price, so you might want to choose between those two solutions. I'd say that with current CF drivers, either option would be great, but the 7970 GHz Edition would be more expandable because you can throw in a second 7970 GHz Edition in the future, but it's much more difficult to throw in a third 7850 (which would be less of an upgrade anyway), especially because it is not an officially supported CF solution and needs a motherboard that can easily support that many graphics cards.
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a c 106 U Graphics card
August 14, 2012 5:39:26 PM

jmikan5 said:
What card should I upgrade to then?



whats the minimum fps you would prefer to game at with max/near max settings at 1920x1080.

I would normally suggest the probably 660ti coming out in 2 days which will be ~320-330 for an aftermarket cooler model(assuming that its benchmarks do live up to TT's tests, which tbh, would wait for more benches before pulling that trigger.)
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August 14, 2012 5:44:11 PM

dudewitbow said:
whats the minimum fps you would prefer to game at with max/near max settings at 1920x1080.

I would normally suggest the probably 660ti coming out in 2 days which will be ~320-330 for an aftermarket cooler model(assuming that its benchmarks do live up to TT's tests, which tbh, would wait for more benches before pulling that trigger.)


I used to only use Nvidia, I ventured out to AMD a few years ago and had to already RMA 2 cards through 2 companies, maybe I just have bad luck lol. I still have an Nvidia 4200 Ti in my old pentium 4 and it still runs.... I built that computer in the mid to early 2000's.

Okay, so for a car under $400 I should check out the 660ti? I really dont care if its nvidia or ati, I just want a beastly card. I am a huge gamer (not a supporter of OC unless its done right, which I havent OC a graphics card in a long time, voltage and such always confused me). I want to pull 60 fps in every game on high settings (I don't play BF3 but I heard on ultra the most you can expect is 40-50fps?) I don't need a super hero card but an incredibly quick one for my price range. I don't have to go dual cards, it was just an idea lol.

Oh and I found this on toms.

Specification Geforce GTX 660 Ti Geforce GTX 670
Architecture Kepler Kepler
Technology 28 nm 28 nm
GPU GK104 (?) GK104
CUDA cores 1344 1344
Base frequency 915 MHz 915 MHz
Boost Frequency 980 MHz 980 MHz
Memory Bus 192-bit 256-bit
Amount of memory GB 2 GDDR5 GB 2 GDDR5
Memory Frequency 6008 MHz 6008 MHz
TDP 150 W 170 W

They look identical in specs but only a tad faster for the 670. My card is 256-bit now but it only clocks at 800mhz, so I am kind of outdated huh?
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a c 106 U Graphics card
August 14, 2012 5:47:35 PM

jmikan5 said:
I used to only use Nvidia, I ventured out to AMD a few years ago and had to already RMA 2 cards through 2 companies, maybe I just have bad luck lol. I still have an Nvidia 4200 Ti in my old pentium 4 and it still runs.... I built that computer in the mid to early 2000's.

Okay, so for a car under $400 I should check out the 660ti? I really dont care if its nvidia or ati, I just want a beastly card. I am a huge gamer (not a supporter of OC unless its done right, which I havent OC a graphics card in a long time, voltage and such always confused me). I want to pull 60 fps in every game on high settings (I don't play BF3 but I heard on ultra the most you can expect is 40-50fps?) I don't need a super hero card but an incredibly quick one for my price range. I don't have to go dual cards, it was just an idea lol.


Specs wise, the 660ti is essentially the 670 with a memory bus size nerf. It will perform under a 670 except on the exception that it takes slightly bigger performance hits as anti aliasing goes on. Though, like I said before, Its better to wait a tiny bit for more professional reviews on the cards as some people get different results.


What this tells us is that games at full 1920x1080 with AA on does in fact use up the 192 memory bus pretty well. Its a strong single card(but I would like to see tests on cards with 192 memory bus in SLI)
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 14, 2012 5:50:16 PM

The 660 TI will be quite slower than the 670 even when AA is low or disabled. The GK104 is a highly memory bandwidth bottle-necked GPU even with a 256 bit GDDR5 interface at 1.5GHz and cutting that down to 192 bit is going to hurt performance overall quite significantly. A comparable situation is looking at Llano and how it can scale almost linearly with increased memory bandwidth even when AA is disabled if you know what you're doing with it.

I also am not sure of how well it would hold up in SLI if you raise the AA. It is an extremely memory bandwidth bottle-necked card and SLI would probably exacerbate the issue if it involves higher AA.
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a b U Graphics card
August 14, 2012 6:14:07 PM

"I want to pull 60 fps in every game on high settings (I don't play BF3 but I heard on ultra the most you can expect is 40-50fps?)"

My 670 hovers right at 60fps at 1080 ultra with dips into the high 40s. Still, very very smooth and that's at the card I'd recommend if you have $400 to spend.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 14, 2012 6:20:09 PM

Radeon 7850 CF and the Radeon 7970 GHz Edition are better than the GTX 670, especially where overclocking is considered. Also, a 256 bit memory interface at this level of performance is risky for future-proofing, at best, especially if SLI is considered later on.
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August 14, 2012 7:33:13 PM

blazorthon said:
Radeon 7850 CF and the Radeon 7970 GHz Edition are better than the GTX 670, especially where overclocking is considered. Also, a 256 bit memory interface at this level of performance is risky for future-proofing, at best, especially if SLI is considered later on.



I will be running 2 cards eventually. I will be buying one now and one next month. Regardless if its sli or CF. Which one do you think would have the best survivability? I only have fans for cooling. I have a monster of a case though, I have room for 6 more 120mm fans lol. I just thought that many would be overkill. If I do go dual cards I want to stay around $500-$550 if possible.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 14, 2012 10:31:20 PM

I doubt that any of these cards would fail from heat unless your computer is in a very hot room and the cooling of the cards is blocked by something. Even then, failing from heat problems is unlikely under at least semi-normal conditions. I doubt that your card(s), regardless of which one you buy, will fail. If they do, well, you RMA them. Any card can fail and the chances for failure are generally low, but depend on the individual model.

Dual Radeon 7850s should be well within your budget. Two GTX 660 TIs would not and would probably be less future-proofed anyway. A single Radeon 7970 GHz Edition would be fairly similar in performance (although a little behind in maximum overclocking performance) and cost while also being more expandable. You can throw in a second 7970 GHz Edition when one is no longer enough for you a few years down the road whereas two 7850s are much less expandable.
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August 15, 2012 6:58:40 AM

blazorthon said:
I doubt that any of these cards would fail from heat unless your computer is in a very hot room and the cooling of the cards is blocked by something. Even then, failing from heat problems is unlikely under at least semi-normal conditions. I doubt that your card(s), regardless of which one you buy, will fail. If they do, well, you RMA them. Any card can fail and the chances for failure are generally low, but depend on the individual model.

Dual Radeon 7850s should be well within your budget. Two GTX 660 TIs would not and would probably be less future-proofed anyway. A single Radeon 7970 GHz Edition would be fairly similar in performance (although a little behind in maximum overclocking performance) and cost while also being more expandable. You can throw in a second 7970 GHz Edition when one is no longer enough for you a few years down the road whereas two 7850s are much less expandable.



So you are saying the 7850(s)? Best company to buy one from? Best brand to buy? I like xfx but I had to rma two graphics cards in 3 years(only upgraded once in that period, so basically 2 cards failed in 3 years.).
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 15, 2012 8:04:16 AM

jmikan5 said:
So you are saying the 7850(s)? Best company to buy one from? Best brand to buy? I like xfx but I had to rma two graphics cards in 3 years(only upgraded once in that period, so basically 2 cards failed in 3 years.).


HIS is the best brand of pretty much any AMD card. Sapphire can sometimes usurp them, but generally not. XFX is not even in the top anymore and I'd put them below Asus and MSI.
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August 15, 2012 4:06:39 PM

It all depends on your price, and which set of cards you have as options scale better in SLI or Crossfire.
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August 15, 2012 8:22:10 PM

I am thinking about going back to nvidia. I also have bad news.... the guy backed out, so that $200 for the card set me back haha. Would you recommend just buying another 6950 2gb and going crossfire or should I just sell this for whatever price and save for a better card?

Oh yeah and one more question about overclocking. I have an AMD Phenom X4 965BE cpu and an Asus crosshair formula iv mobo. I want to try and overclock it, should I use the program that came with the Asus mobo or what? How much could I OC this cpu? Is it worth it?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 15, 2012 8:33:58 PM

You usually don't overclock a CPU with a program. CPU overclocking is usually done in the BIOS settings. No matter how much you overclock that CPU, it might still be a bottle-neck, but around 4GHz should be a good target to shoot for to get that bottle-neck down as far as reasonably possible. Remember to not use a stock cooler for this, but a decent aftermarket cooler such as a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus or a Hyper 212 Evo. There are also other good ones, but I have personal experience with them and they are practically the industry standard for low-budget, high overclocking performance.

If you can get a price as good as $200 from selling your 6950 2GB, then it would be a good idea to sell it, but you probably won't. You might be better off simply upgrading to Radeon 6950 2GB CF so long as you have a PSU that can handle it.
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August 15, 2012 11:53:32 PM

blazorthon said:
You usually don't overclock a CPU with a program. CPU overclocking is usually done in the BIOS settings. No matter how much you overclock that CPU, it might still be a bottle-neck, but around 4GHz should be a good target to shoot for to get that bottle-neck down as far as reasonably possible. Remember to not use a stock cooler for this, but a decent aftermarket cooler such as a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus or a Hyper 212 Evo. There are also other good ones, but I have personal experience with them and they are practically the industry standard for low-budget, high overclocking performance.

If you can get a price as good as $200 from selling your 6950 2GB, then it would be a good idea to sell it, but you probably won't. You might be better off simply upgrading to Radeon 6950 2GB CF so long as you have a PSU that can handle it.



What settings do you recommend I try? I have g.skill ripjaw 16gb(4x4) ram, 650 psu(which confuses me because it has 2 6pin-with2 more pins on each one- for a total of 14 pins x 2 plugs).

Oh and I have a coolermaster HUGE cpu cooler, it has dual fans. It keeps my cpu pretty cool plus I used the highest recommended thermal paste.
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August 16, 2012 12:53:01 AM

Some GPUs use the other 2 pins. I believe they are both ground lines. Somehow, that allows for more power handling ( a bit non-intuitive to get more power handling with nothing but more ground lines, but I can kind of see how that might work.)
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 16, 2012 1:50:01 AM

What frequency and voltage is your RAM rated for?

The CPU, like I said, should be fine at around 4GHz. We won't know what voltage it needs for that until you start overclocking because they vary between unit from unit (even having different model numbers and stock frequencies is not important so long as the core count and feature list is identical). You might also want to overclock the northbridge frequency to match the CPU's frequency or at least be exactly half of its frequency to match because that might help more than being slightly more than half, but not being in sync.
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August 26, 2012 12:25:32 AM

Best answer selected by jmikan5.
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