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Pick up another GTX 460 and SLI, or Move Up a Generation?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 24, 2012 6:14:26 AM

Hey all, I just bought an ASUS VS247H-P 24" monitor to replace my ancient HP w1907 but I am concerned running that 24" ASUS at 1080p as well as my very, very ancient Philips 180B2 monitor running at 1280x1024 will be too much for my lone GTX 460.

However, I have somewhat prepared for this, as I bought an ASUS 980a mobo when I was building my computer thinking I'll SLI my GTX 460 very shortly, but I underestimated how strong the single GTX 460 was at 1440x900 gaming and never actually needed to upgrade to two of them. Speed up to today; I'm two generations behind and 5 series are bound to start dropping, and I've been eyeing up the GTX 570 which has now dropped to ~$250 street. I can access a GTX 460 for $100 easy, but then I come with the stress of extra drivers, constantly checking for new SLI driver releases for new games and etc. etc. in exchange for roughly ~15-20% more power over a single GTX 570 (in applications that support it.

So now that I'm at this stalemate I ask for your guys' opinions! Safeguard my previous investment in a single GTX 460 or go up to a GTX 570/other unforeseen path? I'm quite cold on AMD/ATi because I haven't used one in 3 years (HD 3870x2) and I'd be pretty ignorant on ATi software support.
a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 6:25:29 AM

7950 will be faster than a pair of 460's, and in a pinch, a 7870 will also do the job. Personally, I'd never run SLI/Crossfire. Drivers can and will be a pain in the ass. Don't bother with old tech, the 570 is pointless. A direct replacement for it would be a 7850. What is your exact budget? $250 can get you a 7870, give or take a few dollars.
a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 6:26:03 AM

if you want gtx 570 there is no point ... rather get another gtx 460. The only viable upgrade from the GTX 460 its, atleast, the GTX 660ti or higher. Forget the 5xx series.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 6:26:48 AM

and @ Smeg, he doesnt want AMD/Ati. (even if your sugestions are not bad :) )
a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 6:27:55 AM

crisan_tiberiu said:
and @ Smeg, he doesnt want AMD/Ati. (even if your sugestions are not bad :) )


The OP didn't specify that. He was "quite cold". AMD is a valid option on the GPU side.
August 24, 2012 6:33:59 AM

SLI has got a lot better than it was back in the 8800 days. I know for sure if I were in your situation I would consider another 460 but absolutely would not buy a 570 or any card in that price range with less than 2 gigs of video ram. The only reason I would consider another 460 is because the performance it affords you for the comparatively low price. I use sli with my gtx 680 SC cards @2560x1600 and have performance to spare on most games. That would be the situation you would be in with sli 460's almost all games that need the extra horse power will have excellent support for it and the games that dont have support for sli at this point probably dont need it. Again i only would consider this because of the excellent price to performance. If you are going to spend over 200 dollars consider spending a little more and getting a hd 7950 or a gtx 660 ti its closer to the 300 dollar range but that is the performance level you would need to be at in order to make scraping the 460 worth it not to mention sell your 460 and upgrade for even less.
August 24, 2012 6:34:32 AM

Well if the value/FPS gain is so significant in hopping to ATi, I will learn all over again! After all I am studying for my A+ Cert, so drivers shouldn't be too much of a pain for me, I guess I kinda overstated my laziness towards adapting to Catalyst again in my original post haha.

@Crisan I'm looking very, very close at GTX 660Ti benchmarks, reviews, and troubles people are coming up with it. Trust me, that was one, if not my most prime choice after a GTX 570. If I get the GTX 660Ti, I'd wait at least a whole month of reading other people's experiences before I'd even put down a purchase (I think looooooong term) :pt1cable:  . This is a problem for me, because my monitor is coming in 2 days, so the wait would really have to be worth it. But from my understanding a GTX 660Ti > GTX 580 in benchmarks for $200 less, so that IS definitely attractive.
August 24, 2012 6:37:14 AM

@timbo, what are your experiences in keeping up to date with SLI drivers? I've read with some people it can get pretty nightmar-ish at new game release dates.

One of the more extreme stories I've read is that Skyrim was basically unplayable to SLI users with big monitors for the first few weeks because lack of stable drivers and the people with big monitors had to throttle down to one GPU on their 1080p+ resolutions.
August 24, 2012 8:17:03 AM

I've never used SLI but I've used crossfire. Imo I would never go that route again. Takes up a ton of space in your case, more heat, more power consumption. Some games played better with crossfire others not so great. When I used to play MW2 it hated my crossfire setup and I had to disable it everytime because it ended up lagging way more. Instead what I do now is I sell my old video card and use the money towards an upgrade. If you get something in the $200-$300 using the money from the card you just sold will take a big chunk out of the cost for the new card. I would personally go for either an AMD 7850/7870/7950 series or Nvidia 560 ti/660 ti.
a c 172 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 24, 2012 2:00:06 PM

timbo1130 said:
SLI has got a lot better than it was back in the 8800 days. I know for sure if I were in your situation I would consider another 460 but absolutely would not buy a 570 or any card in that price range with less than 2 gigs of video ram. The only reason I would consider another 460 is because the performance it affords you for the comparatively low price. I use sli with my gtx 680 SC cards @2560x1600 and have performance to spare on most games. That would be the situation you would be in with sli 460's almost all games that need the extra horse power will have excellent support for it and the games that dont have support for sli at this point probably dont need it. Again i only would consider this because of the excellent price to performance. If you are going to spend over 200 dollars consider spending a little more and getting a hd 7950 or a gtx 660 ti its closer to the 300 dollar range but that is the performance level you would need to be at in order to make scraping the 460 worth it not to mention sell your 460 and upgrade for even less.


SLI back then wasn't that bad but you had to have a good rig and a decent board back then. To me those were the good old days.

R.I.P SFR mode :cry: 
a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:16:08 PM

Well, my take is that, for 1080p, if you have an adequate PSU, go with the SLI option.
August 24, 2012 2:31:12 PM

Smeg45 said:
7950 will be faster than a pair of 460's, and in a pinch, a 7870 will also do the job. Personally, I'd never run SLI/Crossfire. Drivers can and will be a pain in the ass. Don't bother with old tech, the 570 is pointless. A direct replacement for it would be a 7850.


What Smeg45 said is dead on in my book. SLI and or Crossfire doesn't always work in all games/programs, so you really can't be 100% sure that you will get a boost in performance if you SLI or Crossfire. But if you get a new card you will get a boost in performance without a doubt and your power use might go down as well depending on the card.

I will say that AMD's HD 7XXX (since ATi was bought out by AMD some time ago) cards offer the best bang for the buck right now unless you are dead set on getting a Nvidea GTX 6XX.

I was in a very simular situation like you and I desided to just get 1 HD7970 instead of 2 or a HD7990 (Dual GPU) and it's doing great on my Samsung SyncMaster SA700 (1920x1080 res @ 120 Hz).


The extra hassle of a Crossfire and or SLI set up just isn't worth the headache IMHO, since it doesn't always work like upgrading a single card does.


As for the current software support the latest patch fixed a ton of issues for me. before this last patch the only stable one for me was 12.4 (a version or 2 ago). IMO, the support is pretty good/decent now when compaired to what it was when they 1st came out when I got mine.
a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:55:27 PM

if u have the money, AMD 7850 will be ideal for 1080p gaming. It s not worth it to spend more in order to play in this resolution IMO, 7850 can manage everything on high or ultra high settings, and things will only become better when the drivers mature
a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 3:08:26 PM

a single powerful card is always better than SLI/CFx so go for a HD 7870 or HD 7950 or GTX 670
a c 172 U Graphics card
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August 24, 2012 4:14:09 PM

gamerkila57 said:
a single powerful card is always better than SLI/CFx so go for a HD 7870 or HD 7950 or GTX 670


That is usually true and the rest of the system specs doesn't have to be as high to get similar fps.
August 24, 2012 4:34:19 PM

So the question really is, how much of a hassle is SLI to only spend $100 on another GTX 460 which will easily get me into 1080p gaming instead of spending $300+ on a single new-gen GPU.

Is that hassle of SLI really worth $200 more? I haven't used a multi-GPU setup since my 3870X2 but I don't remember having any memorable problems with it... Then again it might've just been ATI's drivers :p 
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August 24, 2012 5:22:14 PM

I would go for it but you will need a decent psu and a good cpu to back them up. Provided that you did some overclocking when needed and you got good drives you will hold up for another year to two years before needing to dump them. By then they will only be worth $50-80 a pop used. The 660Ti will be old news by then and likely seeing more competition. Second gen GCN Radeon 8k series looks promising if any of the rumors are true.

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a b U Graphics card
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August 24, 2012 6:14:09 PM
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I've been running SLI for nearly 2 years now and I don't think it's much hassle. Sometimes you have to wait a week or 2 for a driver update to get SLI to work with a new game, but unlike my ATI experience updating Nvidia drivers is pain free, and I've gotten to where I wait a while to buy games instead of paying a premium to pre-order and being a free beta tester for buggy unpatched games. For the $150 price difference I think I could put up with clicking the download and install button once every couple of months.


August 24, 2012 9:57:18 PM

I -believe- I'm already backed up by a sufficient computer, a Huntkey X7 1000W 80 Plus Silver, and an AMD Phenom II X4 965.

@ Benski - What happens if you try playing the game without the SLI-specific driver? Does it just not use the 2nd GPU? Or does it become unplayable completely.
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August 24, 2012 10:12:53 PM

TheTrueGamer said:
I -believe- I'm already backed up by a sufficient computer, a Huntkey X7 1000W 80 Plus Silver, and an AMD Phenom II X4 965.

@ Benski - What happens if you try playing the game without the SLI-specific driver? Does it just not use the 2nd GPU? Or does it become unplayable completely.

If the game does not have a "built in" SLi profile then it will only use one card and it will run as normal, it may be possible to "force" the game to use SLi by way of the NV control panel though.
August 25, 2012 4:13:33 AM

@ mouse - If that's the case, I think I'll settle for a 2nd GTX 460 after all then. Then I'll upgrade when the Geforce 8 series comes around... which is a very nostalgic number for me as that's the series I upgraded as well, when I went from a 6800 GT to an 8800 GTS... -tear-
September 4, 2012 7:05:15 AM

Best answer selected by TheTrueGamer.
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September 4, 2012 5:12:35 PM

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