Hello sold my gaming laptop today and I am going to build a W/cd dekstop again. Would like to know I can pick up 2 brand new evga gtx 480's for 150$ each. For 300$ is this the best route for performance. Or is a single card better.
OC 480s in SLI would be powerful thing. The problem is still about the power used to get there. A 7950 also OC very well and adding a 2nd down the line seem like a safer bet. Coming from a laptop to a 7950 should also feel like a good upgrade.
I bought a 480 for $175 a while back and I still have not regretted it. Just to be clear, there are SIGNIFICANT drawbacks, but if you are aware of them and plan accordingly then you won't be disappointed.
-Heat (countered well by water cooling, although it will put a strain on your radiator capacity)
-Power (countered by a larger PSU and if you already own a beefy PSU you aren't adding cost to the system, just operating cost)
-Aging Chipset (at some point in the future the majority of popular titles are going to rely on the newer computations that the 480 was not designed to excel at)
-Expandability (investing in SLI means that your next graphics upgrade will be a complete setup, not just one more card)
-SLI Concerns (some titles do not play well with SLI)
-Performance / $ (right now I am not aware of any graphics solution more cost effective than a $150 GTX480)
-Performance (this card is still a workhorse and is excellent even on modern titles)
Actually, some 7850s can go down as far as $160-180 each and can overclock better than 480s can, so if you really want two cards, two 7850s would be better. They also have much better scaling and two 7850s use less power than a single 480, so power is no big deal with them. For a single card, the 7950 is king when overclocking is considered and you want to keep costs down and with overclocking, can actually beat two 480s if you choose a good model, so not only would it have the advantage of being a single GPU setup, much lower power consumption, and better future-proofing with more modern feature support and twice as much memory capacity per GPU, but it could also be faster at about the same price. Not even water cooled 480s will beat some air-cooled 7950s.