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2x550Ti, even worth upgrading?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2012 9:24:06 PM

I posted before about the idea of some cards to replace my pair of GTX550Ti's. I still can't figure out a "close" to real set of results of what to base the performance off of. I'm leaning towards either a Sapphire 7950 ($300) or a Galaxy 660Ti ($290).

But what's stopping me from any type of ordering or going on with this is the following problems.

First, just how good is my current setup? I know the GTX550Ti isn't a top model, but I do have two of them in SLi. I know not all games can take advantage of multi-GPU's. But some can as we know and you do see quite the increase in speed from it on those games. For example, Rage on this system holds at 60FPS under any circumstance at 1920x1080p with no Anti-Aliasing. Turn them up though, it will drop down to the 30's. However, with a single card, there's notable drops in the frames even without the AA. She can and will dip into the 20's in a nice car battle.

So let's just say most games that I'll play will be able to take advantage of SLi. Would it be a viable option to trade off to either of those cards? I'm looking for that buttery smooth 1080p gaming that I know everyone likes. But a $300 is my limit of where I'm going. If a 7850 for $220 could manage this without any hassle, I'd rather spend that much and buy myself a second 1TB hdd.

However, I'm somewhat leaning towards the idea of the 660Ti as it would make it very easy to have a dedicated PhysX GPU without hacked drivers and the like from what I read is required if you're sporting an AMD gpu as the dedicated video.

Either way, Will the 660Ti, 7950, and/or 7850 even yield better performance if the 550Ti's are both being used like they should? If the performance gains would be minimal; then I'll stick with SLi until the GTX 7xx series/AMD 8xxx series to replace the GPU. And with that in mind; I'd end up sporting a new monitor and possibly a new tablet. :) 

Thanks ahead of time; and just in case you didn't see my previous post; my system.

i7-2600K Stock clock
ASRock P67 Extreme 6
4x4gb Corsair Vengeance 1600Mhz
2x Asus GTX550Ti's in SLi
Antec 850W power supply

I want at least a 20FPS or so gain in the games of today; so if that's not possible under $300, it's time to shop for a second monitor! :) 

Thanks ahead of time!
a c 92 U Graphics card
November 14, 2012 9:29:43 PM

2x 550tis performs about as well as a 7850 in the best cases of gpu scaling. In general the 7850 should be at least 20% faster, sometime more than 2x the speed due to bad SLI performance.

the 7950 would be at least 30% faster than the 7850. I would recommend it over the 660 ti.
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a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2012 9:43:50 PM

I vote for the 7950 too.
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a c 117 U Graphics card
November 14, 2012 9:45:32 PM

get a 660 (non ti) if you still want to use physX for whatever.

if no physX then get a 7870 or better.

just forget the 660ti - i personally do not like the same 192 bit memory bus.
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a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2012 10:44:53 PM

Isn't the 660 slower than the 660Ti? I'm confused on that?

Also, on the side of the 6950, will it push sound through the HDMI? Not a deal breaker; but I'd like to have that ability.

Also, hows this for a good question? Will my GTX550ti's play all of the games on the market right now @ 1920x1080 with good framerates with/without Anti-Aliasing on higher quality settings?
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a c 92 U Graphics card
November 14, 2012 11:02:45 PM

not the most demanding games like bf3.

all graphics cards will give sound through HDMI Im pretty sure.
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Anonymous
a c 117 U Graphics card
November 14, 2012 11:14:29 PM

steddora said:
Isn't the 660 slower than the 660Ti? I'm confused on that?

Also, on the side of the 6950, will it push sound through the HDMI? Not a deal breaker; but I'd like to have that ability.

Also, hows this for a good question? Will my GTX550ti's play all of the games on the market right now @ 1920x1080 with good framerates with/without Anti-Aliasing on higher quality settings?

the 660 is ~90% the performance of a 660ti and a better bargain at current prices.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 550 Ti AMP! Edition and Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti SLI Tandem Performance Review.

though its an older review, you will see not all games play nice with a 550ti set up. but more recent drivers may have changed some results for the better.

but a 660 or 7870 will consistently double the performance than a single 550ti (more or less). so really a 660 if you want the eye candy of physX (along with a 550ti) or a 7870 if you want raw power and potentially the ability to overclock to a "stock" 7950.
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a b U Graphics card
November 14, 2012 11:52:52 PM

That's exactly why I ended up with 2x 550's LOL They outperformed the 570 at the price point of being $40 cheaper at the time. So the SLi setup was the best "bang for buck" to hold me over.

I've been looking into some DX11 benchmarks and comparing over and over. Seems like the 660 is definitely a 2x jump from a single 550Ti, so it should average about a 20% gain in most circumstances I'd say. However, the 6950 and 6850 I was looking at, confuses the hell out of me. The weirdest thing here is the fact that at 1920x1080 they perform similarly, while higher up in the scale into the 2kx1600 or so range, they pull away.

So, sticking at 1920x1080 would I really notice that much of a difference between the 660 and a 6850 or 6950?

I like PhysX, as I've played a few games with it; and it really does add to the candy factor. But it's not a necessity. I was looking into this, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... How do you think that would stack up to the GTX 660?
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November 15, 2012 12:02:19 AM

I am going to go against the crowd and say you shouldn't upgrade at this time.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

Toms always tells people to go at least 3 tiers above what they currently have for an upgrade to be worthwhile. With a 550ti sli around the performance of a 570, 3 tiers up means a 7970/680.
Since neither are <300 dollars I don't see it as a good recommendation to buy anything less.

Basically what you are going to do is spend 300 dollars for marginal improvements.

I mean think about what you yourself said, a 660 is about 2x the single 550ti. So if you buy a 660, your going to get roughly similar performance although you can make the argument it's a more consistent performance, you still have to understand that your paying 300 dollars for very little performance boost. Even if you go up to a 660ti or a 670, I still don't think the benefits are worth the money over what you currently have, at least definitely not a 20fps gain you wanted.
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a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2012 12:03:52 AM

Big fan of the 7870! very cost effective. Probably not worth it to upgrade unless you are going big (like a 7970 GHz edition)
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November 15, 2012 12:12:08 AM

Rumor has it that the 8000 series AMD GPUs are right around the corner. Maybe you should wait it out to see what the next generation brings.
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a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2012 12:59:46 AM

Well, either way I have a good feeling I can pawn these GTX's for $100 a pop on ebay or so and if I only spend $230 on a 7850, I could effectively get a decent boost yes?

I hardly ever upgrade graphics; I know my entire lifetime of GPU's lol Aside from on the onboards of the earlier 1990's.

Voodoo 3 3000 AGP!
GeForce 2 MX400
GeForce 4 Ti-4400
GeForce 8800GTS 512mb G92
And now these cards.

I have used AMD/ATI cards, but never long for my home system. I have built a lot of systems for people and AMD cards have been coming up in the world since the merger. Before then, I didn't much like their performance.

Either way, if I do upgrade, I want the upgrade to last a couple years. So if the 7xx and 8xxx are truly a jump, it would be worth waiting. But watching the past; I don't think this generation jump is going to bring in the next era of Direct X. So I believe they'll still be DX11 cards. I've always noticed a more "beneficial" jump through new DX versions. I sometimes think that they plan that stuff with MS. HAH

Either way, if I went with a 7850 now, what would the potential of having two of them in crossfire be later on? Think that would hold my 1080p gaming need as a single GPU until DX12? Those are my questions.
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November 15, 2012 1:12:25 AM

Well considering a 550ti sli is rated the same tier as a 7850, I doubt you'd see much improvement unless you are playing a game where sli failed...

So yes you can pawn it, but I don't think you'll see much if any improvement. And also, good luck getting 100 dollars a pop, I can get a new one 90 after rebate on newegg...

So no jump at all in performance at the 7850 and not something I'd consider worthwhile. The ability to SLI a 7850 is definitely worth it, but I'd rather not pay the money and save up. When you do feel a 550ti sli sin't enough is when you buy a new card. And if you are feeling that right now, a 7850 isn't going to cut it.
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a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2012 1:32:50 AM

yialanliu said:
Well considering a 550ti sli is rated the same tier as a 7850, I doubt you'd see much improvement unless you are playing a game where sli failed...

So yes you can pawn it, but I don't think you'll see much if any improvement. And also, good luck getting 100 dollars a pop, I can get a new one 90 after rebate on newegg...

So no jump at all in performance at the 7850 and not something I'd consider worthwhile. The ability to SLI a 7850 is definitely worth it, but I'd rather not pay the money and save up. When you do feel a 550ti sli sin't enough is when you buy a new card. And if you are feeling that right now, a 7850 isn't going to cut it.


That's a very good way to put it. I realize my biggest issue is that SLi isn't truly 2x, but from what I hear in most games it ranges from a 1.6x to 1.8x typical gain. In theory, with the benchmarks I've seen; the 7950 is about 2.5x the GTX550Ti as a single GPU. So I figure with that math I'd have about a 70% gain in performance.

The thing that bugs me, is like the Heaven benchmark in Unigine. If I turn all the candy up; I can bring these cards to nearly a halt. But with just the standard settings; I scored a 1335. That's 53 average FPS. 1920x1080, direct3d11, shaders and textures on high, trilinear filtering, 4x anistropic filter, Occlusion Refractions and Volumetric enabled while the Tessellation is disabled. That wasn't bad. But with all that eye candy; the thing looked so purty. I'd "like" a card that could manage all of that; but if it's not in the cards, it's not. I don't want to drop $300 just to get a performance gain that won't handle that much you know? I'd like to see 60+fps on ultra in all my games. And these cards have been capable on some of the older titles like Dead Island and Skyrim they are pretty capable as well. Either way, thank you yialanliu! That's a very good way to put it.
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November 15, 2012 12:19:39 PM

A 7950 is not a 7850. A 7950 is much better than a 7850. With a 7850 that barely gives you any performance boost.

The only value I see is microstutters being reduced. However, the way to measure the value is to look at how much it would have cost at the time to score comparable performance. You mentioned that 550tisli was 40 bucks cheaper than a 570 which has comparable performance. To me, that makes microstutter reduction worth 40 bucks, not 300 dollars.

Now with regards to the unigine benchmark, you won't get ultra 60fps with a 7850, like I said, you'd be on a similar setting as your current setup. You need to pay more to get what you wanted with the 60fps and all setting turned up..
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a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2012 2:36:28 PM

Would the 7950 be able to handle that, and if not how far would it get, with the tessellation on?
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a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2012 4:00:32 PM

I think that the best choice for you would be a 7870 or a GTX660. They will be a good lot faster than 2x550tis and are under 300$. A 7870 could get 60fps on unigine heaven.

Also only upgrade when you think your card can't run games at 1080p at medium settings. Hell I have a friend who's still rocking a 9500gt.
I have a single 550ti and will upgrade after 8 months minimum. Could easily make it last another year too. Save your money for better things
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November 15, 2012 5:15:48 PM

Here's a unigine benchmark for a 7950
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/xfx_sapphire_hd...
At 1080p using those settings, it's almost 60fps, but it's not maxed out.

Also, I don't think a 7850 is 2.5 times a 550ti.
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

Using this benchmark, I get 1930 for a 550ti vs 3260 for a 7850 hence why I think a 550ti sli is comparable to a 7850 knowing that you don't get perfect scaling.

Here's a thread of someone posting their unigine max settings results with a 7950 for you to look at:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/364636-33-unigine-hea...
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a c 92 U Graphics card
November 15, 2012 6:26:09 PM

don't use synthetic benchmarks for SLI setups because games never run as well as the benchmarks when using SLI. 550ti SLI is about as powerful in gaming as a 560 ti. In many games the minimal fps is extremely low on SLI so the games will not feel very smooth.

the 7850 is about 10-15% faster than the 560ti, the 7950 is 50% faster. Here is heaven(ignore the 7750, just a random review), you can see the 7950 is about 3x faster than the 550 ti while the 7850 is just a bit more than 2x as fast. Assuming the SLI scaling is 1.8, the 7850 is a minor upgrade while the 7950 is a pretty substantial upgrade


here is average game performance over a large number of games, 7950 is about 2.7x and 7850 is about 2x. SLI scaling in games is probably about 1.6.
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a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2012 8:50:50 PM

Alright, let's see what you guys think about this, I'm just copying the test; it's average score about the middle of 10 tests. Copied the results to a notepad; and I'll give you the highs and lows if they are important. Anti-Aliasing is off as well!

Powered by Unigine Engine
Heaven Benchmark v3.0 Basic

FPS:
42.2 (41.1 Low and 43.8 high)

Scores:
1064

Min FPS:
10.9 (9.7 was the lowest, 11.0 was the highest)

Max FPS:
91.8 (Lowest was 88.4 and the highest was oddly 99.1)

Hardware
Binary:
Windows 32bit Visual C++ 1600 Release Mar 7 2012
Operating system:
Windows 7 (build 7601, Service Pack 1) 64bit
CPU model:
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40GHz
CPU flags:
3392MHz MMX SSE SSE2 SSE3 SSSE3 SSE41 SSE42 HTT
GPU model:
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti 9.18.13.697 1023Mb

Settings
Render:
direct3d11

Mode:
1920x1080 fullscreen

Shaders:
high

Textures:
high

Filter:
trilinear

Anisotropy:
4x

Occlusion:
enabled

Refraction:
enabled

Volumetric:
enabled

Tessellation:
normal

Both cards are stock clocked at 910mhz, they are identical Asus cards. As you see the CPU is stock clocked. That's not an aweful score is it? I mean, most of the benchmark would yield a playable output; but a few spots are just stuttering way to much.

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