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GTX 680 4GB x2 in SLI or GTX 690 4GB x2 in SLI?

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February 10, 2013 12:26:54 AM

Hi folks,

I'm looking for advice here. I am currently building my new machine and am trying to decide what to do for my graphics cards. I am considering one of two options: two GTX680 4GB cards or two GTX690 4GB cards. I understand that the two cards are both great for different things, and my concern is the amount of available vRAM on the GTX690, which is really only 2GB per card since it is simply two 2GB 680s in SLI, so even with two 690s, which would be quad-SLI, it is still only 2GB of available vRAM... Where as each single GTX680 4GB actually has 4GB of available vRAM.

I'd like to get some thoughts, opinions, and recommendations on which solution is best for long term, all-around performance with every different type of graphically intense environment. I've seen many recommendations for the 690 in various situations such as use on multiple high resolution displays, and many recommendations for the 680 4GB in other environments. I'll try to be as clear as I can: I want to know which is better, keeping in mind I will be using two of each card, for ultimate performance in every possible environment. Should I go with two GTX680 4GB cards in SLI, keeping a total vRAM of 4GB, or should I go with two GTX690s which would ultimately be quad-SLI but still only 2GB of available vRAM but theoretically better performance on higher resolution screens. I know it's a tall order to determine which is best since they're both great at different things, but if I were to say I need the best card for all situations possible, which would be the better choice? If it is apples and oranges and what I'm asking for simply doesn't exist, let me know and I'll wait for nvidia to develop a true 4GB vRAM 690.

Thanks for any advice! The details of my setup are below.

Cheers!

PURCHASE DATE: February 2013

BUDGET RANGE: Unlimited

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (Many graphically intense games and FPS's), used on Asus 2560x1440 display, gaming capture card streaming, video editing and streaming, photo design and editing , watching movies

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY:
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1200i
- Current GPU: N/A

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS:
- Motherboard: Asus Rampage IV Extreme
- CPU: Intel Core i7-3970x [Six Core]
- CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H100i Extreme Performance
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance 64GB DDR3-2133 (8x8GB)
- Storage: 4x Corsair Force GT 480GB SSD in RAID 0 [1920GB]
- Case: NZXT Phantom 820

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: No preference but with shipping to Canada.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Must be ASUS only, and I am not considering anything other than two GTX 680 4GB or two GTX 690 4GB.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 2560x1440 (Primary)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Please see above.


------------

EDIT: Looks like I am going to wait and see what nvidia announces with the upcoming titan card and when it will be available and likely will wait it out and go with that. If not, I'll do the tri-SLI with three GTX 680 4GB cards. Thanks to all for the advice!
February 10, 2013 12:30:59 AM

How many monitors will you be gaming on?
February 10, 2013 12:34:17 AM

ajl2011shooter said:
How many monitors will you be gaming on?

I will be gaming likely on only one monitor (for now), but will have other displays potentially running at the same time for other purposes. I also don't want to be theoretically tied down to the one monitor for gaming.

Cheers
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a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 12:39:22 AM

Very nice build excellent components, however ditch that crappy case for a thermaltake gt 10 battle edition

February 10, 2013 12:39:48 AM

If cost is no issue go 690 SLI. It would destroy anything you throw at it for years to come. Even if you go with surround you will be in great shape.
a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 12:42:38 AM

Oh i recommend Tri-SLI with GTX 680 4GB's! Quad SLI is a pain and useless for gaming!
February 10, 2013 12:45:37 AM

ajl2011shooter said:
If cost is no issue go 690 SLI. It would destroy anything you throw at it for years to come. Even if you go with surround you will be in great shape.

And the total available vRAM of 2GB will not hinder any ability for gaming? It's the 2GB that is my concern here.

Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.
a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 12:51:40 AM

adamh10 said:
And the total available vRAM of 2GB will not hinder any ability for gaming? It's the 2GB that is my concern here.

Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.



Quad SLI is a pain for gaming probably on 10% more performance over Tri-SLI in gaming. The GTX 690 2GB or vram may hinder you if you go multi-panel.
a c 261 U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 12:54:58 AM

2gb vram vs. 4gb vram is not an issue in most environments.
Here is one study on that: http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Video-Card-Pe...

I think once you get past three gpu's, you can actually lose fps in some cases.
My suggestion is to go ahead and use 2 4gb GTX680 cards and see how you do.
If you really think a third card will help, you can always add one later.

And... you might want to see of the launch of the nvidia "titan" rumored the end of this month might change your approach.
It is rumored to have 6gb of vram and be considerably faster(and pricier) than a GTX680.
February 10, 2013 12:57:05 AM

On 1 monitor it won't be a problem. Some games will use more vram if it's available but they don't require more. For what it's worth I think redeemer is right. I'd go with 3 4gb 680's but you never listed that as a option so I said to go 690's.
a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 1:06:08 AM

geofelt said:
2gb vram vs. 4gb vram is not an issue in most environments.
Here is one study on that: http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Video-Card-Pe...

I think once you get past three gpu's, you can actually lose fps in some cases.
My suggestion is to go ahead and use 2 4gb GTX680 cards and see how you do.
If you really think a third card will help, you can always add one later.

And... you might want to see of the launch of the nvidia "titan" rumored the end of this month might change your approach.
It is rumored to have 6gb of vram and be considerably faster(and pricier) than a GTX680.


I agree with this. If you can't wait til the end of the month for Titan to come out, then start with two 4gb 680's and then work your way up from there. If you are sensitive to microstuttering, using 3 cards generally gets rid of most of it (tom's did a study on it a while back).

Also, Titan is rumored to be 85% (or higher) of a gtx 690, but using only 1 gpu, 6gb vram, little less power, slightly less money. I would wait and see what that's all about if you can.
a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 1:08:36 AM

Wait 3 weeks and see what "Titan" brings to the table... Your best option might be Titans SLI'd. Vram wouldn't be an issue with them... They are 6gb on 384 bit bus.
a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 1:50:29 AM

btw- vram does not add up in sli, two 4gb cards in sli doesnt give you 8gb, its still 4gb... so given that you see the 690 is not two 2gb cards.

I too also agree with Redeemer, trip 680's
a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 1:53:26 AM

you will extremely lucky grabbing two Titans, I hear its a limited production!
a c 185 U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 2:04:09 AM

geofelt said:
2gb vram vs. 4gb vram is not an issue in most environments.
Here is one study on that: http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Video-Card-Pe...

I think once you get past three gpu's, you can actually lose fps in some cases.
My suggestion is to go ahead and use 2 4gb GTX680 cards and see how you do.
If you really think a third card will help, you can always add one later.

And... you might want to see of the launch of the nvidia "titan" rumored the end of this month might change your approach.
It is rumored to have 6gb of vram and be considerably faster(and pricier) than a GTX680.
+1 i agree.
Anonymous
February 10, 2013 2:06:55 AM

Spending all that money on those other specs and your cutting corners with a 27 inch monitor really? Go for the best a 30" 2560 x 1600 ips display. There are so few of us that game at that res, come join the club, the view is nice up here...
February 10, 2013 2:16:56 AM

Thanks all for the advice - I appreciate all of the responses. I did a little looking around, and I think I'll wait and see what the nvidia Titan brings to the table. The leaked specs look great, so if all is true I'll be looking for one (or two!) of those as soon as it's available.

If not, based on redeemer and ajl2011shooter's advice, I'll go with tri-SLI with three GTX 680 4GB cards.

Cheers - and again, thanks!
a c 185 U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 2:20:21 AM

redeemer said:
you will extremely lucky grabbing two Titans, I hear its a limited production!
+1 i wait it out if there not released in a week or two buy two 670 680's are not worth the extra $100 each GTX 680 is 5% to 7% faster then a 670. It's up to you to decide whether it's worth getting or not. Personally, I don't think GTX 680 is worth extra $100. I'll go with Titans if not SLI GTX 670.
February 10, 2013 2:24:10 AM

redeemer said:
Oh i recommend Tri-SLI with GTX 680 4GB's! Quad SLI is a pain and useless for gaming!


redeemer said:
Quad SLI is a pain for gaming probably on 10% more performance over Tri-SLI in gaming. The GTX 690 2GB or vram may hinder you if you go multi-panel.


geofelt said:
2gb vram vs. 4gb vram is not an issue in most environments.
Here is one study on that: http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Video-Card-Pe...

I think once you get past three gpu's, you can actually lose fps in some cases.
My suggestion is to go ahead and use 2 4gb GTX680 cards and see how you do.
If you really think a third card will help, you can always add one later.

And... you might want to see of the launch of the nvidia "titan" rumored the end of this month might change your approach.
It is rumored to have 6gb of vram and be considerably faster(and pricier) than a GTX680.


ajl2011shooter said:
On 1 monitor it won't be a problem. Some games will use more vram if it's available but they don't require more. For what it's worth I think redeemer is right. I'd go with 3 4gb 680's but you never listed that as a option so I said to go 690's.


fudoka711 said:
I agree with this. If you can't wait til the end of the month for Titan to come out, then start with two 4gb 680's and then work your way up from there. If you are sensitive to microstuttering, using 3 cards generally gets rid of most of it (tom's did a study on it a while back).

Also, Titan is rumored to be 85% (or higher) of a gtx 690, but using only 1 gpu, 6gb vram, little less power, slightly less money. I would wait and see what that's all about if you can.


Thanks for the advice folks. The Titan specs are looking good, so hopefully all holds true... I'll wait it out for now. If that doesn't work out I'll do the tri-SLI GTX 680 4GB, but I think I'd like to do two Titans at this point.

Cheers
a c 185 U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 2:27:33 AM

BigMack70 said:
Meh... most likely if you can manage to grab one, you can grab two instead. It's likely to sell out within the first few minutes of being listed (at least on sites like newegg) and so you either get however many you want, or you get none.
:lol:  I agree with this. ;) 
a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 2:35:56 AM

adamh10 said:
Thanks all for the advice - I appreciate all of the responses. I did a little looking around, and I think I'll wait and see what the nvidia Titan brings to the table. The leaked specs look great, so if all is true I'll be looking for one (or two!) of those as soon as it's available.

If not, based on redeemer and ajl2011shooter's advice, I'll go with tri-SLI with three GTX 680 4GB cards.

Cheers - and again, thanks!


++++1

Excellent. I'd do the same thing, except I'd pick up a 2560 X1600 display too. The extra vertical size is really nice. I have a 16:10 at home and dual 16:9's at work and the 16:9 size annoys me.
a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2013 2:52:11 AM

BigMack70 said:
Meh... most likely if you can manage to grab one, you can grab two instead. It's likely to sell out within the first few minutes of being listed (at least on sites like newegg) and so you either get however many you want, or you get none.


not really sometimes its only one per customer!
!