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480 GTX SLI upgrade?

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by Bouldy, 19 Apr 2012.

  1. Bouldy

    Associate

    Joined: 13 Apr 2011

    Posts: 18

    Location: Wolverhampton

    hello all,

    i currently have a 480 GTX overclocked(as standard) I am wondering if it is worth buying a second stock 480GTX or not basically....

    PC specifications:

    I7 920 2.66ghz
    3gb ram (plan on buying another 3 GB)
    480GTX (820mhz)
    ASUS rampage extreme 2 mother board

    id really appreciate input on this as i have no idea about SLI

    thanks for your time.
     
  2. 95thrifles

    Perma Banned

    Joined: 15 Nov 2008

    Posts: 6,970

    Worth is very much a personal opinion

    What are you wanting from your system? How does it perform now?

    I presume youre looking for more gaming performance, but to answer the question accurately, what games do you play? At what resolution? What framerates do you get now? Both average and minimum, another 480 will likely improve your average FR but not your minimum, the drawbacks would be a very hot and very loud system, imo, though again this is subjective

    Your first port of call should be to overclock your CPU and get that extra RAM, see where you are there, and if you need more performance then you can look at the options of adding a 2nd card or myabe upgrading the existing one depending on your needs/budget
     
  3. Bouldy

    Associate

    Joined: 13 Apr 2011

    Posts: 18

    Location: Wolverhampton

    im playing mainly
    battlefield 3
    shogun total war 2
    men of war assault squad
    and lots more RTS games

    when ive been monitoring my ram if im playing battlefield for example it goes as high as 97% so defo need more ram ive overclocked my cpu to 3.2ghz i have also turned off hyper threading.

    i supose the main thing i want to improve from this is the consistency of battlefield because its doing 60fps constantly BAM DROP 2 -10 then straight back up to 60! i have no idea what is causing it whether its battlefield ram or graphics card im assuming its a combination of RAM and Graphics card.
     
  4. Soundood

    Mobster

    Joined: 9 Jun 2009

    Posts: 3,069

    Location: OCUK Detention Centre

    CPU, turn post AA down to low, should sort it out.

    grab this file here, http://www.box.com/s/759ad407c41ced4d8c8e

    and put it in your , C:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\Battlefield 3 folder

    start game and look at the graph and it will tell you where the spike is coming from

    should be easier to diagnose from there
     
  5. bhavv

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 14 Nov 2009

    Posts: 13,645

    Don't get another 3 Gb, get 6 Gb of Kingston ram for £35 and add it in on top of your 3 Gb. You can mix different size modules as long as they run at the same speed.

    6 Gb is already beginning a bottleneck for gaming too, 8 Gb is the reccomended amount to have as a minimum for gaming and caching requirements.
     
  6. tobsmonster2

    Gangster

    Joined: 6 May 2011

    Posts: 248

    Location: London

    This^

    And if you already have a powerful PSU and a case to keep things cool, 480 SLI is a solid performer.

    Alternatively, you could sell the 480 for ~£120 and put the money towards a 580 or 7950.

    EDIT: You might find you don't even need the extra GPU power once you get more RAM. We have similar systems, and I never see my FPS drop below 38 or thereabouts. It's almost certain your low RAM capacity is holding you back.
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2012
  7. no_1_dave

    Soldato

    Joined: 7 Jul 2004

    Posts: 6,892

    Location: Gloucestershire

    1) As above, get another 6GB. Most games go over 3GB so you're bottlenecked already.

    2) You need at least an 800 Watt PSU for SLI 480s. Do you have this already?

    3) Your CPU will bottleneck BF3. I also have the 920 and GPU usage still isn't at 100% even with it overclocked to 4Ghz. At 3.2Ghz you'll likely see GPU usage around 70%, so you will get a boost, but not as much as you're hoping for. Why not clock it to 3.8 or 4Ghz? Plenty of guides in the overclocking forum, the 920 was really popular and is almost guaranteed to do 3.8 at least.

    4) Turn Hyperthreading back on.

    5) 480s get hot, you need good ventilation running them in SLI, by this I mean a fan literally pointing at them. It was 470s in SLI that made me go the water cooling route. On air I was seeing temps of 95c on the top card and that was with an Akasa Eclipse 62 case with the side panel fan.

    If you already have the PSU and can do these things I mention then 480SLI is worth it, 480s are cheap right now. If however you need to buy a new PSU then you may as well sell your 480 and buy a 680. It uses less power then the 480 so will be fine on your current PSU. Oh and don't worry, SLI works very well. I've had no problems with it, everything has always worked as it should :)
     
  8. Bouldy

    Associate

    Joined: 13 Apr 2011

    Posts: 18

    Location: Wolverhampton

    i Have 1000watt PSU so that isnt a problem.

    ill look into overclocking it to 3.8ghz but im worried cause i do not have it water cooled.

    ill get 6gb RAM next month.

    ive found my 480 gets to arround 90 quite quickly....

    how much to get water cooling GIVE/TAKE... lol also does it atract less dust?
     
  9. Bouldy

    Associate

    Joined: 13 Apr 2011

    Posts: 18

    Location: Wolverhampton

    OH! one more thing! would a SSD disc benefit Battlefield 3? cause im really annoyed with the loading times....
     
  10. Deception

    Soldato

    Joined: 23 Apr 2006

    Posts: 6,407

    Location: Nottingham

    Yes, it would. My friend takes about a minute to load a map on BF3 and yet I take probably 10-20seconds at most :). Im using a Crucial M4 128gb one.
     
  11. Bouldy

    Associate

    Joined: 13 Apr 2011

    Posts: 18

    Location: Wolverhampton

    thanks for all the advice gents.

    will apply a great deal of it over summer. :)
     
  12. no_1_dave

    Soldato

    Joined: 7 Jul 2004

    Posts: 6,892

    Location: Gloucestershire

    Water cooling a whole rig can cost £300 easily. There is no point in this if it is just to go SLI with 480s. I did it back when 470/480 were the top of the line, if you're looking for a cheap upgrade then SLI is a good option but water cooling is not cheap so you'd be better off with the 680. If you are seeing temps of 90c already then don't go SLI, you haven't got the air flow for it.

    The 920 can do 4Ghz on just air no problem. I had mine on air for a good 6 months @ 4Ghz

    Dont forget to turn hyperthreading back on.

    You will notice an improvement on the first load, minimal afterwards. I have had it on my SSD and moved it back to my 1TB games drive now. While on the SSD the very first map would load a lot quicker. After the first map a lot of the textures etc are already stored in the ram & vram so loading times are very fast anyway. This is all down to how much system ram & vram you have though. However, an SSD as a boot drive makes your computer a whole new beast. Everything is instant, no waiting for programs to load etc. It's a must in my eyes.
     
  13. [email protected]

    Caporegime

    Joined: 8 Nov 2008

    Posts: 27,729

    +1

    One of the best upgrades I've ever done for my pc. It's true for me with regard to what others were saying, that once you buy one, you probably wouldn't go back! :)
     
  14. bhavv

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 14 Nov 2009

    Posts: 13,645

    Just to put it into perspective, I've seen my physical ram usage hit 4.5 Gb in Cvilization 5 and DDO.

    Together with the amount of cached ram, my total ram use hits around 7.5 Gb within 5 minutes of running these games.

    Within 30-60 minutes, my PC will have found a way to fill all 12 Gb I have available. Without a sufficient amount of ram (<8 Gb), windows would be caching this data into the page file instead, which leads to significant lag and is the reason why people upgrading from 4 to 8 Gb have noticed significant improvements.

    I have seen people on this forum post 4.9 Gb physical ram being used up by BF3. Also if a system only has 4 Gb ram, you should never see the physical ram usage exceed 3.8 Gb because windows forces the remaining 256 mb to be reserved for caching, while having to excessively rely on page file as well (say hello to lag, more lag, and yet more lag when this happens).

    8-12 Gb based on what motherboard you have is a highly recommended minimum to currently have to eliminate any ram bottlenecks. This amount will last a very long time until games being to chew up over 6-10 Gb ram (as a general rule, have a minimum of at least 2 Gb extra physical ram than whatever the physical ram usage graph shows. Never assume that what the green graph shows is the only amount of ram you need, you need plenty more for caching and smooth gameplay experience). I've seen the argument that 'I have 4 Gb ram, and my games only use 3.8 Gb therefore my ram isnt a bottleneck' several times and cant help but laugh.

    Theres not much point in getting more than 12 Gb, but people are buying 16 / 24 gb and even more because of how cheap ram currently is.

    And theres little point to paying for more than 1600 Mhz ram too, as it only currently costs around £5 per Gb.
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2012
  15. ALXAndy

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Apr 2010

    Posts: 10,700

    Location: West Sussex

    In what circumstances? BF3?

    Because I have had a pair of 480s in my rig now for over three hours and have tortured the **** out of them and the best I could do was 77c on the hotter GPU.

    [​IMG]

    And I am running a heat sandwich.

    [​IMG]

    Mind you in fairness the Noctua does bring air in through the vented top and put it to the back of the top GPU. And the top GPU can breathe in through the back of the PCB so maybe that's why?

    Or it could be the 92mm Delta fan in the duct right in front of both GPUs.
     
  16. scrlk

    Mobster

    Joined: 25 Sep 2009

    Posts: 3,641

    <3 your ghetto looking PSU cables Andy. :p

    Is that Delta a screamer Delta though, that is the question. :D
     
  17. setter

    Caporegime

    Joined: 14 Dec 2005

    Posts: 28,160

    Location: armoy, n. ireland

    Wow, those are pretty close together, seeing a max of 72c on a pair of sli'd gtx 470's, using a custom fan profile. They ran a lot cooler in my old lian li A70F case, bitfenix shinobi xl has very poor airflow in comparison.
     
  18. ALXAndy

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Apr 2010

    Posts: 10,700

    Location: West Sussex

    It's currently running at 34% which is the cut off of hearing it or not.

    So no.

    And when the cards spun up they were no louder than my 7970, nor hotter yet.

    As I said, that could be down to a few things. Firstly the Delta is about two inches away from the ends of the 480s and the ends are open. The back of the card at the top is also open where the fan is which would allow it to draw in cool air.

    And I haven't yet ran BF3. I did play Crysis in 3D however for over 20 mins and I could not top the temps it hit during Vantage with the side off.

    Currently downloading a 5gb file with no resume so I'm not going to run BF3 until that's done.

    I did run dual single PCB 295s in this rig before, and the only thing that made them say uncle was NFS : The runs with the drivers that stop the fans spinning up properly. Compared to those these 480s are absolutely silent.

    Note - do not touch the heat pipes on a 480. They are called heat pipes for a good reason.


    Well you can clearly tell EVGA had me in mind as the cards have a foam strip on the back so that the VRMs or whatever they are do not touch the cooler on the top card.
     
  19. setter

    Caporegime

    Joined: 14 Dec 2005

    Posts: 28,160

    Location: armoy, n. ireland

    Got pretty good board spacing here.

    [​IMG]

    But, very poor air intake. I used to also have sli gtx 460's in another x58 rig, they were hitting 96 and 89c respectively in bf3, non reference cooled cards on a tightly spaced p6 x58de mobo, case was an akasa eclipse 62. Had to ditch sli in that rig as it was a no goer due to temps.
     
  20. Surveyor

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Sep 2010

    Posts: 23,437

    What happened to the HD 7970 and your dislike for multi-GPU setups?
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2012