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Upgrade Path from SLI 6800GT

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by Flying_Nut, 24 May 2006.

  1. Flying_Nut

    Associate

    Joined: 23 May 2006

    Posts: 16

    Hi,

    Apologies if this has been asked before but I'm in need of your collective learned advice.

    I currently have two MSI Nvidia 6800GT cards in an SLI configuration on a Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI motherboard. Whilst this used to be the 'mutts nuts' its days of chasing cats seem to be over and I want to upgrade these. I'm thinking of a single card initially as I cant really afford two replacement high end cards again!

    What do you recommend, will a single 7900GTX offer better performance than my current set up, or would I be better to SLI two 7800s maybe? Heck, I've even considered turning to the darkside and buying a single ATI 1900XTX card but this will preclude any form of dual card arrangement in the future unless I change the mobo and go the crossfire route! I've read reams of postings about the Nvidia v ATI argument and it seems there is no easy answer, each has its own fan camp.

    Presumably if I go for one 7900GTX now I could always add a second in SLI when the price falls or do they occupy two slots (the dual PCI-E slots on the Mobo are adjacent)?

    My CPU is a single core Winchester AMD 3500 - will this be the limiting factor?

    Grateful for your help and advice before I pull my hair out!

    Thanks,
     
  2. MeatLoaf

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Dec 2005

    Posts: 14,201

    Location: Stoke on Trent

    Whats your budget?

    The 7900GT is a decent price, as is the X1800XT if its still on offer. My single 7900GT is almost as quick as the SLI 7800GTs it replaced.

    If it were me, id sell the 2x6800GT and put the cash towards a 7900GTX or an X1900XTX, whichever was cheapest.
     
  3. man_from_uncle

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 9 Jan 2006

    Posts: 1,345

    I'd do the same. You'll need at least a single 7800gtx or 7900gt to get comparable or better performance to your current rig, but a 7900gt is an animal once overclocked and if you sell your current pair you will probably find you can upgrade for less than £50. And you can always go SLi in a few months for probably £150-£170 or less.
     
  4. Flying_Nut

    Associate

    Joined: 23 May 2006

    Posts: 16

    Thanks guys, just looking OCUK are doing a deal on 7900GTs this week and I can get two BFG 7900GTs for not only £50 more than their 7900GTX.

    What do you reckon, will two 7900GTs in SLI (with only 256Mb memory ea) be better or worse than one 7900GTX with 512Mb...???

    I'm hoping that this upgrade will keep me reasonably cutting edge for the foreseeable future, what say you oh wise ones...??
     
  5. nO}{8

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 25 Jun 2004

    Posts: 1,569

    Location: in the clouds

    2 7900GT's will wipe the floor with a single 7900GTX. They will overclock near to GTX speeds as well. your looking at at least 50% faster.
     
  6. man_from_uncle

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 9 Jan 2006

    Posts: 1,345

    I'm running two. It's the mutt's.
     
  7. easyrider

    Caporegime

    Joined: 24 Dec 2005

    Posts: 39,676

    Location: Autonomy


    Rubbish.

    Two cards in SLI does not mean double the performance.
    SLI only comes into its own at WS resolutions etc..

    just get a single card 7900 GTX


    PLus the winny 3500 will be the bottleneck with two 7900 GT's in SLI
     
  8. Flying_Nut

    Associate

    Joined: 23 May 2006

    Posts: 16

    Thanks chaps, although I must admit to a slight bit of confusion even though the majority vote is for tw0 7900GTs!

    Replacing the 3500 CPU with a faster dual core spec is next on my agenda.

    One thought though, looking at the pics the 7900GT appears to be the same size as my 6800GTs, but the 7900GTX looks an awful lot thicker! Does it have a double depth heat sink if so this may preclude ever adding a second 7900GTX for SLI on the Gigabyte board where the PCI-E slots are adjacent.

    Decisions, decisions.....

    Are BFG overclocked 7900GTs the best of the bunch?
     
  9. MeatLoaf

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Dec 2005

    Posts: 14,201

    Location: Stoke on Trent

    Just get the cheapest mate
     
  10. turtle3

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 16 Jul 2005

    Posts: 1,143

    Location: snodland

    I have a pretty similar set up: 3700sd with 6800gt's sli 2 gig ram and been thinking of upgrading for a while cos like you said the 6800's are struggling a bit, I know exactly what you mean,, dont worry about the processor just yet because I remember reading a cpu and gpu comparison chart that someone posted on here and anything over an A64 3500 did not give any benefit where fps are concerned in gaming, i think the 7900gt's in sli are the best option if you want a noticable performance gain.
     
  11. easyrider

    Caporegime

    Joined: 24 Dec 2005

    Posts: 39,676

    Location: Autonomy


    The simple fact is the faster the cpu the more FPS you get.
    At stock my opty 170 was the bottleneck for my 7800 GT,7900GT.

    It was only when I clocked the cpu to 2.8ghz did the top end cards perform like they should.
     
  12. man_from_uncle

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 9 Jan 2006

    Posts: 1,345

    Despite my comments last night (I was caned), I'd probably buy a single 7900gtx rather than a pair of 7900gts. The gts will be quicker, and even with stock voltage and cooling will certainly reach upwards of 20% faster than the single card (and probably 50% or so faster if both are seriously overclocked), but the difference in terms of gaming experiance won't be as pronounced and the gtx option does leave a more obvious upgrade path.
     
  13. nO}{8

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 25 Jun 2004

    Posts: 1,569

    Location: in the clouds

    http://www.guru3d.com/article/Videocards/326/21/

    see here for benchmarks. the 7900gt in sli is faster by 50% over a single card in splintercell 3 at 10x7 as well as 19x12. If you overclock them to near GTX speeds then the performance will be near GTX sli and thats about 120% faster than a single GT card or 50% faster than a single GTX:\
     
  14. easyrider

    Caporegime

    Joined: 24 Dec 2005

    Posts: 39,676

    Location: Autonomy

    And in quake 4 the gap is less.
    Not worth filling the two slots IMO for that extra.

    But Benchmarks mean nothing I could find another benchmark where the gap between SLI 7900 GT and a single GTX would be smaller still.

    Many who have done SLI 7900 GT's have said the gain in performance was not that mindblowing and the best solution would of been to get a 7900 GTX for less money than two 7900 GT's and get another down the line when cheaper.
     
  15. turtle3

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 16 Jul 2005

    Posts: 1,143

    Location: snodland


    This is the article I was on about, it shows no real benefit in processor upgrades for gaming, faster processors are showing the same min fps as slower ones and dual core is of no benefit, i know there is a quake 4 dual core patch out now though :) just makes you think twice when a £120 processor does the same speed as a £600 one :eek:


    http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTAwMiwxLCxoZW50aHVzaWFzdA==
     
    Last edited: 25 May 2006
  16. easyrider

    Caporegime

    Joined: 24 Dec 2005

    Posts: 39,676

    Location: Autonomy


    From that article:

    "We found that sometimes even the AMD Athlon 64 3800+ will bottleneck your video card"

    That was my point.

    You need a fast cpu to drive the latest cards.The faster the better.
     
  17. Flying_Nut

    Associate

    Joined: 23 May 2006

    Posts: 16

    Thanks guys.

    If I take the view then that a 7900GTX offers the best 'bang per buck' at the moment and keep the option to add a second one later in SLI if the price falls, what about the size of the HSF on the card - does it take up effectively two slots?

    Unlike the Asus board, the Gigabyte K8nXP-SLI I have has the two PCI-E slots adjacent. My two 6800GTs are almost touching now so will two 7900GTXs ever fit?

    I know its not ideal to have them so close, but thats down to the Mobo so not a lot I can do about that!

    I really do appreciate your time, its a minefield out there at the moment!
     
  18. Rokusho

    Gangster

    Joined: 23 May 2005

    Posts: 302

    Location: In my chair

    TBH I have a 19" Moniter and a 6800GT and have no problames with fps or sacrificing quality in games like FEAR etc. Granted, soon they will be obsolete, by any new blockbuster games to come out. Only go SLi if you have a big moniter. Otherwise, your wasting money on a useless piece of hardware.
     
  19. pastymuncher

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 12 Jul 2005

    Posts: 18,711

    Location: Aberlour, NE Scotland

    Just to add my tuppance worth. When i build my next rig i will be going back to a single card. Granted it will be the most powerful one available at the time but it will be single. SLI is ok, but two cards draw twice the power and put out twice the heat and noise. Then you have to go out and buy better coolers to quieten the damn things down and to cool them better. Not only that but they also cover up your spare pci slots so that if you are lucky you will only have one available. The only reason i got Sli this time was because i have a 21" CRT running at 1600x1200@100hz and i like to play with all the eye candy turned on. A single 7800GT could'nt do that and i could get a pair for £70 more than a single GTX. Now the latest cards can handle high resolutions alone so it is not an issue.

    Get yourself a 7900GTX or a X1900XT (don't think the XT-X is worth the extra for the minimal clock increases). Or even wait for the next round of cards later in the year.
     
  20. p4radox

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,767

    Location: Prague

    50% does not mean double. And anyway, it would be more than 50% faster in some situations.