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Just got two (free) 8800GT's

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Went back home this weekend and my (rather wealthy) best friend just threw me two gfx cards he wasn't using anymore

I got one of each of these:
EVGA 8800GT Akimbo 1GB dual slot
http://www.motherboards.org/reviews/...re/1771_3.html
And
EVGA 8800GT 512GB single slot
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130303

I'm thinking using one for physX, contemplating which one to use, and what slot config I should go with on my main (sig) rig.

My board has the PCI-Ex layout (bold are PCI-Ex) as follows ATM
1 - 16x (470-1)
2 - (470-2)
3 - 8x (open)
4 - 1x (X-Fi)
5 - 16x (470-1)
6 - (470-2)
7 - 8x (open)

As you can see, I have the two double slot 470's at 1 and 5, with my PCI-Ex (1x) X-Fi at slot 4. The X-Fi could work in any of the 5 PCI-Ex slots, too

So have a single-slot reference card or a dual slot Akimbo card to add for physX on the main rig.

The one thing that's sorta complicating matters is that the dual slot Akimbo has this thick heatsink on the back of the card that would hit against any card I put above it, unless I elect to remove the thing (it's just for extra cooling of the proc as far as I know and not critical) ... but it is a pretty cool looking extra heatsink so I kinda don't want to.

So, like I say, I'm just trying to figure out which is the best card to use at home for physX and what's the most sensible config of the 3 cards + X-Fi card ... and of course I'm primarily concerned with the temperature/noise scenario created.

Keep in mind the 470's are the Twin Frozr's, and both cards have the 'blowhole' (intake for the reference fan ... if I had a reference cooler) in the back of the PCB that pretty much blasts hot air directly upwards at the card above.

It might possibly be the case that putting the Akimbo, with it's exhausting cooler, in the middle slot would actually not raise the top card temp by that much, even though it'd block it's airflow, at least it would exhaust the hot air coming out the blowhole of the bottom card. Like I say, though, there's that matter of the extra (cool) heat sink on the back of the Akimbo, which would have to be removed for this application.

I'm also somewhat inclined to keep the 470's in slots 1 and 5, but might be convinced to move to move one of them to slot 3 if it makes more sense for some reason. I think having three gfx cards will put me at 8x/8x/8x anyways so it shouldn't matter in terms of perf where the three cards are at (plus we know the diff between 16x and 8x is very minimal).

Oh, and also: I plan on using the extra one back at the office, whichever one I don't use at home. It should be noted that I really don't game there except to occasionally show co-workers some new game that just came out (it's a programming shop so a bunch of geeks work there) so whatever I put there is going to be overkill and rarely used. Quietness at idle is a kinda a priority there, but even the single slot 8800GT iirc is reasonably quiet at idle.

Obviously the vram is pretty irrelevant in either situation, as it'd be used physX in the main rig, or 1280x1024 if (barely) used at work.

So, what do you guys think, all things considered (also note I have a 2-card flexible SLI bridge on hand as well).

Here's a pic of the rig as it stands now (except sound card is at slot 7):


Edited by brettjv - 5/23/11 at 10:44am
    
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post #2 of 21
I would say dont even bother with it, or at least run some test first to see if an 8800gt can even feed 2 470s fast enough. If I had to chose though I would go with the single slot in slot 3 with the X-Fi in 7 and the 4th pci slot open to help remove the air from card in 3 and 5.

Edit: Can you even fit the Akimbo in between both cards? It looks like the heatsink on the back of the card wouldnt allow it. Would help if I would read everything.

Edit2: Maybe the single slot on the bottom wouldn't be to bad either since the bottom cards would be fed by the fan. Possibilities...
Edited by nagle3092 - 5/23/11 at 12:23am
 
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post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagle3092 View Post
I would say dont even bother with it, or at least run some test first to see if an 8800gt can even feed 2 470s fast enough. If I had to chose though I would go with the single slot in slot 3 with the X-Fi in 7 and the 4th pci slot open to help remove the air from card in 3 and 5.

Edit: Can you even fit the Akimbo in between both cards? It looks like the heatsink on the back of the card wouldnt allow it.
Oh, don't worry ... benchmarks will follow but I already know that in physX games, it's better to have 470's in SLI + 8800GT for physX than it is to just use the 470's in SLI with physX running on one of the two cards. Running PhysX on an SLI set is not an optimal situation I'm afraid.

Plus it's free

I did mention the matter of the extra heatsink on the back of the Akimbo, and I'm willing to remove it if there's a real advantage to doing so in terms of the slot config enabled by it.

EDIT:
Okay, since from the beginning I though there's a decent chance that the most logical (and for sure the easist) setup would be to add the single slot card to slot 7 and leave all else the same, I've gone ahead and made it so. This way I can get some tests going

The result is that I'm now running 16x/8x/8x, so one of my two 470's is now at 8x instead of 16x. Also, although the impact on temps on the top card is fairly minimal (50C --> 54C), the bottom card takes a pretty big temp hit with this card sitting right below it (43C --> 57C). Not unmanageable, but it's a bit extreme. Fans are at auto though so I'm sure I could bring temps down if I want to hear more noise.

I'll be doing some tests here shortly and posting results.
Edited by brettjv - 5/23/11 at 12:49am
    
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post #4 of 21
I doubt it would be worth it, even a 9800GT doesn't help a 460+ with Physx, according to many other threads I've read. But, there's no reason not to try.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascii Aficionado View Post
I doubt it would be worth it, even a 9800GT doesn't help a 460+ with Physx, according to many other threads I've read. But, there's no reason not to try.
Although I've never done these tests before, my inclination is to suggest that you stay-tuned for the results ... you may well end up surprised
    
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post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by brettjv View Post
Although I've never done these tests before, my inclination is to suggest that you stay-tuned for the results ... you may well end up surprised
I wouldn't be surprised if it somehow helped. Everyone's performance is relative to their combination of hardware, so different outcomes are likely.

I'll check the thread randomly, I'm extremely hooked on The Witcher 1, started playing it yesterday.
post #7 of 21
This is a difficult problem. One possible solution is shown in the pic below.
However, the solution itself introduces a few obstacles.

a. 8th slot: there is none for a Storm Sniper. This means modding an opening for the bottom GTX470 to vent its hot air out in the rear

b. Motherboard headers on the lower edge: a dual slot GTX470 on the 7th slot might conflict with all the USB headers and front panel I/O headers and Power/Reset headers. Need to check this.

c. PSU orientation: if the PSU has its intake fan facing up, it will compete for air with one of the 2 intake fans of the lower GTX470. So, the PSU needs to be flipped so that it intakes air from case bottom.


Or, just go for the ultimate crazy idea:-
Sell both cards and add some money to get 3rd card to do GTX470 3-way SLI!!!
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Comparison between running PhysX on the SLI set vs running it on SLI + Dedicated 8800GT for PhysX. All settings are maxed at 1920 x 1200, using benchmark from original (retail) release version of the game.

Results are definitely interesting ... almost nonsensical in some regards. But I have to say, they def. illustrate some value to running the dedicated physX card in this game It absolutely crushes on about 40% of the test, does a much better job at not dipping below 40fps, and only rarely does slightly worse ... course it's strange that it would at all

Config w/8800GT as PhysX card



Usage Graphs (Left = PhysX on 8800GT, Right = PhysX on Card 1 in SLI Set)



Benchmark Results (note Blue and Pink lines are reversed in their labeling, sorry for that clerical error )




@Windfire:
I'm not even contemplating putting the two-slot card into slot 7 due to my case being 7 slots.The single slotter is the only one I'm contemplating putting in that location, in fact that's what I did for these tests



Edited by brettjv - 5/23/11 at 2:43am
    
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post #9 of 21
According to the written results...shouldn't the pink be GTX 470 SLI and blue be GTX 470 SLI + Dedicated?
    
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post #10 of 21
Interesting to say the least.
I have a couple GTX 260's that I was considering selling until now.

Think a 260 dedicated to PhysX, with my 570 would get me similar results?
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