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SLI questions

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone. I will preface this my saying I plan on upgrading to an Intel i5 2500k sometime this summer. This means new cpu + mobo + RAM.

Between that time and the release of BF3/Skyrim, I plan on doing something about my GPU setup. Right now I have a 1GB GTX 460.

Which would be more powerful: two GTX 460's, or a single GTX 560/570?

Do I need to get the same exact 460 to do SLI? Or can I buy any 'ol 460?

Are there any additional problem/issues that arise when using SLI vs. a single card?

Thanks for any input.

edit: 1080p 24'' monitor
post #2 of 11
2 GTX 460 1 GB in SLI would be a bit more powerful than a GTX 580.
i know that 2 GTX 460 768MB SLI = GTX 580.

some games may not support SLI, but those are often the older games that you don't need sli on anyway (like uh solitaire, don't support sli
with SLI, your power consumption figure will double, your noise will double (although not that noticable) and your heat output will double. make sure you have good case ventilation, proper spacing of the PCI-E slots on your motherboard (2 empty slots between each PCI-E) and a proper PSU of about 650watt or higher and you will be good.

you do not need to get the exact card, you can get the card from different manufacturer with different models, but you do need to make sure that it's the GTX 460 1 GB (not GTX 460 768MB, not GTX 460 SE)
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post #3 of 11
I would think 2 460s in SLi would be more powerful, since scaling has become better than it was some time ago. Personally, I would stick with a single card, but I have toned down my need for power in the past few years. You also need to seriously consider a new power supply if you plan on upgrading to any better GPU, unless your PSU in your sig isn't quite up to date.

You will want an exact card match for SLI; the firmware needs to match, it is possible to run non matching but it won't be helpful to you in any way.
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post #4 of 11
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/N...460_SLI/7.html
very powerful combo. with new drivers it should match the HD 5970 or even surpass it in most games.
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
I would either buy a single 560/570 in October (hopefully for under $300 by then, minus whatever I sell my 460 for) or buy a second GTX 460 with a new PSU.
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMallory View Post
Hey everyone. I will preface this my saying I plan on upgrading to an Intel i5 2500k sometime this summer. This means new cpu + mobo + RAM.

Between that time and the release of BF3/Skyrim, I plan on doing something about my GPU setup. Right now I have a 1GB GTX 460.

Which would be more powerful: two GTX 460's, or a single GTX 560/570?

Do I need to get the same exact 460 to do SLI? Or can I buy any 'ol 460?

Are there any additional problem/issues that arise when using SLI vs. a single card?

Thanks for any input.

edit: 1080p 24'' monitor
Two 460's 1GB in SLI are faster than any single card setup at the moment when running 1080p in 99% of gaming scenarios.

However, on a couple of games (Metro, Stalker CS/CoP, GTAIV) that have very high VRAM requirements, you might find that a 480/580 would be slightly faster as the 460's could run out of available vram. Keep in mind memory in SLI doesn't add up, so the 480/580 have 1.5GB and your cards in SLI would be 1GB. But like I say, this would be rare.

You can use any 460 1GB card to SLI w/your current 460. Brands and clocks don't matter at all. My priority in choosing a particular model in your situation would be on it's cooling abilities ... two cards in SLI do run a lot warmer, esp. the top card in the set.

SLI generally works quite nicely, but it's not w/o the occasional hassle. Sometimes new games (or esp. advance-release game demos) come out and nV doesn't get a SLI profile out at the same time. These profiles come in the Forceware (driver) package, or sometimes in between driver releases via a SLI Enhancement Patch.

If the drivers don't have an SLI profile for a particular game, you can still play it, but SLI won't operate and you'll only get activity on one of the two cards. Sometimes you can work around this by renaming the games .exe file to that of a game for which an SLI profile does exist on your machine. I've done that few times over the years, with varying degrees of success.

Also, sometimes on certain games the SLI scaling (% improvement vs. a single card) isn't the greatest ... typically this will happen with the highly CPU-dependent games like BFBC2, Crysis, GTAIV, Witcher 2, and some others.

Since SLI both increases the CPU load by nature (managing two cards eats up some CPU) AND it increases the framerate, it also increases the chances for CPU bottlenecking occurring on any given frame.

And whilst anytime you get a faster GPU setup, you increase the chance for CPU bottlenecking, it's little worse w/SLI because like I say, SLI increases the CPU load by nature due to the 'cost' of managing two cards instead of one.

There's also issue of heat and noise from running two cards, but it shouldn't be that bad w/460's, as these run reasonable cool by nature.
Edited by brettjv - 6/14/11 at 11:08am
    
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post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Sounds like more hassle than I'd like to deal with. Sounds like I should just ditch the 460 and go with a single card.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMallory View Post
Sounds like more hassle than I'd like to deal with. Sounds like I should just ditch the 460 and go with a single card.
That wasn't what I was intending to imply ... Personally I generally don't mind the occasional hassles, it's worth the tradeoff as going SLI provides a cheap way to upgrade your performance. I look at the hassles as 'challenges' to be met

Selling your current card and replacing it w/a 580 would have a MUCH higher net cost to you, and still not perform as well as adding another 460 1GB would ... provided that you're playing a game that SLI works on ... which is pretty much any game except the occasional new release that nV lags on getting out a SLI profile for. And like I say, there's an easy workaround for that a lot of the time.

If you have a good card that you like, and a board that supports SLI, and a PSU that can support the SLI setup ... there's no way you're going to match the bang/buck value of getting a 2nd card for SLI.
    
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post #9 of 11
your E8400 will be a bottleneck to certain degrees.

but I think we're shorta blowing bigger than it is.
SLI isn't all that hassle if you know what you're doing and you have the right hardwares
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post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by james8 View Post
2 GTX 460 1 GB in SLI would be a bit more powerful than a GTX 580.
i know that 2 GTX 460 768MB SLI = GTX 580.
The only problem is that the GTX580 will still have more memory. Memory when you SLi does not stack unfortunately.
    
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