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need pro help...nvidia or ati?Sli/crossfire or not?

post #1 of 12
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For the past week or 2 i've been all over the internet informing myself about what gpu I should buy. Until this afternoon, it was quiet clear it was the 560 ti that I wanted, but now it changed...

I've checked and it seems for price/performance ratio, the 6950 takes the cake here. But I've never been with ati before and I really want reassurance from you guys that ati is good( I know it is, but I really need to know I spend my money well here).

I also want something that stays cool, so the 2 gb sapphire 6950 with dual fans seem perfect.

Also, I really want to sli/crossfire in the near future, but the guy at my local shop only told me negative stuff about sli or crossfire, so can anyone who has experience with sli crossfire tell me what is the positive and negative of this?

Can it run on all games? if not, which is not a problem for me, is it easy to just tell the game to use 1 gpu instead of both? or you have to go through alot of hassles just to get it working on 1?

So what do you guys suggest?
    
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post #2 of 12
Can it run on all games? Some games are not compatible with CFX/SLI but there are very few titles out there. All the major titles support multigpu technology though scaling may vary quite a lot across games. For example CFX scaling in Crysis games are terrible but they are (supposedly) excellent in SLI scaling. I wouldn't know, I don't own Nvidia cards.

ATI is a good choice. You may run into some troubles as far as software goes but with some work it can be easily fixed. I've run into quite a few issues myself, but with the newest driver update it seems like most of the more annoying issues have been fixed.

Multigpu technology in general:
Pros
-You get about 70-90% more performance (rarely is it double the performance)
-You will enhance your PSU efficiency because you are saturating more of the 850w capacity, hitting the efficiency "sweet spot."
..That's pretty much it really.

Cons
-You run into heat problems, especially if you're using a non-reference cooler design or if you cards are sandwiched together
-Microstutter!!! <--This is terrible and alone it should sway you away from CFX/SLI
-More difficult to overclock (this is somewhat limited to non-reference card designs because of voltage control)
-Higher electricity bill
-You have to spend twice the amount if you ever do any GPU-related upgrades (in my case...water cooling)
-Driver problems...especially with ATI.
post #3 of 12
i've always been in favor of a powerful single card solution, saves power, and reduces heat.

anyway, there's really nothing wrong with sli/xfire anymore. depending on your budget, i'd recommend a gtx460 sli, gtx 580 performance for around $220.

it's also going to be hard to find a "cool" sli/xfire config, there's usually not a lot of space between the cards. i believe the bottom card is usually hotter than the top card, which makes sense if you think about it. most people here with sli/xfire setups will go watercooling, but one step at a time. you can run dual card setups perfectly fine if you setup automatic fan overclocking.
post #4 of 12
Go for ATI , nVidia is more for work stuff, 3d render ects....
save yourself some money and get ATI .

you wont see the difference.
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post #5 of 12
Amd cards suffer the most from microstuttering and drivers are buggyin CX. The best option is a 6950 with a aftermarket cooler performs better than 560 ti.
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post #6 of 12
The 6950 2gb is a great card and would make an awesome crossfire. I think you made the right choice. Another option would be to go crossfire right now with the 6850, then when the 7xxx series hits later on, upgrade to 7xxx. A pair of 6850's in crossfire beat even a GTX 580. But it's up to you. Personally, I'd go 6850 xfire now and 7xxx later since you can get 2x 6850 for about the price of a 6950 2gb and you know as soon as those 7xxx series cards hit, you're gonna want to upgrade to them, lol.
    
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven-1979 View Post
The 6950 2gb is a great card and would make an awesome crossfire. I think you made the right choice. Another option would be to go crossfire right now with the 6850, then when the 7xxx series hits later on, upgrade to 7xxx. A pair of 6850's in crossfire beat even a GTX 580. But it's up to you. Personally, I'd go 6850 xfire now and 7xxx later since you can get 2x 6850 for about the price of a 6950 2gb and you know as soon as those 7xxx series cards hit, you're gonna want to upgrade to them, lol.

Yeah this could be another option, but I don't plan on upgrading on the 7xxx series though, so I want something long term...and i really need to know that i won't run into alot of problems while crossfiring.
    
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post #8 of 12
BFBC2 wont do 6970 crossfied, I have to disable one, but I still max it. I spent 600$ on ebay for 2. I'm very happy. Eyefinity soon, as ati can use monitors of different brands/types, nvidia they have to be exactly the same, for games.

PS: Bigger and bader series cards come out all the time, each a little better than the last, I had a gtx 285 and upgraded to a gtx 560 ti and the difference wasnt night and day. 7xxx isnt going to obliterate the 69xx's.
Edited by Bodi - 7/25/11 at 8:47pm
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post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skoltnik View Post
Also, I really want to sli/crossfire in the near future, but the guy at my local shop only told me negative stuff about sli or crossfire, so can anyone who has experience with sli crossfire tell me what is the positive and negative of this?

Can it run on all games? if not, which is not a problem for me, is it easy to just tell the game to use 1 gpu instead of both? or you have to go through alot of hassles just to get it working on 1?

So what do you guys suggest?
I'm not going to comment about which product to choose, because I don't feel like getting in an argument with people, but I can help with your other concerns.

The negatives of SLI and Crossfire are basically that they don't scale 100% and they run warmer than a single card. Even though they don't scale to 100% they are getting damn close, the performance increase of 2 cards over 1 is very noticeable in nearly all games now. As far as temps go, as long as you have proper ventilation in your case you'll be fine. I'm running 2 OC'd non reference 580s (they exhaust air back into case) and my load temps do not exceed 62*C.

I can't speak for Crossfire, but in SLI I have not run into a game that couldn't utilize both cards. However, with SLI (again I can't speak for Crossfire) if you did have to run with only 1 card you can just open the Nvidia control panel and turn SLI off and just use the card that the monitors are plugged into.

Sli/Crossfire has come a long way and perform excellent in nearly every game. It is a great way to squeeze high end single card performance out of 2 low to mid range cards, or to get top tier performance with 2 high end cards.
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post #10 of 12
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Thanks for that info hwi
    
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