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amazing deal @ frys on gtx280

303 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  razr7
I've been strugglin tryin to figure out what upgrade I wanted ... been running a 4870 1gb for awhile now, and frankly, I just can't get into this card. I'm a nvidia guy at heart, and I've been wanting some kind of upgrade for awhile ... been trying out lots of different configs ... in fact at this point I think I've worn out my welcome at the Fry's return desk ... I prefer to buy locally in real store, partly cause I like the ease of return factor, and also cause I like to support local business.

So, here's my recent saga:

In the last month I've tried two gtx295's (I like the card a lot, but both were open box, and both had problems) ...

I've bought a p45 xfire board and tried another 4870 1GB in there, wasn't all that happy with it (and I'z kinda worried about possible bottlenecking with the 8x slots, and I know that long-term, it woulda bugged me).

So, I've gone back to my trusty p35 asus, then tried a gtx285, was impressed with the card, it oc'd nicely and performed well, but it kinda seemed overpriced (BFG OC @379 - $30 MIR I know I'd never get 'round to sending in) for the performance, esp. considering I've already got this 4870...

So I'm in Fry's yesterday, kinda hoping maybe that they'll actually have a gtx295 in stock that's new (they never have in the past 1.5 months as far as I can tell) so I could just get one and hope any problems would get sorted with drivers, when I spy a deal that finally decides me on what I'm gonna do here.

BFG OC GTX280 is on sale, with no MIR needed, for $269. I just said, 'that's it, I'm gettin two, and I'm gettin me an SLI board, and I'm gonna be done with this journey, at least for a while'.

Well, I haven't decided on the SLI board yet, didn't have enough cash on hand (I only buy toys with cash, another reason I don't do the Egg, btw), but I've got one gtx280 in place now, and I'm hitting what looks to me to be decent clocks with it (691/1458/2484), which is within 7-8% of the max OC's I was seeing on the GTX285 while I had it (and as we all know, clock for clock, these cards are identical). And it cost me like 30% less. And frankly, it just kinda feels like a little 'better built' card than the 285. I prefer the back cover on the board, in particular.

Something impressive about this card I've already noticed, it's the first card I've ever had that, instead of just hard-crashing the system when the core is o/c'd too far (which the 285 did), it just gets corruption/anamolies on the screen but it keeps chuggin along (at least it will for a bit, I always stop the testing when I see that!) And the shaders and mem of course do something similar, but that is normal in my experience. IOW, its the first time I've ever been able to determine my max OC's on all three clocks ... without ever once hard-locking my system. I just think it's kinda cool, but I'm a big geek ...

Today I've also come to find out the evga software over-volting tool (which I understand has been modded to do any brand) works on the 280 as well, due to it's superior voltage regulation (vs the 285, which it won't work on), and that made me even happier with my purchase. I'll probably never use it, but it's cool to know it's there

So, all in all, I'm pretty stoked today. Gonna sell my 4870 1GB for cheap, get me an SLI board, and rock the hizz.

Quick question ... I'm planning on going i7 at some point in the not too distant future, but for now I'm looking to keep my e8400/ddr2. Is there any real reason NOT to just go with a 750i, rather than more expensive 780i/790i
board, given my circumstances? Is there a big difference in terms of lanes/bandwidth, that sorta thing? I don't care about tri-sli, so ...
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I think for what you want to run (SLI and not TRI-SLI), the eVGA 750i FTW is the best choice. It OCs very well (better then the non FTW 780i) and delivers on performance. The only other drawback to the 750i over the 780i is the number of SATA connections. So if you only need 4, it isnt an issue at all.

750i FTW at newegg (Send them cash):

Here is a decent 750i FTW thread here on OCN:

Here is a decent review of the board:
[H] Enthusiasts: EVGA 750i SLI FTW Review



For the overclocking tests all processors were cooled with a Corsair Nautilus 500 and an Apogee GT waterblock. I used Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound for each processor. Working with the 750i SLI FTW was a great experience when it came to overclocking. If overclocking settings ever failed the board recovered instantly and let me know that there was a problem. Never did I have to clear the CMOS or go through a series of reboots and have to wait for the "watchdog" function to kick in. Other motherboard manufacturers need to take note and make recovery this simple for failed overclocking. This board exceeded all others in this area. For this particular review we tested three different processors. A low end dual core, a higher end dual core and a budget quad core processor. The results for each processor are shown below:

Core 2 Duo E8500 Results

The E8500 is a joy to work with on the 750i SLI FTW. I wasn't able to set any speed records but I reached a respectable 520.3MHz FSB. While I've seen higher end boards do better I'm really pleased I was able to get that out of a sub-$200 board. I was also able to reach a memory clock speed of 1135.2MHz. I've seen this memory go higher, but the results weren't bad considering the board doesn't support the memory's EPP profiles. The E8500 is obviously a solid choice to pair up with this board.

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