Single Graphics Card vs SLI setup?

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Trist_58

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Hello again everyone,

I'm looking to get a new graphics card to satisfy the needs of some new games I want to play in 3D. While doing some research into the current technology, I discovered to my dismay that my mboard (ASUS P7P55D LE) supports Crossfire but NOT SLI. This is a problem because I was planning to install two NVIDIA cards, probably 560ti's. I understand that Crossfire does not support multiple NVIDIA cards (if i'm wrong here please correct me).

As an alternative to the above mentioned setup, I thought perhaps to go with the new NVIDIA 590 or 580 3GB.

My question to anyone who has experience in high end 3D gaming is do you think the single 3GB 590/580 card will do as good a job as two 560ti's when it comes to 1080p 3D at 60hz?

As I currently have a (dusty old) GTX 285 installed I assume a 590 will fit just the same.

The rest of my setup should be sufficient for this sort of thing.

If you think it matters, I am looking to get an "Acer HN274H 27in LED 120Hz" 3D monitor for the games (and some stereoscopic 3D animation/editing)

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

palladin9479

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A 590 is just two 570's (or 560's can't remember exactly) SLI'd on the same PCB. Their still two different GPU's completely with two different memory banks, they just share a single card and power unit.

590s are a horrible choice for your money. Best to get a 580 then buy a second one in 6 months to a year, then sit on that for a generation or two. You end up spending less money and getting better performance in the long run instead of constantly upgrading to the newest thing out there.

That and the 590 is ridiculously hot. Two powerful GPU's sharing the same heatsink / fan is a very bad idea.
 

Trist_58

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Hmm, I hadn't even thought about that - have always liked NVIDIA....I guess because I might need 3D Vision for my games? ( I say might because I also have TriDef which could also do the job)

More research is in order then. I need to know an ATI setup will also cater for my 3D animation/video editing needs.

Thanks Ben95
 

Trist_58

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Can anyone give me an idea of a Crossfire setup that would match a high end NVIDIA SLI or a single GTX 590 3GB?

I suppose I should list some of my specs:

ASUS P7P55D LE
Intel Core i7 860 @ 2.8 Ghz
16GB DDR3 RAM
GTX 285 1GB
Crucial M4 256GB SSD (dedicated for software/games)

Also do you think that ATI cards are as good as NVIDIA for 3D animation and video editing?

Cheers.
 

Ben95

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sorry man I am an nvidia guy too. I really know much about the ati stuff, but I just thought since you had crossfire its worth looking into.

Maybe an ati dude can help us out ;)
 

cnox

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Don't do it. Get one high powered card. There's simply physical limitations that will give you issues. Maybe not on every game, but enough. I went the dual card route, never again. Twice the heat, about 60% more fps (but usually that means 60 goes to 90fps, fast is fast enough). And that's on games where it actually is supported. Even where it is supported, it's the nature of the beast to experience microstuttering.

And when both cards can't keep up with the latest high enders, you got twice the trash to dispose of.

YMMV.

-Chris
 

Trist_58

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Right. In that case, I will prob go with either the GTX590 3GB or GTX580 3GB (which is a few hundred $$ cheaper).

I wonder if there is much of a diff between these two performance wise?

Which brand is better - Gigabyte, ASUS, EVGA etc?

Thanks for your help, guys.
 

dizzy_davidh

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I just swapped out 2x gtx280 for 1x gtx590 and can safely say it's performance is outstanding while at the same time it is soooo much quieter to run under load versus the old 280sli setup as well as giving the benefits of less heat, lower power consumption and less importantly it frees up a mass of power cabling versus the sli setup as well as freeing up a PCI-E lane for future use.

Having most recently tested the card out with the BF3 beta I can tell you that even with every graphical setting maxed out you can here the card teasing your apparent inability to make it work harder while it easily handles anything you can throw at it!

With regard to the make i went with, I bought the Gigabyte model as my preferred model (top-end Asus) is like gold dust and never available anywhere. Bizzarely the Gigabyte card comes in a massively sturdy hard plastic container box akin to a workman's toolbox which in my case is exactly what I now use it for.
 

Trist_58

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Thanks dizzy_davidh!

The more I research it the more I am believing that the 590 is the card for me. Like you said, its not only quieter than an SLI setup but consumes less power and takes less space. Also (as I have mentioned earlier) my mobo won't support SLI.

As far as the brand goes, the store I usually buy from has the Gigabyte version available so I reckon I'll go with that.

The only thing I need to figure out is will this card function well for 3D design and editing as well as games, and I need to check if my PSU is sufficient for this beast.

So I'm pretty much sold on the NVIDIA GTX 590 3GB.

If anyone has a good reason why I shouldn't, please let me know.

Cheers.
 

palladin9479

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I am currently running 2 x GTX285's in SLI. Waiting for a good moment to upgrade, but it would require me getting new water blocks so it's gotta be a meaningful upgrade. Also while some people have had bad experiences with SLI I've had nothing but good. I attribute this to the fact that I do 3D vision for gaming. If a game engine is built properly then it'll scale very well with SLI, if it's a console port or just thrown together then it'll have issues.

In your cause, are you absolutely sold on your current board?

SLI is absolutely amazing for 3D Vision games. 3D vision requires that the graphics card do nearly 200% the work it normally would. Thankfully this is work that can easily be split into two. With 3D Vision you will experience near linear performance increase with SLI. In other words, having a second card will double your frame rate. Now seeing as your going to want to be locked @60fps anyway, what it usually means is higher graphics detail settings and higher resolution. Your basically wanting to run 1080p @ 120 fps.

If your running a single GTX285, then go for the 580. It's a significant jump in performance, and 6 months to a year later you can buy another one at a discount to double your performance.

That's been my buying model since my two 7900GS's. Buy one, then 6months to a year later buy a second, then wait until a single card comes out that is 20~40% better then my dual setup. I went from 7900GS -> 8800GT -> GTX285 doing this method.
 

bumnut53

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I used a single 570 for my 3d gaming at 1920 x 1080. I found that I had to turn some detail down in the games but they still looked and ran great.

I now have 2 x 570s and it can be a pain sometimes if games do not support 2 cards, but I think you would have the same issue with a 590 (correct me if im wrong guys)

A single 580 would be great
 

Trist_58

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As far as I know, a 590 is not the same as SLI in the way that the two GPU's communicate. There are forums around that go into details about how they are engineered but this was the jist I got. So in theory I shouldn't have compatibility issues with the 590 compared to two separate cards in SLI when it comes to some games.

Also, I want to mininise power consumption, heat and noise so I think the 590 is for me.
 

Trist_58

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Which brings me to my next question -

I have heard that the 590 emits some heat into the case (as well as out the vents). In my setup this would be directed towards my ssd/hdd's so I was wondering if it would be wise to find a general cooler of some kind to prevent overheating. I am definately not looking to overclock the card, everything I have read suggests you shouldn't.

Anyone who has the 590 experienced issues with overheating?
 

bumnut53

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Games still see the 590 as 2 cards, if there is no sli support for a game, it will only use one GPU.
 

Trist_58

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Ok, Ill take your word for it.

I hope most games from now on will support SLI. I'm mainly into RPGs, like The Witcher 2 and looking forward to playing the new Elder Scrolls in 3D when it comes out.

Thanks for the intel.
 
The HD 6990 has issues with noise and heat. The GTX 590 on the other hand, doesn't have much heat or noise problems. Basically, it's just two underclocked 580s.
What is your current PSU?
Semms everything is upto mark, so GTX 590 it is then. :)
 

Actually, almost all the games supports SLi or get patched in being able to support SLi. It's mostly RTS type games that doesn't have SLi support.
Otherwise, you can force SLi support through Nvidia control panel. :)
 

Trist_58

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@Gman450

Thats good to hear. I had a look at my PSU today and found its only 700w so I will probably have to get a better one, Im thinking 850 or even 1000w.

Im also concerned that the 590 won't fit into the space where I have my old 285 as its a couple cms wider.
 

Trist_58

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Not sure about the brand, I am a bit pre-occupied to open the box up at the moment but I really appreciate your help, Gman. At the time of original build my technician assured me that it was of very good quality (but as if he would say otherwise lol). By cabinet I assume you mean case? Its an AOpen full tower, if that helps at all. Forgive my lack of expertise, Im still learning all this stuff as I go!
 
The dimensions of your case is adequate for a GTX 590.
I can see that the PSU is a good one, but want just a bit more info. Can you record and then post the power specifications of that PSU, because I can't seem to find your model in the manufacturer's website. So if you can post it, it'll be much appreciated. :)

You can find the power specs on a chart or something that is attached to the PSU.
Check the amps on the +12v rail. :)
 

Trist_58

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That's awesome news! Thankyou so much for putting my mind at ease. I will have another look at the PSU. The reason I think I will need a better one anyway is because I probably have more than average number of devices being supplied:

3 SSD's
1 HDD
1 Wacom Tablet
Surround sound system
Digital TV tuner
and soon to have a 120hz 27" LED 3D monitor.

These are on top of all the regular stuff.

Anyway I will post the info in about 15.

Cheers.
 
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