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Graphics SLI or just new/secondary card?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by microsoftPerson, 24 Mar 2014.

  1. microsoftPerson

    microsoftPerson What's a Dremel?

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    Hello,

    I currently have one MSI Twin Frozr II . For the most part, the card is good and has lasted me quite a while now. I require support for a third monitor, however. I would also appreciate some extra details and effects in games like BF4 where nvidia suggests I turn down most of the settings.

    Though I have recently enjoyed playing some BF4, I'm not much of a gamer really - so I'm looking for a cost-effective replacement or secondary card for my computer. I haven't ran two cards since the days of AGP ports and back then the secondary card I had was only to drive a second display and was a $20 PCI card.

    While I'm willing to spend considerably more than $20, I'm curious what the Bit-tech community might recommend given you guys have never led me wrong before. Thanks for any advice/comments.
     
  2. Deders

    Deders Modder

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    What resolution are you playing at?
     
    microsoftPerson likes this.
  3. microsoftPerson

    microsoftPerson What's a Dremel?

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    Good point, I left that out entirely.

    I currently use a single 1920x1080 monitor for games but run 2 of these for everything else and would eventually like to run a third monitor which would most likely be ~2560x1440p. I might even be tempted to buy one of these new 4k monitors, but I don't think I'd expect to game at 4K resolution. Let's go with 1440P as the target gaming resolution.
     
  4. Darkwisdom

    Darkwisdom Level 99 Retro Nerd

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    I wouldn't expect to be able to game on 1440p if it's a 560ti; you'd struggle to get decent frames unless all of the settings were on low. I'd either stick to a single 1080p monitor for gaming or upgrade the GPU.

    For multiple monitors however, any current Nvidia or AMD offering should be able to handle three monitors. It isn't worth getting another one for SLI, those cards are getting tricky to find for a good price.

    What are your options here? What are you considering spending on a new card that can handle three monitors and handle gaming on a single 1440p monitor?
     
  5. MODZERO

    MODZERO Minimodder

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    If you stay at 1080p then a second 560ti would do wonders (I buit a rig out of spares and second hand purchases for my old house mate using a pair of GTX560's). You'll breath new life into your gaming.. however, Nvidia drivers are binning the 500 serries so I'll be forced sooner or later to move up.

    a second 560 could be picked up for much less then 100 quid.

    J.
     
  6. Deders

    Deders Modder

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    I would have thought you'd be able to play BF4 with most of the settings maxed, except for maybe textures and MSAA. For those you'll want extra video memory.

    2GB would be the minimum worth considering and adding another 560TI won't give you any additional ram as both cards will need 1GB each.

    for max settings at 1080p you'd want at least a 760 or a 270X.

    for 1440p you'd want to consider a 780 or 280/290.
     
  7. SMIFFYDUDE

    SMIFFYDUDE Supermodders on my D

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    I did what you're asking a few weeks ago. I added a second 560 Ti 2GB for £70 and It has made a decent improvement in gaming at x1080. It's much noisier though and recent Nvidia drivers are crap for cards before 600 series, they seem to stress them more than older drivers.
     
  8. AlienwareAndy

    AlienwareAndy What's a Dremel?

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    The main problem with the 560ti, and, 560ti in SLI is that it is heavily vram limited.

    Battlefield 3 uses more vram at the top end settings than you have available, BF4 will use even more. So regardless of how much physical grunt you supply you're going to be short of vram any way, which kind of makes it a bit pointless.

    Adding a second 2gb card (if your first one is 2gb) is fine, but 1gb does not cut it any more.

    Then you move on to the other issues SLI can throw up. Heat, much more heat. Noise, more noise. Power consumption, double it.. Is your case suitable for SLI? because there are many that are not. You'll likely find yourself needing to upgrade your cooling too. Is your power supply meaty enough? because you can add another 150w+ to what you need already.

    I'm a big fan of SLI and have been for many years but many people go into it without realising the caveats. Obviously not every SLI set up has been built to 'my standards' but they ought to be.

    IE - as stupid as this sounds I only really recommend using a set up that has enough balls with one card should you need to go it alone. SLI is not very often problematic but it can be, and, you'll likely find yourself pretty frustrated waiting for a driver update or game patch. In these cases you can disable it in the Nvidia control panel (per game or app) and just fall back onto one card. Thing is, that one card needs to cut it alone.

    SLI is only really good for cranking on games that simply can't be ran properly from one card like Crysis 3. It's an extravagant luxury and not something that should be depended on for FPS counts IMO.
     
  9. microsoftPerson

    microsoftPerson What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks guys for all the advice - this place never lets you down. I'll try to respond to each in turn:

    I agree - this thing could not handle much, if any, gaming at 1440p. I don't really have a budget in mind, I could probably go as high as $400 but I'd rather have a cost-efficient card around the $200-250 (US) mark.

    I didn't know I was running the Internet Explorer 8 of graphics cards but this is good to know. I will probably consider something more modern if driver support is an issue. Driver updates over the past couple years have made a world of difference for this card.

    I will look into these particular cards and will probably stay at or near 1080P, thank you for the suggestions.

    The noise and heat would definitely be a concern for me. I'm leaning more towards a new card at this point I think - thank you for sharing your experience.

    OK - it definitely sounds like a secondary card would be preferable though I am interested if you think my power supply, case, and system in general is 'SLI-ready' (everything is listed in my signature except I've upgraded to a Antec Kuhler 620 CPU cooler and 16GB of RAM. I personally think the Fractal R3 is a bit of a GPU oven, so I'd venture a guess that it is not.
     
  10. Deders

    Deders Modder

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    What is your PSU? can't see it listed in the sig.
     
  11. microsoftPerson

    microsoftPerson What's a Dremel?

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    Sorry about that. I have the Corsair HX850 PSU
     
  12. Deders

    Deders Modder

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    That should easily support SLI, you could probably SLI 2 newer cards with that PSU.

    Also the 560TI is by no means the windows explorer of graphics cards. That dubious honour would most likely got to Intel's on-board IGP's.

    The 560TI was one of the most popular choices of video card for quite some time. Windows explorer isn't anyone's choice.
     
  13. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon What's a Dremel?

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    When did nvidia announce that they were stopping supporting the 500 series?

    The announcement on the 11th only covered (ignoring the Quadro cards) things up to the 300 series + the 405.

    Okay, there was an odd driver crashing issue earlier in the year that, for me, only appeared with the 580 in this machine - not affecting the Titan + 460 combo in the other - but that was sorted relatively quickly with, from recollection, a beta update.
     
  14. MODZERO

    MODZERO Minimodder

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    It appears I was incorrect, 500 series are safe. :p

    J.
     
  15. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon What's a Dremel?

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    No worries... Just thought that i might have missed something.
     
  16. Otis1337

    Otis1337 aka - Ripp3r

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    My vote does to a single card.
    Sell your 5xx and go for 280x/290 or GTX770
     
  17. monteur

    monteur What's a Dremel?

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    I'll be following Otis's advice very soon. Since i also have a 560ti 1g, i can run bf4 @1080p with settings on high/motion blur off/ssao at somewhat solid 50ish fps ,sometimes even 70 when nothing is going on and that is running the card overclocked at core 950/ram 2150.
    When i turn on HBAO and settings on ultra i am lucky when it stays over 30 fps.

    I have been looking into the 280x, which is either overpriced(more expensive then the 770gtx) or sold out everywhere but interessting since it has 3gig of ram. Or the 770gtx which i might get since its available and can be had for around 260€ right now.
     
    Last edited: 25 Mar 2014
  18. Otis1337

    Otis1337 aka - Ripp3r

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    280x and GTX770 are pretty much equally matched power wise, but mantle gives the edge in BF4 and an extra gig of memory is another thing to consider when cranking up the textures.

    FYI, I run all Ultra BF4 settings no problem with 60 fps at 1920x1200, see sig below for spec


    R9 280x instock at £214
     
    Last edited: 25 Mar 2014
  19. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon What's a Dremel?

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    Whilst the extra gig of memory may well be a consideration (though there are 4GB versions of the 770 of course), there's a bit of an unknown re Mantle vs DirectX improvements in the upcoming R334 drivers discussed at GDC.

    (that link's just the 1st found from a quick google search, there was a bit more detail wherever i read it originally)


    Yeah, i'm not obviously not stating that it will be better than mantle when comparing those 2 specific cards solely in BF4...

    ...nor that there won't be new amd drivers in the future that might similarly improve their side of things...

    ...simply that nvidia are seeming to be claiming to have surpassed mantle simply through driver enhancements - & the results should be a couple of weeks away.


    Tbh though, my only real reason for raising it is that the OP already owns a nvidia card & 'might' want to keep it in to drive extra monitors &/or for PhysX - not that i have any specific love for nvidia or amd.

    Well, obviously i know that BF4's not a PhysX game, so it depends if they also play anything that is - but the bit of quick testing i did with the titan when i first got it showed that there was still an noticeably improved frame rate keeping the 460 in with PhysX titles @ 2048x1536.
     

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