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Miek

In search of a video card

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Games I'll Be Playing

- Left 4 Dead

- Crysis

- Fallout 3

- Far Cry 2

- Dead Space

- Maybe Halo 1 & 2, as they were inexpensive

...Probably more, but these are the ones off the top of my head.

 

My budget: My total build cost is basically capped at $1500.00. I'd prefer to keep costs as low as possible, though.

 

I would say get a GTX260 or HD4870, but the GTX260 handles Crysis better than the HD4870 and would be able to handle everything else with ease.

 

512 MB?

 

Pardon me if I sound dumb, but I thought that in memory, bigger was better.

 

True, but you said you are going to buy two of whatever card you're buying to crossfire/sli. If you buy the 4870/GTX260, the smallest amount of memory you'd be able to have in a CF/sli configuration would be 1GB. And 2GB doesn't yield much of a performance increase over 1GB of video memory.

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Ok. But, I think I might go with a 1 gig card as I'll only have 1 to start off with.

 

And, a sort of unrelated question, but it's been bugging me. What is scaling? I watched a video about 2 HD 4850's in CF mode and the person who made the video said something about "Still no scaling in Crysis..." but I don't know what scaling is. :blink:

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scaling is how a card scales compared to 2 cards. When you sli/cf a gpu it should scale 2x the performance of 1 card in a perfect scenario. Some games dont scale at all so one card is the same as two in performance. That is one of the drawbacks of sli/cf. I have seen more sli scaling then cf but I am not for sure if that holds true to everyone. I dont suggest either, unless there is a special circumstance. Its just a waste most of the time, it really is. I always preach one good card over sli/cf. then maybe in a few yrs if you can pick up a dirt cheep twin and you dont mind the power bill then maybe. Still i would perfer a newer better card over two crappy ones. There is no doubt performance gains, but overall its just not worth it in most occasions. It sounds/looks cooler then it actually is.

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scaling is how a card scales compared to 2 cards. When you sli/cf a gpu it should scale 2x the performance of 1 card in a perfect scenario. Some games dont scale at all so one card is the same as two in performance. That is one of the drawbacks of sli/cf. I have seen more sli scaling then cf but I am not for sure if that holds true to everyone. I dont suggest either, unless there is a special circumstance. Its just a waste most of the time, it really is. I always preach one good card over sli/cf. then maybe in a few yrs if you can pick up a dirt cheep twin and you dont mind the power bill then maybe. Still i would perfer a newer better card over two crappy ones. There is no doubt performance gains, but overall its just not worth it in most occasions. It sounds/looks cooler then it actually is.

 

Well... Ok... but what is scaling?

 

You told me how 2 cards scale vs. 1, but I still have no idea what scaling actually is.

 

Also, I am now thinking of a single 1 GB ATI Radeon HD 4890. I've been reading reviews, and people are saying that it does REALLY well in most every games thrown at it in the resolution of the monitor(s) I have picked out as candidates for my build.

 

It's getting really late so I'm going to go to sleep. I'll check back tomorrow. Thanks everyone for your help! :)

Edited by Miek

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scaling = the rate of framerate increase when adding more cards....

 

the scale is basically the percentage of work the card actually does compared to what it theoretically should do when paired...

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give the 4850 a skip and try pick up a stock 4870 as they are close to the price of a 4850 if ur on a tight budget.

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I can't see any reference to what OS you are using but be aware if you are 32 bit any memory will be counted against your total memory and 1GB of graphic card memory will be quite a chunk of it!

 

If you ever SLI two 1GB cards you would probably be better off with a 64 bit OS.

 

May not be a problem but worth bearing in mind.

 

Cheers

 

Paul

Edited by paulktreg

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You may want to decide which chipset you will use and narrow down to Nvidia/Ati. Unless you will run X58 then it doesn't matter, (ONLY with a SLI approved board or a bios hack.)

 

I have a single 260 192sp in one PC and it's awesome. It also was uber cheap!

 

Like most other people will say get the biggest baddest GPU your wallet can handle now and then later add another. The nice thing about upgrading to SLI or Crossfire is that for most of us by the time we're ready/needing to upgrade GPU's the price is less than half what we paid for the first one!

 

 

ten to one odds that by the time you add another card games/drivers will scale better with multi-gpu's.

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I can't see any reference to what OS you are using but be aware if you are 32 bit any memory will be counted against your total memory and 1GB of graphic card memory will be quite a chunk of it!

 

If you ever SLI two 1GB cards you would probably be better off with a 64 bit OS.

 

May not be a problem but worth bearing in mind.

 

Cheers

 

Paul

 

I plan on using Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit. A lot in part because I want to end up adding more than 4 gigs of ram.

 

You may want to decide which chipset you will use and narrow down to Nvidia/Ati. Unless you will run X58 then it doesn't matter, (ONLY with a SLI approved board or a bios hack.)

 

I have a single 260 192sp in one PC and it's awesome. It also was uber cheap!

 

Like most other people will say get the biggest baddest GPU your wallet can handle now and then later add another. The nice thing about upgrading to SLI or Crossfire is that for most of us by the time we're ready/needing to upgrade GPU's the price is less than half what we paid for the first one!

 

 

ten to one odds that by the time you add another card games/drivers will scale better with multi-gpu's.

 

I'm thinking of using the AMD 790GX chipset so I have the full AMD Dragon platform.

Edited by Miek

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if your getting 4890, might as well get a gtx 275.

 

 

not a bad idea but...for me 2 4850s are cheaper and scale better....

 

I have the MSI GTX-275 and it does fine but my 4850s in crossfire beat it by a good margin...which is weird because reviews say otherwise...not for me...

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I'm just sort of wondering now whether or not I'd even need 2 cards in crossfire. I just want to have all my games playable with no noticeable lag/choppiness on higher details. I don't need benchmarks as high as Mount Everest.

 

Although if they sort of go hand in hand with games being playable... so be it. As long as I can game. :P

 

 

And about the GTX 275 comment...

I am still considering nVidia, though I heard AMD's nVidia chipsets are "Sketchy at best" from another person (I can't remember who it was, feel free to name yourself).

 

So if I were to use nVidia, I would probably use an Intel processor. But Intel's stuff is really overpriced (in my opinion). About the best processor from them I could afford would be one of the better Core 2 Duos, a mid-range Core 2 Quad, or *maybe* the i7 920. I've heard good thing about the i7 920, but DDR3 RAM is more expensive than DDR2. There are just so many factors in this and so many things I can't answer myself. I have a flood of questions (life rafts are available for free, limit 1 per person) that I want to ask. Though some of them are better suited in other sections.

 

Anyway. I've been told that if I go with an AMD processor to get an ATI card.

Or, if I go with Intel, to get a nVidia card.

Edited by Miek

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