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Old 07-27-10, 07:16 PM   #1
Nexx's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 17
Default Upgrade time. GTX285 to...?

Hey all,

Apologies to anyone who also reads Rage3D, this post will look somewhat familiar :P

2 years back I upgraded from an 8800GT to a Radeon 4870. I tend to only upgrade once a year and I try to wait to get the best performance that I can for my limited cash. The 4870 served me well until I moved to a GTX 285 a year ago.

The biggest incentive for the move back to nvidia was Linux support, but that isn't so important to me these days.

Recently I've been having issues with pretty much every nvidia driver I could find and TF2. The nvidia driver simply keels over at least once per play session, sometimes more; it recovers fine every time but the lock-up in a multiplayer FPS gets me killed a LOT. I've done my very best to diagnose this and as best as I can tell the machine is 100% stable. I've run memtest, Prime95, Intel Burn Test and others for 24 hours at a time without a hint of a problem. I've even run Furmark for over an hour with zero issues.

I should point out that this began happening after a TF2 update some months back and has been mentioned to be happening on Left 4 Dead 2 as well (See link #1 below post). Again, I've tried every driver revision I can in an attempt to solve this with zero success. I read here that the new 2xx.xx drivers really aren't so good for the old GTX 2xx rang any more either, so admittedly I haven't tried those yet.

My initial thought was to upgrade to a Radeon 5870, but with the potential for a refresh on the horizon, and ATi's drivers being hit-and-miss, I'm beginning to look at other upgrades.

A GTX 470 or 480 seem like a very expensive move, not to mention the power draw or heat output of the GF100 chips. When I heard about the GTX 460 and the rave reviews it was getting I began to look into those.

A pair of GTX460 1GB's would cost around 400, or around 50-100 more than a 5870 would set me back, but the performance seems to be fantastic and the heat and power issues have been resolved with the GF104.

I'm currently running a Core i5 750 at 3.2GHz with 4GB of RAM and a 650W Corsair PSU. Whilst it certainly doesn't have the same horsepower as an i7, it's serving me well and I see no reason to upgrade the CPU / mobo right now. My current GTX285 plays almost everything at 1920x1200 with varying levels of AA and AF depending on the game.

What I play mostly is WoW, and the upgraded DX11 engine coming with Cataclysm is the main driving force for me to upgrade. I play at 1920x1200 with 4xAA on Ultra settings and generally maintain 60FPS, until I go to Dalaran where it drops to almost half that. The graphics upgrade in Cataclysm is only going to make that worse.

I guess I'm just looking for opinions. The members at Rage3D recommended against upgrading to a 5870 right now due to the potential refresh coming in February, plus the cards are madly expensive right now. In fact the first reply was someone suggesting exactly what I'm thinking of now, a pair of GTX460's in SLI.

My motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4, which has 2 PCI-e slots but when running 2 cards they drop to 8x each. I know the difference between 16x and 8x on a single card is only a few percent, but does anyone know how much it impacts SLI?

How is SLI scaling these days? I haven't used multi-GPU since the days of the Voodoo 2 and then the Voodoo 5, so I've got zero experience with "modern" SLI and it's quibbles.

Lastly, will my Corsair 650W PSU be able to handle a pair of 460's? It only has 2 PCI-E power connectors, but I have ample molex connectors available and it is a strong PSU.

I'm really just looking for opinions and advice, so please feel free to ask anything if you need more information.

Thanks for your time ^^
Core i5 @3.2GHz // 4GB Corsair DDR3 // GA-P55-UD4 // BFG GTX 285 OC // Corsair TX-650 // SB Audigy 2 ZS // Dell 2707WFP // Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
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