Help choosing mobo/graphics - sli or not?

  pauldonovan 18:19 31 Mar 05
Locked

Hi,

I'm trying to decide on a fairly decent PC... the choice is whether to go for SLI. I can't really afford to pay for 2x6800GT cards but I don't see the point in 2x6600 (128MB) cards when I understand the performance isn't much better than a single top-of-the-line 256MB card like the ATI X850 XT Platinum Edition.

So the choice is:

Do I get an SLI Mobo with 1x6800GT now.....with the potential to add another later....

or go for a 'normal' Mobo with x850XT Platinum Edition (which actually works out about 100 quid more expensive and certainly more than I want to spend)

  Kate B 20:30 31 Mar 05

I've been looking at this, too - I've decided to go for just one 6800 Ultra card rather than the SLI set up as it seems my chosen monitor (an Apple 30") won't run at its full resolution with two cards - it only supports the one. And apparently the drivers are a bit flaky and not many games support SLI.

However, i think I will ask Alienware (I'm pretty sure that's the box-shifter I'm going for) if they will build the PC with a slot for a second card so that I can upgrade later if the drivers catch up ... or perhaps put in two yet-to-be developed cards in a year or so's time.

I rather agree with you about the point of buying two 6600s when they don't quite match the performance of one 6800.

Let us know how you get on!

  Kate B 20:30 31 Mar 05

I've been looking at this, too - I've decided to go for just one 6800 Ultra card rather than the SLI set up as it seems my chosen monitor (an Apple 30") won't run at its full resolution with two cards - it only supports the one. And apparently the drivers are a bit flaky and not many games support SLI.

However, i think I will ask Alienware (I'm pretty sure that's the box-shifter I'm going for) if they will build the PC with a slot for a second card so that I can upgrade later if the drivers catch up ... or perhaps put in two yet-to-be developed cards in a year or so's time.

I rather agree with you about the point of buying two 6600s when they don't quite match the performance of one 6800.

Let us know how you get on!

  Kate B 20:31 31 Mar 05

oops oops double double postings postings ... what IS going on with the site today?

  pauldonovan 21:01 31 Mar 05

...have to keep hitting refresh because you get IE errors?

Alienware look cool but seem quite expensive, I'm looking at Evesham or Mesh, got about 1600 quid to spend, don't want to spend more than that otherwise i'll easily end up at £2.5k for some nutter machine (no offence if that is what you are doing!)

I'm tempted by this:

click here

but with a 19" monitor.... that'll do me...comes out at about 1680.

That graphics card is meant to rock. In fact Mesh have quoted me an SLI mobo but with the X850XT (non platinum edition) for less than 1600 with 19" monitor, but I really want the Platinum Edition if poss.

Too many choices, not enough clarity in what is 'best' !!!!

  researcher 21:20 31 Mar 05

I've just gone for the Evesham SLI with twin 6600GTs - cheaper than one 6800Ultra or one 850PE.

My thinking is, that when it's time to upgrade, two 6800Us will be cheaper than the next (latest) high spec'n card and provide a significant performance boost.

It's tough having so many choices!

  pauldonovan 08:28 01 Apr 05

...but then I saw the comparison stats and for a bit more you can get a single 6800 or 850 PE which apparently beat the 2x128 cards which often only perform as a single 128MB as I understand it - if the game doesn't support it.

Can I ask which spec you went for and what the price was?

  Kate B 12:55 01 Apr 05

pauldonovan - I'm going for the nutter machine because I can ... it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a silly amount of money on my dream 'puter: I've been made redundant and I've got plenty of fresh work flowing so there's some spare cash. Still, despite that I'm increasingly thinking one 6800 card with scope to put another one in when everything else - monitors, graphics drivers, games - catch up.

Mind you, I'm increasingly turned off the nutter monitor - the Apple 30" - as it seems very few cards can drive its maximum resolution. I'm now thinking the Dell 24" which has had some nice reviews. I'm partly turned off the Apple monitor because their website is full of contradictory stuff about what it needs and there's no straightforward "ask us a question" anywhere on the support site.

your spec looks niiiiiiice ... when is it arriving? Can we all come round and admire it?

  pauldonovan 13:36 01 Apr 05

... sounds good (your nutter machine idea).

I'm switching between 6800 and ATI now...

Won't the 24" or 30" screens have a rubbish response time for games (assuming you want a graphics card like that to play games) ?

Gamers with nutter machines seem to go for very low ms response times and ultimately CRT screens.

The 19" viewsonic is nice, the picture is gorgeous and it is only 12ms response.

The 6800 just seems to crawl compared to 850XT PE in all reviews, and apparently in a lot of cases the XT PE card can be overclocked quite a bit....

...in reality I wonder if i'm any better off than if I spent 1100 quid :)

More likely we'll want to be coming round to yours to play Kate!!!!!

  pauldonovan 13:36 01 Apr 05

...and when its arriving is when I make my mind up and order it plus about 2 weeks as I understand it!!!

Painful decisions :) Lucky position to be in though.

  pauldonovan 14:05 01 Apr 05

I've just ordered it, spec as follows:

AMD ATHLON 65 4000+
1024 MB DDR RAM (400mhz) - single module
300GB SATA ULTRA FAST HDD
SONY DVD ROM + DVD WRITER
256MB ATI RADEON X850XT TVOUT+DVI PCI Express
19" Viewsonic VX912 DVI TFT (12ms response)
Creative Labs Audigy 2 ZS
Creative Labs 7.1 7900 Speakers
3 year on-site warranty
(and a few other bits/delivery)

£1583.90 inc vat

Bargain :)

Can't wait now...hopefully i'll be a happy mesh customer.

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