Discussion in 'Technology' started by AKS, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. I have never tried Crossfiring two cards before, but I have space and power to burn with this new PC setup. If I understand correctly, you can CF two AMD cars even of different brands as long as they are from the same series. If they are not identical, they faster card slows to the speed of the other card, correct?

    I was checking out the findings of benchmarks and tests of the 6950 and discovered two key trends:

    1.) Overclocking of this card doesn't seem to be that great. The performance gain wasn't that special, and these cards get too hot if you try to overclock beyond a modest amount. Nvidia cards seem to be a better in this regard right now. So this part sucked for me as a new 6950 owner.

    2.) The upside of these cards is that CF specs were at times pretty damn awesome. Sometimes the nearly doubled the frames in CF. They appear to have topped SLI, which is something I don't ever remember seeing in the past. I always heard of CF having significantly poorer scaling compared to SLI, but that doesn't seem to be the case with the 6900 series.

    Therefore, I was considering just grabbing a second 6950 next time I see one on sale for now and put off getting a 6990 and whatever else comes along until I need that type of power. Two 6950s in CF were often not far that behind the 6990 in many tests. I can play lots of high end games in 1080p without too many compromises. I probably won't get much use out of a card with that much memory until there are higher resolution TVs available. CFed 6950s seems to be just fine for 1080p. I am not going to buy half a dozen monitors. I play on my plasma TV, and 7.1 lossless audio is much more important to me than multi-monitor displays. I DO plan to upgrade further when TVs go UltraHD or whatever it's going to be called, and I'm also considering a projection setup, but it seems that may not be for awhile. After learning more about the newest cards, I don't think I'm going to get much benefit while I'm stuck at 1080p. I will go as far as necessary, but I don't want to just waste money for no reason if I'm not going to see any benefits. Plus, I'd like to wait and see if any manufacturer comes up with a better cooling solution to the 6990, which seem to all use the same noisy fan. I was hoping HIS would so something special with the cooling, but this didn't seem to be the case.

    So here is the big question I need answered that would be easy for any of you who have CFed before (I obviously have not). I have to be able to run this through my receiver, which has been through a single HDMI . Does that CF bridge make the card act as a single card and only require one HDMI I can run through my receiver? Can one HDMI take care of both cards? That is, if card 1 and 2 are CFed, can I just run the HDMI from card 1 only into my receiver/ home theater? If I have 2 HDMI cables to worry about, this probably shoots this plan to hell.
  2. Yes.

    This plan makes more sense than a 6990. By the time you would be looking at getting that, something better will have come along.
  3. I hadn't seriously considered CFing because in the past the scaling for CF that I had seen didn't seem that great. I don't know what the heck they did with the 6900 series, but some of the 6950 CF benchmarks are incredible. The frame rate of Aliens v. Predator, which seems to be among the best in scaling, DOUBLES in CF.



    Note: I think those are actually from the 2GB model, but their performance at these resolutions is the same.

    I can also use it for my high end games without things turning into a slide show:


    Thanks the the incredible scaling, Metro jumps from barely playable to very solid. That's with the same CPU, GPU, and resolution I would be using in DX11.

    This varies widely, and in some games CF is still very buggy, but in generally I thought it was impressive enough to seriously consider it. If I only need a single HDMI cable, I can run this just fine through my home theater.

    I'm hoping the XFX 6950 I get isn't a piece of crap. There is apparently a bad batch of them out there at the moment. Thank goodness for the lifetime warranty.
  4. I had heard the scaling on the 6900 series was impressive, but I had no idea it was that impressive. Doubling the framerate is about as good as it gets.
  5. It has its share of games in which there are problems as well, including a massive flickering problem with Crysis 2 (not sure if that has been fixed in yesterday's update), but overall it's still very impressive. It seems to range between 40% to 100% improvement from what I've seen, but overall it's not that far behind the performance of the 6990 unless you move to resolutions that require that massive 4 GB of memory.

    I'd say for smaller cases or single card OCing Nvidia is the better choice at the mid to low end of the latest generations of cards, but I think AMD has the decisive advantage for dual card gaming for this segment.
  6. I wouldn't go with the 1GB 6950('s) personally unless you have a monitor below 1080p or never use AA.

    FYI, the 4GB on the 6990 is effectively the same as 2GB since everything has to be duplicated. Luckily, 2GB is more than enough except in some stupid settings like 7680x1600 with SSAA.
  7. I don't have a monitor. I have a plasma TV. I have zero desire to play video games at a desk, especially considering I have a very nice 7.1 surround system. I game at 1080p, and the benchmarks around that range are the same for the 1gb and 2gb. There's no performance advantage to extra memory unless you are going very high resolution. If I planned to get into Eyefinity multi-monitors, I would get cards with more memory, but there's really no reason to do that with a 1080p home theater setup.

    I want more power for demanding games like Metro 2033 and the upcoming Battlefield 3. High end games like these are are still going to be somewhat demanding with all the settings cranked even at 1080p. I need the extra grunt for better effects, detail, ect., not extreme resolutions.
  8. What kind of crazy person would buy a 6990? They are over $700.

    BTW, I was disappointed when I came into the thread, I misunderstood which Crossfire we were going to be talking about.

  9. AKS apparently. To be honest, I find my 1GB GTX 460 to be overkill for the vast majority of games. The software is lagging way behind the hardware because the consoles are so out of date. I think it's a bit crazy to spend any more than about $200 on a video card these days. Even on a very tight budget, you could pick up a Radeon 5770 for $100 and come out way ahead of the consoles. A GTX 560Ti is about as high end as I could ever justify going. I just don't see the need for some of these monster cards now or in the near future.

  10. Yeah, that would be me. I was going to buy it for myself as a graduation present. I wasn't aware of certain things when I made this plan to buy a 6990.

    First, I had no idea the scaling of Crossfire was so good in the 6900 series. They must be programming certain games with CF in mind. A single 6950 delivers very solid performance but doesn't dominate the competition. They aren't fantastic at overclocking. The mostly get hot and draw power rather than improve performance with OCing. Yet in Crossfire they sometimes double or nearly double the frames in some games. This varies widely of course, but it still was more than enough to alter my plans to go dual card CF instead of buy the CF. It's almost as powerful as the 6990.

    The second key factor was that I did not know that you only needed a single HDMI cable with CFed cards to run into my home theater. My home theater setup is more elaborate and expensive than most spend on those multi-monitor Eyefinity setups. I personally value 7.1 lossless audio and a large screen over an upgrade in resolution. Since I now understand that I won't have a problem with my HT, I'm going CF instead.

    In keeping with the theme of my craziness, I bought perhaps the ugliest 6950 in the history of the world, the HIS IceQ 6950 1 GB:


    Fortunately, it looks much better when it's installed. The temps and noise level are reported to be awesome with this card, and I had $$$ coming in credit from Amazon. If I really like it, I'll probably sell my XFX card (and get a second HIS card). In the meantime, I'll Crossfire them.

    I bought the XFX card because I found it very cheap with 2 games. I got the XFX card for only $200, so I don't think I'll lose much if I sell it off. Maybe I'll do a comparison test. XFX versus HIS. HIS is my favorite card manufacturer (I also love EVGA for Nvidia cards) even though HIS' stying is HIGHLY questionable.
  11. My 460 1GB gets slaughtered by Metro, Crysis, and Warhead. A 460 1GB will have to make serious compromises with upcoming games like RAGE and Battlefield as well. I am going to spend just over $400 total for 2 6950 1GB cards with STALKER Pripyat and Dirt 3 included and will get close to 6990 performance. I should be able to get 60 fps on almost every game maxed, as well as playable framerates in the highest end games with DX11. I feel like what I spent on those cards is justified, especially compared to my crazy ideas about getting a dual GPU card like the 6990.
  12. I got a bit carried away with the statement I made there. The caveat is that when playing at high resolutions, what I said doesn't really hold true. At 1680x1050, my 1GB GTX 460 maxes pretty much everything. It doesn't even really struggle with Metro. But I'm sure at 1080p and beyond it probably struggles in some games.

    Edit: I've been off the market for widescreen monitors for so long that I didn't realize they're pretty much all 1080p now. I just looked at newegg. Glad I don't have one of those. I'd have to go back to more frequent and expensive video card upgrades.
  13. I've overclocked the card a decent bit, and I still get punished by Metro unless it's in DX9 with several things turned down. DX11 is pretty much unplayable in 1080p for me. I tried Crysis 2 with that card with the new DX11 and texture updates. Maxed, it was dropping into single digits with FRAPS.

    Also, for whatever reason, Metro runs much better on Nvidia cards than AMD video cards. Unusually so. If you had an AMD card that is the equivalent to the GTX 460, you'd really get punished by Metro.


    These are benchmarks with the card I actually have, the EVGA GTX 460 1GB. I can certainly play it at 1080p, but the frame rates are all over the place when the action and effects pick up. One moment it looks passable, then it's a slide show again. Some of this may be bottlenecked by my crummy old hardware in that computer, though. I'm sure the 460 would perform better if it was surrounded with better components.
  14. 5770 is cheaper than the GTX460 so not really a direct comparison.


    This recent review from the tech report shows that a 6850 is the 460's main competitor.

    I agree with you though, there ARE games out there that tax performance cards (460/6850 to 560/6950) enough to justify the more expensive cards. Only at certain settings though. With games like BF3 on the horizon, you can be sure the trend will continue. Like I said earlier, I wouldn't feel comfortable purchasing a 1GB card anymore considering current games can use more than 1GB VRAM with my monitors resolution (1920x1200) and AA. Upcoming games are very likely to do the same or even reach the threshold at more reasonable settings (lower AA, no AA).
  15. when shoping for a card I always go for the one with the best bundle. now that's stupid. I figure just buying a gfx card and NOT getting a game is just... counter intuitive... and insulting.

    when shopping for a motherboard I look for the one with the best audio. I went CRAZY over an atx board with integrated video... that's the only exception. I figure the audio is the only thing your NOT gonna replace and I value the sanity of my ears. Seriously, I hadn't seen a profesional review on integrated audio since 2005. And I'd been looking.
  16. That's probably because it's basically all based on the same realtec audio. There are a few boards out there with Creative X-Fi on board, these would be the only option you could consider decent.

    Having decent audio can be a problem for high end rigs, but usually only if you have 3GPU's or more.... not something I'd do myself. Just buy one of those ASUS Xonar DX's, good audio for the money.