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Thread: SLI 690s?

  1. #1
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    SLI 690s?

    I had some questions about a new build I'm considering, but hadn't gotten much in terms of input. I had some questions about the video situation, and figured you guys could give me some advice.

    For comparison sake, my current build is this:
    i7 2600K
    Radeon HD 5850
    OCZ Vertex3 120 GB SSD + 2 1TB WDC storage
    16GB Corsair Vengeance
    3 24" displays

    For all intents and purposes, it's great; however, I've decided that for once I actually wanna build a PC that represents the latest and greatest if even just for a month or two.

    I don't know much about the 7990 other than it maybe/maybe not be debuted in a month or so, and I know that the 690s are out (but apparently in limited supply?), and they're awesome.

    I've never SLIed anything, but I figured if I was going to make some badass computer, that I should have badass videocards to go with it. So, I'm considering a pair of 690s.

    I have some questions/concerns, though:

    • To those who have done this before (built a system with the latest and greatest), was it worth it? Is your system still performing exceedingly well 2, 3, 4+ years in? Or are you just wanting to build another machine because, while it was great while it lasted, it's time to upgrade.
    • Being a complete novice to SLI setups, am I asking for more than I can deal with, or has this become a more-or-less routine task?
    • Is SLI, in general, really only "useful" in the current generation? That is to say, 2x 680s = 1x 690. The cycle continues on forever, but is it just... mind-numbingly painful to see the next generation of cards come out and dwarf your fancy setup?
    • Is SLI more geared towards the ultra high resolutions (2560x1600)? I mean this as it relates to 1920x1080. I assume by SLIing 690s, but only using 1920x1080, that I'm really only future-proofing my system for a couple years whereas if I ran at 2560x1600 I would truly be getting tangible performance gains from an SLI setup


    Anyway, sorry for the long post, I just... I've been doing a lot of reading, but haven't been getting any of these questions answered.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: SLI 690s?

    way way way way overkill for your system. if you're only gaming at 1080p you're almost wasting your money on a single 680, let alone 4 of them. "future proofing" your rig for $2000 doesn't make any sense when you could buy 1 GPU thats enough for your needs for $500, then when something better comes along you could get another newer/better $500 gpu, etc.


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  3. #3
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    Re: SLI 690s?

    Worst "I've got too much money" thread ever...

  4. #4
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    Re: SLI 690s?

    Ahh!

    I just wanna build a whole new rig, and actually do something fancy. It's time to treat myself.

    So, I guess the question is, what kind of monitor setup should I switch to? A single ultra-high resolution monitor?

    Such as one of these 2560x1600 native resolution monitors.

    I was hoping for some actual answers? I know you guys know about this kind of stuff. Maybe I'm asking the wrong questions?

    Edited

    So, if I understand this right, there really is a steep drop-off on gains as related to the resolution, and having even a single 690 wouldn't really reflect massive performance gains over a 680 (or other similar tiered cards) when running at 1920x1080?
    Last edited by jdavis; 05-10-2012 at 06:48 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: SLI 690s?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdavis View Post
    Ahh!

    I just wanna build a whole new rig, and actually do something fancy. It's time to treat myself.

    So, I guess the question is, what kind of monitor setup should I switch to? A single ultra-high resolution monitor?

    Such as one of these 2560x1600 native resolution monitors.

    I was hoping for some actual answers? I know you guys know about this kind of stuff. Maybe I'm asking the wrong questions?

    Edited

    So, if I understand this right, there really is a steep drop-off on gains as related to the resolution, and having even a single 690 wouldn't really reflect massive performance gains over a 680 (or other similar tiered cards) when running at 1920x1080?
    No answers for you! Next!

    I have a couple 680s, that I'm using to push 57X10 on three 24" monitors.

    I also have a 25X16 monitor, and I've built three quad rigs in the past.

    I'm not a huge fan of quad, or three way, as it's a lot of of heat/noise to deal with, not to mention power. Quad always felt a bit more "vague" in handling to me than single or dual.

    I've never used two (or one GTX690) but if I were you and looking to power three monitors, it would definitely be on the table.*

    I vascillate between which I like better for displays, but I guess the 25X16 staying on my second computer for two years says something.

    How's that?

    *not because two GTX680s can't handle 57X10, but because 690s are the best card ever made and you said you want to splurge. Should last you a few years, 3-4 is unreasonable expectation.

  6. #6
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    Re: SLI 690s?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdavis View Post
    Ahh!

    I just wanna build a whole new rig, and actually do something fancy. It's time to treat myself.

    So, I guess the question is, what kind of monitor setup should I switch to? A single ultra-high resolution monitor?

    Such as one of these 2560x1600 native resolution monitors.

    I was hoping for some actual answers? I know you guys know about this kind of stuff. Maybe I'm asking the wrong questions?

    Edited

    So, if I understand this right, there really is a steep drop-off on gains as related to the resolution, and having even a single 690 wouldn't really reflect massive performance gains over a 680 (or other similar tiered cards) when running at 1920x1080?
    you asked if it was worth it, and at your resolutions, no, not at all. I'm not sure 2x690's are worth it at any resolution unless you really feel like dropping a ton of coin. Yes, there is only so much gain you'll get at 1080p due to the fact that having massive framerates doesn't add much past a certain point, and the fact that you'll run into other bottlenecks before you run into major GPU bottlenecks. Even at 25x16 I'm not sure theres much value in doing anything more than SLI 680's. This is coming from someone using a single 7970 at 2560x1440 and doesn't feel the need for much more.


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  7. #7
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    Re: SLI 690s?

    Quote Originally Posted by Activate: AMD View Post
    you asked if it was worth it, and at your resolutions, no, not at all. I'm not sure 2x690's are worth it at any resolution unless you really feel like dropping a ton of coin. Yes, there is only so much gain you'll get at 1080p due to the fact that having massive framerates doesn't add much past a certain point, and the fact that you'll run into other bottlenecks before you run into major GPU bottlenecks. Even at 25x16 I'm not sure theres much value in doing anything more than SLI 680's. This is coming from someone using a single 7970 at 2560x1440 and doesn't feel the need for much more.
    He says in the OP that he has three 24" monitors so his resolution is likely 57X10.

    57X10 may not justify two 690s, but it is one of the few resolutions that could.

    OTOH, hard to tell what he's using as he mentions "3 24" displays" and using 1080p res.

    If it's truly 10i80P, I'm sort of annoyed I even responded.
    :-|
    Last edited by jethro; 05-11-2012 at 12:13 AM.

  8. #8
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    Re: SLI 690s?

    The triple monitor thing definitely is something I'd like to explore. My 5850 simply doesn't have the ability to push anything too reasonable at 5760x1080. Currently, it's only been fun as a novelty, but to be able to use it application seems like it'd be great.

    I appreciate the input, but this bit in particular stood out, "and the fact that you'll run into other bottlenecks before you run into major GPU bottlenecks"

    That's the kind of stuff I'm after. Can you give me a "for instance"? I assume it's either going to be CPU/SSD limited, but if you'll notice in that other thread I intend to also get a 3960x and a new SSD. What bottlenecks am I going to encounter, and is it possible to remedy them?

    Shortly after posting this, I found this PCPer 690 review with Nvidia and Ryan, and it was pretty informative.

    But I would definitely welcome any additional information, such as the bottlenecks and other potential problems.

  9. #9
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    Re: SLI 690s?

    Quote Originally Posted by jethro View Post
    He says in the OP that he has three 24" monitors so his resolution is likely 57X10.

    57X10 may not justify two 690s, but it is one of the few resolutions that could.

    OTOH, hard to tell what he's using as he mentions "3 24" displays" and using 1080p res.

    If it's truly 10i80P, I'm sort of annoyed I even responded.
    :-|
    my response was based on the following, although 57x10 is still quite playable with dual 680's/single 690

    Quote Originally Posted by jdavis View Post
    [*]Is SLI more geared towards the ultra high resolutions (2560x1600)? I mean this as it relates to 1920x1080. I assume by SLIing 690s, but only using 1920x1080, that I'm really only future-proofing my system for a couple years whereas if I ran at 2560x1600 I would truly be getting tangible performance gains from an SLI setup[/list]
    at some point, the "future proofing" isn't worth very much. What happens if your rig is still generating meaningful framerates on new games, but doesn't provide the latest features? This is all hypothetical of course, but if i can drop $1k now and get a certain gameplay experience, and drop $1k later and get a better one, why drop 2k now?"
    Quote Originally Posted by jdavis
    That's the kind of stuff I'm after. Can you give me a "for instance"? I assume it's either going to be CPU/SSD limited, but if you'll notice in that other thread I intend to also get a 3960x and a new SSD. What bottlenecks am I going to encounter, and is it possible to remedy them?
    If you're running at triple monitor res, you won't run into CPU bottlenecks, but at 1080p you could very well be bumping into CPU limitations. Then again, who cares if you're getting 120fps vs 130fps? My only point was, after a certain point you just don't get anything more out of it due to either limitations in other subsystems or the simple fact that there is no perceivable difference at super high framerates
    Last edited by Activate: AMD; 05-11-2012 at 12:34 AM.


    Trust me, I do science
    My Hardware, Past and Present

  10. #10
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    Re: SLI 690s?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdavis View Post
    The triple monitor thing definitely is something I'd like to explore. My 5850 simply doesn't have the ability to push anything too reasonable at 5760x1080. Currently, it's only been fun as a novelty, but to be able to use it application seems like it'd be great.

    I appreciate the input, but this bit in particular stood out, "and the fact that you'll run into other bottlenecks before you run into major GPU bottlenecks"

    That's the kind of stuff I'm after. Can you give me a "for instance"? I assume it's either going to be CPU/SSD limited, but if you'll notice in that other thread I intend to also get a 3960x and a new SSD. What bottlenecks am I going to encounter, and is it possible to remedy them?

    Shortly after posting this, I found this PCPer 690 review with Nvidia and Ryan, and it was pretty informative.

    But I would definitely welcome any additional information, such as the bottlenecks and other potential problems.
    In general:

    1. With 1080p, a monitor (or monitors) should be the very first thing you are thinking of. The only 1080p I can make a case for on an enthusiast computer is a 27" 3d Vision2 monitor. There's no way you put $2K graphics on a monitor a $150 video card would be fine for, splurging or not. In 3d Vision, things have to be rendered twice, so you shift the bottleneck back on the GPU.
    25X16 monitors are very nice, a night and day difference over 1080p monitors. They have the advantage of filling a lot of your field of vision, and the high resolution lessens the need for AA, which is basically a cheat to imitate high resolution by averaging an image rendered multiple times to blur lines. I prefer high res to low res with AA.
    The three monitor thing renders an arcade like gaming experience that is a lot of fun. I asked my son (twice now) what he'd think of replacing our 57X10 set with another 25X16, and he balked both times, saying he likes the 3 panels and the 3d.

    2. While any 2-4 680 or 7970 set is going to be CPU limited, even at high res, that doesn't mean you don't get scaling for each additional GPU. It just gets less with each GPU. There have also been studies that while scaling may not be optimal, having 3 or 4 GPUs lowers microstutter. (and raises your ability to use higher levels of AA)

  11. #11
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    Re: SLI 690s?

    Thanks guys, I think for the time being I'll just stick to a single 690. If only Newegg would actually get some more in stock.

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