Dual 660 Ti's in SLi worth getting?

#1 Posted by VACkillers (1063 posts) -

Basically as the topic says really, I'm building a new machine and I originally was going to go with just 1 power card, a GTX680 with a slight OC, but then I saw the difference between what a GTX680 can do in the 3DMark 2013 Fire Strike benchmark, and then what dual GTX660 ti's can do, and 2 of those are actually more powerfull then a single 680, for pretty much the same price. Then comes along the Titan 780. Now, I have no idea when the 770s will get released but the 800 series maxwell cards which are the true next gen cards built for the next gen dont come out untill march next year roughly, so im wondering if its really worth spending all this money now, and then perhaps run the risk of these cards not running next gen games right and having to do basically do a double upgrade by this time next year, or if I should wait and just get a stand in card for now and spend bigger next year? My problem is I want to playing Crysis 3 pretty much on max, and I know dual 660 tis will do that...

I know there is litterly hundreds of these questions all over the forums here, and I have been building PCs for at least the past 12 years now, but I am just completely un sure about whats going to be needed for the next gen stuff.....

thanks guys

#2 Posted by Devildoll (886 posts) -

Consider that SLI and Crossfire can have issues with new released games.
And is 3Dmark 2013 Fire Strike benchmark really your game of choice?
You should probably look up a couple of games as well, just to make sure.

Other than that you just have to check out the price/performance between them in your region.

#3 Posted by VACkillers (1063 posts) -

heh thanks for the reply .... yeah quite obviously not my game of choice, but its the closest thing I had to test for next gen gaming really, so I figured that was the best thing to go by at this present when comparing various cards right now, other then crysis 3 there is nothing else out there really except perhaps planetside 2 which is considered a next gen game, even though that was released last year. The price/performance ratio is VERY comparable to the new GTX 780 Titan, now that some members of the reviewing community out there got sent one, there are some bechmarks comming out of the woodwork now with the Titan, and 2x 660 tis either match or beat it on a lot of games out there... which has definitely put my mind at ease somewhat now, dont feel like i will have to upgrade next year if I was to get dual 660 tis now... but I would definitely welcome some other input, or even some peoples benchmarks if you guys have sli'd 660 ti's....

#4 Posted by killacam (1284 posts) -

heh thanks for the reply .... yeah quite obviously not my game of choice, but its the closest thing I had to test for next gen gaming really, so I figured that was the best thing to go by at this present when comparing various cards right now, other then crysis 3 there is nothing else out there really except perhaps planetside 2 which is considered a next gen game, even though that was released last year. The price/performance ratio is VERY comparable to the new GTX 780 Titan, now that some members of the reviewing community out there got sent one, there are some bechmarks comming out of the woodwork now with the Titan, and 2x 660 tis either match or beat it on a lot of games out there... which has definitely put my mind at ease somewhat now, dont feel like i will have to upgrade next year if I was to get dual 660 tis now... but I would definitely welcome some other input, or even some peoples benchmarks if you guys have sli'd 660 ti's....

wait, SLI'd 660 ti's beating a titan? the new $1000 card? how?

#5 Edited by VACkillers (1063 posts) -
#6 Posted by BlatantNinja23 (930 posts) -

You'll have to upgrade next year if you want to keep up. PS4s having unified 8gbs (especially being GDDR5) is going to greatly increase the bottom line for what games are going to be asking for RAM wise. I'll be shocked if a 2GB card keeps up. Maybe it will for some stuff, but anything that's actually taxing the next gen consoles will also need more for the PC. Unless the xbox specs are disappointing and affect the resources required in next gen games because that is the console people continue the develop for. This is the only chance I really see consoles not greatly changing what new cards are going to look like.

It's really looking like maxwell is what you should wait for if you have any hope keeping up.

#7 Posted by KaosAngel (13765 posts) -

Just wait for the 700 series.

#8 Posted by Dauthi693 (130 posts) -

The Nvidia Titan is still part of the 600 series

I know there is litterly hundreds of these questions all over the forums here, and I have been building PCs for at least the past 12 years now, but I am just completely un sure about whats going to be needed for the next gen stuff.....

thanks guys

Thats is the HUGE unknown thats no one is really able to answer. Will the 660 SLI be able to keep its standing when next gen console titles hit or will it be bottlenecked.

#9 Posted by ajamafalous (12007 posts) -

1) No, you should wait for the new cards, and also wait to see what's in the new Xbox before you decide.
2) Generally speaking, SLI and Crossfire are known to have compatability issues with a few dozen games, leading to lower-than-expected performance, graphical bugs/glitches, or, in some cases, the inability to utilize both cards. In most cases I would recommend buying one card instead of SLIing two. I'm sure there are other people who'll tell you differently, but that's my two cents.

#10 Edited by ShadowSkill11 (1783 posts) -

<p>Dual 660tis in SLI ar generally about 30% faster than a 680. They also cost about 15%-30% more than a 680. I have a pair.</p>

#11 Posted by VACkillers (1063 posts) -

My main problem with waiting is that I cant, my machine is just about gone to crap I have to upgrade now, I know the maxwell's are going to be absolutely awesome with the next gen but I gotta build a new system now. Maybe I should just get 1 card then? instead of two and just upgrade that later?

#12 Posted by Icemo (643 posts) -

You'll have to upgrade next year if you want to keep up. PS4s having unified 8gbs (especially being GDDR5) is going to greatly increase the bottom line for what games are going to be asking for RAM wise. I'll be shocked if a 2GB card keeps up. Maybe it will for some stuff, but anything that's actually taxing the next gen consoles will also need more for the PC. Unless the xbox specs are disappointing and affect the resources required in next gen games because that is the console people continue the develop for. This is the only chance I really see consoles not greatly changing what new cards are going to look like.

It's really looking like maxwell is what you should wait for if you have any hope keeping up.

That unified memory means that both cpu and gpu will be using that same memory. And that 2gb you mentioned is only for the gpu, don't forget that PC's have ram too, like I have a 8 gb ram stick installed in my pc. So PS4 is not taking a leap in performance compared to current mid-to-high-end pc's. PS4 is also using the same x86 architecture as pc's so the games that they develop will be quite similarly optimized.

#13 Posted by BlatantNinja23 (930 posts) -
@icemo said:

That unified memory means that both cpu and gpu will be using that same memory. And that 2gb you mentioned is only for the gpu, don't forget that PC's have ram too, like I have a 8 gb ram stick installed in my pc. So PS4 is not taking a leap in performance compared to current mid-to-high-end pc's. PS4 is also using the same x86 architecture as pc's so the games that they develop will be quite similarly optimized.

That extra 8 GBs in your PC is DDR3 though. Also it was my understanding that with a PC, the GPU only uses the memory on the card.

#14 Posted by Icemo (643 posts) -

@icemo said:

That unified memory means that both cpu and gpu will be using that same memory. And that 2gb you mentioned is only for the gpu, don't forget that PC's have ram too, like I have a 8 gb ram stick installed in my pc. So PS4 is not taking a leap in performance compared to current mid-to-high-end pc's. PS4 is also using the same x86 architecture as pc's so the games that they develop will be quite similarly optimized.

That extra 8 GBs in your PC is DDR3 though. Also it was my understanding that with a PC, the GPU only uses the memory on the card.

Yeah you are correct there. My main point was that the gpu of PS4 is not using the whole 8 gbs of memory for itself so there isn't so big of a gap between amounts of memory between pc and ps4 gpus.

And more importantly having a lot of memory for the gpu to use is good when you are playing at high resolutions, like 3240x1920, but if that gpu of PS4 is equivalent to a radeon 7850, then the power of that gpu is not really enough to play games at so high resolution. But I agree that having unified gddr5 memory for both gpu and cpu sounds like a good idea, we'll see how it works out in the future.

#15 Posted by jgf (392 posts) -

Afaik is gpu memory used to store images for texture mapping. As it seems that the new console gpu have access to huge memory - I can see ps4 games devoting 2gb to game stuff leaving 6gb for textures and gpu stuff. So there may be a huge variety in different textures.

As consoles output "only" at 1080p a single texture asset does Not need to be as big as its counterpart on a PC that runs ultrahigh resolutions. So 6gb for ps360 could explode to 12gb of pc GPU Memory.

#16 Edited by Thompson820 (410 posts) -

SLI was never anything but a headache for me back when I had SLI 550TIs; pretty sure I never saw any performance boost whatsoever.

#17 Posted by Devildoll (886 posts) -

@vackillers: Yeah you should get a wider sample size than just that one benchmark, there isn't really a line between a current gen and a next gen game on pc.
Don't focus to much on the future, if one solution is superior now, then it'll most likely keep on being superior in future games.

@thompson820: that's not exactly how it is supposed to work though.

@jgf said:

Afaik is gpu memory used to store images for texture mapping. As it seems that the new console gpu have access to huge memory - I can see ps4 games devoting 2gb to game stuff leaving 6gb for textures and gpu stuff. So there may be a huge variety in different textures.

As consoles output "only" at 1080p a single texture asset does Not need to be as big as its counterpart on a PC that runs ultrahigh resolutions. So 6gb for ps360 could explode to 12gb of pc GPU Memory.

I don't think the consoles are going to impact PC hardware evolution at all.

If we need 12 GB's of graphics Memory for a game, AMD and Nvidia will start producing cards that house that much memory, regardless of what funky stuff is going on in other peoples livingrooms.

#18 Edited by VACkillers (1063 posts) -

thank you all so much for your comments.. all this talk is really helping quite a lot, keep the discussion going lol... I find it so interesting what peoples views on when it comes to the next gen stuff, the unified memory could be a good thing, unified memory is usually a shit solution because things like laptops for example, never had enough memory to power the GPU AND the rest of the system, thats why its generally thought its "much" better to have seperate dedicated memory for the GPU, and the system itself, but with the PS4, they are doing something quite different, their memory is GDDR5 memory... its BLAZINGLY much faster then regular RAM in a PC today... We've actually been stuck on DDR3 memory for what, 4 years now? if not longer, thats quite a life span for memory really, didn't even take half that to go from DDR2 to DDR3. obviously GPU memory is far faster then system memory, which is one of the reasons why GPUs really are so much more powerfull then CPUs now, their leapfrogging over them in terms of how many calculatiosn a second a GPU can muster over a CPU. For PCs though, faster ram is really not that important, definitely hardly notable in regular work loads unless you are using an SSD anyway, the harddrive cant keep up with it otherwise.. PS4 has a 2nd chip inside of it, which is probably one of the most important things as to why its going to be so good, 1 CPU to run the games, and a 2nd one to run everything else in the background, little is known about this except that we all know its an AMD Jaguar chip, whatever that is... and it has 8 cores... I'm wondering if the PS4 is going to be powering 2 of these chips, for a combined 16 cores, which will much a HUGE difference...

I remember Epic games Mark Rein talking about how the next gen consoles will have to spec up to PC levels if they had any chance in running Unreal engine 4, and durring the same discussion talking about what he was calling "Massive Multicore" technology is the future, and if song really do have dual 8-core chips inside it, then Mark Rein was definitely right in terms of the tech and where we are heading...

Onto the my main topic at hand though, yep always falling behind, can never really stay at the top or high end unless i'm upgrading ever year which obviously I cannot do haha!! oh boy would I loved to be able to do that though :D dual 660 tis seems to be for me, pretty confident its going to do all i need it to do, and for the benchmarks of the titan vs the 2 660 ti,s there are other benchmarks out there that give pretty much the same as the ones I linked, would never just go by 1 single bench performance test, impossible to get the average of what you can expect from a card that way. I think its what im going to go with but nothing set in stone untill i order all my parts... hopefully the 660s wil lhold me over for at least a few years.. at least 2 anyway...

#19 Posted by ShadowSkill11 (1783 posts) -

I have SLI 660 TI's. You can expect the performance of about 130% of a 680 card. The price/performance also equals roughly the same. I have an overclocked first gen i7 @ 3.8 GHz and if I stay with FXAA or a low SMAA setting I can max everything out there at 1080p no problem. Crysis 3, Tomb Raider, StarCraft 2: HoTS, etc run smooth as butter.

#20 Edited by mooncheese114 (15 posts) -

I have a single 660 ti that runs everything I've thrown at it extremely well. At that price, I'd go for a 4gb 680, as that will age much better especially when high resolutions (4k) come into play. all in all, single GPUs seem like a much more stable system

#21 Posted by rebgav (1429 posts) -

@jgf said:

Afaik is gpu memory used to store images for texture mapping. As it seems that the new console gpu have access to huge memory - I can see ps4 games devoting 2gb to game stuff leaving 6gb for textures and gpu stuff.

As someone already pointed out, in the PS4 example you're looking at that memory being shared across the entire system. While it's nice to imagine that devs will have 8gb of fast memory available for gaming it's more likely that the reality of the situation will be that some amount will be set aside for the OS, some for the game-related system functionality like video sharing/streaming, and probably some amount for non-gaming functionality. How much is actually usable by games probably won't be known to us until some poor dev has a hissy-fit over it. Even if the vast majority of the onboard memory is usable by games I'm not sure how that compares in performance terms to a GPU with its own dedicated memory and access to a vast chunk of system memory. My hope is that it means that console games get lovely detailed textures and tessellation, meaning that console ports get lovely detailed textures and tessellation.

#22 Posted by jgf (392 posts) -

@rebgav: I talked about 2gb for game+system part. Which seems reasonable in my opinion. Consoles don't run a full blown windows with X background tasks. I agree that with all the announced streaming stuff the memory needed by the system could increase. Let it even be 500mb to 1gb. That still leaves 1gb for pure game logic and 6gb for textures and polygons. Also the streaming was said to be run by a separate video chip - perhaps with its own memory- as a SoC.

I think its a fair guess to assume that the system + background processes will not take more then 1gb ram. Thats double the ram of current gen consoles, only for the operating system.

I'm no expert on gpu design, but John Carmack tweeted that he likes the design choices made. I trust his word in this regard. That shared memory may be even better as dedicated gpu memory, because you don't need to copy data between gpu and cpu memory.

#23 Edited by Tarsier (1065 posts) -

no wait for the next generation. the graphics cards are going to get way cheaper at that point.

#24 Posted by VACkillers (1063 posts) -

when it comes to the PS4s design in how it shares GDDR5 memory, its basically a work-around for the console so it doesn't have to use a SSD, its quite clever, but if you have an SSD in your system, it will just negate any advantage the PS4 will pull in any performance test. Its a good way to cut the cost of the console down as well, as adding a SSD into the PS4 well, you can add at least an additional $100 to the total cost. The only real advantage over a PC the PS4 will have when it comes to the unified memory, is the fact that there is a LOT more video memory there then on most modern desktop GPUs right now. The 2nd chip is not known if its another graphics chip or a 2nd CPU, they never mentioned that in the PS4 presentation, that just specified a "2nd chip".

I'm still learning towards 2 660 ti's in SLI, but looks like my build is going to be on hold for now.... thanks to the IRS fucking up my taxes and messing up my financial aid for college...

#25 Posted by Corvak (1093 posts) -

@vackillers: Yeah, the big thing with SSDs is the price skyrockets once you pass 250GB. And based on rumors and current trends - games are getting big. I'd want at least a TB on my next console, more if there are mandatory installs for everything.

Current PS4 rumors indicate the 2nd chip may be an nvidia PhysX chip.

#26 Posted by Bollard (5598 posts) -

The Titan and the 780 are not the same thing...

#27 Posted by WasabiCurry (422 posts) -

There is so many "What if's" that it is driving me insane at the moment. We are on the verge of a new console generation (The Xbox specs still being unknown) and the PS4 actually touting some great improvements. However, it can be a difficult time for new PC builders because the area of both hardware and software is about to change soon. I offer this advice, if you feel the need to upgrade, build a new rig, or wait patiently to see what the new consoles may offer. Make it your decision.

@corvak I would say those rumors would be false. The reason being is the recent fallout between Sony and Nvidia. Here is Nvidia reason why.

#28 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

As I recall that 660 TI has fantastic scaling and generally does extremely well in SLI. Although I may be confusing the 560ti, which I believe actually had increased efficiency in SLI (Over 200% increase in performance over non-sli).

Keep in mind SLI can have issues, especially with the "feel" of a game even when the framerate is high. I think it's usually better to go with a single GPU solution if you can. a 670/680 will run everything at native with AA pretty damn well. And won't have the frame latency, or the microstuttering, or compatibility issues that any SLI setup will have. But, plenty of people have a good experience with SLI so I'm not trying to scare you away from it.

@jgf said:

@rebgav: I talked about 2gb for game+system part. Which seems reasonable in my opinion. Consoles don't run a full blown windows with X background tasks. I agree that with all the announced streaming stuff the memory needed by the system could increase. Let it even be 500mb to 1gb. That still leaves 1gb for pure game logic and 6gb for textures and polygons. Also the streaming was said to be run by a separate video chip - perhaps with its own memory- as a SoC.

I think its a fair guess to assume that the system + background processes will not take more then 1gb ram. Thats double the ram of current gen consoles, only for the operating system.

I'm no expert on gpu design, but John Carmack tweeted that he likes the design choices made. I trust his word in this regard. That shared memory may be even better as dedicated gpu memory, because you don't need to copy data between gpu and cpu memory.

What does this have to do with SLI in a PC? If you're going to go this off topic, start a new thread, or go into PMs, you aren't helping the thread at all. Not to be a dick, because I totally get the desire to discuss this stuff, but lets do it elsewhere.

Man, I really hate Parchment. They REALLY need to have a text input method that doesn't break when you do anything with replies/quotes. Ugh.

#29 Posted by VACkillers (1063 posts) -

I did think about strongly going with a single 680, but the problem is for new games its actually still not powerfull enough, yes for "most" games any of the top gfx cards are MORE then enough at 1920x1080 res's but then you'll come across a graphical milestone in gaming like crysis 3, where a single card just simply is not powerfull enough to max out at 1920 or above at get 60FPS. Crysis 3 is basically only the first next gen game, just imagine whats over the horizon in 6 months time? Regardless of what ppl think about compatibility with SLi, there has only been a few games where sli wasn't supported right at launch, for example, new bioshock game is out today, and nvidia released a supporting driver, yesterday for it, driver support for nvidia isn't like it is for AMD where you'll have to wait weeks to get a compatible driver xfire profile to work properly.

If i actually had the option, I would absolutely wait because next gen is just around the corner, but sadly I dont have the option of waiting due to money issues thats going to pop up later this year and my machines capacity to fail soon lol.

#30 Edited by Neurotic_X (17 posts) -

I would wait for GTX 7xx. :)

#31 Edited by envane (1163 posts) -

@vackillers: yeah go single card whatever you do , benchmarks dont show the added heat and noise , which are really obscene especially if you push them to the limit to try and get similar results to the benchmark etc ... plus the fact that almost ALL games IGNORE SLI , until their sli profile is updated , which may be on launch day , or may be a week or a month later ...its generally always fixed , but also i have rarely seen a game utilise my sli 580s out of the box.

id say even a single 660 is adequate for the transition to the next gen , just question what it is you want to play ..crysis 3 might be pushing the limits of technology but i bet by the time average people have that kind of computing , optimizations in coding and game engines will make crysis 3 look like a bloated mess .. take for example bioshock infinite , its amazing, but its still just the unreal engine with a few extra dx11 effects ontop of it than last time .. and it performs badass for me (thanks to launch day drivers that fixed sli profiles etc.) .. and thats the reason ppl are still using the unreal engine and dx9... sure the odd eastern european company still builds its engines from scratch to be as optimistic as possible .. but most GAMES .. run fine ..its just those few tech demos disguised as games that will push its limits.

blah blah rant rant , long story short , i dont think you need to legitimately worry until stuff like star citizen comes out , or any other substantial jump in the pc gaming world, crysis 3 does not warrant spending $1000+ on upgrades to play a 6 hour campaign that is boring as shit, and an already-dying-to-lack-of-interest mulitplayer.

and can everyone please stop comparing titan results to anything , its a new architechture and drivers need to catch up, they are only now just managing to hit the sweet spot on 6-series drivers anyway , and its still like comparing apples to oranges , because gpu boost 2 is a whole different beast

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