Solved: Dual GPU? Help!

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Gavlar

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I built this computer back in August last year on a budget.

The basic specs are:
AMD Phenom II x4 940 quad 3.1Ghz
4GB of DDR2 RAM (cant remember the clock speed, but it was only cheap stuff)
XFX ATI Radeon HD 4850 DDR3 1024MB


Now, up until now I have been using a crappy 15" monitor. However, yesterday I finally recieved my 27" (1920x1080) monitor.

As you would imagine, frame-rates dropped fairly dramatically. Basically what Im asking is:
If I bought another HD 4850, how much would performance increase (it is CrossfireX compatible)?

Thanks,
Gavin
 

Triple6

Rob
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A Radeon 4850 should deliver good frame rates in most games at 1920x1080. What games are you playing and what are the frame rates?

Make sure you have installed the latest drivers from www.ati.com as you may get a free performance upgrade there, and if you do go Crossfire then it'll really help with that as you can constantly update Crossfire profiles.

But sometimes its better to buy a better single card then to go with a second identical card.

To support CrossFire you must have a motherboard thats capable of of it; it must have a second PCI-Express X16 slot and have an AMD CrossFire capable chipset. You must also have a power supply that can handle the extra load of the second card.

You haven't posted the motherboard or power supply info - make and model of both is required to give you an answer if its even possible, let alone worthwhile.
 

Gavlar

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Thanks for your reply,

WoW mainly. On max (or "Ultra") settings, in Dalaran (commonly known as the laggiest part of the game) I was getting 30-50 fps before, now I get 20-35. Outside of Dalaran I usually recieved over 120fps (however, the monitors vertical sync refresh rate wasnt that high anyway). With my new monitor, however, I've found that in order for the game to even run I have had to reduce it to 60Hz and for the quality of the image to be as good as before I've had to enable vertical syncing and triple buffing. This therefore capps my frame-rate at 60.

Although this is still easily playable I was just wondering whether another card would increase my Dalaran fps and whether it would be helpful if I were to start playing other, more demanding, games.

I hadn't checked for new drivers in a while, thanks for the reminder; there was an update, however, I am unsure as to whether or not I will have an effect on the performance.

Mobo:
GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD3P
PSU:
Corsair TX650W or TX750W I cant remember...

Anywho, hope this helps, I am just curious mostly.
Thanks again,
Gavin
 

Triple6

Rob
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ATI releases monthly driver updates, 10.3 is the current version: http://game.amd.com/us-en/drivers_catalyst.aspx?p=xp/radeonx-xp

60 is a great frame rate, you really don't need 120 fps, as for V-Sync, I usually turn it on to avoid tearing as do many others.


You'll likely get the tearing even if you go to Crossfire, which you can with your setup by getting another 4850. And I believe WoW has or had issues running in Crossfire anyway and the consensus was the CrossFire wasn't needed for WoW.
 

Gavlar

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I wouldn't worry about it, on my previous PC I got an average of under 5fps!!! I actually tried playing on that, then gave up and built this.

You should look into building a new rig, you can build a fairly decent one for about £650. Include a pretty nice monitor and your looking at about 900 ish. My one piece of advice is don't scimp on the powersuply or case. Get a nice quality one, at least 50 on each.

Well worth every penny, I cant say what good investment building my own PC was. And its alot simpler than you might imagine. I had practically no hardware experience (other than changing RAM and a keen interest) and I put together my first rig in a little under 2hours.

You should really look into it, if not only for the experience, as well as saving yourself a fortune compared to retail, pre-build, systems.

Anywho, I bid you good luck,
Gavin
 
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Look at the 2nd graphic on this: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2947/9

Resident Evil 5 1920x1200 (more graphic intensive than WOW)
4850 = 49fps
5850 = 89fps
4870x2 = 120fps.

You don't get DX11, but getting a 2nd 4850 for about $110 will give you performance in some games equal to a single $400 card, the 5870 or GeForce 285. I'd guess than dual 4850 cards would get you about 90~95fps.
 

Gavlar

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Hello, thanks for the reply :)

With regard to the Anandtech review, a simple glance at the comments would lead me to believe those results are less than reliable. However, thanks anyway.


One other question, would you care to explain this whole Direct X business. As far as I can gather its some kind of 3D acceleration for windows. But what exactly is it? and whats the difference between DX9 DX10 DX10.1 DX11 and what ever else there is! I seem to be a bit in the dark here I'm afraid.

Thanks for your time,
Gavin
 
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Not sure what you meant by unreliable... There is some variance based on your hardware, after-all if your CPU is a 2000mhz Celeron, all those numbers would be thrown out.

The games you play on your Windows system use DX code to work... refer to the Wikipedia link.
 

Gavlar

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Well, what I meant by unreliable is: upon looking at the comments, the majority seem to be people expressing their distrust for anandtech. This quote pretty much sums it up "long reader of anandtech but with this article for me you have lost all credibility" and others saying similar things.

As for DX, wikipedia says that Dx9, 10 and 11 are only available for Windows Vista and 7. As I'm running XP; does this mean (even though my card is 10.1 compatible) I can't use 9 and up?
However, when running DxDiag I tells me I'm running Dx9.0c...

Im presuming upgrading my Dx to 10.1 will help my performance (if its even possible). How would I go about doing that?


Thanks again,
Gavin
 

Triple6

Rob
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Windows XP is limited to DX9.0c and older O/S's. To use DX10, 10.1, and 11 you need Vista or 7, which also support DX9 and older.

Every review site has negative comments from some readers, if its doesn't have negative comments then it likely just doesn't have any readers. Sites may have some bias towards some manufacturer's, but that tends to be the case with most users as well.
 

Gavlar

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Ok I see. Would upgrading OS for Dx 10.1 induce an increased performance graphical wise. Or is it just that some games require the extra features it offers?

Also, I am aware every review site (and, in fact, practically everything) has negative comments, however I just seemed that practically every comment was negative, instead of the reverse (which is usually the case).


Thanks once again for all of your help,
Gavin
 

Triple6

Rob
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Not really, and only games that are designed for DX10 or DX11 would even have any benefit, and the benefits may not be added performance but new or better visual effects. As a example Crysis performs better in DX9 then DX10 for many.

Personally I love Windows 7, didn't mind Vista with the Service Packs either.
 
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