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Xfire 9600GT question

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#1
Hi guys,

Quick question. I have been doing a bit of research about crossfire as I have never actually crossfire'd anything in my life yet! so I have a mate with two 9600GT's both identical cards, and a motherboard with a pci-e x16 slot and a pci-e x4 slot. I have read that sometimes it is better to run one card in the x16 slot rather than one card in a x16 and one in a x4 because both downgrade to the x4 bandwidth performance. Running a res of 1440x900, my mate plays things like rust, diablo 3, dayz etc.

What do you guys think? Should I be running one 9600GT in the x16 pci-e slot, or should I run two cards, one in the x16 and one in the x4..?

I read this thread http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_5870_PCI-Express_Scaling/26.html and found it helpful, it said that the drop in performance wasn't too bad with the x4, BUT some programs would be much slower with the slower bandwidth even though there are two cards..

Thoughts/suggestions?
 

Solaris17

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#2
IIRC back in the day it depended on the board. Some boards would downgrade to x4 x8 etc but most modern boards will hold atleast one slot at x16 with the other holding or downgrading to x8 or x4. Honestly most programs from what iv seen games anyway dont really seem to get a performance hit for this kind of thing anymore since most driver updates for the past couple of years have always more or less focused on crossfire or SLI improvements with game bug patching usually coming second. I would just go for it.
 
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#3
You have to look up on SLI technology, if you research nvidia cards :) for a 9600GT on a modern board it will probably not matter if it's in a 4x slot.
 
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#4

Solaris17

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#5
Ideally you would trade both 9600s in and get a 280 or something save power time and boost performance but assuming thats all you can get your hands on their is no pain in trying.
 
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#6
So I am not sure whether it would be worth me adding the second card in the x4 slot or just leaving a single card in the x16 slot..
You would have to do a lot of driver hacks to get SLI to work. Not only is SLI not supported on Intel motherboards before the 5 series, it also doesn't work with any slots less than x8 in bandwidth.
 
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#7
You would have to do a lot of driver hacks to get SLI to work. Not only is SLI not supported on Intel motherboards before the 5 series, it also doesn't work with any slots less than x8 in bandwidth.
This. Realistically, you're better saving up £50 for a much, much better used card.
 
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#8
Ideally you would trade both 9600s in and get a 280 or something save power time and boost performance but assuming thats all you can get your hands on their is no pain in trying.
Back then, SLI and Crossfire were way less optimized, and even today we still have some issues here and there.

Definitely unload both of those cards and get yourself something like a GTX460 or a HD5770, you'll be a million times happier!
 
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#9
actually 9600gt in Sli is pretty good. I had 8800 GT in sli (which was ~20-25% faster each).
If motherboard supports it its ok. but again its like 6-7 years old cards....so 460 etc will be definitely better.
 
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#10
Thanks for the suggestions and advise guys. I think I might just tell my mate to save some money and get himself a new card. Maybe a gtx 460 or something like you have suggested!

Thanks TPU buddies!

=)
 

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#11
You would have to do a lot of driver hacks to get SLI to work. Not only is SLI not supported on Intel motherboards before the 5 series, it also doesn't work with any slots less than x8 in bandwidth.
Forget the fact that the board is only PCI-E 1.0 compliant, so each lane has 1/2 that of 2.0 and 1/4 that of 3.0, so it's really worse than you think it is, if that's fathomable. :p
 
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#12
Forget the fact that the board is only PCI-E 1.0 compliant, so each lane has 1/2 that of 2.0 and 1/4 that of 3.0, so it's really worse than you think it is, if that's fathomable. :p
hmm..i didn't think of that..thats a good point. well I guess that confirms my decision! Cheers Aquinus

;)
 

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#13
hmm..i didn't think of that..thats a good point. well I guess that confirms my decision! Cheers Aquinus

;)
Don't get me wrong though, GPUs sometimes need a lot of bandwidth, not always. Some devices like RAID cards and multi-port ethernet cards might not suffer just because it's PCI-E 1.0 or 1.1. I have a dual-port Intel 1Gbps PT card that works great despite being a 1.1 card. It's just a matter of having the lanes to handle it and weather you saturate the bus or not.

Either way, your decision is a good one. Upon further reflection I would have stuck with a single GPU. Crossfire is nice if you want a boost without spending an arm and a leg, but it's not always stable and doesn't always result in reasonable performance.

Best of luck with whatever you choose to do though, regardless of PCI-E spec, a single GPU will always have less issues than a multi-GPU setup. :toast:
 
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#14
Don't get me wrong though, GPUs sometimes need a lot of bandwidth, not always. Some devices like RAID cards and multi-port ethernet cards might not suffer just because it's PCI-E 1.0 or 1.1. I have a dual-port Intel 1Gbps PT card that works great despite being a 1.1 card. It's just a matter of having the lanes to handle it and weather you saturate the bus or not.

Either way, your decision is a good one. Upon further reflection I would have stuck with a single GPU. Crossfire is nice if you want a boost without spending an arm and a leg, but it's not always stable and doesn't always result in reasonable performance.

Best of luck with whatever you choose to do though, regardless of PCI-E spec, a single GPU will always have less issues than a multi-GPU setup. :toast:
Thanks mate, I have told my friend to just save his money for abit and get a gtx 460 or equivalent. Sounds like a lot less hassle than a dual GPU setup. especially with the limited bandwidth.

Thanks for the help ;)
 
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#15
Intel's P35/P45 chipsets for C2D usually had only CrossfireX support and most of budget mobos used to take X16 link from NB and x4 link from SB which is pretty messy when it comes to CFX especially. Besides P35 is only PCIe r1.1 (not 2.0 like P45) so even if mobo which yours doesnt splitted those x16 into x8 + x8 links you'd probably get bottlenecked. Only X38/X48 chipsets supported both PCIe 2.0 and Intel allowed manufacturers to split links on them thou some did crappy work on their mobos and used to do same way as on P35/P45 chipsets taking other PCIe from SB or even put additional leveraged arbiter chip splitter which supported only PCIe 1.x communication.

Ideally you would trade both 9600s in and get a 280 or something save power time and boost performance but assuming thats all you can get your hands on their is no pain in trying.
More something like HD6850 which become budget used card nowadays. You should also be more careful as we have more contemporary discussions about R9 280(X) so i believed you refer on oldish GTX280 which is power hog of 180W+. HD6850 is below 135W, and HD5770 usually doesnt reach above 100W and both are better compared to his 9600 in fracking low idle consumption.

You would have to do a lot of driver hacks to get SLI to work. Not only is SLI not supported on Intel motherboards before the 5 series, it also doesn't work with any slots less than x8 in bandwidth.
I didnt know that SLI hack works only with PCIe x8/x16 capable slots. So you basically claim hack is only possible on X38/X48 chipsets when we talk about Intel chipsets of Core2 era?


actually 9600gt in Sli is pretty good. I had 8800 GT in sli (which was ~20-25% faster each).
If motherboard supports it its ok. but again its like 6-7 years old cards....so 460 etc will be definitely better.
460gtx is better but at almost double power dissipation of single 9600. ati is simply better when we talk about those budget cards. Their cards also consumes less and give similar or even slightly better performance. And are usually better bargain as second hand, 20-25% cheaper
 

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#16
You don't run SLI or CFX if you're driving displays from two different video cards which is why 3D becomes an issue as it depends on the GPU driving the display. CFX will disable displays on the secondary CFX card.

SLI/CFX is for 3d performance, that is all. You can use as many GPUs to drive as many displays as you want, but don't expect 3D to work correctly.