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Dual 670s or a single 680?

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,051
267
126
I'm building a new rig and I would like some input on whether or not I should be looking into SLI 670s or invest in a single 680 (with possible SLI 680s in the future).

I don't plan on water cooling my rig and from reviews about the case I'm looking at, people said they had trouble getting just one 680 to fit inside. I really like this case, but I'm looking for the most power for my money.

I'm mainly just asking for some pros and cons here, but any information is appreciated.
 

Elfear

Diamond Member
May 30, 2004
7,040
558
126
What other components are you going to pair with your new video card(s)? What resolution do you play at? What games do you play? Are you beholden to Nvidia or are you brand agnostic?
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
760
126
If a case is a limitation for length of the card, what's the case? Pictures? name of the case? Dimensions?
 
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Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,051
267
126
My apologies, I forgot to attach my list here.

CPU ~300
GPU ~600
RAM ~100
PSU ~130
HDD ~70
SSD ~200
DVD ~20
Mobo ~200
Case
Mouse ~50
Keyboard - Undecided
Monitor ~220
First Headset Choice ~180
Second Choice ~130
Third Choice (which would be my first choice if this wasn't wireless)
Both Razers seem to be great headsets, but it seems they all have mic problems as well as durability problems. Any input would be great here.
OS which I always forget to add

I'm looking at 1920X1080 as a base, but someone suggested I shoot for 2560X1440 if I want a high-end monitor. As for games, all of them really (Metro First Light, Borderlands 2, Skyrim, DayZ, Torchlight 2, Starcraft Brood Wars, Rome 2 Total War, etc. etc. etc.). As for brand, nVidia all the way.
 
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Rvenger

Elite Member <br> Super Moderator <br> Video Cards
Super Moderator
Apr 6, 2004
6,282
5
76
That videocard is horridly overpriced. Get a 4gb GTX 670 and save with basically identical performance.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130785


$459 vs $600. You can overclock to make up the difference. FTW model is $499 + ship but you can probably find it on Amazon with free ship.
 
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Termie

Diamond Member
Aug 17, 2005
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www.techbuyersguru.com
This is more of a general hardware point, but some of those item selections seem a bit outdated. Are you sure you want a Sandy Bridge processor and a z68 motherboard? And the Antec LanBoy? There are better cases at that pricepoint, unless you really like the style of it. Maybe an Antec 1200 or Corsair 600T?

In answer to your question, why not start with one GPU and see if it suits your needs? As for which one to start with, the GTX680 is about 10% faster than the GTX670 - only you can decide if it's worth it to you. If you believe you'll eventually go SLI, I'd just start with the 670. The added expense of 680SLI over 670SLI definitely is not worth it unless you're playing at very high resolutions.

Also, I agree with Rvenger that there's no reason to buy a $600 GTX680.

On the other hand, your choice of PSU (Seasonic) and SSD (Samsung) are excellent. There's a $30 coupon for that Seasonic right now - check hot deals.
 

Rezist

Senior member
Jun 20, 2009
726
0
71
Personally I'd probably wait for the GK110 if you want 1440 performance. SLI or CF can be a PITA at times you'll skip all that with GK110. Or get a 7970 or a single 670.
 

The Alias

Senior member
Aug 22, 2012
647
57
91
I'm looking at 1920X1080 as a base, but someone suggested I shoot for 2560X1440 if I want a high-end monitor. As for games, all of them really (Metro First Light, Borderlands 2, Skyrim, DayZ, Torchlight 2, Starcraft Brood Wars, Rome 2 Total War, etc. etc. etc.). As for brand, nVidia all the way.
mind explaining why "nVidia all the way ."

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814127670
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814131471

are seriously the best single gpu video cards money can buy and if you really wanted to spend $600 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814202005 would outdo them all
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,730
670
126
A single GTX 670 is probably the best choice for nividia.

I don't want to mess with microstutter and bad SLI / xfire support in some games so I went with a single GTX 680 instead, but the extra 10% isn't going to be worth the extra $100 for most people.
 

toyota

Lifer
Apr 15, 2001
12,957
1
0
A single GTX 670 is probably the best choice for nividia.

I don't want to mess with microstutter and bad SLI / xfire support in some games so I went with a single GTX 680 instead, but the extra 10% isn't going to be worth the extra $100 for most people.
and if you oc both the 670 and 680 then then the difference is more like 3-5%.
 

The_Golden_Man

Senior member
Apr 7, 2012
816
0
0
I have 2x ASUS GTX 670 DC II 'Non top' SLI. Very happy with the performance and notice no microstuttering. I game at 1920x1200.

GTX 680 is a waste of money in my opinion.
 

Dadofamunky

Platinum Member
Jan 4, 2005
2,184
0
0
This is more of a general hardware point, but some of those item selections seem a bit outdated. Are you sure you want a Sandy Bridge processor and a z68 motherboard? And the Antec LanBoy? There are better cases at that pricepoint, unless you really like the style of it. Maybe an Antec 1200 or Corsair 600T?
SB is *not* outdated. You could go with an SB 2700K and pair with the current mobo generation launched with IB (not sure what that is at present and too lazy to look). The reason he wants an SB is probably because the IBs are a bit on the hot side and don't tend to OC as efficiently as the SBs. I agree about the case though, the 1200 is far superior for similar money. If I were building his system, I'd do the same thing for the CPU but build it with the current chipset. I would also go for the 670 though. For 1080p gaming, a 680 is likely overkill. If he wanted to do dual-monitor gaming, then it becomes more interesting.
 
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CornellEngineer

Junior Member
Sep 16, 2012
14
0
0
I'm building a new rig and I would like some input on whether or not I should be looking into SLI 670s or invest in a single 680 (with possible SLI 680s in the future).
I'm building a new rig as well...only one or two parts left to go. Have you looked into the new GTX 660 SC card EVGA just released a week or two ago? Looks like an awesome bang for your buck...

http://www.bjorn3d.com/2012/09/evga-geforce-gtx-660-sc-superclocked-2gb-video-card-review/#.UF_vJbJlTdM

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=992&Itemid=72

You can easily find several more excellent detailed reviews on this new GPU that I've read today. Unless I'm misinterpreting these benchmarks (and if I am feel free to set me straight, anybody), you could SLIng a couple of these together and end up with a system that'll blow away a single GTX 670 and likely outperforms a lone 680 as well...and at a considerably lower cost to boot.

Just ordered one myself a little while ago...and am sorely tempted to up that to 2 and be done with it for quite a while.

So did the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SuperClocked 2GB video card meet our expectations? Heck yeah it did, with far more than what we have expected. Initially we thought we will be taking a look at a fairly decent card, a tad bit faster than the last generation Fermi GeForce GTX 560, but we actually got a card on our hands that was able to blow the Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 out of the water in some of our benchmarks, along with a much lower power consumption, and much lower heat output at a very quiet full load operation. At a price of $229, this video card is a steal. Get two of these and throw them in SLI, and you got yourself a beast of a system that will power your gaming system for years to come.

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.
 
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RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
760
126
CornellEngineer,

If you expand the testing to more than 5-6 games and include more modern games, the picture is different. GTX680/HD7970 GE are 46-53% faster at 1080P and 47-65% faster at 1600P with AA than a 660:
http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/grafikkarten/2012/test-nvidia-geforce-gtx-660/5/

Let's assume 660 SLI has 80% scaling. So you'd get 180% vs. say 153% for HD7970 GE at 1080P. That's only 18-20% faster when SLI scaling works on average and a whopping 50%+ slower when SLI doesn't work (which happens for some new games until SLI/CF profiles are updated).

Now, then take a 7970 GE/GTX680 and overclock both of those too. Is GTX660 OC SLI going to give you better frames, sure probably by 20-30%, but when the scaling is poor you get $229 level of performance and in GPU demanding scenarios with MSAA/mods, GTX660 SLI will suffer from micro-stutter at similar frames. That's because you need higher framerates on dual-cards to have a similar level of smoothness vs. 1 card once you reach lower frames (i.e., 45 fps on a high-end flagship can often feel as smooth at 60 fps on dual mid-range cards).

Also, 660s have severe memory bandwidth and ROP limitations which means performance drops like a rock with MSAA and mods even in today's games, nevermind future games. For example in Skyrim + ENB mods, 7970 GE is 73% faster with 8xMSAA than a 660 is. So if you get 2x 660s, you will only match a single 7970 GE in that game.
http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/grafikkarten/2012/test-nvidia-geforce-gtx-660/23/

There are also other games such as Alan Wake where 660 is nearly half as fast as a high-end flagship, or Metro 2033 where a 660 is only as fast as a 7850 because of its memory bandwidth/ROP issues.

Because micro-stutter becomes more evident the more GPU demanding a game is as it pushes frame rates lower, it'll become more evident when next generation of games come on 660 SLI. This is why SLI/CF generally only work well for flagship products in reality. In theory the mid-range cards put up good CF/SLi performance but real world gameplay reveals micro-stutter.

660 SLI will beat 670 no doubt but if you must spend $460, you can find an HD7970 GE or a GTX680 for that much as well. Personally, I'd rather take 50% faster performance almost all the time, than 20% faster performance only when SLI scaling works well. This is why GTX660 SLI doesn't make sense to me at $460. And actually, I'd say HD7950 @ 1.1ghz overclock in CF for $560 is well worth the extra $100 over 660 SLI or if you must go NV find 660Tis on sale.




Also, because 660/660Ti cards are memory bandwidth/ROP limited, the SLI scaling is nowhere near 80% on average:
http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/grafikkarten/2012/test-nvidia-geforce-gtx-660-ti/7/

I'd rather get a 680 or 7970 GE for $450-460 vs. 660 SLI or spend $100 more for HD7950 Cross-fire and overclock them. An overclocked 7950 = GTX680/7970 GE for hundreds less. That's $100 well spent for 7950 CF vs. 660 SLI.
 
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CornellEngineer

Junior Member
Sep 16, 2012
14
0
0
This is why GTX660 SLI doesn't make sense to me at $460. And actually, I'd say HD7950 @ 1.1ghz overclock in CF for $560 is well worth the extra $100 over 660 SLI.
In the first place, the OP stated he had a strong preference for Nvidia cards, so Radeon is not really an option for him. In the second place, some of these benchmarks show that the new GTX 660 SC actually more than holds its own against the 7950, and can even take out the 7970 in some cases...

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=992&Itemid=72&limit=1&limitstart=6

To me, any performance benefit of the 79XX cards costing over $400 isn't worth it compared to the $230 this new GPU is being introduced at.

Taking all our benchmark results into consideration, the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SC commands a decisive lead past its price-relative competition but also occasionally shadowed AMD's flagship Radeon HD 7970 graphics card that costs twice as much.

I personally don't plan on SLIing anytime soon, but it's nice to know it'll be an option in the future if need be...when the price will be even lower. The OP said he was looking to get a good bang for his buck, and I think this card would give him that.
 

CornellEngineer

Junior Member
Sep 16, 2012
14
0
0
Also, because 660/660Ti cards are memory bandwidth/ROP limited, the SLI scaling is nowhere near 80% on average
Memory bandwidth is obviously important, but it's not the whole story...

The Memory Bus Width has been downgraded from a 256-bit interface from the previous generation Fermi GTX 560 to a 192-bit interface, however, this does not mean that the new Kepler GTX 660 will perform slower in overall memory bandwidth than the GTX 560. As a matter a fact, with the current 192-bit memory interface, Nvidia is able to provide a much larger frame buffer of 2GB (VRAM) for current DX11 games, that might require the extra frame buffer to load valuable information for smooth gameplay.

The new GTX 660 SC has less bandwidth than the 560 does, and yet this new GPU still totally blew it away.

But I agree that it's difficult to predict how SLI will scale...I've seen some benchmarks where sometimes it really is almost a pure doubling...and other times when it's nowhere near, as you correctly stated.
 

guskline

Diamond Member
Apr 17, 2006
5,338
474
126
I had 2 GTX670 FTWs in SLI in rig 1 below and they are FAST for multi-monitoring. If you are using a single 24" 1920 x 1080 monitor a single EVGA GTX670 FTW is extremely fast. You will be amazed.
PS Look at Termie's specs above with a 3770k HUBBA! HUBBA!:cool:;)
 

Gunslinger08

Lifer
Nov 18, 2001
13,234
2
81
Think a 670 FTW would be enough for 2560x1440? Or should I go for a factory overclocked 680? I'm past the point of wanting to overclock myself. Just want Borderlands 2 to look awesome and run at 60 fps with v-sync.
 

Termie

Diamond Member
Aug 17, 2005
7,949
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www.techbuyersguru.com
Think a 670 FTW would be enough for 2560x1440? Or should I go for a factory overclocked 680? I'm past the point of wanting to overclock myself. Just want Borderlands 2 to look awesome and run at 60 fps with v-sync.
See this thread:
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2271996

Running at 1440p with high Physx will tax either card, although the 680 will likely hit just above 60. Is it worth an extra $100 to you to get 62 vs. 58? Up to you. Keep in mind you need at least a stock 2500K to hold 60 fps in that game.
 

Gunslinger08

Lifer
Nov 18, 2001
13,234
2
81
See this thread:
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2271996

Running at 1440p with high Physx will tax either card, although the 680 will likely hit just above 60. Is it worth an extra $100 to you to get 62 vs. 58? Up to you. Keep in mind you need at least a stock 2500K to hold 60 fps in that game.
Benchmarks I've seen show the 670 FTW basically performing the same or slightly better than a stock 680. I think I could probably get away with the 670, but I might just say screw it and spend the extra $100. Any recommendations on a factory overclocked 680? Probably prefer blower style, since that's what I've got now. The EVGA ones look to be the most popular blowers.
 

Termie

Diamond Member
Aug 17, 2005
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Benchmarks I've seen show the 670 FTW basically performing the same or slightly better than a stock 680. I think I could probably get away with the 670, but I might just say screw it and spend the extra $100. Any recommendations on a factory overclocked 680? Probably prefer blower style, since that's what I've got now. The EVGA ones look to be the most popular blowers.
The only true blower style fans are based on the reference design, and EVGA tends to push the reference design to higher clocks than other manufacturers, who turn to custom open-air designs.

The 670FTW is basically equivalent to a stock 680, but that's not what you were considering - you mentioned a pre-overclocked model. And a stock 680 is only good for about 60fps, which cuts it pretty close if you're serious about locking your framerate at 60fps.

By the way, if you're willing to go used, there are some nice 680s in the FS/FT forum here.
 

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