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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    To upgrade or Xfire?

    Hey guys, got a HD5970 in the PC at the moment, and really it's still more than powerful enough right now. It's only problem is, it has 2GB of VRAM split over 2 chips and so when it comes to using a high texture pack like in Skyrim it buggers itself trying to load in new textures - if I stand and look at a scene I'll get silky smooth frames, but turning causes stuttering.

    Now my question is, would I be better off waiting and selling the card and getting a new GPU later on, or buying a second 5970 to go with it? I realise it's getting on now, but it's powerful (up there with the 580 I think?) and I'm not sure I can justify selling/replacing it yet.

    I also realise it might not solve the stutter due to Xfire being a bit shonky though. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    I wouldn't do it. Xfire, that is.

    - more noise, more heat
    - more power consumption ($$$ and enviromental cost)
    - more things to go wrong in hardware (e.g. fan failures, inadequate PSU, etc.) and software (e.g. xfire-specific game issues)
    - inferior feature set (compared to newer generation card)

    But you get to go HURR I AM TEH HARDCOREZ which may or may not be worth something to you.
    Last edited by Rii; 15-06-2012 at 06:08 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woundedbum View Post
    Hey guys, got a HD5970 in the PC at the moment, and really it's still more than powerful enough right now. It's only problem is, it has 2GB of VRAM split over 2 chips and so when it comes to using a high texture pack like in Skyrim it buggers itself trying to load in new textures - if I stand and look at a scene I'll get silky smooth frames, but turning causes stuttering.

    Now my question is, would I be better off waiting and selling the card and getting a new GPU later on, or buying a second 5970 to go with it? I realise it's getting on now, but it's powerful (up there with the 580 I think?) and I'm not sure I can justify selling/replacing it yet.

    I also realise it might not solve the stutter due to Xfire being a bit shonky though. Thoughts?
    the problems you are having in Skyrim isn't so much FPS stuttering. I have the same issue with a 6870, which is far less powerful and has 1GB of RAM.

    Have a look if the below happens- when you look straight up/down/left/right its silky smooth, right?

    then, do the diagonals. You will probably notice what looks like stuttering, but the frame rate is in fact fine. I think its something to do with the implementation of the look mechanic in the game.

    Unless you are playing at resolutions above 1080P, that card will handle Skyrim great. Have you checked to actually see if the game is using both of the GPUs and isnt just running on one of them?

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    I know that Crossfire doesn't work well with Skyrim, it was worse when it came out so I guess that's not helping. I should have been more clear though, vanilla Skyrim works well, it's just when I increase textures with mods or the official DLC that it gets bad.

    Spawning more AI etc doesn't cause a problem, it must just be because the Vram is split over two chips and it can't share the textures or whatever well.

    Rii is probably right, I'd be better off getting a single card with 3GB of Vram or something.

  5. #5
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    I've always opted for single cards for all the reasons Rii mentions. It's just more complexity and long term cost, plus you have to hope that whatever game you're playing even supports it. If I were in your position I'd go for the best single GPU I could afford.

    I've been using both ATI\AMD and Nvidia cards, almost alternating between them, for 20+ years and I can't say that I prefer one above the other. They're both very capable and reliable.

    If it helps, in a recent interview with PC Gamer (USA) magazine John Carmack said he preferred Nvidia because they have better developer relations which allowed him to optimize his engines for their hardware.
    Last edited by djbriandamage; 15-06-2012 at 07:35 PM.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Multi GPU is silly, either upgrade or(if you are limited by cpu) put money aside for a new pc one day.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  7. #7
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    Crossfire does not increase the video memory available to applications, you would still run into the same 1GB limitations.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was looking at the 4GB version, but I'll wait for now, the card is still up there and I don't have the cash to splash.

    Cheers guys.

  9. #9
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    I have a Xfire setup and while yes, you can get it to run rather beefy games smoothly, it's often a lot of work, drivers are always lagging behind and most importantly you need to have planned for it. I picked 2GB cards specifically so that VRAM wouldn't be a bottleneck.

    Would I do it again? Probably not. It was an interesting experiment, and the only feasible way to get a lot of screens plugged into one computer, but it's just not worth the hassle unless you have extremely specific needs.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Referring to Crossfire as "Xfire" doesn't really simplify anything.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FriendlyFire View Post
    Would I do it again? Probably not. It was an interesting experiment, and the only feasible way to get a lot of screens plugged into one computer, but it's just not worth the hassle unless you have extremely specific needs.
    actually, you don't need Crossfire or SLi to use multiple monitors. If you install them as independant cards they can drive their own monitors.

  12. #12
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    You still need the PCI-E slots for them, at which point you effectively have a CF/SLI setup. One GPU, outside of very niche models, can only push 3 monitors tops, and good luck running games in Eyefinity with just one card, no matter how powerful.

    For reference, I do in fact run them separately most of the time, since that lets me run 5 monitors at once (technically 6 but I don't have a 6th one to plug in... yet).

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