I'm about to sink some major dough into a homebrewed i7 computer. Naturally, one of the big questions is graphics; I mostly play World of Warcraft and really dislike the lag in certain areas. The processor and memory are up to par, now let's consider the two-versus-one question.
For purposes of simplifying my life, I'm using Amazon's prices and stock, and am using the Sapphire line of ATi cards for this question. Yes, I know there are other options, but Sapphire has a solid midrange price and some decent cards. Please don't digress-- there re other places to argue the merits of individual varieties of cards!
I can get a Radeon HD 4890 for about the same price as two Radeon HD 4850s. Heat isn't really going to be an issue, I've learned from previous system builds and have chosen top-of-the-line cooling systems (though not yet liquid cooling). There will be one monitor of midrange size and resolution.
Since the prices are equal, would I get better performance by going to a Crossfire setup with the two cheaper cards? At the moment I'm leaning in the opposite direction, since (when the 4890 prices dtop) I could get another and Crossfire that way. But for the moment, what are your thoughts on my options?
"I didn't cry when Bambi's mother was shot... but I cried when HAL was turned off."
The 2 4850s are going to beat out the 4890 by a bit. I don't think it will be a huge gap. I still have to recommend the one 4890 though. It's going to run cooler and use less power. Even if you have liquid cooling the heat is still going to end up in the your room, and as a owner of 2 4870s I can say they will heat up a small room.
ClemSnide: Heat isn't really going to be an issue, I've learned from previous system builds and have chosen top-of-the-line cooling systems (though not yet liquid cooling).
I believe Bob has a rig with dual cards and mentioned a heat issue. I seem to remember something about him referring to it as a SPACE HEATER! Hopefully Bob will chime-in on this!
SPAM-posters beware! ®
Holy smokes, Bob, you answered while I was composing my answer! You're awesome, Dude!
Thanks, Bob. Good to hear someone with real experience!
The system will be based on the Cooler Master HAF 932 case, which has an impressive number of fans and air design, and for the CPU I'm going with their v10 hybrid, which also cools the RAM. The rooms are large enough so that I won't notice the heat, though in the winter it might be welcome!
You can go either way with this...One high end card will not perform as well as two midrange cards, however in the long run you'd be better off with the higher end card because you could always get another of that one when the price goes down. I'd say it's a tough call, I'd think of the long term.
I'd say one high end card too. It also keeps the power build down
I have a HAF932 and it's a great case, and I have a V8 cooler. I know that the V10 is awesome so have fun with it
*New KILLER Rig!!* - Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit Build 7100 (RC)Intel
Core i7 920 OCed to 3.2GHz | CoolerMaster V8 | Patriot Viper 3x2GB
DDR3-1333MHz | MSI Eclipse X58 | LG W2261V 22" 16:9 | Western Digital
Caviar Black 640GB | MSI ATI 4870 1GB | Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050W
PSU | CoolerMaster HAF 932 | ASUS DRW-22B1LT Lightscribe | Creative SB
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2.6Ghz -1GB (2x512MB) Hynix DDR-400Mhz SDRAM - Micro ATX ECS L4S5MG/651+ -
Acer AL506 15" Monitor - Seagate 2.5" ST380012A IDE 5200RPM 80GB - ASUS
nVidia TNT2 M64 32MB AGP x4 - Hyena 300W PSU - *CoolerMaster Storm Scout*
I agree with the consensus above. It is nearly always better to have one high end card over two midrange cards. For a number of reasons
However there are some reason to go the opposite direction though
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