28 july 2012
It's been a while since I've written about SLI in my system...
Remember the 1st time I added SLI and I had a melt-down on one of the cards? I think I know now why that was. The 2nd card was just too slow for the main card to keep up. And running on a 110% wasn't doing so well for the card. Good thing I had it refunded back then...
Then the second time I tried SLI (earlier this year) was a failure as well. Then I didn't know that there were actually 4 versions of the GTX460 card available, and that my EVGA GTX460 SC was the 1st version ever made. Adding a newer version wasn't gonne give me SLI either. Good thing that EVGA allowed me to return the card and refund me completely.
But through time I have learned of my mistakes... This time I've acquired an almost identical card of my EVGA GTX460 SC. I was able to get myself a rather cheap (and looking at it almost never used as well) ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP/2DI/768MD5 (can't they give it a shorter name at ASUS? ) There is only one problem though... This new ASUS card is about 10% slower than the EVGA card (hey, I've seen that before...).
But here EVGA kicks in! The tool I used to overclock my EVGA card can be used to overclock ANY GTX460. Though I did push my EVGA GTX460 SC to the max, now I've set it back to it's default speed and use the overclocking tool to let the ASUS card match the speed of the EVGA card (and it works!).
Of course, learning from the 8800GT SLI problems where I might have had a too low PSU, this time I asked around if the old one (CoolerMaster Real Power M620) could handle the SLI configuration. Yes it can, but when the cards will both be used to perform, it might cause a problem. It seems that the 620Watt that the PSU gives is just on the edge of what the SLI configuration needs. And where this PSU can give up to 700Watt, it won't be able to give that for a long time...
So it was time to upgrade PSU as well. This time I took one that will be enough for now (not that I will add a lot more to my system, or make a new one soon). The new PSU I have now powering my SLI configuration is the OCZ Fatal1ty 750Watt. It's a cool looking one with a red LED light in the fan, but well ...closed case, so I can't enjoy that feature
Then the stress-test I did. Results in the picture below which was taken after 15 minutes or so...
NOTE: GPU1 is the ASUS and GPU2 is the EVGA
Both cards perform well, but do get rather warm for my likings (I was used to 65C maximum for a single GTX460). SLI does means less air-flow so more heat, and that's why I wanted the ASUS card, since it's known that this card generates a bit less heath and has a better fan as well.
And speaking about the ASUS fan... Yes it indeed is better, and though the card (and the fan) are on the bottom of my machine and have less space to vent the warm air, it does a better job than the EVGA fan does. But what's not on this chart is the fan speed... As said, the ASUS fan does a better job than the EVGA fan does, but it also runs faster and generates a lot more noise... But when playing games (I just played about 3 hours of Civilization V) and the card doesn't get used for the full 100%, the noise is luckily a lot less...
In general, I'm happy with the new SLI configuration, and I do hope I'll be able to enjoy it for years to come!
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