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Gaming video card questions

Old 12-02-09, 09:57 AM
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Gaming video card questions

it's been a while (6+ years) since I've had a real PC for gaming and it looks like there's some new technology out there I never heard of. I just ordered a base model Dell XPS 9000 and intend to upgrade the ram and video card soon. So I guess the video card thing is still the same, super pricey means better performance and will be half the price in a year. But what's the whole SLI thing mean? and Crossfire? And i keep reading about people using multiple video cards so is that just because they wanna run more than 1 monitor? or can you piggy-back one card off another for extra pixel power? I can't afford a $500 video card, but if I could, would I want that? or 2 $250 cards working together? Do your 2 cards have to be identical? And I saw something about a physics card once.. whats that do? do I need one? And what is considered adequate ram these days for gaming? My Dell will come with 3 gigs tri channel, and 3 open slots so I was thinking about adding 3 2-gig chips for a total of 12 gigs.. or is that just dumb and overkill right now? I'm not after bleeding edge performance, I just want a good gaming machine
Old 12-08-09, 08:00 AM
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Re: Gaming video card questions

SLI (for Nvidia cards) and Crossfire (for ATI) are ways of connecting 2 or more video cards to leverage the power of both of them combined, for better frame rates/more detail/whatever. You might remember 3DFX doing this back in the 90s. The cards have to be the same series (like 9600), but they can be from different manufacturers or have different speeds. Although, I'd assume they will work best if you just get two of the same card. You'd have to check to make sure you can use it on the computer though, as there are some special considerations like multiple PCIe x16 slots. There are also some video cards that have two GPUs, essentially giving you SLI or Crossfire with one card. That might be a better solution than buying two cards.

You probably don't need a physics card. Nvidia is doing this on some of their graphics cards (they even acquired the company that made the card), and some of it can be done in software with a multi-core CPU anyway. ATI has some kind of physics solution too, but I don't know much about it.

I think anything more than 6GB is overkill for most people, at this point.

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