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GTX 690 get. but where to use it first?

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codezer0 3 days ago

As the title says...

Kind of always wanted a dual-gpu card, and finally getting one. Based on what I could find listed on Tom's Hardware, they put the 690 between the Radeon 7990 and the 295x2. Conversely, the cheapest 7990 was ~$150+, while what few 295x2's cheaper than $400 are usually "for parts" listings. And for $75, the 690 (with aftermarket cooling) seems like a deal. Don't even get me started on the Titan Z, of which a working example can still command over $700 even now.

While I wait for it to arrive, The thing I'm having trouble deciding is... once I make sure it works, which build do I put it in? Off the top of my head, I was thinking it would be a great overkill tier choice for a Windows XP machine, especially since SLI support was much more mature in that OS compared to Windows 7 or later. But it's also new enough to be pretty still well supported in 7~10, and support Shadowplay for encoding.

So, at present my choices in mind, where it'd make an appreciable impact, are either my Opteron build (s939 Opteron 185, 2GB RAM, presently a GTX 460 w/ Aftermarket cooler), my Pentium D build ( pentium ee 965 @ 4.26GHz, 8GB DDR2 RAM, presently Radeon 7770, Windows 10), or my Phenom build ( x4 965 @ 3.9GHz, 8GB DDR3 RAM, GTX 1050 presently, Windows 10). I'm certainly not above juggling parts if need be.

My opteron build is what I've focused on making into a Windows XP gaming machine primarily. And on a DFI LanParty board, it seems to make sense to give it the SLI treatment it was meant for. It would basically be the highest end GPU I could possibly get supported in a Windows XP installation, per my recollection.

Thinking about it, it would be a curious and appropriate thematic choice to use it in the Pentium Machine, since I named it Zweilous... given the lore about the pokemon whose heads constantly fight each other, and the 690 would fit that "dual headed" mantra.

Last but not least, the Phenom would be the closest to being in line performance wise with such a flagship level card. However, it's most likely to also conflict with the placement of the board's SATA connectors, which would limit how useful or usable it would be in that machine.

These are my thoughts on it, but I'd like to see what some might think.

Comments Sorted by:

InsertNameHere² 3 Builds 2 points 2 days ago

Try the Phenom first, if it doesn't work, then I'd go with the Pentium

codezer0 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 2 days ago

I don't think it's so much about it not working, as it is about it physically fitting. But i get what you're saying.

InsertNameHere² 3 Builds 1 point 2 days ago

By work I mean be the best match performance wise. Opteron would be the last resort imo, super weak gaming processor and only 2GB RAM on XP

GeorgeReorgeRartinMartin 1 point 2 days ago

I was thinking it would be a great overkill tier choice for a Windows XP machine, especially since SLI support was much more mature in that OS compared to Windows 7 or later.

Except Windows XP is a 32bit OS and is limited to 4GB of RAM total, that is System RAM + GPU RAM + any other RAM on other components is only addressable up to 4GB total. And Windows XP-64 never went anywhere so I wouldn't expect their to be drivers. And there might not even be XP drivers for those models because of how XP would cripple those cards with its memory limitations. Yeah those cards are old now, but they're still over a decade newer than XP, and were released ~4 years after Windows 7, ~6 years after Vista, so basically they're not old enough to really be usable on XP.

So for Windows XP a Radeon R9 295x2 8GB GDDR5, out of the question. Radeon Sapphire HD 7990 6GB GDDR5 GPU out of the question. GeForce GTX690 4GB, out of the question. That is unless you're fine with the severe RAM limitations imposed by 32bit.

The GeForce GTX 295 was a dual GPU graphics card if that's what you're stuck on, with 1.75GB of RAM (896MB per GPU), you'd still have 2-2.25GB of System RAM. Which is probably workable on Windows XP, although probably not ideal in all cases.

If you're set on XP, then the GeForce 7950 GX2 might be the ticket with 1GB of VRAM total and being released in June 2006, at a time when people weren't quite stacking more than 2-3GB on their systems yet and not really running into the 4GB limits or just barely running into them it's probably the most usable dual GPU overall for XP.

Or alternatively, stick with Windows 7 and avoid all that mess.

TL:DR; I like computing history. Because I like computers and history synergizes with my space-time synesthesia well.

codezer0 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 2 days ago

AMD doesn't even let anything last the 7990 for a flagship card for XP drivers. The end of the line is an R9 270x. Conversely, from nvidia, the 780ti, titan/black/z, and the gtx 950 and 960 are supported with a recent driver release they did for the OS. The 690 is fully supported in XP. Also, I'm using an xp install that has Dibya's alternative RAM patch that males PAE work as it should have. Per the maker of the patch, it would allow the xp kernel to operate with up to 128gb of installed system RAM. I've personally tested it in a virtual machine with 32gb allocated and everything worked. So I'm reasonably confident memory won't be a problem in that regard. Last but not least, in practice sli/cf as it's been implemented thus far, would treat the 690 in thid case, as two gpu chips wigh 2gb of vram each. While it is possible for them to implement multi GPU that would split the resources (and add up the video RAM across all gpu's), none of them do this in the gamer space yet. To my knowledge, nvidia only started this recently, and only on Turing based Titans and Quadro cards.

yawumpus 1 point 1 day ago

PAE isn't much of a solution. At best, it will allow you to give an application (presumably an XP-era game) 4G of memory to use on its own, while XP (and anything else in the background) uses the rest.

And that's assuming the games are ready to take that 4G. My memory was that XP took half of that (at the time Linux was taking .5G), so basically anything over 4G is likely wasted (unless you are using something that uses PAE in ways similar to how things had to work with 32 bit processors before NT&95 came along. Disgusting.)

The real benefit of PAE would be using a graphics card with 4G. It might (but probably not with XP drivers, you might have to shoehorn win7 32 bit drivers in somehow) allow you to directly address the whole window. No idea how it handles two separate cards with 4G each.

Just some warnings that while using 32 bit software on a 64 bit machine wasn't nearly as bad as 16 on a 32, it wasn't good at all and memory access was an issue. If you insist on 32G (because DDR3 is cheap), the best you can hope for is some disk caching (or maybe watch firefox eat it all by grabbing up to 4G per tab:).

I'd certainly recommend the patch for a retro-XP experience, although I don't remember too many issues with running out of the 2G limit, at least during the XP era. Just don't assume it will make post-XP gaming work as well as win7 32bit (and it certainly won't work like modern 64 bit gaming).

codezer0 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 1 day ago

I keep an xp gaming setup specifically for games that cannot be patched to work correctly on an os after it. Its ability to have hardware accelerated audio is also kind of a big deal to have the correct audio environment i would be looking for on some games. One case in point... Splinter cell: Chaos theory has no EAX patching for the solo campaign. The only fan patches i could find to claim to do it only apply for the multiplayer. Which doesn't help me at all, since i want to speedrun the singleplayer campaign. And being able to hear where enemies are is kind of a big deal for that.

Windows XP is also about as far as i want to go back, installed on real hardware. I also have a socket a pc that some people keep insisting i shpuld put Windows 98 on, but while there are some games appropriate for that era, all the ones i care about work fine in XP. And I'm not nostalgic for 98 at all. I would only consider going to 98(se) if i got a truly exotic gpu for it... Like an fx 5900, or a 3dfx voodoo 4 or 5. Not for anything less. The paradox with that Socket A machine, is that i forgot the cpu lacks sse2 instructions on that platform, so i can't install a current browser or antivirus. At the same time, probably a lot of malware released now won't work on it either. :P