Originally Posted by nikoliath
And I am aware that the GFX are not DX10, but the 8800 series is a bit out of reach considering I want to SLI/Crossfire.
Why? A single 8800 GTS at ~$400 (U.S.) would beat the crap outa dual cards.
The only reason to go dual card instead of going with a single card of a higher generation is bragging rights to say you have a dual card system. However, as above, if people know that a single card is more powerful you won't have a lot to brag about.
If you want to say "hey, look at me I have 2 GPUs" go ahead and get them. If you want to say "hey, look at me, I've got the best and newest features and one of the most powerful cards on the market" then get a series 8.
Also note for many people dual card does not work in VG. (Dual card systems have questionable results under any game). So you may very well be running with only one of those cards, in which case your dual card system is totally wasted with VG.
Tom's GPU chart
- one 8800 GTS w/640 meg vs. dual x1950 XTX crossfired
Half-Life 2 Ep 1 - 1600x1200 4xAA 8xAF
8800 GTS - 101.9 FPS
2x x1950 XTX - 72.8 FPS
Oblivion - 1600x1200 8xAF
8800 GTS - 100.5 FPS
2x x1950 XTX - 74.1 FPS
Prey - 1600x1200 4xAA 8xAF (likely a driver problem)
8800 GTS - 67 FPS
2x x1950 XTX - 108.9 FPS
Titan Quest - 1600x1200 AA 8xAF
8800 GTS - 55.8 FPS
2x x1950 XTX - 38.5 FPS
Note that here in the US you can get that single 8800 GTS for ~$400 and the dual x1950 XTX will cost $350 each, or ~$700 for lower performance generating more heat and more noise and they will lack DX10 compliance.
It is your choice, but it would be like saying you are going to choose 2 mini-cholate chip cookies instead of the one gigantic size one because you want to be able to say you had two cookies. It just doesn't make sense from a cost, features, or performance standpoint.
Don't mean to be mean about this, but if you have the option to buy a single more powerful card it is always the better deal. It was true with the series 6, the series 7 and now the series 8, same on ATi's transitions - a single card of the new generation has always beaten 2 cards of the previous generation with solid gains and included new features. It has always been the better choice.
Additionally, the reviews on the 8800 GTS w/320 meg are showing it is just as capable as the one with 640 meg until you start getting into 1920x1200 res range. The 8800 GTS w/320 meg are on sale here for just under $300 post rebates. Right now the 8800 GTS w/320 meg is the best choice (unless you are running at 1920x1200 res, in which case you may want a 640 meg card or a GTX). By the time you need
a more powerful card in games you will likely want to move to a single series 9.