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SLI. Faster or not?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,
I've always been under the impression based off what I've read that video cards running SLI is much faster than just a single card. I still believe that today, but just the other week one of my friends was saying there was some article discussing how SLI actually isn't that much faster, and that your computer thinks it's getting better frames when in reality it isn't. I don't know the credibility of this article as I couldn't find it for myself, so I was wondering what sort of input I would get from all of you, whether this statement is true, somewhat true, or outright false. Thanks smile.gif
post #2 of 9
I dont run Xfire/SLI currently, but here are some obvious suggestions

if one GPU company found out that the other was saying that Xfire/SLI was so much better, when ( according to your theory ) its not helpful, they would have a field day calling them out on it, as well as every established tech blog on the internet.

easy way to check, is temps. If you have 1 GPU running 60fps @ 100°c, then add another for SLI/xfire, and it runs 60fps @ 50°c, then obviously each card is doing half as much work compared to running a single card.

Now, does 2 cards mean 2x the performance? no, but compared to a single card, yes, it is quite noticeable, and in some cases, its cheaper to buy 2 lower end cards in SLI/xfire, than to buy a single high end card, while getting as good or better performance.

General Build rule is buy the best GPU you can for your budget, and when funds become availible, or price drops, buy another card to SLI/Xfire

EDIT: also, the article your friend mentioned could be game specific, as some games have issues with SLI/Xfire set ups, which in that case, they may not see any performance increase over running a single card.
Edited by ClaytonGFinley - 3/8/12 at 10:24am
post #3 of 9
I think a common misconception is that if you're getting 50FPS with 1 GPU, you'll get 100 with an SLI setup.You don't necessarily get twice the performance. It really depends on the GPU. Some have a lot better scaling than others.

As far as it not actually being better, I would say that' s just false. I don't really see how you'd trick the computer into getting better FPS....
post #4 of 9
Of course multi gpu setups will get better FPS in general... Keep in mind, the frames will probably not be as balanced as they can jump around more than they would with a single GPU.

Nowadays, GPU scaling is really well with two and maybe three setups for gaming and not having frames dip below 60FPS can be described as perfect gameplay IMO... And on 120hz, everything is silky smooth...
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post #5 of 9
Depends on a few factors - but you can typically expect around 1.7x the performance over a single-card setup.
post #6 of 9
I get 25-30fps on all max settings on skyrim with 1 gts 450, with sli enabled it is around 50fps. I rather enjoy my sli
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post #7 of 9
460 GTX 1GB SLI can be better than HD 5970
post #8 of 9
It depends on a few different things. If you are getting high fps on a single gpu that it won’t really make that much of a difference. It depends if you board can hand crossfire/sli first off and if it can then it would depend on your pci ports. You will get better performance out of x16 x16 then if it was x16 x8. (Doesn’t worry about pci 2.0 the drivers aren’t mature enough for us to see any performance benefits) also it depends on what gpu you are planning on running. Some graphics card work well together and get +50% performance and then there are some that when you crossfire/sli you see performance improvement around 10%
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post #9 of 9
Of course SLI is faster. What your friend is probably thinking of is microstutter, which involves the timing of frames. Microstutter can make 60fps look like 30fps. However it's rarely that extreme. It's difficult to quantify the exact effect of microstuttering, but I've found that it doesn't really hurt the experience very much unless you're using two cards with very different clocks, which can push the frame timing off further, making the microstutter worse.
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