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Has SLI become a norm in games? - Page 4  

post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by brettjv View Post
What the hell are you talking about "I didn't read"? I responded to EXACTLY what you said ... are you just trying to be annoying?


FOR REAL, SLI IS ALTERNATE FRAME RENDERING. BOTH CARDS DOING THE SAME THING (physX excepted), taking turns rendering frames.

Caveat: SLI may also be able to work using SFR, in which case one card does the top half of the frame, the other does the bottom half. I won't say it can't because I'm not positive about that.

But ... persuant to your 2nd post: if you think SLI can be driven by game code directing one card to 'do textures' and the other to 'do details' (whatever that means ) you are DEAD WRONG. That IS NOT SLI. PERIOD. END-OF-STORY.

BTW, I'm 44 years old, KID

Am *I* brain-dead? That is pretty hilarious. You are the one who doesn't friggin understand the basic concepts involved here ... where do you think that list of game profiles comes from, space?

So ... this whole SLI profile thing ... I'm going to 'splain it to you nice and slow, from the top, okay? It's really pretty simple, try to keep up:

  • Game Profiles are part of the Forceware driver package (made by nVidia).
  • Games with profiles in the driver are the ones that are available for choosing in the dropdown, and customizing the various settings for.
  • New drivers (or patches) = new game profiles added (by nVidia) to the driver package for newer games.
  • The 'SLI profile' for a specific game = a collection of SLI-related settings, which is a subset of a Game Profile for that specific game.
  • The 'SLI rendering method' = A subset of the total collection of settings that make up a SLI profile. It's also the one setting of the SLI profile that is actually exposed to the user through NVCP. The others are hidden unless you use nHancer or nV Inspector.

When a new driver set or patch comes out, newer games get game profiles. Part of the game profile is a collection of settings that enable SLI for that game. Having a game profile for a game is ESSENTIAL for SLI to work for that game (again, unless you mess with altering .exe names).

The basis for SLI support in any game is a game profile that points at the .exe of the game. AION had to already HAVE a profile (and hence the possibility of SLI working was already there) in order for you to even be able to CHOOSE AION from the dropdown and make game-specific changes for that game.

If SLI did not work in AION when you first got the game, but then you got SLI to work by choosing AION from the dropdown in the NVCP, and altering the rendering method, what you did was CORRECT ONE SETTING in the EXISTING SLI profile (that nV made for the game) that was previously INCORRECT (or possibly left NULL), and thus you made SLI work correctly for AION.

If you want to call that 'enabling SLI', fine. But the SLI profile was there, because that's part of the game profile. And you couldn't have 'enabled SLI' in this way without the game profile (of which the SLI Profile is a subset) being there in the driver, created by nVidia.

I really hope you took the time to read what I just wrote for you. It will really help you have intelligent discussions on OCN about SLi with sounding utterly CLUELESS like you have on this thread

AFA microstutter goes, I'm not gonna sit here and tell you that you cannot see the microstutter at 300fps. Maybe you can. But it's generally accepted (and my personal experience confirms) that it's primarily noticeable at lower FPS.

In lower frame rates[note 1] when this effect may be apparent the moving video appears to stutter, resulting in a degraded gameplay experience in the case of a video game, even though the frame rate seems high enough to provide a smooth experience.

Here's a VERY in-depth article about the subject of microstutter. If you read through the whole thing (which you won't) you'll discover that there's HUGE variability in the whole phenomenon, but the ONE thing that they seem to take as axiomatic is that it's mainly a noticeable problem at lower fps. Here's an excerpt from the conclusion:

Micro-Stuttering
It does, in the strictest sense, exist. It can be a true deterrent from a good gameplay experience ... however, the cases when that happens are already plainly bad: you need to be performance choked in order for the bulk of inter-frame deltas to shift towards being greater than 25 ms, which is the truly obnoxious zone. So, technically, if you're at 20 FPS due to rendering constraints, and not some sort of framerate cap, on a dual-GPU solution, micro-stuttering will be a big problem, but being at 20 FPS is a far greater problem in itself. Where would a single GPU solution be? Low teens? We'd like to reiterate that, if you're in that zone with a high-end single-GPU, going multi-GPU won't save you: don't do it, you'll just frustrate yourself. <snip> We've seen that once performance is good, it becomes a non-issue.
Good explanation of SLI in this thread.
+rep
post #32 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by brettjv View Post
What the hell are you talking about "I didn't read"? I responded to EXACTLY what you said ... are you just trying to be annoying?

FOR REAL, SLI IS ALTERNATE FRAME RENDERING. BOTH CARDS DOING THE SAME THING (physX excepted), taking turns rendering frames.

*snip*
Wow, great post brettjv Most visitors to OCN don't understand the In's and Out's of SLI. Thanks for taking the time to educate fellow enthusiasts. That deserves a +Rep.

FnkDctr, you might want to learn a thing or two from Kung Pow.
Edited by Draygonn - 4/10/11 at 1:53am
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post #33 of 72
Quote:
SLI offers two rendering and one anti-aliasing method for splitting the work between the video cards:
  • Split Frame Rendering (SFR), the first rendering method. This analyzes the rendered image in order to split the workload 50/50 between the two GPUs. To do this, the frame is split horizontally in varying ratios depending on geometry. For example, in a scene where the top half of the frame is mostly empty sky, the dividing line will lower, balancing geometry workload between the two GPUs. This method does not scale geometry or work as well as AFR, however.
  • Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR), the second rendering method. Here, each GPU renders entire frames in sequence – one GPU processes even frames, and the second processes odd frames, one after the other. When the slave card finishes work on a frame (or part of a frame) the results are sent via the SLI bridge to the master card, which then outputs the completed frames. Ideally, this would result in the rendering time being cut in half, and thus performance from the video cards would double. In their advertising, NVIDIA claims up to 1.9x the performance of one card with the dual-card setup. While AFR may produce higher overall framerates than SFR, it may result in increased input latency due to the next frame starting rendering in advance of the frame before it. This is identical to the issue that was first discovered in the ATI Rage Fury MAXX board in 1999.[1] This makes SFR the preferred SLI method for fast paced action games.
As you can see, SLI does not see any of these "details" you speak of; simply each frame is readied for rendering, and each card either handles a portion of a frame (SFR), or the alternate frame (AFR). Just a clarification.

@brettjv: It looks like SFR is possible in SLI setups (though I believe you're right in that it is not often used).
post #34 of 72
Ya know, FD, if you had a functioning brain between your ears, you'd at least consider the possibility that the reason that others have jumped onto this thread and supported what I've said, and NOT supported what you've said, is very simple: I know what the hell I'm talking about, and you don't.

But that's obviously an inconceivable notion to you (your being wrong, that is), so by all means ... carry on living in your little fantasy world where brettjv has multiple accounts where he gives himself rep, and everyone that backs me up is my 'boyfriend', and ONLY YOU have a corner on the real facts of the situation. You have got it ALL figured out dude!

I am long past the point of giving a what your sorry ass thinks about what I've said. I've never offered 'proof' of what I'm saying to you (aside from the evidence about the microstutter) for the simple fact that I really don't care enough about you, or what you think.

I KNOW what I'm talking about, and I am simply TELLING YOU HOW IT IS.

For the record, one last time, here are the salient facts:

SLI is an alternate frame rendering method implemented by nVidia drivers to make use of multiple nVidia GPU's to increase performance.

Each card in a SLI set takes turns to construct/produce an entire rendered image for display on your monitor(s), and the Driver and Windows together manage their presentation to the end user.

Although there is some misunderstanding on OCN about this subject, games do not 'support' or 'not support' SLI, in fact, 99% of games have no awareness of the concept of 'multi-gpu' whatsoever.


SLI support comes from a SLI profile that is in the Forceware (nV driver) package. A SLI profile is a subset of a game profile.


Behind the scenes, the SLI profile is a collection of settings which tell the driver how to properly implement SLI for each game that has a game profile.


The only property of the SLI profile that is exposed to editing by the end user via NVCP is the 'SLI rendering mode'. Other SLI profile settings may be accessed via enthusiast-level software such as nV Inspector and nHancer (which appears to be deprecated at this point).


If SLI does not work for a given game, it's because either the Game/SLI profile is not present (typically due to the game being newer than the latest driver set; this represents the vast majority of cases) or the SLI Profile component of the Game Profile is not configured correctly (a tiny minority of cases).

Look, FD, you can either try to learn from what I'm sharing with you, or you can continue on with your life completely misunderstanding the entire concept of SLI and how it works, and go around talking about SLI from a position of utter ignorance.

It's your choice. You can benefit from my wisdom, and try to learn something, like an intelligent person would do ... or you can FAIL to learn, like the fool does.

Either way, have a nice life
    
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post #35 of 72
From what I've seen most the game companies are either porting their console games to PC on an emulator which can't even directly drive the first GPU or they're using stock shader kits and graphics headders that are so messed up that not only are they unable to properly utilize multiple cards they're unable to utilize the actual power of ANY cards.

Sli does have some workload advantages even on single GPU tasks because they've added code to expand the functions there-in. So you'll always get something out of it. If you game with two monitors then by all means go SLi, as I understand it twin-2-twin is win on nV pairs.
post #36 of 72
The answer is NO. SLI is not the norm. Most mainstream gamers don't purchase two graphics cards. SLI/Crossfire is still on the enthusiast level. It costs more all around... beefier PSU, better motherboard, and two graphics cards.

If you purchase a good mid range graphics card, you shouldn't need SLI if you are only gaming at 1920x1080. At higher resolutions, if you really want to crank up the detail, SLI will surely help.

Even if you plan on going with less expensive graphics cards like two GTX 460s, you are still looking at $350-400 for your graphics cards. Most gamers don't have that kind of money to spend, but some do. I would consider those that do on the enthusiast level rather than mainstream.

And I can't remember a game that has come out that didn't support SLI/Crossfire.
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post #37 of 72
With the massive argument going on between those two, I don't know which of them to trust , I come on here for information and to learn, can someone post some truths?

I feel more inclined to trust brettjv as he has higher rep and does not resort to swearing and insults...

EDIT: No forget that, brettjv knows what he is talking about, great information! +Rep
post #38 of 72
Go with what brett said.
post #39 of 72
Looks like the thread got cleaned up; shows what reporting instead of bashing can do. Though I feel as if people will be a little confused if they're newcomers to the thread

@OP: No, but the devs and Nvidia are fairly quick to provide SLI profiles for games. I still say go with a more powerful single-card solution, but you'll still love SLI as long as you install software properly.
post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by EfemaN View Post
@OP: No, but the devs and Nvidia are fairly quick to provide SLI profiles for games. I still say go with a more powerful single-card solution, but you'll still love SLI as long as you install software properly.
<tl;dr>
The proper question is not "Does Game X Support SLI?"
The proper question is "Is there a Forceware Version that Supports SLi for Game X?"
</tl;dr>

<verbose = "true">
I don't mean keep harping on this subject, but, again ... if you by 'devs' you mean the game developers, then you're having a small misunderstanding

Game devs design their games to work on one GPU. Of course nowadays (unfortunately) a large majority of times they're designing them to work on the xbox 360. Which is a single gpu config.

Fortunately, the studio doesn't have to do anything special to make it so that their game can benefit from a multi-GPU configuration if a player has such a system. This is because SLI and Xfire are simple driver-based implementations that can perform one card's workload on 2-4 cards instead, using simple techniques such as AFR and SFR, in a manner that is seamless and invisible to the application.

But consider the following logical implications of the idea that devs DID have to write special code to enable SLi/Crossfire:

1) Logically, there would be a heck of a lot more games where SLI doesn't work than there are presently. Obviously, such code would add cost to the project, and given that <1% of gamers have SLI setups (esp. if you count console gamers), there would MANY more games where the devs were told not to bother, don't you think?

2) Games that DID have 'sli-support' would be advertised as having this cool, special functionality. There'd be a slick logo on the box of such games and it'd say like "ZOMG This Game Supports nVIDIA SLI FTW!!!" ... but ... have you ever seen a game advertised or even seen it written on a box that the game 'supports SLI'?

3) When you looked at Driver releases, you wouldn't see notes like this:

NVIDIA SLI

  • Adds SLI profiles for the following PC games:
    • Alien vs. Triangles Demo
    • Endless City Demo
    • Lionheart: Kings Crusade
    • Moscow Racer: Legends of USSR
    • Rift: Planes of Telara
    • Shaun White Skateboarding
(note: what this indicates is that SLI didn't work for these games prior to this driver, but if you install this driver SLI will work, because a SLI profile for each of these games has been added to this driver version)

Furthermore, if, along with nVidia making driver changes, the 'devs' also had to do something for SLI to be enabled after the game was released, wouldn't there have to be versions listed for the game, i.e. wouldn't it say like "SLI profile added for Rift: Planes of Telara, Version 1.20"?

On the same subject, can you recall a time when someone said something like "You need to update Game X with the latest game patch in order for SLI to work"? If you did hear such a thing, was it ever confirmed that the patch did indeed 'enable SLI'? I suspect the answer would be no

Bottom-line: SLI functionality is not dependent on the game itself, it is dependent on the existence of a properly configured SLI profile in the driver, pointed at the game's .exe

</verbose>

Edited by brettjv - 4/10/11 at 4:47pm
    
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