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nD[ - Slayer
 
SLI considerations

So I've been thinking about my next build (just finished this one, but I like to plan ahead) and I was trying to decide upon an SLI setup or not. I like the cost effectiveness but then there's some titles out there that straight up don't support it which really kills it for me.

To be clear, I operate under the assumption that, albeit with a few exceptions, PC games are meant to be played at the highest settings.

Here's my current setup:
ASUS P6TD Deluxe
Core i7 920 2.76 @ 3.4
12GB DDR3 Corsair Dominator
2x EVGA GTX 480
200GB OCZ Vertex II SSD
1 TB Western Digital Caviar Green

What's nice about SLI is it makes upgrading easy, just buy a second card and bam! you nearly jump forward a whole generation. But again, just this month I've already been burned by games straight not supporting SLI, Dead Island and Rage in my case.

Should I just stick with a single card and call it good or go the dual route?
Old 10-06-2011, 09:28 PM nD[ - Slayer is offline  
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Fiah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nD[ - Slayer View Post
Should I just stick with a single card and call it good or go the dual route?

Single card all the way. The reason? Jittering. Allow me to illustrate:

Single GPU:




Multi GPU:



Guess which one feels like crap and which one feels awesome to play? This excellent article (where I got those graphs) explains a lot of it: http://techreport.com/articles.x/21516/1 . You'll see that the problem varies from game to game and is even worse in the ATI camp.

So, add that to the compatibility problems that you already know of, and you see that single GPU configurations are still the way to go.
Old 10-06-2011, 10:14 PM Fiah is offline  
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Redrum
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is that 10 ms variation really significant enough to be a problem?
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:16 PM Redrum is offline  
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Fiah
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Originally Posted by Redrum View Post
is that 10 ms variation really significant enough to be a problem?

It really depends on the whole system, including the display and whether or not you're using vertical sync. But what those graphs show pretty well is that the higher average framerate of a SLI setup doesn't necessarily mean it plays smoother. Worse yet, it shows that for the same average framerate, it will probably play jerky compared to a single, more powerful GPU.

If I were to buy a high powered gaming computer right now (and I'm really itching to), I'll probably shell out big bucks for a graphics card with the single fastest (or second fastest) GPU and a 120Hz display. If I were to upgrade said computer in a year or so, I would sell that graphics card to some poor sap and buy the next card with a single big GPU that all the boys on the block want.

That means that a card like the AMD Radeon HD6990 is out, because of its dual GPUs. I really want to like it, but glueing together 2 chips just hasn't worked as well as using a single big one so far.
Old 10-07-2011, 12:57 AM Fiah is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiah View Post
It really depends on the whole system, including the display and whether or not you're using vertical sync. But what those graphs show pretty well is that the higher average framerate of a SLI setup doesn't necessarily mean it plays smoother. Worse yet, it shows that for the same average framerate, it will probably play jerky compared to a single, more powerful GPU.

If I were to buy a high powered gaming computer right now (and I'm really itching to), I'll probably shell out big bucks for a graphics card with the single fastest (or second fastest) GPU and a 120Hz display. If I were to upgrade said computer in a year or so, I would sell that graphics card to some poor sap and buy the next card with a single big GPU that all the boys on the block want.

That means that a card like the AMD Radeon HD6990 is out, because of its dual GPUs. I really want to like it, but glueing together 2 chips just hasn't worked as well as using a single big one so far.

well yeah but what you're saying applies to SLI (two mobos[video cards]) or two gpus on one board? or both?

sorry i'm a bit out of the loop when it comes to the enthusiast market
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Old 10-07-2011, 01:00 AM Redrum is offline  
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well yeah but what you're saying applies to SLI (two mobos[video cards]) or two gpus on one board? or both?

sorry i'm a bit out of the loop when it comes to the enthusiast market

both
2 gpu's on one card just have an integrated sli bridge
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Old 10-07-2011, 01:37 AM wwilliam54 is offline  
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2[H]4U
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nD[ - Slayer View Post
So I've been thinking about my next build (just finished this one, but I like to plan ahead) and I was trying to decide upon an SLI setup or not. I like the cost effectiveness but then there's some titles out there that straight up don't support it which really kills it for me.

To be clear, I operate under the assumption that, albeit with a few exceptions, PC games are meant to be played at the highest settings.

Here's my current setup:
ASUS P6TD Deluxe
Core i7 920 2.76 @ 3.4
12GB DDR3 Corsair Dominator
2x EVGA GTX 480
200GB OCZ Vertex II SSD
1 TB Western Digital Caviar Green

What's nice about SLI is it makes upgrading easy, just buy a second card and bam! you nearly jump forward a whole generation. But again, just this month I've already been burned by games straight not supporting SLI, Dead Island and Rage in my case.

Should I just stick with a single card and call it good or go the dual route?

What resolution are you playing at? IMO you only need sli when you > 1080/1200.
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:17 AM 2[H]4U is offline  
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nD[ - Slayer
 
I play everything at 1920x1080 on a 120Hz 37" Sony LED LCD.
Old 10-07-2011, 04:54 PM nD[ - Slayer is offline  
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2[H]4U
 
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Quote:
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I play everything at 1920x1080 on a 120Hz 37" Sony LED LCD.

Ya you don't need it. Get one good card like the 580gtx or wait till amd 7000 series.
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:11 PM 2[H]4U is offline  
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That means that a card like the AMD Radeon HD6990 is out, because of its dual GPUs.
Old 10-07-2011, 07:42 PM careboy is offline  
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Syk0tiK
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I have used Crossfire and SLI for years and have never experienced/noticed "Microstutter"
Old 10-08-2011, 12:14 PM Syk0tiK is offline  
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nD[ - Slayer
 
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I have used Crossfire and SLI for years and have never experienced/noticed "Microstutter"

Nor have I, I'll try to take a closer look now that I've seen the graphs and such.
Old 10-08-2011, 12:44 PM nD[ - Slayer is offline  
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2[H]4U
 
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At that resolution you are throwing your money away to have SLI. It's way better to get the best single card you can afford than do sli/xfire.
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:57 PM 2[H]4U is offline  
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Syk0tiK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2[H]4U View Post
At that resolution you are throwing your money away to have SLI. It's way better to get the best single card you can afford than do sli/xfire.

Actually some times its a better price/performance ratio to get 2 cards instead of 1.

Not all the time, but sometimes.

EDIT: For instance Crossfire 3 6870's for $510 and they will easily outperform a 6990 for $700

EDIT2: But then you also must factor in the price of the motherboard/PSU capable of SLI/CF.

Last edited by Syk0tiK; 10-08-2011 at 01:53 PM..
Old 10-08-2011, 01:41 PM Syk0tiK is offline  
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odd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiah View Post
Single card all the way. The reason? Jittering. Allow me to illustrate:

Single GPU:




Multi GPU:



Guess which one feels like crap and which one feels awesome to play? This excellent article (where I got those graphs) explains a lot of it: http://techreport.com/articles.x/21516/1 . You'll see that the problem varies from game to game and is even worse in the ATI camp.

So, add that to the compatibility problems that you already know of, and you see that single GPU configurations are still the way to go.

TechReport +1!! Yeah single card is always the way to go unless you had your setup for awhile and you cannot afford the newer cards that are faster and/or it's cheaper to go with SLI. I recently had the chance to try SLI using 2 GTX 570's and it just was not worth it. The extra noise and heat, games that don't support it plus the micro-stuttering just killed it for me. If I had the option of keeping the dual GTX 570's vs a single GTX 580 I would go with the 580 all the way.
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:59 PM odd is offline  
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