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View Full Version : Is SLI/Crossfire really worth it?



ChazTheGeek
28-05-2012, 07:27 PM
Does SLI/crossfire actually make much difference in performance?? They are very expensive and I am wondering if I should do a SLI setup or not. What do you people think? :)

icow
28-05-2012, 07:45 PM
Newer cards like the 7850/7870 scale amazingly in crossfire, however crossfire just causes issues. I would only go for a crossfire setup if I had the best single gpu graphics card I could get or if a new series of cards have come out and I can pickup an older card on the cheap which will give me the performance of a newer card when cf'ed or better.

ChazTheGeek
28-05-2012, 07:46 PM
Ah ok thanks.

dugimodo
28-05-2012, 09:08 PM
I was tempted to just type no.
If you have super high res or like to game multi screen in high def then multi card setups really come into their own performance wise but there are a lot of design concerns to make a good SLI/Xfire setup. Then there are issues with not all games supporting or gaining much from it and the potential for some software not working well . A single 1080P monitor will look awesome with a single good card and that's all you should need.

There has been a trend to use 2 mid range cards instead of one more expensive high end card in a lot of builds, I went that way myself to begin with on this machine. To that I say don't bother, it's worth the extra to avoid the hassle and just get a single card. I've posted my woes with SLI on these forums before but a short summary goes like this;

I had two GTX460's with mid mounted cooling fans that vented some heat into the case, my motherboard placed them hard against each other and caused the top card to run very hot. No amount of case fans helped more than slightly.
I built a whole new PC, determined to make it work, new mb had better slot spacing and fixed the heat issue (my current machine in my sig mostly).
I had ongoing stability issues, turned out to be RAM but the SLI setup also caused occasional crashes and black screens.
Of the games I play most worked perfectly on a single GTX460 and several gained absolutely nothing from SLI, WoW in particular which supposedly does have SLI support didn't work very well and still had framerate issues at ultra settings. (I managed to get it working kind of but I was never happy with it).

In a fit of frustration I sold both 460's (regret not keeping one but oh well) and got a GTX 580. According to benchmarks two GTX460 1GBs in SLI are as good or slightly better than a single GTX580, in practice the 580 kicks their arses all over the place. Sure in some games the 460's performed about the same but the 580 plays everything I've thrown at it at ultra and never gives me issues. An expensive exercise all up, I even had to upgrade my case because a 580 would not physically fit in the old one. In the end I would probably have been happy with a GTX560Ti or GTX570 for the games I play but I didn't want to go backwards from the SLI setup and don't regret my current card at all. I have a feeling I'll skip the 6 series altogether before upgrading again.

ChazTheGeek
28-05-2012, 09:50 PM
Ah ok. Thanks for the info.

JJJJJ
30-05-2012, 09:51 AM
I have 2 480's running in SLI. My computer is used mainly to run FSX. There is definately a noticable difference with SLI. And FSX is supposed to not recognise 2 cards. I have had none of the problems attributed to SLI.
I had them originaly in a DFI motherboard which allows a larger space between cards.
However this MB would not hold my overclock so I changed to an ASUS board. The cards are almost touching,but I have had no heat problems and my CPU holds 4.4 overclock without a murmer.
So I would say yes to SLI.
Jack

SolMiester
30-05-2012, 10:38 AM
I would say it wouldnt be worth it with your current system as any single current high end card would be seriously bottlenecked by your CPU....AMD's best XF series is the 6xxx, 7xxx series is crap, NV scaling is usually not as good as XF, however NV driver generally behave better than XF, and you dont need to wait for AMD to release profiles in order to play new release games.

ChazTheGeek
30-05-2012, 05:31 PM
Don't worry I have bought a new MB with the P67 chipset and I am saving for a i7 2600K or a 2700K,

Slankydudl
30-05-2012, 05:57 PM
difference between the 2600k and 2700k is hardly noticable for games.

icow
30-05-2012, 06:03 PM
The difference between a 2500k and 2600k is hardly noticable in games too. You're better off with a ivy bridge i5 e.g 3450(i think thats what the cheap i5 is called).

Edit:

@Chaz there is no point running an sli setup on your motherboard. Sli setups are really worth it and is almost never if not never worth it when using a 4x slot.

ChazTheGeek
30-05-2012, 06:42 PM
I know, probably won't use SLI, just exploring the possibilities. I have 3 PCI-Ex16 slots, when running two way SLI they would run at 8x mode.
Regarding the CPU issue, I would probably get a sandy bridge because I can't boot with a unsupported CPU unless I have an updated BIOS.
If there is some how to update the BIOS with a unsupported chip that would be helpful. If I could I would get Ivy Bridge.

Agent_24
30-05-2012, 06:56 PM
My previous system supported SLI and my current system supports Crossfire - "In case I needed it" - still haven't used either yet.

I think a single good card is a better idea in most cases.

ChazTheGeek
30-05-2012, 07:01 PM
That sound sensible to me, I think a 2600K sounds good to me for a CPU choice unless there is some way to use a Ivy Bridge CPU.

dugimodo
30-05-2012, 07:41 PM
You have a board and no CPU so far?
Maybe you could get a local PC shop to update the BIOS for you, no doubt for a fee. Often they will boot with an "unsupported" CPU but will detect it wrong and default to low settings until you flash the BIOS, no way to be sure though unless you contact the motherboard manufacturers tech support and ask them.

At any rate ivy is slightly faster at stock speeds than sandy but doesn't overclock as well so ends up about the same for overclockers. And I'll say what I always do, there is no point buying an i7 for gaming, get an i5 and save some cash.
Hyperthreading, a tiny bump in clock speed, and some extra cache, do not make games run faster.

ChazTheGeek
30-05-2012, 08:40 PM
Ok, still like the idea of i7 for the Hyperthreding, and extra cache, for future proofing also. Will consider an i5 though.
Am contacting ASUS now...

ChazTheGeek
30-05-2012, 08:46 PM
Ok I sent them an inquiry on the Ivy Bridge CPU problem. Hope I get a straight forward answer...

icow
30-05-2012, 09:26 PM
The solution will be: Buy a Celeron or Pentium then upgrade the bios OR get someone with a 1155 sandy bridge cpu to do it for you.

ChazTheGeek
30-05-2012, 09:43 PM
That's a good idea.......will look into it. Thanks