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To SLI or not to SLI...that is the question?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 9, 2006 3:04:37 PM

Hey everybody,

I need some advice. I'm going to build a new system shortly but only have enough money for one of the following choices for graphics.....

1 high end card

-OR-

2 low/mid level cards in SLI

The rig will be used mostly for gaming. I dont care if its ATI or Nvidia. Can one high end card beat two low level SLI cards in performance?

More about : sli sli question

February 9, 2006 3:15:48 PM

The rule of thumb is, one high end card is better than two lower end cards... more reliable, consistant preformance.

SLI and Crossfire technologies are not perfect, although they are much better than they used to be. And in many cases - maybe most - two 7800 GTs will beat, say, a single X1900 XTX.

Having said that, a single X1900 XTX has certain advantages as well, including the option to add another card in the future for the upgrade path... and more advanced support for upcoming technologies.

So if you have the cash, a single ubercard is real nice to have. It might not get you the highest 3dMarks, but it's probably the best choice for real life gaming.
February 9, 2006 3:43:21 PM

Agreed, single high end is definitely better than two mid/low end cards. SLI and Crossfire don't always offer a performance boost in all games. Sometimes you even get a performance decrease.
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February 9, 2006 3:46:40 PM

I agree with cleeve, get 1 uber card. Reason being that it might be slightly slower than 2 mid level cards but you can buy another uber card later when prices drop and use fo SLi.
February 9, 2006 3:46:56 PM

Do you think we will see a time when two SLI graphics cards will be required to play games or will there always be a **one card solution** to counter-balanced high end games for people with low/mid grade gaming rigs?
February 9, 2006 5:29:16 PM

Never... at least not in the forseeable future.

Game developers code for the lowest common denominator... that's the market they sell their games to.

Nobody is going to shoot themselves in the foot by making an SLI-only game and recduce their effective market to 2%... games is a business, and same as every other business, they do it to make money.

That's why you can play FEAR with a Geforce 5200, if you had to...
February 9, 2006 5:59:25 PM

Quote:
Game developers code for the lowest common denominator... that's the market they sell their games to.


Exactly! I'm ever so happy to see more and more games come out that require a discreet graphics card.
February 9, 2006 6:07:45 PM

if you had too play with a 5200.... Oh god I'm having nightmares.
February 9, 2006 6:26:00 PM

If the trend for 2 vid cards gets forced upon the market, cause like PCIe has been(though I see why it was) then yes we will need SLI or Crossfire. However I can't see anyone doing that in the near future as long as SLI or Crossfire does not follow some standard of equivalency like PCIe or other form factors follow a standard approach so that they are more stable.

Notice that right now they both do it differntly, to do the same thing. If they both worked on the same level so that you could Crossfire on a SLI board or vice versa then the advent of every new gaming rig being dual card would be more likely.

Now we also have to take into account that there could be new tech that comes out that changes the way the GPU works, say GPUX2(two GPU on one card) that is mainstream like AMD and Intel Procs dual cores are becomming. Just like we are reaching the heights of our processor abilities, we will eventually need to switch to a new GPU form factor too.

The possibilities are pretty big as far as I can see.
February 9, 2006 8:51:39 PM

We are only in preperational stages, but will be testing out this very topic. Give us some time as we get everything together but we will give you some information to help with your decision.
February 9, 2006 9:49:09 PM

So here's a related question:

What's the difference between 2 7800 GTs in SLI, and one 7800 GTX

Would I get better performance out of two 7800GTs like this:
eVGA Geforce 7800GT
Running in SLI. = $570

or one 7800 GTX like this:
eVGA Geforce 7800GTX
= $559


Anyone have any benchmark scores?
a b U Graphics card
February 9, 2006 9:59:48 PM

I realize this doesn't answer your ?, but a X1900XT can be found for around $500. Why would you even consider a 256MB 7800GTX for $50 more than that?
February 9, 2006 11:40:41 PM

what resalution you running?
for high rez go with sli, for low rez get one card.
February 10, 2006 2:54:25 AM

24" 1920 x 1200

I went with 2 x 7800 GTX 256
Does that mean I'm right?

no

Does that mean I'm wrong?

no

Personal preference, and the high resolution forced me to decide b/w SLI and Crossfire, so I went with nVidia.


Fritz
!