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SLI: what's the point?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 6, 2006 8:03:17 PM

Seriously. Who wants to invest TWICE the money for dual 7900GTs, for exemple, while expecting only -5% to +30% difference in performance? (yes, MINUS 5% to PLUS 30%) Why not pay for a single 7900GT now, and invest a similarly priced video card in two years?

I have been trying hard to get it, but the more I think about it, the more I realise how it is stupid to buy two identical cards just because they can be run simultaneously, giving a small performance boost. Buy one now and a much better one later! How can people be fooled by the video card industry like that?

More about : sli point

April 6, 2006 8:09:47 PM

The point is for people with a no-holds-barred budget who want ultimate performance.

Other than that, it's hard to make a case for SLI and Xfire. The motherboard is more expensive, it really doesn't pay for the returns you get.

Alot of people here have been saying that for a long time... but like I said, if you have the money, and budgetary concerns aren't a factor to you, then why not?

But for the rest of us it's not really cost effective.
April 6, 2006 8:15:22 PM

Glad you agree. The problem is, the number of SLI setups being sold is by far superior to the number of people who have an infinite amount of money to waste. Therefore, a lot of people are fooled by the video card industry, and this makes me mad.
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April 6, 2006 8:23:23 PM

Welcome to the reality of the graphics card world of BS.

But keep in mind, SLI and Xfire have their advantages and sweet spots. For instance, two 7900 GTs are only $600 or so, even with a $50 premium for the mobo that $650 setup will probably beat out a $550 X1900 XTX in pretty much every scenario.

It has it's place like I said, but it's not for the budget conscious. So you're welcome to spread the word and stop the FUD like many of us here try to do...
April 6, 2006 8:27:30 PM

there are people who like noise and heat... it can help on winter
April 6, 2006 8:29:50 PM

I also have to agree. I did get caught up in all the hype about SLi, and went out and bought a second XFX 7800GTX Extreme XXX in November. I then had to wait until January to get the Sli motherboard I wanted (Spain is not the best place to get the latest components, and UK suppliers were not prepared to ship the motherboard to Spain for some reason).

I then had to wait another couple of weeks to get the right power supply (don't ask....).

Finally, I get all the components together, and begin to build the system. I then had problems getting the Sli to work without strange artifacts.

During all the waiting for the components to arrive, I read many reviews, and realised that the performance gain was not as significant as I had first thought.

In the end, I decided not to aggressively pursue a fix to my problems getting the SLi to work, and just fit the 2nd card into my 'backup' system.

I have learnt from this experience though. I will not consider SLi (or an equivalent technology involving multiple graphics cards) until there is a proven significant increase in graphics performance across all applications/games.
April 6, 2006 8:33:27 PM

As stated, it really depends on the person and thier money situation.

I just built a rig. As in, I loaded the OS on it just last night. I'm still in the process of setting it up.

Last night, I put my second BFG 7900GTX in there. Yes, that's right. Two BFG 7900GTX in sli.

So, sure. An extra $550 for the card, more for the mb, more for a bigger ps (although I need a bigger one than i have i think)...

But..if you have the money (which I do) then why not?

That's like me asking why on earth would somebody buy a million dollar car (some people do). Well, cause they are able to do it.

Me, the difference between spending $2.5k and 3K is trivial.
April 6, 2006 8:36:31 PM

I concur: SLI is nothing but a cynical marketing ploy to separate fools from their money - and hey It's working for them a treat!

The chances of dual video card solutions being available in 5 years time is ZERO.
April 6, 2006 8:37:48 PM

Exactly. SLI/Crossfire have their place.

Just like Ferrarri's have their place.

Sure, the performance isn't 5x that of a Mustang GT, but they're still desirable cars...
April 6, 2006 8:38:09 PM

wow man, you're rich!!
hey, buy me a 7900GTX and mail me please... if it's trivial to you :) 
April 6, 2006 8:43:09 PM

Quote:
wow man, you're rich!!
hey, buy me a 7900GTX and mail me please... if it's trivial to you :) 


If i can get Bill Gates to buy me a yatch (trival to him), I'll buy you a 7900GT (trival to me)...
April 6, 2006 8:48:10 PM

it's kinda like dual core now... 5 years ago it was a technology used only in servers, not exactly dual core but smp. There were no reason to run a dual cpu computer at home, and it wouldn show any performance improvement if you didnt use the right applications.

today everyone wants to have a dual core cpu and more and more apps are being made to take advantage of that. the same happens to sli... it's a fresh technology, not fully mature, but i guess is the new trend.
gpu manufactures are getting to a point were they cant extract more performance from a single gpu, so they're starting to spread to multiple gpu's.

as i said, it's a fresh, developing technology, but i think in the future will be normal to have a multi-gpu card, not 2 single gpu cards
April 6, 2006 8:49:58 PM

Quote:
i think in the future will be normal to have a multi-gpu card, not 2 single gpu cards



Phew! Dual multi-gpu cards!
April 6, 2006 9:00:20 PM

I get more than a 30% increase in games like F.E.A.R.
Hey if SLI is not for you, that's fine. I myself have been perfectly satisfied with it.
April 6, 2006 9:12:52 PM

Totally agree, its hype. You can buy one 7900gtx, smoke most everyone you know and buy the 8900gtx in a year. Why buy two 7900gtx now, when it will be slower than a single 8900gtx in a year?
April 6, 2006 9:15:16 PM

Did noone see the picture on Anandtech of the quad royal with 10 screens??? If that doesn't justify SLi I don't know what does!
April 6, 2006 9:26:11 PM

Excerpt of PC BUILDING BIBLE 2006 by PCGAMER.

Lie: "Build Your Gaming PC Leaner, Meaner, Faster, Cheaper, Cooler - We show you how!

Reality: there were no actual review of any video card, only pages of praising the 7800GTX, SLI 7800GTX and Crossfire X1900XTX, and never mentionning their outrageous prices.

[...]

Lie: "When you need to do something faster, nothing is more effective than doubling the amount of horsepower to perform the task. And when it comes to making 3D games run faster, nothing has proven more effective than dropping two videocards in the same PC."

Reality: The right upgrade for your aging PC is a next-generation video card, not a video card identical to what you currently have. Like, duh.

I am quoting PC Gamer because it is one of the best-selling magazines, and just to show how false advice is found everywhere.
April 6, 2006 9:33:29 PM

truely for us enthuisiasts who spend 75% playing with the hardware and 25% playing games and running benchmarks.


I agree after my 3rd set of dual card setups (new series comes out way too fast) that it can end up being a waste of money... BUT! for those of us that have tons of RL friends that may not have as much money as us to waste upgrading every 3-6 months with the latest bleeding edge equipment.

They get the hand me downs from 6 months ago best. At a great discount! Takes some of the pain out of opening your wallet for the new :p 

I was seriously thinking about getting one of those new ATI cards though and going with a single card setup, but then you know what will happen?

I'll end up buying a crossfire board and another card! It's an addiction to performance I think! Somebody needs to do an intervention with me I'm out of controll on Newegg.com!!! LOL
April 6, 2006 9:35:47 PM

Quote:
Did noone see the picture on Anandtech of the quad royal with 10 screens??? If that doesn't justify SLi I don't know what does!



Oo 10 displays? oooo nice!! gotta go home and make room now. Omg no way, thats gotta put off some heat.
April 6, 2006 9:41:05 PM

Quote:
Totally agree, its hype. You can buy one 7900gtx, smoke most everyone you know and buy the 8900gtx in a year. Why buy two 7900gtx now, when it will be slower than a single 8900gtx in a year?


This isn't totally right but I agree with part of it, for example 2x6800's SLI'd will beat 1x 7800 but not with everything because SLI is not widely compatible with every game, there are tons of game that SLI actually runs slower than a single card same chip. If SLI ran every game and was broadly compatible it would be worth it but not so much yet but its slowly getting there.

As a matter of fact 5 out of the 10 or so games a play do not support SLI but I still have it available. Oh well.
April 6, 2006 9:43:17 PM

Quote:
Adding a second card does improve performance, but it's not worth the money. If you have oine X1900 or 7900GTX, you can easily wait for newer cards to come like 6 months later.

SLI is a stupid luxury item.


Lets just say "SLI is a luxury item." :D 

You're gonna put me on prozac!
April 6, 2006 9:49:23 PM

SLi is like specifying a BMW with a 4 litre V8 rather than a 2.8 litre straight 6; one costs less, produces almost identical 'real-world' performance and comes from the same factory. But you'd rather take home a 540 than a 528, if you can afford it.

I thought hardware forums were about no-holds-barred, no-expenses-spared 15ghz power machines.....has everyone gone frugal?


I've gotta say though, although it doesn't really make financial sense, it's outdated just as soon as your CPU is.
April 6, 2006 9:54:37 PM

an SLI setup is code for "I have no girl, so I give all my money to my computer." :p 
April 6, 2006 9:56:02 PM

If you are rich, and can buy dual-card setups everytime they come out. I almost bought one, but better decided on only one gpu.
April 6, 2006 10:00:05 PM

...ooooh I have a feeling everyone with an SLi setup is going to jump all over you veeery soon Mach5!
April 6, 2006 10:39:48 PM

I'm still running on AGP card :cry: 

... while SLI/Crossfire looks fun to play with, I doubt I'll be getting it. I had Dual Voodoo 2s back in the day and it provided far greater performance and a higher resolutions.

Dual cards are for those with unlimited budgets and crazy super sized high resolution monitors like the 30 inch Dell.

But if you've got the funds and it's your hobby, by all means.

I just wouldn't do it.
April 6, 2006 10:42:32 PM

2x 7900gt for me was about the price of a 1900xtx and its better at 1280x1024 in most game.

(Can only run that res on my 3ms lcd)
April 6, 2006 10:54:20 PM

Quote:
Seriously. Who wants to invest TWICE the money for dual 7900GTs, for exemple, while expecting only -5% to +30% difference in performance? (yes, MINUS 5% to PLUS 30%) Why not pay for a single 7900GT now, and invest a similarly priced video card in two years?

I have been trying hard to get it, but the more I think about it, the more I realise how it is stupid to buy two identical cards just because they can be run simultaneously, giving a small performance boost. Buy one now and a much better one later! How can people be fooled by the video card industry like that?



dont b!tch , people have the money y not spend it

i would go sli if i had the money
April 6, 2006 11:05:16 PM

Well, it has been fun listening (once again) to the poor huddled masses sing "sour grapes".
They cannot afford it, so conclude it "must be no good" or go on to postulate that it is all a massive
marketing fraud foisted on the poor unsuspecting rich folks.

But, at least they are trying to protect those who can spend money on toys like this ... now how nice is that! :roll:
April 6, 2006 11:07:58 PM

Quote:
an SLI setup is code for "I have no girl, so I give all my money to my computer." :p 


Have you ever thought of this? " I have alot more money than you"

LOL , most of the people that have SLI I assure you have $$ which attracts chicks like flies. But then I hate gold diggers...
April 6, 2006 11:12:42 PM

Quote:
LOL , most of the people that have SLI I assure you have $$ which attracts chicks like flies. But then I hate gold diggers...

maybe they have enough money to buy SLI, but not enough to buy a ferrari (which is what chicks look for)
April 6, 2006 11:14:04 PM

Quote:
dont b!tch , people have the money y not spend it

i would go sli if i had the money
I'm not dissing anyone in particular, except the graphic card industry, which main marketing strategy is to make you believe that spending outrageous amounts of money on their products is a good thing. Yes, there are 50% more "X"s in the X1900XTX than in the X1900XT; yes, X1600 sounds twice as mighty as X800; yes, running dual mighty Geforce 7900GTX sounds awfully nice; but are you paying for fancy names or concepts, or for performance?
April 6, 2006 11:14:35 PM

LOL true!
April 6, 2006 11:17:51 PM

Quote:
an SLI setup is code for "I have no girl, so I give all my money to my computer." :p 


OR

"I got through college so I can actually afford an extra 500 bucks for something I like. *Scoffs at McDonald's Cashier""
April 6, 2006 11:19:38 PM

Hmmmm... I think you are on to something here , if we add more x's and 0's on the end of the model number can they charge more for it?

Joke

Here is the real deal where SLI flexes its e-penis I have 2x 7800gtx KO's in my rig with a dual core proc and 2 gigs of ram. I turn SLI off and I play call of duty 2 with all options on max @ 1920x1200 I get sluggish... I turn on SLI and :D  I am happy again!!
April 6, 2006 11:20:48 PM

Quote:
an SLI setup is code for "I have no girl, so I give all my money to my computer." :p 


OR

"I got through college so I can actually afford an extra 500 bucks for something I like. *Scoffs at McDonald's Cashier""

I think you hit that one on the head Clarity. Touche!
April 6, 2006 11:32:22 PM

Quote:
an SLI setup is code for "I have no girl, so I give all my money to my computer." :p 

you mean if you had a girl you would spend all your money with her? in that case i'd rather spend on SLI hahahaah
or get another chick
April 7, 2006 1:23:22 AM

Hello,

I was gonna say SLI (and Crossfire) are stupid. But with all you guys touting the real performance gains, I'll say this instead:

SLI is a hambone solution wrapped in slick marketing to cover up the fact that neither nVidia and ATi can produce a single graphics card which can handle today's latest games at hi-res/hi-def/AA/AF/shadows/HDR/bling.

Either they can't or they don't want to. :evil: 

Ever since Gigabyte made their 3dv1 dual GPU card, THAT'S the direction the industry should have headed in.

Or if you think SLI/CrsFr is better for people who buy one now and one later then it should be OPEN STANDARD so that mainboard and chipset don't matter. It's a clear and obvious consumer enslavement stunt.

As for you guys enjoying your games in hi-everything with SLI. Well, I'm happy for you. I'm playing Oblivion on my 3y.o. Radeon9700Pro - I was quite sad at first to turn off distant landscape/trees/stuff and even AA (plus I can only run at 1280x720, though it recommended 640x480 8O ) however, the graphics are that much better than Morrowind (1600x1200,AA) that it still feels awesome. And I'm really into the game - one day (March2007-March2008) I'll have another setup that will do a better job of it. But if I keep buying video setups every 6-12 months, how am I going to afford the BMW M5? (BMW 540 sucks! :twisted: )
April 7, 2006 2:48:33 AM

Quote:
As stated, it really depends on the person and thier money situation.

I just built a rig. As in, I loaded the OS on it just last night. I'm still in the process of setting it up.

Last night, I put my second BFG 7900GTX in there. Yes, that's right. Two BFG 7900GTX in sli.

So, sure. An extra $550 for the card, more for the mb, more for a bigger ps (although I need a bigger one than i have i think)...

But..if you have the money (which I do) then why not?

That's like me asking why on earth would somebody buy a million dollar car (some people do). Well, cause they are able to do it.
Me, the difference between spending $2.5k and 3K is trivial.


Dont take this wrong. Im not attacking you, though it may seem like it. Im just pointing out why I think your analogy is incorrect, and why I disagree with it. There is a big difference between your 7900GTX and a "million" dollar car. Your 7900 cannot be considered an investment for investment purposes. It WILL depreciate. In fact, after the initial drive away depreciation, the typical computer component will depreciate at a rate significantly greatly than any typical low priced consumer vehicle, let alone an investment vehicle. For example, Shelby Daytona Corbra coupes (only six were ever built) were sold for about $5000 USD back in 65-67 after Shelby was finnished with them. Theses cars now value $4.000.000 to priceless.
Im sorry, but your 7900GTX will never be considered priceless. Infact, by this time next year, based on the rate ATI and NVidia are "crapping" new cards out the door, I doubt your cards will be worth half what you paid for them. Even my 1995 ford bronco, @$26.000 in 95 holds its value at over $6000. Thats close to %25. Do you really think your 7900 will be be worth $140 in 11 years?? Does anyone reading this think any consumer video card in the $500 dollar range will be worth $125, 11 years after its release?

Additionally, a comparable new 2006 vehicle, (FOMOCO stopped Bronco production in 96 :cry:  ) with the same size motor as my Bronco would give me only about %30 increase in HP (if that), while at the same time consuming the exact same amount of fuel, for the same or lesser towing load (9000lb). But the new vehicle would have more cup holders, map lights and 12 volt "power ports". I can also garuntee it would eat less tires.

Bearing this in mind, do you think the 7900GTX will hold its performance so well 11 years from now in relation to the video cards of 2117?? Does anyone?

So, I dont really think you can consider any car vs any computer component a legitimate analogy. Now, a fomoco/gm/chrysler vs toyota/honda etc --- AMD/Intel analogy....that I can agree with
April 7, 2006 3:12:52 AM

Quote:
an SLI setup is code for "I have no girl, so I give all my money to my computer." :p 


OR

"I got through college so I can actually afford an extra 500 bucks for something I like. *Scoffs at McDonald's Cashier""

I think you hit that one on the head Clarity. Touche!

ROFLMAO.....Bravo!!! well said
April 7, 2006 3:37:02 AM

Everyone is talking about using SLI with 7900GTs, but what about a situation in which a person puts together a budget system with one modest card (6600GT or 6800GT) and then adds another card a few months down the road when they can afford it. This way when they need some more horsepower, they can pick up another much less expensive card rather than buy a new higher end card. I always thought of SLI as a nice upgrade option.
April 7, 2006 5:05:40 AM

Quote:



That's like me asking why on earth would somebody buy a million dollar car (some people do). Well, cause they are able to do it.


There is a big difference between your 7900GTX and a "million" dollar car. Your 7900 cannot be considered an investment for investment purposes. It WILL depreciate.



Well, then when the time comes, I'll walk out of the house (that i own), into the garage (that i own), and lay the vid cards next to the 2005 2000cc vulcan (that i own) that is right next to the 2004 16FX 160hp jet ski (that i own, and my girlfriend loves to ride)...starting to get the picture?

I'm not really bragging. There are MANY people who make more than I do. I'm sure some of you do. But it's all about "ability".

I just finished setting up my rig (as IN just got the OS loaded tonight).

Basic stuff?

Coolmaster stacker 810
Asus A8N32-Sli Delux
AMD 64 X2 4800 with a Zalmon 9500
2G (2x1) OZC
150G raptor (10K rpm, 16M cache)
250G WD for storage (16M cache)
Two BFG 7900GTX

I broke 8500 in 3dmark06, with zero overclocking or modifications (everything straight out of the box)

Proof Image

Cost? Pretty freaking expensive, and I'm not done yet (going to pick up one of those gateway 21inch widscreens)

Is this the best system out there? NO, not even close. There are plenty of people who have rigs that smoke mine. However, I had fun building it (and not done yet). And THAT is what it's about. What do I enjoy. Well, I enjoy computers (my undergrad is in computer science, my masters in software engineering). I enjoy gamming.

What it really comes down to is if I want to spend MY money on a rig like this, well, I can.

------------------
I should point out that I'm in no way trying to be arrogant. I'm not rich or anything. But I make enough to do/buy the things I want to do/buy.
April 7, 2006 5:45:45 AM

Sounds like there are a whole lot of jealous people on this board. Get over it or get a better job. I personally like having SLI'd 7900GT's. Has better perfomance for than an x1900xtx for the same price. Quit complaining that other people can afford something that you can't. You're like the wolf who couldn't get the grapes. They're only sour because you can't have them.
April 7, 2006 6:08:46 AM

Quote:
dont b!tch , people have the money y not spend it

i would go sli if i had the money
I'm not dissing anyone in particular, except the graphic card industry, which main marketing strategy is to make you believe that spending outrageous amounts of money on their products is a good thing. Yes, there are 50% more "X"s in the X1900XTX than in the X1900XT; yes, X1600 sounds twice as mighty as X800; yes, running dual mighty Geforce 7900GTX sounds awfully nice; but are you paying for fancy names or concepts, or for performance?

-both

what ever makes people happy

i know what your trying to say

but most people out there dont care , they want what looks good
y u think there r so many sli systems out there -becuase they sell and they work

i even bought an sli mobo just in case i ever need it

shoot i might go sli in a couple months
April 7, 2006 6:24:47 AM

Quote:
wow man, you're rich!!
hey, buy me a 7900GTX and mail me please... if it's trivial to you :) 


If i can get Bill Gates to buy me a yatch (trival to him), I'll buy you a 7900GT (trival to me)...

And I know a real hot lady that COULD give me a hummer for free.
April 7, 2006 6:33:42 AM

Quote:
an SLI setup is code for "I have no girl, so I give all my money to my computer." :p 


Or maybe: I have a really sweet girl that bought me a second 7900GTX...

Value is like beauty - it's in the mind's eye of the beholder. If you've got the current best thing VGA and are wishing for more, it's possible to throw more money at it and get more. How you perceive the worth of those extra frames or video quality depends on your own value system. I have not yet tried SLI or CF, but I have thought about it and have read all of the comparison reviews I can find.
April 7, 2006 8:49:45 AM

Cars & computers are a good analogy, turpit. They both lose their value as soon as you've bought one and they both have stupid options that people opt for that they're never going to need (like bigger and bigger engines and, oooooh lots of neon like on the fast and the furious, although that's PCs too.)

* I only picked 540/528 as my choice of cars cuz 528/M5 is a no brainer, whereas the 540 is in a pretty pointless market range.

As for people saying SLi is an upgrade option? Once you've worked up the ca$h to afford your 7900GTXXL-SuperSize, chances are you're gonna be waiting a while before you can afford a new one. If you factor in depreciation of graphics boards, I'd say probs 2-3 months, by which time your not gonna want another 7900GTXXL-SS for a 5% increase in frames, you're gonna want an 8900XXXLL-SSS for a 45% increase in frames. It's just not viable.
April 7, 2006 11:36:28 AM

it's the same question as:

why people like to spend 2-3k dollars to build a machine, whether SLI or not, when they could spend 400 in a xbox360, maybe ~700 in a ps3 and have the same experience?

the answer is the same: some coz they like to build their own machines.. others because they can afford it.

market is based on a simple rule: seek and offer. they sell coz people buy, coz if dont they wouldn't waste R&D time, production machines and process, marketing efforts and all that stuff if they dont think SLI would sell.

if some people can buy SLI: cool
if some people dont like SLI: cool too
a b U Graphics card
April 7, 2006 12:39:07 PM

"Seriously. Who wants to invest TWICE the money for dual 7900GTs, for exemple, while expecting only -5% to +30% difference in performance?"

WHile there are a few examples of such low performance gains (and rarely, even a loss) in SLI, I notice you don't mention the 60-80% gains in FEAR, and 50% gais in numerous other gaming titles...

:-)

But for the example you gave...

Sometimes a pair of 7900GTs ($598)in SLI will defeat even a Crossfire rig with 1900XT cards ($850)...
April 7, 2006 1:28:39 PM

I think the real reason people hate it is because 1) new generations come out so quick and 2) they can't afford it.

If they could afford to buy two new cards every year, they wouldn't be bitching.

Get a good education, get a good job, and you won't be bitching because money won't be as big an issue. I'm not rich and am starting out in my career as a software engineer, but I already make more than 70-80% of Americans out there.

It has advantages and disadvantages. If you can afford it, get it. If not, don't. Simple as that. Look at games like Oblivion. Dual cards can run the game at higher resolutions with max detail at playable framerates than single cards. How is that not better? I don't know about you, but I don't like my games to be choppy at 20 fps in the heat of the action and with LCD monitors, you have to run it at its native resolution for it to look the best. Now I've only got a 19" but some have larger monitors with 1920x1200 native resolutions. You need dual cards for that.

I do think quad SLI though is starting to push the sanity of things. I think Nvidia and ATI should focus more on developing new cards than spending time making cards that will never really be available to the public due to yield issues and cost. I'll never spend $1000 on a single piece of my system. Oh and you might say well Crossfire or SLI can be that much but each card isn't $1000. $2500-2700 will get you an awesome system with dual GPUs and thats reasonable to me. Granted that doesn't include a monitor or keyboard and mouse but oh well.
!