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Crossfire, Sli, IS it really worth it?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 12, 2006 1:45:44 AM

I"m looking in to to buying my next PC and now a days you have to worry about the mother board to make sure it supports SLI or Crossfire if i were to try and use it but the more I look at the specs it seems like its really not worth it?(crossfire,sli) Well my question is can anyone shed some light as to why to even worry about this technology? IS this new physics thing ATI and Nvidia are getting started, going to make deference in future games truly? justs want to here some thoughts from the pros.

Thanks
Benjamin Mooney

More about : crossfire sli worth

a b U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
November 12, 2006 3:22:05 AM

It depends on what you'll be doing with your new PC as to whether SLI or Crossfire is worth it for you, either one is an expensive route to take, 2 video cards is twice the money, an SLI or Crossfire M/B cost more, so for you the question is what will you be doing with your PC?

If surfing the web, emailing your buddies, and watching DVDs, and occasional low end gaming like online Pool or Card Games is your thing then you don't need either of the technologies.

If you're a serious gamer wanting to crank up the resolutions to max settings and play wide open through your game, and into HiDef DVD playback, then SLI and Crossfire may be up your alley if you're willing to spend the money to get there, but like I said it depends on what you do with your machine.

Now even in gaming just because you have for example SLI, if the games are a little older and not written or patched to take advantage of it, some won't even run in SLI mode, in some games I've had to shutdown SLI, but the games that run good on it, are worth the added expense to me, and luckily for me the games I love the most run fantastic in SLI Mode.

I'm trying to be straight forward here and I don't want to belittle what SLI can do in games that are software optimized for it, for example the game FarCry when it first came on the scene was kicking good systems of the time in the dirt.

I first ran the game on an ATI 9800Pro, it limped through the game and occasionally crashed, then moved to an ATI X850Pro the crashing disappeared and settings were increased, but SLI gave me the advantage to completely Max Out All the video settings and literally run through the game, so SLI can really give an impressive graphics boost, in some games.

Obviously by now you've figured out I'm running an SLI setup, so some other points I'd like to make is with HIDef playback on the computer, I've noticed smoother playback with SLI enabled, however I'm running Power DVD 7 and its optimized for SLI use, I have a 27" HiDef LCD TV/MONITOR that I watch DVDs on and enabling and disabling SLI does affect the smoothness and crispness of the picture.

Benchmarks really show the difference in a Single and SLI setup as far as the raw performance is concerned, and 3D mark scores give you more of an idea of the gains.

My Benchmarks

Single 7800GTX
3D Mark 01 = 33,153
3D Mark 03 = 21,486
3D Mark 05 = 9,586
3D Mark 06 = 5,013

Dual 7800GTX in SLI
3D Mark 01 = 34,221
3D Mark 03 = 34,521
3D Mark 05 = 13,738
3D Mark 06 = 7,804

The benchmark in SLI of 3D mark 01 is a good example of the older software really not optimized to take advantage of the SLI, as is some of the older games.

I don't know if this is the kind of information you're really looking for or not but for myself I would like for SLI to have been totally killer across the board, at least for myself it would justify all the added expense, SLI is really an occasional serious boost to what you're doing and sometimes a single card will get you further, it depends on what you're doing at the time.

Keep in mind all of todays and future software coming out will be optimized for SLI and Crossfire use so things are just going to get better and better with both technologies.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions. :wink:
November 12, 2006 4:16:55 AM

WOW thanks for the info. Thats the kind of response i was looking for all the way. Now i just need it from a crossfire standpoint.
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November 12, 2006 12:38:57 PM

They are most helpful at higher resolutions. And it's best to get two top-line cards at same time. If you wait for them to come down in price (for example), newer and better cards will be out, and it won't be worth getting older technology.

Also,
like Ryan mentioned, with bigger monitors and larger resolutions, it will smooth out framerates.

Is it worth getting?
In almost all cases, no. If you have the money, and a big screen, then it's worth getting, but for most people, it's not worth it.

From a business standpoint, the main reason for nV and ATI to get more money, is to get the "richer" customer to buy two X1900XTXs (for example), and they could make more money.

Performance is still not where I would expect, but it'll probably get there someday.
November 12, 2006 1:31:43 PM

Only go dual graphics if you really can afford it (i.e. not at the expense of any other part) and if you have a 20"+ screen.

As for nV and ATi's homebrew physics processing, it's not supported by anything yet and isn't on release, but it will be at some point. It's not really something you need to consider right now.
November 12, 2006 6:50:41 PM

Quote:
They are most helpful at higher resolutions. And it's best to get two top-line cards at same time. If you wait for them to come down in price (for example), newer and better cards will be out, and it won't be worth getting older technology.


I think prozac has a good point.

I built my Rig a little over a year ago. Finacial constrants made the upgrade ability of SLI atractive as pointed out in many articles.

So I purchased the best 6600 gt with the intention of buying another this year for boost of performance. In retrospect, this was piss poor strategy. Not only is it impossible to find the same (factory overclocked) 6600 gt but it would be a waste of money because a single(newer) card for a similair price will out perform the old 6600's in sli. Add to this the release of dx 10 wich should eliminate pixel pipeline nomanclature, and I've got little to convince me I should lay down the smack for two cards today.

SLI gains are measurable, but one shouldnt expect to be able to buy a second card later and get a substantial performance boost.

I'm happy with my sli board and though I don't have the means to load it with 2 hot cards, I do enjoy the option of doing so and may in the future find a solution that makes practical sense for my budget.

Hope this helps.
Anonymous
November 12, 2006 10:04:37 PM

Well, what would you think is the best single PCI-e 16x, Socket AM2 board out there? I am not an OC, and this will be my first build. If you guys say CF and SLI dont give you that much, and is only good for BIG 20+ screens and high res, then I wont bother getting a $50 more board so i can be ready in a year or so. I would rather get a good brand mobo then get an ECS Extreme, lower-end ECS will do fine though.

I might just get a cheap $50-$70 board for now. I have Athlon 64 3800+ (Orleans) to go with it. I will try to get those new X1650XTs when they come out this year, or a 7600GT.

I like this cheap board, ECs

Any suggestions? (Needs to be ATX, not M-ATX)
November 13, 2006 12:26:30 AM

The things that make ya go Hmmmmmm.

At least spend as much on a motherboard as a cheap video card....I'm pretty sure it will outlast your videocard.

Dont give up on an SLI board, they play single cards jst great.

I've read the horror stories but have always had good luck with Asus.

You should adjust your budget to include a board with the features that will give you the features you may want. to hell with price points, budget elsewhere.

2cnts
!