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To SLI or To Not

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July 11, 2007 2:19:11 AM

I can't decide to go sli or not with 2 8800 gtx's. The main problem is definitly the money. By the time I get the cards there should be price drops so that won't be toooo bad but my psu is only 600 watts so I would then need either a new psu or a thermaltake dedicated gpu psu, also I need a new mobo to run sli which would add 150ish to the comp, then I am iffy if my case can even fit 1 gtx so I might even need a new case. Is it worth the performance boost? I'm guessing not but it might be. Also same question for sli ultra's. Will the extra money put into the ultra's make the performance boost worth it? Thanks

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July 11, 2007 1:23:14 PM

Rule of thumb for SLI: don't SLI. :) 
July 11, 2007 2:07:35 PM

what he said :) 

it's a lot better to buy one card and save your money for the next generation
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July 11, 2007 2:11:11 PM

I have a 22" widescreen with a 8800 GTS 640mb and there is no present reason to go SLI with it. If you have a 24" or larger screen, there might be a reason, especially if you're running M$ Flightsimulator X. Otherwise, it'll get you some bragging rights, but that's about all. Save your money and look towards the next generation of video cards.
July 11, 2007 2:39:13 PM

Most of the time the boost you get from SLI is so small that it is not worth spending more then twice the money to buy 2 graphics cards a bigger PSU and an SLI capable mobo, unless you use a 30 inch monitor you probably won't even see much difference.
a b Î Nvidia
July 11, 2007 3:05:10 PM

Take a look at this:

http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/diamond_radeon_2900_xt_1gb/

My conclusion from all those charts was that one 8800 GTX will do very nicely for resolutions of 1920x1200 or less. For 2560x1600 SLI or Crossfire is necessary, or you need to dial down some settings.

I'd say get yourself one 8800 GTX and decide a year from now if it's not enough. You'll probably be better off at that point buying a new X38-based mobo and a new 9800 GTX (or whatever) rather than trying SLI.

What case and PSU do you have? The 8800 GTX may not fit in some smaller cases.

The 8800 Ultra may actually be worth buying because it's quieter than the GTX. However, it's badly overpriced.
July 11, 2007 3:41:31 PM

sailer said:
If you have a 24" or larger screen, there might be a reason, especially if you're running M$ Flightsimulator X. Otherwise, it'll get you some bragging rights, but that's about all. Save your money and look towards the next generation of video cards.


I have to say that I've found that FSX leans mostly on the CPU. I can increase the AA and the FPS remains almost the same. Is maybe the most CPU requiring game I ever saw. So, IMO SLi is not needed even for that. @ 2560x1600, may be another story tho.

So far, I get 1 card, and get the new generation when comes out.
July 11, 2007 4:11:34 PM

GrandAdmiralThrawn said:
Most of the time the boost you get from SLI is so small that it is not worth spending more then twice the money to buy 2 graphics cards a bigger PSU and an SLI capable mobo, unless you use a 30 inch monitor you probably won't even see much difference.


From experience, if you are playing anywhere at or above 1900x1200 with 4xaa/16xaf and high textures, you'll notice a significant difference in FPS with SLI. Especially true in games like Oblivion, X3, COH.

But yeah, if you're playing at anything below those levels you're better off getting one card, then upgrading to when a newer card comes out.
July 12, 2007 1:11:49 PM

I vote 1x 8800GTX 4T$. 2nd Choice 1x 8800GTS 640Mb... even cheaper.

f61
July 12, 2007 3:00:40 PM

yeah basically if you have a card that's starting to struggle in newer games it might be worth it to get another card since they are usually alot cheaper by then, but usually by that time there's something new and so much better that it's not usually worth it.
July 13, 2007 11:18:07 PM

I'm getting a 24' with 1900x1200 res and my case is a Raidmax Smilodon. My psu is a 600 watt Thermaltake. So you think gtx or ultra will fit and it will be enough to run full settings on the new games like crysis or Flight Sim X (once dx10 version comes out)
July 14, 2007 12:55:19 AM

cowcrusher said:
I'm getting a 24' with 1900x1200 res and my case is a Raidmax Smilodon. My psu is a 600 watt Thermaltake. So you think gtx or ultra will fit and it will be enough to run full settings on the new games like crysis or Flight Sim X (once dx10 version comes out)


With that large a screen, you could well benefit from SLI or Crossfire. If you do go that route, you will need a psu closer to 850 wt to be safe. Not sure if such big cards will fit your case. It might be easiest to look up the dimensions of the cards and make cardboard siloettes of them and then try fitting the siloette in the case.
July 14, 2007 4:16:22 AM

hm I'll try the siloette thing but idk how well I can do it. Also from what i've heard the gtx will get more of a price cut than the gts when the 8900 comes out. Should I wait for the 8900 and get 2 gtx's or should I save more money for 2 gtx's and get them when I was thinking (months oct through dec) even if there aren't price cuts. OR should I get 2 gts's during the time I will be getting the upgrades and spend less money if there aren't price cuts?

*hope this makes sense I have a minor migraine today*
July 14, 2007 4:50:39 AM

My guess, and its only a guess, is that when the 8900 series comes out, the 8800 GTX's will go on sale and then be seen no more, kind of like what happened to the 7800 GTX's when the 7900 GTX's came out. Don't know for sure about the 8800 GTS series. They might simply go down in price and still be produced, or they might go the way of the dodo. Since your upgrade will be between Oct and Dec, then I'd save up as much money as I could and go for whatever is best at that time. I also wouldn't limit myself to a Nvidia card, as AMD/ATI might come out with a really good card by that time as well.

No one knows for sure when the 8900 series will come out. Only rumors float around at the moment. As to whether to get two GTS cards or one GTX, generally I'd recommend one GTX over a two GTS's. But with the time frame of Oct to Dec, I can't give an any good advice on what the siruation will be then, only that it will probably be different then what we see now.
July 19, 2007 7:39:00 PM

I kind of have the same question but a bit different. I am upgrading from 2 6800s with 256 and I am confused by the size of the cards now available. They seem to be much thicker than my current 6800s and I am worried they will not a) fit on my MB or b) they will run too hot.

I guess from what I am reading I can just get one 8800 GTX and get rid of SLI all together. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
July 19, 2007 8:15:18 PM

BTW here is my system info. I Built it about 2 years ago now so when I bought it everything was close to top of the line

# AMD, Athlon™ 64 X2 4800+ Dual-Core Processor 2.4GHz, 2MB L2 cache, 90nm, Socket 939
# ASUS, A8N-SLI Deluxe, nForce4, 2ch DDR400, PCIe x16, SATA RAID 5, Audio, LAN, FW,
# DDR400, 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR PC3200 400MHz SDRAM 184-pin DIMM, Non-ECC
# 2 X SEAGATE, 120GB, 7200-RPM, 8MB cache, Serial ATA RAID 0
# 2 X MSI, NX6800-TD256E, GeForce™ 6800, PCI x16 SLI, 256MB GDDR3, DVI, TV-out,
# CREATIVE, Sound Blaster Audigy 2
# LACIE, LaCie DVD±RW Dual Layer Drive w/ LightScribe, Black
# COOLER MASTER, WAVE-MASTER TAC-T01, Silver Tower Aluminum Case, No PS
# ANTEC, SmartPower 2.0 SP-500, 500W Power Supply, 24-pin ATX, SLI ready
# VIEWSONIC, G-220fb, 21in, .21 DPI, Flat Screen, 2048 x 1536, CRT Display
July 19, 2007 10:10:01 PM

l33tvoltron said:
I guess from what I am reading I can just get one 8800 GTX and get rid of SLI all together. Any recommendations would be appreciated.


I have a computer very similar to yours, though I have a FX60 and a A8N32SLI-Deluxe board. A 8800 GTX will fit in without problem, as it takes close to the same size that my 8800 GTS does. The 8800 does run a bit hotter, but the fan/heatsink keeps it cool enough, though its a bit louder. The only possible troubles I foresee is some driver conflicts between the 8800 and the AMD system. That is one thing that I wish Nvidia would fix, its driver problems. Alternatively, you could go to a ATI HD 2900 XT. Its not as fast as a 8800 GTX, but there are fewer driver problems with your board and cpu. Just a thought, nothing more.

Last thing, whether you get one 8800 GTX or one 2900 XT, either will be so much faster than your SLI 6800's that you will think you have an entirely new computer. You could also do a 10% overclock in the bios on your 4800+ cpu and pick up some more speed as well.
July 19, 2007 10:33:02 PM

sailer said:
My guess, and its only a guess, is that when the 8900 series comes out, the 8800 GTX's will go on sale and then be seen no more, kind of like what happened to the 7800 GTX's when the 7900 GTX's came out. Don't know for sure about the 8800 GTS series. They might simply go down in price and still be produced, or they might go the way of the dodo. Since your upgrade will be between Oct and Dec, then I'd save up as much money as I could and go for whatever is best at that time. I also wouldn't limit myself to a Nvidia card, as AMD/ATI might come out with a really good card by that time as well.

No one knows for sure when the 8900 series will come out. Only rumors float around at the moment. As to whether to get two GTS cards or one GTX, generally I'd recommend one GTX over a two GTS's. But with the time frame of Oct to Dec, I can't give an any good advice on what the siruation will be then, only that it will probably be different then what we see now.


yeah I was hearing the g90 nvidia cards might come out around oct to dec and I also heard they will be much more powerful so I guess I will save more money and get the best card available at the time ;) 
July 19, 2007 11:01:23 PM

Thanks for the response Sailer. I get paid tomorrow and will most likely order the 8800 GTX 786. I have been playing the "World in Conflict" Beta and I just know it can look so much nicer :) 

At this point I have MSI cards and I like them. Any recommendations on who to buy from? I have seen some not so good things about eVGA but a few friends have some cards from them and are happy.
July 19, 2007 11:16:56 PM

l33tvoltron said:
Thanks for the response Sailer. I get paid tomorrow and will most likely order the 8800 GTX 786. I have been playing the "World in Conflict" Beta and I just know it can look so much nicer :) 

At this point I have MSI cards and I like them. Any recommendations on who to buy from? I have seen some not so good things about eVGA but a few friends have some cards from them and are happy.


I've bought both a 7800 GTX and a 8800 GTS 640 from EVGA and they have been good. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one again, especially with their 90 day trade up policy. If a 8900 came out in Oct, conceivably you could trade the 8800 up for a 8900 for only the cost difference between the two. If you've had good luck with MSI, then fine. HIS is also supposed to be good, along with Foxconn, Leadtek, and Gigabyte. Probably other good ones as well.
July 19, 2007 11:28:49 PM

sailer said:
I've bought both a 7800 GTX and a 8800 GTS 640 from EVGA and they have been good. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one again, especially with their 90 day trade up policy. If a 8900 came out in Oct, conceivably you could trade the 8800 up for a 8900 for only the cost difference between the two. If you've had good luck with MSI, then fine. HIS is also supposed to be good, along with Foxconn, Leadtek, and Gigabyte. Probably other good ones as well.


true.Also, is it true that the 8800gtx cant even run crysis on full? or was that just for like bigger screens
July 19, 2007 11:39:08 PM

cowcrusher said:
true.Also, is it true that the 8800gtx cant even run crysis on full? or was that just for like bigger screens


I've read that concerning big screens, but until Crysis comes out and we get a chance to test it in the real world, there's no way of knowing for sure. I've also read that the 2900 XT does better than the 8800 GTX with Crysis, but again, until the real game comes out, its only speculation.
July 19, 2007 11:49:27 PM

sailer said:
With that large a screen, you could well benefit from SLI or Crossfire. If you do go that route, you will need a psu closer to 850 wt to be safe. Not sure if such big cards will fit your case. It might be easiest to look up the dimensions of the cards and make cardboard siloettes of them and then try fitting the siloette in the case.


Or he could just not follow the whole trend of getting a massively overpowered psu and just get what he needs, which would be 600-650w tops.
July 20, 2007 1:26:29 AM

jt001 said:
Or he could just not follow the whole trend of getting a massively overpowered psu and just get what he needs, which would be 600-650w tops.


I have a 600watt but I thought that wasn't able to run gtx's in sli. Also If I ever did go sli I could probably just use one of these couldn't I? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 20, 2007 3:05:15 AM

Here's the problem. From your original post, I assumed you were using close to the full 600 wts of your psu. Depending upon the full system specs and any overclocking, that can be done. If so, adding a couple GTX cards would push you up to the point that you might need a 850 wt psu. Ok, maybe using a psu calculator would show a need for 793 wts or 815 wts, or some thing similar, but the sensible thing would be to get a 850 wt psu in such case.

The Inq one time ran a SLI setup with only a 500wt psu, but they reported heating problems and recommended a minimum 600-650 wt psu. It can be done, but it depends on your overall system. I run a lot of hardware, overclock my cpu and gpu and it I went with a 8800 GTX SLI setup, I'd need every bit of a 850 wt psu. So if you also have a lot of hardware, overclock the cpu and gpu, you could well need a 850 wt psu. Then again, maybe you don't need it. I can't say for sure. I can tell you of the annoyance of buying a psu and finding out it was too small. I did that once. After a few months of stressing out the psu, it failed. Then I had to buy a bigger psu, thus ending up costing me more money and hastle than if I bought the larger one the first time.

I tried the link you provided, but it didn't work. I'll assume that it was to one of the specialty psu's designed to power the graphics cards only. It may be a way to save some money, but if ever something goes wrong, its one more thing to cause problems in diagnosing the problem. Just a thought.
July 25, 2007 6:30:20 PM

There is no reason to go with SLI other than impressing other nerds. That's about it really. It's like import tuning craze of the late 90's to early 2000. It's just something to show off but not really cost effective. I've seen benchies that only show a 20 to 30% increase which isn't much. Go with single card configs because they are cheaper and less power consuming.
July 25, 2007 10:48:22 PM

SLI is good for people with a lot of money. Which is surprisingly a lot of people these days...


If ya aint going to miss $600 then sure go for it!!
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