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SLI , Crossfire, vs single GPU

Last response: in Systems
December 10, 2007 10:23:21 PM

In configuring my own near future homebuild, a question arises. With a number of threads mentioning they have presently or are considering dual GPU setups, is there any independent reliable testing showing a doubling of FPS efficiency, or other quantifiable standards, in monitor graphics quality with double GPU setups?

With the doubling of GPU costs vis-a-vis SLI or Crossfire, the added heat, more cooling even going to liquid cooling, necessarily more expensive MOBO's, one should certainly expect some near doubling of graphics quality. If not, what a sales scam these purveyors of SLI or Crossfire are dumping on the unwary consumer. And if in the near future, GPU's make a quantitative leap forward( a new super 8800GT or GTX becomes affordable), the scam is then even more pronounced as the consumer has dumped twice the cash on quickly out-of-date GPU's.

Any opinion or data greatly appreciated. thanks for your time.
December 10, 2007 11:00:05 PM

On this web site there are performance charts for dual& quad vga cards and also single cards
For each, pick the cards and benchmarks most applicable to you.

The results will usually show sli/crossfire to be from 0 to 50% better.

If a single fast card will do the job, I don't see the value of dual cards for the reasons you stated.
On the other hand, if budget is not an issue, and you want the very fastest, then a sli of high end cards may be the only way to go.
December 10, 2007 11:29:17 PM

depends on the resolution of the monitor, sli/xfire is better with higher resolutions but barely any gains on lower ones
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December 11, 2007 7:13:50 AM

Crossfire owns, and I mean owns hard.

3870 is smoking 8800 GTX Ultra's in COD4, Crysis, and Call of Juarez. Close in others.

Looking strong. Good for money.

Or go SLI 8800 GT with a 680i board.

December 11, 2007 8:17:28 AM

I may be mistaken but was that review of the 3870 and 3850 in crossfire and single vs everyone else solely in single?
December 11, 2007 10:31:00 AM

LAAkuma said:

Crossfire owns, and I mean owns hard.

3870 is smoking 8800 GTX Ultra's in COD4, Crysis, and Call of Juarez. Close in others.

Looking strong. Good for money.

Or go SLI 8800 GT with a 680i board.


You know, the 3870 is certainly a good card for the money. Having said that, I'm sure you *MEANT* to point out that 3870's WHEN PAIRED IN CROSSFIRE are faster than a SINGLE 8800GTX Ultra in SOME of the games tested.... Either that, or you didn't bother to actually read the article you linked. I'm also curious why some of the results are posted using medium graphics settings, and others are on high... After all - Medium settings would show more even reults since the graphics cards aren't being streesed as much....

But whatever...
December 11, 2007 10:43:19 AM

For the OP - Both SLI and Crossfire are still dependent upon game designers coding the needed support, and also on the quality and timliness of the drivers needed for said games. This is why I feel that, even on a dollar for dollar basis, a single, superior GPU is better than a pair of lesser ones. The people who *must* have the absolute most Frames Per Second and (real or perceived) absolute best performance will pair up a set of superior cards... It's also a viable approach for someone who doesn't quite have the cash for the single best: They can start with a lesser card, then buy it a brother later on.
December 11, 2007 12:33:24 PM

For the money 2 3870's are probably cheaper than 1 8800gtx. And I read that Xfire scales nicely.

I have one 3870. It is a great card. Very good image quality. COD4 @ 1152x864, 4xAA, 4xAF, all high settings, i'm getting 60-80 FPS. BF2, BF2142 Quake 4 and TF2 are off the chart. I do slow down, slightly, at higher res. I want another 3870, but i need a new MoBo.

I personally like the mix of Intel chipsets with Xfire. I would go Intel + SLI, but Nvidia doesnt license SLI. I do like Nvidia drivers and software better, but i like the image quality of ATI best. It all comes down to personal preferences. I lose a few FPS on a single card, but the image is outstanding.

My 3870 runs very quiet, even at load. After a couple of hours of COD4, i am 65 degrees celcius. I am OCing my card to 800/1200 using the ATI overdrive. I need better cooling to get more.

The above FPS are good considering my CPU. P4 3.0 630, 2G pc-5400, Window XP sp2 and the forementioned ATI 3870.

3870 Xfire with an up to date Dual Core would be incredible.
December 12, 2007 5:04:02 PM

Thanks much for the excellent referrals and your experiences.