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To SLI or not to SLI

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January 22, 2008 6:17:51 PM

I am building a new system that will include a 24" Samsung 245BW monitor. I was thinking about building a SLI system using 2 8800 GT's but I have heard/read where several people have said that if you a person isnt running a 30" monitor to go ahead and run one 8800 GTS, GTX, Ultra instead because a person wouldnt see much benefit of a SLI system. Is this true? Thank you.

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January 22, 2008 6:44:24 PM

I read many places that does not recommand SLI. Why don't you try one 8800 GT and see if you need to SLI?

To go SLI, is you PSU, MB and Case will support it?
January 22, 2008 6:56:26 PM

I am using one 8800 GT right now in my current machine. All of the parts that I have bought do support SLI.
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January 22, 2008 7:12:07 PM

wait for the next gen cards to come out and then get another 8800 gt at a lower price...

at least that's what I'm doing
January 22, 2008 7:13:48 PM

The choice to SLI or not basically depends on what you plan to play and the spec of the rest of your system. If you just play WoW or something that doesn't push the GPUs hard, or you play on a low resolution (anything less that 1920x1200) then don't bother with SLI.

I have a 24" widescreen 1920x1200 monitor and two 8800GTX's in SLI.
Seems a good balance to me. SLI is definately worth it in my experience, I don't ever play games at anything other than native res. 1920x1200 full framerates. I mostly play UT3 with all the eyecandy on.

However you really need a fast and ideally quadcore CPU to get the best from SLI. My bet is that those people who say SLI is pointless are trying it by plugging two $500 GPU's into some crappy old $100 CPU so of course they're not going to be able to push the GPU's hard or see any benefit, so then they're gonna say SLI sucks, which is not true.

All my system is fast (1111Mhz dominator RAM, core 2 extreme, striker extreme mobo) and even for me I don't think there's any benefit to 3-way sli as even with 2-way its often the rest of the system thats a bottleneck, which is not the case when I just run one GTX.
January 22, 2008 8:46:03 PM

@niz

you bring up a good point....He never mentioned what CPU he had

SLI performance is indeed sensitive to your CPU, RAM, and chipset operating speeds....especially the CPU....which I believe is negotiating the splitting of tasks to the GPUs...

again I have a quadcore @ 3.3 and running @1466 FSB which makes me believe I'll see substantial benefit from SLI in GPU intensive games...(and one day perhaps even the 3D suite I run, are you listening Softimage)

What's your system like...since I'm kind of thinking about doing exactly what you're doing...purchasing another 8800gt
January 22, 2008 9:07:03 PM

I would stay with the single 8800gt for now. See performance once you get you new system/monitor. If your unhappy with performance consider sli or the 9xxx series cards if they turn out any good. Don't forget you will hardly ever get the advertised 1.8x gain in games (fear scales the best of all). The ram on one of the 8800gt is used not both, the core/mem/shader speeds of the slowest card will be used and you will have increased heat and power usage.

Its mainly in resolutions of 1600x1200 with 4xAA and 16xAF on that those $500 video cards and Sli starts to shine.
January 22, 2008 9:44:26 PM

syquest1 said:
I am building a new system that will include a 24" Samsung 245BW monitor. I was thinking about building a SLI system using 2 8800 GT's but I have heard/read where several people have said that if you a person isnt running a 30" monitor to go ahead and run one 8800 GTS, GTX, Ultra instead because a person wouldnt see much benefit of a SLI system. Is this true? Thank you.


What Performance are you getting now?

Are you able to run your games at high detail and still get high frame rates?
If you increase the detail do you lose too much FPS?
If you increase the detail, does it look better enough to warrant wanting to spend the money on another GPU?

January 22, 2008 10:48:58 PM

You will definitely see a significant increases with two 8800GTs at 1920x1200 in most games. 50% increases over the single card. If you're building soon, want to play new demanding games, and have the budget for it, SLI is a good option for you. You could wait a bit for the 9 series to surface, but I'd say shoot for the 8800GTs.
January 23, 2008 1:39:35 PM

The system I am putting together is a EVGA 780i series motherboard, 2 GB of Corsair XMS2 RAM, 150 GB WD Raptor hard rive, I have the one 8800GT that I use right now, I want to go from the E6600 that I have now to either the Q6600 but have been holding off for the Q9000 Yorkfields coming out. I will also be using a Ultra X3 800 watt PSU, and the 24" Samsung 245BW monitor.

Right now I am using the 24" Samusung Monitor, E6600 Conroe processor, Intel X975XBX2 MB, the same Corsair RAM mentioned above, 74 GB WD Raptor HD, one 8800GT video card.

To answer the games questions I want to play Crysis, COD4, HL2: Episodes 1&2, Portal, TF2, Gears of War, Bioshock, etc.
January 23, 2008 2:23:52 PM

Nice, I was going to use the 780i chipset but didn't want to spend the extra money for newegg's price gouging on those boards....Stuck with a 680i, working out great for now.

Seeing your specs now I would say you'll definitely see major improvments from SLI....but keep in mind the newer cards are probably just 2 months or so in the future.

2x 8800gt = ~$550
1x 9*00 = ? (but you could probably get a great one for ~550)

If you have the money though I doubt you'd be dissappointed with the dual 8800gt cards. My single allows me to play All those games maxed out (except crysis of course) without a hitch.....I'm getting the second one because this will be the last system I build for quite some time.
(and I only expect multi CPU core and multi GPU utilization to improve over time)
January 23, 2008 3:03:39 PM

I found the EVGA 780i board here in my towm for $280 so I snatched it up. I have been reading about newer card coming out...mostly the 9*** coming out. From everything I read it is going to be basically 2 8800 GT's on one PCB. I have not heard about anything else from NVidia coming out that will outperform what is out now though. They seem to be satisfied with where they stand due to the issues that AMD/ATI is having with getting any new GPU's to compete at all with what Nvidia has out now.
January 23, 2008 4:53:14 PM

@ syquest1

Nice, I actually had to get my 680i in town too...they were all sold out online....thankfully the Comp USA was going out of business here so I got it at a %30 haircut.

Anyway, yeah the pricepoint and info out there does suggests it'll basically be a double 8800.....hopefully with some marginal improvements in memory bandwidth.

But on a 780i, I bet you could eventually get at least one other one of those and have a Quad GPU setup.
January 23, 2008 5:20:43 PM

PlasticSashimi said:
wait for the next gen cards to come out and then get another 8800 gt at a lower price...

at least that's what I'm doing


This is the main reason I like sli/crossfire in general. Sure it is a way to get the absolute most performance out of a system but it can be hard to justify the costs unless you just have to have it. On the other hand I think it's great as a somewhat future proofing method for your system. I mean sure you could go sli now but why not buy another 8800 gt in a year when they're 100 bucks or so. It obviously works in both worlds but I think it's best suited atleast in it's current performance setting as an upgrade/expansion technology.
January 23, 2008 5:39:22 PM

I know the native resolution for my monitor is 1920X1200 so I just really wonder would I get/see a difference with getting a second 8800GT.
January 23, 2008 5:41:44 PM

fudgedelic said:
This is the main reason I like sli/crossfire in general. Sure it is a way to get the absolute most performance out of a system but it can be hard to justify the costs unless you just have to have it. On the other hand I think it's great as a somewhat future proofing method for your system. I mean sure you could go sli now but why not buy another 8800 gt in a year when they're 100 bucks or so. It obviously works in both worlds but I think it's best suited atleast in it's current performance setting as an upgrade/expansion technology.


Exactly....my choice was further influenced by the fact that I got my first 8800gt as a gift...I would have personally bought an Ultra @ the time but the GT is working like a champ.

The second GT sounds like a no-brainer to me in my case....I did consider selling the GT on ebay when you couldn't find any....but that wouldn't be a very nice thing to do with a gift would it now :) 
January 23, 2008 6:09:39 PM

syquest1 said:
I know the native resolution for my monitor is 1920X1200 so I just really wonder would I get/see a difference with getting a second 8800GT.


well of course there would be a difference....probably between 15-60 percent perf. gain depending on the situation.

However for right now that might mean the difference between 80FPS or 105 FPS which doesn't really mean anything.....But what about the games coming out over the next year.

a jump from 24 to 40 FPS or going from 1024x768 to 1600x1200 might be just the ticket.
January 23, 2008 6:20:48 PM

Sounds like the second 8800GT is the way to go.
January 23, 2008 8:16:04 PM

LoneEagle said:
I read many places that does not recommand SLI. Why don't you try one 8800 GT and see if you need to SLI?

To go SLI, is you PSU, MB and Case will support it?


i agree with lone eagle get one card and test it out, if you think you need another card get it (if money permits) :D 

btw i don't think you case needs to be compatible just ur mobo, psu and i think your ram as well (saw some pics of sli ready ram, so idk if you have to have that type if ur gona sli)
January 23, 2008 8:26:35 PM

I think SLI ready ram is mainly a gimmick

Basically it means that Nvidia knows of these ram modules specifically and your BIOS upon reading some value off the DIMMs will put in all the correct timings and stuff for them in order for you to get the best benefit and compatibility with an SLI setup.

If you know how your Memory should be set up (in your BIOS, etc.) then I doubt it really matters if your RAM is "SLI ready"

My $80 PSU says "SLI ready" on it as well...but I"ll just have to see how true that is when I get my second 8800gt.....I'm not entirely optimistic though.
January 23, 2008 8:46:16 PM

joelleiva07 said:
i agree with lone eagle get one card and test it out, if you think you need another card get it (if money permits) :D 

btw i don't think you case needs to be compatible just ur mobo, psu and i think your ram as well (saw some pics of sli ready ram, so idk if you have to have that type if ur gona sli)

For the case, it simply for the heat. If not well ventilated, the heat will cause you problems.
January 23, 2008 9:06:50 PM

The real question here is whether its worth paying double for slightly more performace, and if you want to have 2 obsolete video cards in 6 months to a year, instead of one. I remember when SLI first became popular with the 8mb Voodoo cards. A few months later the original 16mb TNT card became available and blew this $600 option away. Anybody remember the Quantum Obsidian? SLI didn't last long the first time around, and while it may be here to stay, its still a big waste of money. The fastest SLI setup today will be beaten by a middle of the road card in 12 months or less. Currently the $250 8800GT 512mb runs Crysis on my system at fairly high resolutions with all options on high. How much is is worth to run at slightly higher resolutions for a few months? In my opinion the best way to roll is to buy one decent card every fall, and sell the old one to cover half the expense.
January 24, 2008 12:55:26 AM

All the arguments against SLI are made obsolete by the price/performance ratios of "mid-level" cards today. As it is, you can go SLI with 8800GTs and have more FPS at higher resolutions than you can get with any single card solution that costs MORE than the two GTs. So why not? If I wanna play Crysis at 1920x1200 and I am willing to pay ~600 bucks for a graphics solution, what is the best choice for me? 2 8800GTs in SLI, hands down.

Now, I will sit back and wait for all the people running OC'd Q6600s to tell me I am wrong for not considering idle power consumption and ambient case temperature.
January 24, 2008 1:52:38 AM

Not many people have monitors that support 1920 x 1200 at this point. I happen to own a Hanns G 281 that does. The difference between 1440 x 900 which is a very playable res in Crysis with my single 8800GT, and 1920 x 1200 which is not, is not that much of a difference. It makes little sense to me to pay twice as much for video cards that only make a difference in ONE game (Crysis), and have 2 obsolete cards in 6 months. It's not like I can't afford it, I'd just rather spend the money on something that makes a substantial difference.... In this case I put the cost of a second card towards a 28" monitor. By the next holiday season the 8800 series will be a $120 card.
January 24, 2008 5:38:00 AM

syquest1 said:
I am building a new system that will include a 24" Samsung 245BW monitor. I was thinking about building a SLI system using 2 8800 GT's but I have heard/read where several people have said that if you a person isnt running a 30" monitor to go ahead and run one 8800 GTS, GTX, Ultra instead because a person wouldnt see much benefit of a SLI system. Is this true? Thank you.


It all comes down to -two- things...
Do you run a "large" monitor and at higher res than most people game at -and- do you have a crap load of cash to burn.

Most everyone only sees a few FPS bost in -benchmarks- over a single fast GFX card that the human eye can't see.

All my 7 systems on LAN are SLI ready and NONE have SLI installed.

I tell all my customers the same thing.
January 25, 2008 7:05:39 AM

I still maintain that if one wish to SLi a low or mid range card, one may as well use the budget to buy a higher end card.

I would only SLi a high end card because I would be getting something that no one single card can achieve. Waiting for the price of a card to come down so that one can buy another identical card to SLi is probably not my strategy. I would sell off my old card and get a single card of the newer series.

My 2 cents.
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