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Is SLI worth the extra problems?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 27, 2011 3:06:15 PM

So I have heard going SLI can cause problems and extra headaches so it can be worth it just to go for a single card. What problems come along with going SLI?

Some options I am considering:

If I am feeling rich:
GTX 590 vs. 2 x GTX 570 SLI

Or not so rich
2 x GTX 560 Ti SLI
vs. just getting a 570 (which is way less performance than 2 560's I now)

a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 3:56:00 PM

The 590 will run into the same issues as 2x570. It still acts like SLI without the need of a bridge or second PCIe slot. From the looks of gaming atm, one gtx570 will provide you with all the power you need to handle most games. If you need more later on you can just buy a second card or a new card. If you are worried of the hassle buy one gtx570 and worry about it when you can no longer play your games at a reasonable fps.
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a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 4:07:37 PM

I have no issues with my 580's in SLI at all.

Out of the choices you listed I would start with a single 570, if it isnt enough for you buy the second and SLI them.

The only reason I did 580's in SLI is because I play at 2560x1440 and I needed the extra power.

Keep in mind also a single 590 is only about the same as 75-80% the rendering power of two 580's in SLI. This is due to thermal and power constraints of putting 2 580 GPU's on a single board. It is also why it is priced at around $700 instead of $900-$1000.

What is the rest of your system?
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a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 4:34:05 PM

Nvidia does a good job with it's drivers. AMD tends to drop the ball with their crossfire support for games. Other than that SLI is fine.

The bigger concern is why did you get the i5 2500 instead of the i5 2500k?!
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a c 169 U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 4:38:35 PM

Both SLI/CF still have issues like driver support and micro stuttering;however, with new drivers,most issues are resolved.Have a look at this link which explains everything perfectly
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...
I personally prefer a single GPU over 2 GPUs(After having a 4870X2 and 5970 I went with GTX 580 and haven't had any issues at all)

Anyway,if you play on resolutions like 1080p,then a single fast card such as GTX 580 can handle everything fine but if you play on higher resolutions,then go with SLI.(Which in case of yours,1 590 is a better choice than 2 570s because it's slightly faster and is quieter)
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a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 4:38:37 PM

Crewton is right about AMD and their drivers. In short: They leave much to be desired (especially in Linux!). One 570 should be plenty for now, but if you feel like spending the cash and getting 2 of the exact same, more power to you. Energy stated in another thread that he's having good luck with his PC in SLI and not having micro-stutter or driver issues, so he seems to have more experience than I do. Listen to him (and me!) :D 
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a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 4:41:09 PM

RedTalonTPF said:
My system specs are below. What are these problems that I keep hearing about with SLI? What risk is there (besides heat and power) in running SLI vs a single card?


Mobo:
ASUS P8Z68-V PRO
CPU:
Intel Core i5-2500
RAM:
CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB)
GPU
2 x EVGA SuperClocked GTX 570 (SLI)
PSU:
OCZ ZS Series 750W
Case:
Corsair Graphite Series 600T



You shouldn't run into any issues at all with that setup, Just keep all your drivers current. The only thing I would have recommended is the K series processor and bumped it up to 4ghz +. The good news is when Ivy Bridge is out if you want a boost just grab one of the Ivy K series.

If that is simply what you are planning on getting not what you have I would drop your ram to an 8gb kit and get a 2500k instead. Unless you are doing CAD, Photoshop, or some other similar software you will never utilize that extra 8GB, plus you would want the 2600k for hyper-threading anyway. I have 8GB and have never used more than 60% and that is with a heavy game open and multiple other applications, browser, etc also open in the background.

As Greenman said, I haven't had any micro-stuttering, or any issues at all with my 580's in SLI in any games I have played. Here is a link to the other thread Greenman mentioned, I put a link there that is showing evidence of the issues that xfire is experiencing. http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/334201-33-does-crossf...

Just look for the link to the HardOCP review comparing xfire to SLI in BF3.

edit, here i'll just link it again. http://hardocp.com/article/2011/11/22/battlefield_3_mul...
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a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 5:38:41 PM

Once again people talk about all the issues they hear about running Crossfire or SLI, and once again as having used both extensively for several years I have not had any issues, at all, with anything, been very happy with my multiple GPU setups, but I do lean towards SLI as my preference.
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a c 88 U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 5:50:51 PM

Yeah same here , no problems with SLI its been nothing but a great experience , nice to have a pc with good performance, with gaming you want the best you can afford and you honestly do get what you pay for. I will always run multi gpus.
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November 27, 2011 6:55:31 PM

Energy96 said:


If that is simply what you are planning on getting not what you have I would drop your ram to an 8gb kit and get a 2500k instead.


Oh wow, I did not know there was a difference between the two. Thanks for pointing that out! I originally had the 2500k but newegg sold out so I did another search. I figured they just changed the listing and it was the same chip.

Also 1 more questions. It seems the micro stuttering is lessened on higher end cards, after looking at the performance I am leaning towards the 2 x 560 SLI. Is microstuttering going to be more frequent in the 560 vs the 570 SLI? I know this is kinda hard to measure but wondering if you have seen anything to indicate such.
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a c 273 U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 6:58:30 PM

RedTalonTPF said:
Oh wow, I did not know there was a difference between the two. Thanks for pointing that out! I originally had the 2500k but newegg sold out so I did another search. I figured they just changed the listing and it was the same chip.

Also 1 more questions. It seems the micro stuttering is lessened on higher end cards, after looking at the performance I am leaning towards the 2 x 560 SLI. Is microstuttering going to be more frequent in the 560 vs the 570 SLI? I know this is kinda hard to measure but wondering if you have seen anything to indicate such.

I haven't seen this microstutter that you talk about and I'm running SLi'd GTX560Ti's.
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a c 169 U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 7:40:47 PM

jitpublisher said:
Once again people talk about all the issues they hear about running Crossfire or SLI, and once again as having used both extensively for several years I have not had any issues, at all, with anything, been very happy with my multiple GPU setups, but I do lean towards SLI as my preference.

Well I actually experienced issues with both 4870X2/5970 so for me,CF wasn't perfect and had issues
I can not comment on Nvidia cards though,since I never had a SLI setup
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a c 273 U Graphics card
November 27, 2011 7:50:53 PM

Maziar said:
Well I actually experienced issues with both 4870X2/5970 so for me,CF wasn't perfect and had issues
I can not comment on Nvidia cards though,since I never had a SLI setup

Get another 580 then! Go on you know you want to. :ange: 
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November 27, 2011 11:57:58 PM

Posting this so others can benefit from some research I did.

Here is a really good example of Micro-stuttering. The slow motion really shows it off. Do not look for jumpyness in the video (it is slow motion it is going ot be jumpy) instead look at how the slow motion is uneven. Frames do not appear at even intervals.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOtre2f4qZs&feature=play...
I really wish I could find out what he was running.

Also a really good article. Although they note that the way they measure does not reflect what a user is viewing. Some good info about how Nvidia and Radeon both acknowledge the problem and are working on solutions.
http://techreport.com/articles.x/21516/5

Which also confirms that higher end card experience it less. However I wonder if the problem becomes worse when games get more intensive in the future? Or rather if it is perceptible not just measurable.
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a c 153 U Graphics card
November 28, 2011 12:30:33 AM

I've never once had troubles or microstuttering issues and I have "immature" cards in SLI sense. I'm not saying it isn't out there. Just from personal experience, I've never had it.
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a b U Graphics card
November 28, 2011 11:07:06 AM

RedTalonTPF said:
Posting this so others can benefit from some research I did.

Here is a really good example of Micro-stuttering. The slow motion really shows it off. Do not look for jumpyness in the video (it is slow motion it is going ot be jumpy) instead look at how the slow motion is uneven. Frames do not appear at even intervals.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOtre2f4qZs&feature=play...
I really wish I could find out what he was running.

Also a really good article. Although they note that the way they measure does not reflect what a user is viewing. Some good info about how Nvidia and Radeon both acknowledge the problem and are working on solutions.
http://techreport.com/articles.x/21516/5

Which also confirms that higher end card experience it less. However I wonder if the problem becomes worse when games get more intensive in the future? Or rather if it is perceptible not just measurable.




You know, I watched that over and over, and for the life of me I cannot figure out exactly what they are trying to prove. I am glad you posted this and I am not contradicting you in any way, I am commenting on that video. If you watch any video that is displayed frame by frame at a slowed down rate, that is exactly what I would expect it to look like. I run 560ti's in SLI, and every single game I have ever played at 1920x1080 runs and looks butter smooth. I am sure that if I shot my monitor with a high speed camera, and slowed it way down, it would look the same. But at the end of the day, so what? I don't watch my monitor in slow motion, and I am sure the majority of users out there don't either.
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November 28, 2011 2:08:50 PM

jitpublisher said:
You know, I watched that over and over, and for the life of me I cannot figure out exactly what they are trying to prove. I am glad you posted this and I am not contradicting you in any way, I am commenting on that video. If you watch any video that is displayed frame by frame at a slowed down rate, that is exactly what I would expect it to look like. I run 560ti's in SLI, and every single game I have ever played at 1920x1080 runs and looks butter smooth. I am sure that if I shot my monitor with a high speed camera, and slowed it way down, it would look the same. But at the end of the day, so what? I don't watch my monitor in slow motion, and I am sure the majority of users out there don't either.


This is definitely true. Just because the frames are being displayed unevenly does not mean it is perceptible. I am not arguing for or against micro stuttering ruining games. From all the research I did it seems completely conditional so there is no one answer. It is weird though I look at those two videos played in full speed and the second one feels choppier to me, this could be completely psychological in that I know it is the video exhibiting micro shuttering at a slowed (not normal) pace. To add to that watching a video on you tube, of what a camcorder sees being displayed on a screen is far from accurate representation of what a person looking at a screen experiences.
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a b U Graphics card
November 28, 2011 2:26:15 PM

RedTalonTPF said:
This is definitely true. Just because the frames are being displayed unevenly does not mean it is perceptible. I am not arguing for or against micro stuttering ruining games. From all the research I did it seems completely conditional so there is no one answer. It is weird though I look at those two videos played in full speed and the second one feels choppier to me, this could be completely psychological in that I know it is the video exhibiting micro shuttering at a slowed (not normal) pace. To add to that watching a video on you tube, of what a camcorder sees being displayed on a screen is far from accurate representation of what a person looking at a screen experiences.



I have videos that run completely smooth on my PC, and if I post them there, Youtube makes them look choppy! :) 
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a c 88 U Graphics card
November 28, 2011 4:24:47 PM

Microstutter feels like a myth for me , had Quad SLI 9800GX2...no microstutter, have now 2 x 560ti SLI....no miscrostutter...... have better chances of seeing a Yeti stuttering
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November 28, 2011 4:28:10 PM

Everything that I've read suggests that Cfire has more of a problem with micro-stuttering than Nvidia SLI, though I've never personally experienced this or seen it on any of my friend's rigs with Cfire'd cards.
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November 28, 2011 5:09:28 PM

monsta said:
Microstutter feels like a myth for me , had Quad SLI 9800GX2...no microstutter, have now 2 x 560ti SLI....no miscrostutter...... have better chances of seeing a Yeti stuttering


Well it does exist. Both Nvidia and Radeon confirm it does and have taken steps to lessen its effect. However just because it exists does not mean you can see it. There is a big difference between a measurable effect and an observable one. To add to that lots of things can cause stuttering on games so it is hard to pin the cause of poor display performance on multi GPU related micro-stuttering.

After doing tons of research I pretty much gather it is something not to worry about in terms of a visual experience. The only possible exceptions I have seen pop up is that CrossFired Radeons might be more susceptible to it. The majority of complains I have seen on forums related to micro stuttering are from Radeons. Note: this just means they were complaining about not actually experiencing it...it could very well be that Crossfire Radeons are more popular and just have a higher volume of complaints (not a higher percentage) or that Radeon owners like to complain more (jk :p ). It also seems that having non matching cards can surface perceptible micro stuttering.
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