AMD CrossFire Vs. Nvidia SLI Scaling Analysis

Benchmark Results: Aliens Vs Predator

Aliens vs Predator performance matches the price curve rather conveniently. There isn’t too much to talk about here, except for a slight minimum frame rate drop for CrossFire cards. But benchmarking experience shows us that this happens at the beginning of the benchmark and the game runs quite well once it’s in the thick of things.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
106 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • gordo_46
    Quote:
    BUT.. i would have preferred 2-3 way SLI with GTX460's.


    gtx 460 can only do 2 way sli
    14
  • Anonymous
    lol wow, if you are still playing that game, then blizzard has you by the balls.
    14
  • super_tycoon
    angel1980Nice article. I've made some charts, based on the data in this article, that reflect SLI and CrossFireX scalings.

    first, i'd like to thank angel1980^^ for doing what tom's should have done... seeing as how scaling itself was implied to be the thing tested from the article title.

    Annoyance aside, I also crunched the numbers, but was left a dilemma as to whom to declare the winner of the multi-gpu scaling. In the end, I wanted similar performance because higher performance = more bandwidth that must be managed and I wanted the same amount of vram. This conveniently leaves the gtx 460 and two amd cards on either side. (But makes my whole analysis somewhat pointless since there's so little data)

    Pushing on, using my awesome-o math skills, I derived the following results:

    Using the 1080p res, the GTX 460 1GB had scaling values of 1.590 and 1.473, avg, min, respectively. The 5830 and 5850 averaged had values of 1.572 and 1.488.

    Using the big 2560x1600 resolution, the GTX 460 1GB had values of 1.768 (!!) and 1.414. The lower 58 had 1.454 and 1.216.

    My conclusions? (Completely biased)

    At what I think most gamers play at and are comfortable and familiar with, 1080p, AMD's greatest and Nvidia's greatest (the GTX 460 did scale better than the 470 and 480 consistently) architectures scale equally well. However, looking at the 2560x1600 res, we see that Nvidia takes a huge lead... which I suspect indicates Nvidia's SLI tech is better at handling large amounts of data while AMD's is probably a little quicker. (Just a hunch really, you hopefully noticed that this is completely biased, I am an AMD fan) (But the scaling on the 460 was very impressive, hence !!)

    I am not surprised at all, it was oft muttered that SLI was superior to AMD's CF. However, what I found surprising is how little that really mattered. The games that favored architectures still favored the representative scaling technology. Simply, look at piggy bank and adjust your reality accordingly. AND, I haven't seen any numbers, but I know AMD released a catalyst update to boost SC2 CF performance, so feel confident in pretending AMD's numbers are truly a smidgen higher.

    My shameless endorsement of AMD's overall tech though is simple; in a multi-card situation, it uses a whole lot less power and won't inspire you to break out eggs and bacon. And I must confess I barely sleep thinking of what golden deity AMD will let me waste my money on in just a few days.....

    TL;DR Scaling still sucks. At lower resolutions, it's pretty much the same unless you get cards with extra ram, then I don't know, but perf++ regardless. At high bandwidth things, like high res or high performance, sniff, Nvidia takes the cake.

    Last bit to holto243:
    holto243Just a quick question... in the 2560x1680 chart, how can the gtx 480 have a minimum higher than the average?

    Those numbers are relative to the performance of the pretty weak 5830. It simply means the GTX 480 is simply better (ignoring raw power) at handling min framerates in the games tested.
    13
  • Other Comments
  • reprotected
    So... Nvidia won?
    -14
  • joytech22
    Now i can safely say that i think i made the right choice :)
    (GTX470 SLI)
    1
  • jrharbort
    Nvidia wins this war thanks to the larger standard framebuffer. ATI needs to pick up in this area a bit, as 1GB framebuffers have been around for a while now. Looking foward to another article based on the next gen cards a few months from now. Should be interesting. =)

    Good job to both ATI and Nvidia on this generation.
    5
  • gordo_46
    Quote:
    BUT.. i would have preferred 2-3 way SLI with GTX460's.


    gtx 460 can only do 2 way sli
    14
  • gkay09
    The SLI scaling is one place where Nvidia wins almost all the time, but ATI has improved a lot though, it still need to work harder if they want to have a complete win over Nvidia...
    4
  • joytech22
    gordo_46gtx 460 can only do 2 way sli


    Aww damn that's right..
    -4
  • gordo_46
    yeah it a shame that it can only do 2 way sli. We would get 3 way gtx 470 sli level performance at amd radeon power consumption
    -5
  • Anonymous
    Nice article. I've made some charts, based on the data in this article, that reflect SLI and CrossFireX scalings. Nvidia's victory is clear cut at 2560 x 1600.

    1920x1200
    http://www.imagebam.com/image/741eca102680169

    2560x1600
    http://www.imagebam.com/image/0295fe102680172

    Also, when it comes to GPU discussions, the comment sections of Tom's and Fudzilla are swarmed by fanboys of 1 certain team. (Can you tell which? It's already obvious here, but much more so at Fudzilla.) Competition is good. Don't downrank comments just because they favor the "other" team.
    8
  • Twoboxer
    12 million people with WoW subscriptions, new expansion due 12/7/10, lot's of vid cards being bought for that purpose . . . I know its not easy, the format may have to be different, but can you guys consider including WoW in the benching runs?
    -14
  • Anonymous
    Yet another reason AMD would be happy to never have board of theirs allow SLI
    -5
  • cangelini
    Twoboxer12 million people with WoW subscriptions, new expansion due 12/7/10, lot's of vid cards being bought for that purpose . . . I know its not easy, the format may have to be different, but can you guys consider including WoW in the benching runs?


    I'd like to hear some discussion on the best way to reliably test WoW, actually.
    9
  • Anonymous
    Just a quick question... in the 2560x1680 chart, how can the gtx 480 have a minimum higher than the average?
    9
  • joytech22
    holto243Just a quick question... in the 2560x1680 chart, how can the gtx 480 have a minimum higher than the average?


    Divide by zero O.o
    3
  • Anonymous
    lol wow, if you are still playing that game, then blizzard has you by the balls.
    14
  • Anonymous
    :D tom's hardware also said that rampage II extreme was better than gigabyte x58-ud5.. And I also ask you... how many of you have monitors that support 2560*1680 resolution :). Try to be objective!
    -2
  • super_tycoon
    angel1980Nice article. I've made some charts, based on the data in this article, that reflect SLI and CrossFireX scalings.

    first, i'd like to thank angel1980^^ for doing what tom's should have done... seeing as how scaling itself was implied to be the thing tested from the article title.

    Annoyance aside, I also crunched the numbers, but was left a dilemma as to whom to declare the winner of the multi-gpu scaling. In the end, I wanted similar performance because higher performance = more bandwidth that must be managed and I wanted the same amount of vram. This conveniently leaves the gtx 460 and two amd cards on either side. (But makes my whole analysis somewhat pointless since there's so little data)

    Pushing on, using my awesome-o math skills, I derived the following results:

    Using the 1080p res, the GTX 460 1GB had scaling values of 1.590 and 1.473, avg, min, respectively. The 5830 and 5850 averaged had values of 1.572 and 1.488.

    Using the big 2560x1600 resolution, the GTX 460 1GB had values of 1.768 (!!) and 1.414. The lower 58 had 1.454 and 1.216.

    My conclusions? (Completely biased)

    At what I think most gamers play at and are comfortable and familiar with, 1080p, AMD's greatest and Nvidia's greatest (the GTX 460 did scale better than the 470 and 480 consistently) architectures scale equally well. However, looking at the 2560x1600 res, we see that Nvidia takes a huge lead... which I suspect indicates Nvidia's SLI tech is better at handling large amounts of data while AMD's is probably a little quicker. (Just a hunch really, you hopefully noticed that this is completely biased, I am an AMD fan) (But the scaling on the 460 was very impressive, hence !!)

    I am not surprised at all, it was oft muttered that SLI was superior to AMD's CF. However, what I found surprising is how little that really mattered. The games that favored architectures still favored the representative scaling technology. Simply, look at piggy bank and adjust your reality accordingly. AND, I haven't seen any numbers, but I know AMD released a catalyst update to boost SC2 CF performance, so feel confident in pretending AMD's numbers are truly a smidgen higher.

    My shameless endorsement of AMD's overall tech though is simple; in a multi-card situation, it uses a whole lot less power and won't inspire you to break out eggs and bacon. And I must confess I barely sleep thinking of what golden deity AMD will let me waste my money on in just a few days.....

    TL;DR Scaling still sucks. At lower resolutions, it's pretty much the same unless you get cards with extra ram, then I don't know, but perf++ regardless. At high bandwidth things, like high res or high performance, sniff, Nvidia takes the cake.

    Last bit to holto243:
    holto243Just a quick question... in the 2560x1680 chart, how can the gtx 480 have a minimum higher than the average?

    Those numbers are relative to the performance of the pretty weak 5830. It simply means the GTX 480 is simply better (ignoring raw power) at handling min framerates in the games tested.
    13
  • bin1127
    Can they make a cheaper SLI/Crossfire edition card that has no ram acting only as a supplemental for the main one? or sell them in pairs so one has 2 gb and the other none since that's how the pairing works.
    -4
  • feeddagoat
    Any way to rebench the games where ATI stuttered in the opening seconds, just to get an idea of what their actual min frames are? Would it also be possible to bench using surround/eyefinity? after all, those who get and SLI/crossfire solution will most likely want to do that.
    0
  • hari_41
    both companies doing well
    7
  • ares1214
    Nvidia did well, but thats to be expected, whats more impressive is how much better ATi has gotten! They use to be mediocre with this, and i was really hoping they would overome it with HD6OOO, but it looks like they dont have to improve much.
    1