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Results: Battlefield 3

Do Two GeForce GTX 680s Beat Three GeForce GTX 660 Tis In SLI?

Battlefield 3 again shows nearly-linear scaling from two-way to three-way scaling with our GeForce GTX 660 Ti cards in SLI. The GeForce GTX 680s in SLI appear between them.

The scale gets squished a little at 1920x1080 due to the game’s 200 FPS limit, and this title appears more SLI-friendly compared to AvP.

According to Nvidia, its GPUs have had a technology referred to as frame metering for several generations now, which is intended to smooth micro-stutter. The thing is, Nvidia says that a number of things happen in the display pipeline after Fraps gets its hands on the data, but before you see the final output. That should make any frame-by-frame analysis of SLI performance nearly impossible (or at least inaccurate), barring the use of high-speed frame-capturing hardware at the graphics card’s output. We can still get a general impression of each configuration’s second-by-second performance, however.

A single GeForce GTX 680 appears powerful enough to play Battlefield 3 at 5760x1080 using the High Quality preset. But anyone who wants to repeat that experience in stereo will probably need either a pair of GeForce GTX 680s or a trio of 660 Ti graphics cards.

Ultra quality and 5760x1080 conspire against the supremacy of three GeForce GTX 660 Tis in SLI. Again, we believe this is due to the card's narrow 192-bit memory bus.

The extra memory on one 4 GB card appears to go unused here, as the 2 GB version’s loss corresponds to its lower clock rate.

Frame rate spikes could make two or three GeForce GTX 660 Ti cards unplayable at 5760x1080 using the Ultra quality preset. We use the word could in there because your sensitivity to small delays (lag) depends mostly on the type of action you're playing through. Disorientation in a fast-past shooter is going to be really easy to perceive, for example.

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