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Results: Battlefield 3

Do Two GeForce GTX 680s Beat Three GeForce GTX 660 Tis In SLI?
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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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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    renz496 , February 18, 2013 3:20 AM
    off topic:

    when titan's review comes out?

    on topic:

    frankly i'm no multi gpu nor multi monitor user. but for the green camp if you want multi monitor gtx 660 ti 3Gb is a good choice if you want the cheap option. if you want more horse power while still on the cheap side then 7950 is the answer. (the latest game bundle from amd might also lean some people to buy amd cards)


  • 11 Hide
    s3anister , February 18, 2013 6:21 AM
    Interesting article, however, it'd be very nice to see a comparable Radeon article.
  • 11 Hide
    merikafyeah , February 18, 2013 4:00 AM
    I'd still go for a GTX 690 Hydro Copper. Overclock it and pwn while only taking two slots. SLI configs which take up all your slots seem highly inefficient and unappealing.
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    renz496 , February 18, 2013 3:20 AM
    off topic:

    when titan's review comes out?

    on topic:

    frankly i'm no multi gpu nor multi monitor user. but for the green camp if you want multi monitor gtx 660 ti 3Gb is a good choice if you want the cheap option. if you want more horse power while still on the cheap side then 7950 is the answer. (the latest game bundle from amd might also lean some people to buy amd cards)


  • 4 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , February 18, 2013 3:24 AM
    A sneak peak to the GTX Titain 6GBs. From the website "WCCF Tech"
    http://wccftech.com/nvidia-geforce-gtx-titan-pictured-gk110-finally-arrives-consumers-blasting-6-gb-memory/
  • 2 Hide
    rantoc , February 18, 2013 3:35 AM
    From my own experience I would rather go with 2x 680 as dual sli scales very well on about _all_ titles while tri/quad sli can be more of a gambling in performance - For titles where all the cards scale well its sure nice as hell - Where it does not you can even loose performance by adding a third/fourth card (even thoo that scenario gets less and less frequent).
  • 3 Hide
    mcd023 , February 18, 2013 3:37 AM
    id like to see some benchies on metro 2033 with physx and DoF just for fun hahaha
  • 4 Hide
    hero1 , February 18, 2013 3:41 AM
    Nice review, makes me consider taking 3x7950 instead of 2x7970. Would equal in price due to sales that are going on. But, maybe grab a Titan? I hope to see another review in 8 hrs featuring Nvidia GeForce Titan.
  • 4 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , February 18, 2013 3:52 AM
    Not the point of this article, but i noticed that a single gtx680 is a complete beast at 1080P.
    Also, it would have been interesting to see the CPU usage during the tests.

    Edit : A repeat of this article with the HD7000 cards should be performed, specially after the 13.2 driver are released.
  • 7 Hide
    hero1 , February 18, 2013 3:57 AM
    mayankleoboy1Not the point of this article, but i noticed that a single gtx680 is a complete beast at 1080P.Also, it would have been interesting to see the CPU usage during the tests.Edit : A repeat of this article with the HD7000 cards should be performed, specially after the 13.2 driver are released.


    Yes same review for HD 7000 series should be given. Can't wait for that.
  • 11 Hide
    merikafyeah , February 18, 2013 4:00 AM
    I'd still go for a GTX 690 Hydro Copper. Overclock it and pwn while only taking two slots. SLI configs which take up all your slots seem highly inefficient and unappealing.
  • 2 Hide
    esrever , February 18, 2013 4:02 AM
    when are you going to switch to the new 3dmark?
  • -2 Hide
    rmpumper , February 18, 2013 4:20 AM
    Why do you say "higher/lower is better" in some graphs? Which is it - higher or lower?
  • 11 Hide
    s3anister , February 18, 2013 6:21 AM
    Interesting article, however, it'd be very nice to see a comparable Radeon article.
  • 6 Hide
    sanilmahambre , February 18, 2013 7:52 AM
    What about 4 X crossfire 7870LE VS 3 X crossfire 7950 VS 2 X crossfire 7970 VS Devil 13 7990
  • 4 Hide
    PadaV4 , February 18, 2013 9:24 AM
    A review with SLI and no microstutter and frame latency tests?? Seriously?
  • 4 Hide
    TheMadFapper , February 18, 2013 9:34 AM
    670s are still a better value, you've shown that numerous times.
  • -3 Hide
    TheMadFapper , February 18, 2013 9:37 AM
    PadaV4A review with SLI and no microstutter and frame latency tests?? Seriously?


    Frame latency has only been a major issue for AMD setups, and mostly around the 7950, not so much the higher end cards.
  • 2 Hide
    kristi_metal , February 18, 2013 10:25 AM
    TheMadFapperFrame latency has only been a major issue for AMD setups, and mostly around the 7950, not so much the higher end cards.


    Actually no, all cards have a problem with inconsistent frame latencies, including Nvidia cards.
    The problem is even bigger on multicard setup, where microstuttering can be a visual annoyance
  • -2 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , February 18, 2013 11:25 AM
    kristi_metalActually no, all cards have a problem with inconsistent frame latencies, including Nvidia cards. The problem is even bigger on multicard setup, where microstuttering can be a visual annoyance


    Actually no, AMD cards till now recently have had poorer frame latencies that the comparable Nvidia cards, mainly because of poor drivers. It does not mean Tahiti < Kepler. It only means AMD driver team is lagging.
  • 2 Hide
    ojas , February 18, 2013 11:28 AM
    Could see the conclusion coming, 2x 4GB GTX680s seem to make more sense than the Ti's.

    Just like the other folks, would like to see the Radeon equivalent article too! And Titan as well :D 
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , February 18, 2013 11:36 AM
    kristi_metalActually no, all cards have a problem with inconsistent frame latencies, including Nvidia cards. The problem is even bigger on multicard setup, where microstuttering can be a visual annoyance

    I don't experience microstutter with my two 680s in SLI. I had it constantly with my 2 5850s and still with 3 5850s. I never had a problem with microstutter with 2 580s in SLI either.

    I challenge everyone to try both multi-card technologies for themselves and then talk about their results. Don't just take the word of others as the truth.
  • 2 Hide
    KrisPC , February 18, 2013 12:23 PM
    Somewhat happy to see the results, for reason that 660 Ti didn't seem to be bottlenecked by it's 2 GB VRAM (except perhaps in BF 3). Guess the guys who told that unless you plan to go 3-way SLI your cards don't have enough raw power to use 4 GB VRAM anyway were right and back when I bought my 2 670 cards it would have cost me 150$ extra for a bit weaker cards. So I have no regrets. PS. Gaming at 5760x1080 is awesome but even more so is video editing.
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