SLI Is The Key
Nvidia’s SLI technology is particularly interesting in the entry-level space because gamers spending $100 or $150 on a card today might want to add a second board down the line, rather than replacing one card with another. The flexibility to add performance as money allows is nice. And given scaling results like these, very little performance is left on the table when you add another card.
If I were to identify the GeForce GTS 450’s strongest characteristic, it’d be great SLI scaling. You don’t necessarily double performance, but in each of the games we tested, we realized at least 85% of the second board’s performance, and reached as high as 92% in a couple of titles.
Now, this assumes you’re using a well-balanced platform. Our Core i7-980X is overkill to be sure, but even an overclocked Core i5-750 should be enough to let this two-card combination stretch its legs.
Two GeForce GTS 450s will cost about $260. Are you taking a value hit by going the SLI route, or is it better to save up and buy a single GeForce GTX 460 1 GB for $220 now? The SLI configuration is actually quite a bit faster. So, for about 20% more cost, you’re getting about 25% more performance.