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

Results: Battlefield 3

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.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • renz496
    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)


    Reply
  • 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/
    Reply
  • rantoc
    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).
    Reply
  • mcd023
    id like to see some benchies on metro 2033 with physx and DoF just for fun hahaha
    Reply
  • hero1
    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.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    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.
    Reply
  • hero1
    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.
    Reply
  • merikafyeah
    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.
    Reply
  • esrever
    when are you going to switch to the new 3dmark?
    Reply
  • rmpumper
    Why do you say "higher/lower is better" in some graphs? Which is it - higher or lower?
    Reply