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The GeForce GTX 480 Update: 3-Way SLI, 3D Vision, And Noise

SLI Performance And Scaling

Here’s where things start heating up. The above chart shows the performance of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 480 in single-, dual-, and triple-card configurations at 2560x1600 in our six benchmarked games with 4xAA turned on.

Those results translate into the above scaling numbers (Metro 2033 is off the chart because the baseline is so low; for the same reason, its greater-than-200% scaling number in SLI is also insignificant).

At the very worst, SLI is good for a 71% performance increase (in Just Cause 2). At the very best, it yields 89% additional performance (in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.). Three other games fall between in an impressively-close spread. It turns out that two-card SLI is a very effective way to improve the performance of a gaming machine.

In all six titles, 3-way SLI works, but it’s hardly as effective. There’s more speed to be had from a third GeForce GTX 480; I don’t necessarily think the boost justifies tripling cost, though.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • anonymous x
    Why don't you overclock that cpu higher? Only 3.3 Ghz? The 3rd GTX 480 looks like it's being bottlenecked. You can see the scaling is excellent at high resolutions with AA (from 1 to 2 to 3 cards), but at lower resolutions without AA there's no gain.
    Reply
  • lashton
    and why not check it against the 5890, the 480GTX is nvidia fastest card, put it against ATI Fastest Card
    Reply
  • cangelini
    There's a good chance that more CPU would def. help at the lower resolutions--one of the reasons I chose 2560 for the comparisons at the end ;-) For one reason or another, wasn't having much luck getting the retail i7-930/Eclipse Plus combo to overclock very well.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    lashtonand why not check it against the 5890, the 480GTX is nvidia fastest card, put it against ATI Fastest Card
    A pair of 5870s is actually going to be faster. Should I swing a second 5970, though, I do think a pair of 5970s vs. the three GTX 480s would be a good comparison!
    Reply
  • cruiseoveride
    Crappy ATi drivers.
    Reply
  • lunyone
    Did I miss something, but there is NO mention of the power consumption of the 3 x 480's??
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  • I have no clue where you people are getting this "5890" Statement from... They have the 5870, and then the next step up is the 5970... Is that what you're trying to say?
    Reply
  • cangelini
    stuk1intI have no clue where you people are getting this "5890" Statement from... They have the 5870, and then the next step up is the 5970... Is that what you're trying to say?
    Bleh, it's late and it has been a long weekend. Edited :)
    Reply
  • SpadeM
    Quad fire with 5850 would have been nice (thinking back to a builder marathon with quad fire) to see if ati's quad cards made any improovement over last years ones. Also i agree with lunyone, I for one would have been interested to see the numbers on load for the 3 nvidia cards with the 800W gold power supply (and maybe a comment from you cris about what power supply u think is best for the job. Either go lower wattage but a high efficiency psu or higher wattage but lower efficiency)

    Anyways, it was a informative article, looking forward to a full 512 sp card from nvidia and the second revision to the fermi core.
    Reply
  • JeanLuc
    stuk1intI have no clue where you people are getting this "5890" Statement from... They have the 5870, and then the next step up is the 5970... Is that what you're trying to say?
    The only place where the "5890" exists is in ATI's folder under 'What to do if Fermi is good".

    And yes where is the tri-sli power consumption numbers, there's no mention of it's omittance in the analysis.
    Reply