Crossfire vs SLI Performance Comparison ReviewBosco , ccokeman - April 27, 2009
Category: Video Cards
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As single GPU video cards continue to get faster and deliver even more performance, are dual video card setups still a viable option for those looking for more performance? If one is good, two or more have to be better, right? In most cases two is better than one, and four is better than two; in most cases, not all. It would be nice to slap in another video card and see double the performance, but again that's not always the case. The cards will scale, and in some games you will see tremendous scaling, but in others you will wonder why you even bothered with the additional purchase. So what does it take to run a two, three, or even four GPU system? First off, you need to choose your video card and manufacturer, and then choose the motherboard that will allow you to run a multi-GPU setup. Sometimes that choice is made for you, if you just have to have a specific motherboard. But systems that were set up for Nvidia's multi-GPU solution SLI, or Scalable Link Interface, you needed a motherboard with an Nvidia chipset that supports the technology. For CrossFire based systems, you had to have a chipset that supports CrossFire technology. Simple enough! What if you already owned a motherboard that only featured a CrossFire capable chipset, and wanted to use Nvidia's multi-GPU solution? Well my friend, you were stuck buying a new motherboard. The solution was much the same for someone who wanted to run CrossFire and had a motherboard that only supported SLI. You get the drift. With the advent of the X58 chipset from Intel, you can have your cake and eat it too, since both technologies are supported.
There are two current technologies in use today. Nvidia's Scalable Link Interface, and ATI's CrossFireX technology. Both have their advantages, but the ultimate decision on which to buy and use is made by you, the consumer.
Both technologies offer improved performance, and will increase the cost of your system build. As part of that build, consider a monitor that is capable of running resolutions that can take advantage of the graphics horsepower delivered by these solutions. A 24 inch monitor capable of 1920x1200, or even a 30 inch monitor capable of resolutions up to 2560x1600, should be considered one of the minimum requirements when running a multi-GPU setup. If you are going to spend $1000 or more on video cards, another grand for a 30 inch monitor should be part of your build's budget. Enough chit-chat, let's see what kind of performance these kinds of setups can deliver. This comparison is not so much about the technology, but the performance you can expect for a system built with a multi-GPU solution.