To SLI or not to SLI...

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To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:35 am

I was taking to my friend about my jealousy of his 27" (1080p) monitors, and how if I were to go that big I would want to upgrade my GPU and go 1440. He questioned the value of the increased resolution, but I assured him it's well worth it. He then expressed interest in getting a second 660 Ti so he could step up to 1440.

Since he's too stubborn to get on a forum like this or even just learn about the technology he loves so much, I figured I'd ask for him. Would it be a wise choice and a good value for him to go SLI in this case, or should he just get a single more powerful card from the most current generation? I know his PSU would handle SLI with ease, so all he would need is the card. He's running a 3570k @ 4GHz and 8GB of RAM if that's at all important.
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:25 am

Here's the hard argument on SLI, Ali- it's usually only 'worth it' if the performance you're getting through SLi/CFX isn't available in a single card. So, while the SLi solution would both work quite well (I did this with two 670s at 1600p), your friend would be better served by grabbing a single faster card, selling their current card if possible to make up the difference. A single card will always have fewer problems and will always present a better overall gaming experience.

In my case, when I picked up the 670s, there was nothing faster than two of them- not even close- and it made sense, given that I was deep into BF3 where I could use the extra grunt. But we're something like two years since those came out, and now there are better options, including options with more VRAM per card; so go 4GB or go home I say these days.
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:58 am

For me, the only game I played that required SLI to get the most out of the game was BF3. And that's just because I have a 120hz monitor so I wanted to have 120 fps. I ran the game Ultra with 4xMSAA and it ran great.

However, BF4 runs just fine with 1 GTX 670 if I use the HIGH setting at 1080p with MSAA off and FXAA on. I usually have a minimum of 90fps and it can go up to 120 in some cases. Depends on the map, player count, and amount of stuff blowing up.

Anyway, at this point in the GPU cycle, it would be a waste to buy a second 660ti.

Have him hold off until the end of the year and get a new GPU like medium-big Maxwell (GM204 or GM100) or something from the AMD pirate islands line depending on whether he prefers green or red kool-aid.

That will do much nicer than 2 660ti cards.
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:25 pm

A second 660 Ti is going to offer very little performance improvement. If he cares enough to spend money on a new card he should upgrade to a 290/290X or hope that the 780's Maxwell successor comes with 4+ GB memory.
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:35 am

NovusBogus wrote:A second 660 Ti is going to offer very little performance improvement. If he cares enough to spend money on a new card he should upgrade to a 290/290X or hope that the 780's Maxwell successor comes with 4+ GB memory.


This is just plain wrong. It will offer in the area of an 80% improvement to be spent wherever- on higher FPS, or on higher quality settings, as needed.
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:10 am

If you're talking purely about average FPS benchmark results, In an ideal case, two cards equals twice the performance. In a worst-case, two cards equals less performance than one.

On average, most games see at least a 50% increase in framerate. He's getting 40fps on average? He'll probably get over 60 now.

Sounds great, right - so what's the problem?

  1. The average framerate goes up, but the minimums often don't, so you're still playing a slideshow when things get heavy
  2. Frames don't come evenly from two cards. Google "microstutter" and he'll get the idea. Nvidia and AMD have made big improvements with frame-pacing/metering, but by artifically smoothing out the frame delivery across two cards they've added input lag, which is arguably worse than stutter.
  3. The details have to be dialled back, because running 1440p on a pair of 2GB cards isn't going to work without some compromise. A better single card would have 3GB+
  4. Drivers. Games without driver profiles for SLI run like ass, if they run at all. If it's not a big-budget AAA game then it's often easier to just disable one of the cards :\
  5. Power: Does he have a PSU capable of running four PCI-Express power connectors?
  6. Heat: Does his motherboard leave three spaces between the two main PCI-E slots, and does his case have plenty of cooling around the GPU area?
  7. Noise: two cards run hotter than one, so there will be more noise regardless, but usually one of the cards suffocates the other, meaning that one of the cards is spinning its fans like mad.
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:05 am

Well I had SLI'ed GTX 560tis paired up with my 2600k and I have to say 3.5 years ago up until around 1 1/2 years ago performance was very hit and miss then it seemed like after the frame time fiasco with AMD came around nvidia released a driver that made SLI work great.
Now I am sporting 2 4gb gtx 770 classified cards in SLI and I can triply say they are overkill untill I get a new monitor. The LG um95 34" 3440-1440 resolution 21:9 monitor. But my 1080p monitor is only 60 htz and I do use Vsync. It makes a dramatic decrease in power consumption since the cards are only trying to push out 60fps instead on Vsync off and they pushing out 150fps with 90 frames the monitor cannot even display. Right now playing BF4 at 1080p on ultra with 32xCSAA AND 8x super sampling AA the cards run at around 50% load instead of with Vsync off running at 100%full bore all out.

If it was a couple years ago I would say no but I feel it has improved so much over the last 1.5 years I would use it. The tech has improved over the last 1.5 years that I think it is a worthy upgrade with Vsync enabled
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:33 am

vargis14 wrote:The tech has improved over the last 1.5 years that I think it is a worthy upgrade with Vsync enabled


Aye, if you already tolerated the input-lag with vsync enabled (in some games it is very noticeable to me, but everyone has different perceptions on what is okay or not) then SLI's input lag isn't going to be much of an issue for you.
Even with Vsync off I hear that the micro-stuttering has largely gone away but I haven't bothered enabling the second card in my PC since Crysis3.
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:14 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
vargis14 wrote:The tech has improved over the last 1.5 years that I think it is a worthy upgrade with Vsync enabled


Aye, if you already tolerated the input-lag with vsync enabled (in some games it is very noticeable to me, but everyone has different perceptions on what is okay or not) then SLI's input lag isn't going to be much of an issue for you.
Even with Vsync off I hear that the micro-stuttering has largely gone away but I haven't bothered enabling the second card in my PC since Crysis3.


I cannot tolerate the extra lag that V-Sync adds for BF4, but I'm an ex-counter-striker, and well, we're different. For RPGs and the like? Sure.
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:50 pm

I did not notice any lag in BF3 with vsync enabled...but I can honestly say i was not looking for it but i did not notice it either. Just so you all know i am using a USB wired Razer BWU mechanical keyboard along with a high poll rate Razer imperator mouse if that matters much?

I think i will try with Vsync off and see if i notice a difference in BF4 since I finally bought it 3 days ago for 50% off for the deluxe digital edition.

Here is a question for you all do you think not using Vsync in the NV ctrl panel but Using the frame rate cap slider in the EVGA Precision software will add the same amount of lag ?
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:36 pm

I notice V-Sync on vs. off like it's night and day. It's the difference between feeling connected and *not*.

The lone exception was when I was using Crossfire with a pair of then-current HD6950s, where it didn't seem to matter whether it was on or not; the game was always laggy. AMD sure made Nvidia a bunch of money after that fiasco :).
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:25 pm

I'm currently running two 780 Ti in SLI. I can try to run some tests with any games if you guys want. My monitor, however, is Cinema 30" Apple display. I'm just trying to bide my time till a good gaming 4k monitor comes out and some reviews on Titan Black (if it is a viable replacement for a 780 Ti).

edit: I just realized the above doesn't really help you :( . I am happy with my SLI setup, but there are times where I think I could be fine with a single card. The only thing I can help give advice on is that the more Vram you have the better you can handle higher resolutions with ease. I know lots of people are saying for 4K, 6GB is good, more would probably be even better.
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:49 pm

I got chastised for calling 8GB the new 2GB :).
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:02 pm

NVIDIA should not have released 2GB GTX770 and 760 models. They could easily bump them up to 4GB and the 780/780Ti should have 6GB standard.
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:28 pm

homerdog wrote:NVIDIA should not have released 2GB GTX770 and 760 models. They could easily bump them up to 4GB and the 780/780Ti should have 6GB standard.


At the time, 1080p was still, and actually is still, the primary gaming resolution on the PC, and because margins.

We're only now at the point where they won't be able to get away with shipping underspec'd parts without official chastisement, given the push for 'cheap 4k' and all. 4GB cards will be scraping the barrel, and 6GB will barely have margin for error.
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Re: To SLI or not to SLI...

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:51 am

Well even at 1080p 2GB is barely passable in some new games. This will only get worse in the next year.
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