Why NOT to get SLI

They make noise, too.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

Post Reply
Aris
Posts: 2299
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 10:29 am
Location: Bellevue, Nebraska
Contact:

Why NOT to get SLI

Post by Aris » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:12 am

Heres another review showing exactly why SLI sucks. I really have no idea how this technology has even lasted this long.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3517&p=14

Let me quote you the important stuff:

"more than one GPU isn't that necessary for 1920x1200 with the highest quality settings"

"only those with 30" monitors will really benefit from multiple GPUs in their system for now"

So really, unless your running 2560 x 1600 resolution, multiple GPU's does you little to no good.

~El~Jefe~
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 2887
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: New York City zzzz
Contact:

Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:03 am

lol, yes I agree.

there has never been a decent reason to run sli.

never. Neither xfire. some say 4670's xfired is kinda cool and runs super low idle. That PROBABLY is true. I havent seen a good sli combo since 6600GT days in doom. and even that was iffy.

there hardly is a difference betwen 2x antialiasing and 4x, yet thats about a 15% performance difference. above 4-6x AF there isnt a blessed difference either. keeping minimal but present af/aa settings on is fine and often never reviewed.

Only issue currently out is that the fastest for lowest wattage card, the 4830, cant do all on max effects/detail. there needs to be a cooler running 1gb 4870 or nvidia 260 216 that idles at 15 watts and maxes at like 90 watts or so. nothing has been that yet

Monkeh16
Posts: 507
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 2:57 pm
Location: England

Post by Monkeh16 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:19 am

~El~Jefe~ wrote:there needs to be a cooler running 1gb 4870 or nvidia 260 216 that idles at 15 watts and maxes at like 90 watts or so. nothing has been that yet
Well even overclocked GTX 260 216s only pull ~115W at load. Idle isn't there yet, though.

shleepy
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 454
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 3:32 am
Location: SF Bay Area, California

Post by shleepy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:11 pm

Not that I encourage SLI, but some of us DO have 2560x1600 monitors. :D

fri2219
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:14 pm
Location: Forkbomb, New South Wales

Post by fri2219 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:08 pm

What, you have a problem with gluttony and precious snowflakes with parents that can't say no? :lol:

Cistron
Posts: 617
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:18 am
Location: London, UK

Post by Cistron » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:07 am

fri2219 wrote:What, you have a problem with gluttony and precious snowflakes with parents that can't say no? :lol:
Yupp. I would have been stoned, had I ever lived in the US.

Aris
Posts: 2299
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 10:29 am
Location: Bellevue, Nebraska
Contact:

Post by Aris » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:20 pm

~El~Jefe~ wrote:I havent seen a good sli combo since...
Since my 3DFX Voodoo II 12MB in SLI.

TooNice
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:57 pm

Post by TooNice » Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:46 pm

So you are complaining that a multiGPU setup is.. too powerful? :? I can list many reasons for not going SLi/Crossfire, but I will never complain about excess power. Can't have too much of a good thing I say.

SLI/Crossfire has come a long way in terms of how well they scale and support since they were re-introduced post 3DFX days. I, for one, welcome the progress that has been made. Bring on the 'suckage'.

They may not be ideal for silencers, but I've predicted that would see instances where a multi-GPU setup offers more bang/buck than a fast single card. This is mostly true with the 4850x2, and I doubt it'll be the last time.

Olle P
Posts: 671
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:03 am
Location: Sweden

Post by Olle P » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:08 am

Value
IMO SLI has never been useful in the way it was first marketed: "Buy one graphics card now, add another one when you need (and can afford) more power later on."
At the time I could afford a second card, a new generation of faster cards were available at the same price!

Perceived performance
As a human being I'm not able to notice any difference between a "moving" image that is updated 25 times per second versus one that is updated 100 times per second. It's only when the (momentary) frame rate stays below 20 fps for more than a second that it might be noticed. (Do not confuse these numbers with the average frame rates usually presented in tests!)
Today's single GPU cards manage very well to keep the frame rate above 20 fps at typical resolutions.

Need for extra performance
As soon as you add GeForce 3D Vision into the equation the frame rates drops by ~55%. Then SLI seems less like too much power!

Cheers
Olle

thejamppa
Posts: 3142
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:20 am
Location: Missing in Finnish wilderness, howling to moon with wolf brethren and walking with brother bears
Contact:

Post by thejamppa » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:05 am

And Sli, as CF would mostly benefit if you pair sub 100$ cards which then perform better than 200$ card, but usually that is not so...

FartingBob
Patron of SPCR
Posts: 744
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:05 am
Location: London
Contact:

Post by FartingBob » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:06 am

thejamppa wrote:And Sli, as CF would mostly benefit if you pair sub 100$ cards which then perform better than 200$ card, but usually that is not so...
Indeed, mostly because the low end cards get bottlenecked by their RAM size or bandwidth before their cores, while the cards that cost twice as much do not suffer from these limitations. And that is even before we get into how some games scale very well (90%+), other games gain nothing from having 2 cards.

edh
Posts: 1618
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Location: UK

Post by edh » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:21 pm

It is also terribly environmentally unfriendly both using twice as many resources to build the equipment and then possibly twice as much energy consumption during the systems life. It's inherently inefficient. Hybrid SLI will partially address this by shutting the cards off completely when the driver decides it's not needed.

Olle P
Posts: 671
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:03 am
Location: Sweden

Post by Olle P » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:51 am

FartingBob wrote:... the low end cards get bottlenecked by their RAM size or bandwidth before their cores, ...
I seriously doubt this.

Every comparison test I've seen shows that a) increased memory, like 1024MB vs 512MB, have a negligible impact at normal settings; and b) 4xAGP vs 8xAGP, 8xAGP vs 16xPCIe and 16xPCIe vs 16xPCIe2.0, also has a negligible impact.

Memory bandwidth might be an occasional bottleneck, but I bet the GPU is working near 100% on average when running heavy 3D apps.

Cheers
Olle

Aris
Posts: 2299
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 10:29 am
Location: Bellevue, Nebraska
Contact:

Post by Aris » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:33 pm

TooNice wrote:So you are complaining that a multiGPU setup is.. too powerful?
How is loosing framerates in certain software applications while only gaining a fractional amount in others an excess of power in your book? All it is, is excess. Pointless excess.

TooNice
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:57 pm

Post by TooNice » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:59 pm

Talk about putting a negative spin. It is pretty rare to see a *loss* of performance on SLI/Crossfire in games released in the last two years. 50-90% gains are no longer uncommon - sure it's a 'fraction' as long as it's not 1/1 (which can actually be found in rare instances) but a pretty decent 'fraction' in my book.

Even if there is an excess (which is not necessarily true, depending on the games you play), excess performance can never pointless. Sooner or later you will tap into the excess. If you were arguing that the excess came at too high at a premium in value (cost) or noise, or heat, then I would see the merit of the argument, but right now you are basically saying that one can have something too powerful full stop.

And frankly speaking the cost argument is already growing thin: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/ ... sfire.html

Think the 4850x2 has 'too much' excess power? How about a pair of 4830 then? Priced similarly to a 4870, while beating it in more instances than not.

Perfect? Not quite. Nor is it for everyone. But this is possibly the first time I see Crossfire being cost efficient in this price range. It has gotten better and it can only get better from here on.

walle
Posts: 605
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 10:52 am

Post by walle » Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:58 pm

Hi

I’m running HD4870 in Crossfire on a 30â€

yensteel
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:58 am
Location: Hong Kong

Post by yensteel » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:25 pm

One of the biggest advantages I would find with SLI or crossfire is the fact that it's a lot easier to cool than just only having one thermally hot card. Mainly, the HD 4870 and the GTX 260 and up. I could get better performance than these two cards and still have the cooling fanless for example.

The main disadvantage is having 2 or 3 more PCI slots taken up, Bloated power requirements, and subjective and inconsistent boost in performance.

In terms of whether it's worth it in terms of price/performance, There's enough benefit in performance to equalize the ratio, but it varies for different cards.

For those who don't need that much power, then there's no need to go SLI or crossfire.

In these economic times, I think SLI and Crossfire will be more widely accepted since nothing is wasted.

Finally, 40 fps is the minimum I would have for any game, FPS or strategy. 60 for competitive games.

edh
Posts: 1618
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Location: UK

Post by edh » Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:54 am

yensteel wrote:One of the biggest advantages I would find with SLI or crossfire is the fact that it's a lot easier to cool than just only having one thermally hot card. Mainly, the HD 4870 and the GTX 260 and up. I could get better performance than these two cards and still have the cooling fanless for example.
Better cooling 2 cards than 1? Unless you're referring to some kind of ducting setup caused by the second card, which is highly unlikely then this is completely incorrect as there's twice as much heat being generated.
yensteel wrote:In these economic times, I think SLI and Crossfire will be more widely accepted since nothing is wasted.
Nothing is wasted? How about a whole extra card having to be manufactured and guzzle more power? I'm surprised that SLI hasn't already been shunned as environmentally unfriendly.

FartingBob
Patron of SPCR
Posts: 744
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:05 am
Location: London
Contact:

Post by FartingBob » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:31 am

I use a single 4850 to play games at 1920x1200. Assassins creed, COD, UT3 all play fine at high or max settings. Why people think they need high end SLI to play at this res i dont know. Some people just look at crysis benchmarks and conclude that they need to spend $500. GTA4 and GRI(D are the only gamnes i play where i need to lower the settings and in both cases thats because ive only got 512MB, which wouldnt be helped by getting a second card.

blackworx
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 601
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:04 am
Location: UK

Post by blackworx » Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:15 am

sorry ignore this - posted on wrong thread! mods please delete :)

smilingcrow
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 1809
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2004 1:45 am
Location: At Home

Post by smilingcrow » Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:28 am

edh wrote:It is also terribly environmentally unfriendly both using twice as many resources to build the equipment and then possibly twice as much energy consumption during the systems life. It's inherently inefficient. Hybrid SLI will partially address this by shutting the cards off completely when the driver decides it's not needed.
'HybridPower dies on the desktop' - http://www.techreport.com/discussions.x/16604

TooNice
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:57 pm

Post by TooNice » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:38 am

FartingBob wrote:I use a single 4850 to play games at 1920x1200. Assassins creed, COD, UT3 all play fine at high or max settings. Why people think they need high end SLI to play at this res i dont know. Some people just look at crysis benchmarks and conclude that they need to spend $500. GTA4 and GRI(D are the only gamnes i play where i need to lower the settings and in both cases thats because ive only got 512MB, which wouldnt be helped by getting a second card.
People should base their decisions on what they play and what you consider acceptable performance. I am not one to say who claim that I need 100+ FPS to enjoy a game.

My (non gaming) laptop runs L4D with a frame rate above 20FPS (min) with a max of 30FPS. Perhaps I am 'flawed' as a human (or unknowingly came from another planet), but it's definitely not as smooth compared my aging and yet rather modest desktop capable of running at around 50fps. I am not asking for 100fps or anything such, but when I buy a new card, I would like it if it can do 45-60fps for the games I play.

CoD4 can do 60+ fps @ 1900x1200 on the 4850. Assassin's Creed can do 45fps @1900x1200 on the 4850. UT3 does about 40-60fps with everything maxed at that resolution. If those are the games you play, the 4850 is perfect for you. It so happens that L4D and other HL2 engine based games are what I play most at the moment, so a single 4850 is a good choice for me too.

But you've discovered yourself that there are games you play where you need to reduce the details to keep it smooth. And those are not the only ones out there. If someone genuinely enjoy and wants to play games like Far Cry 2 at a demanding settings, a single 4850 may not be the best choice.

Rather than ridicule a technology that has come a long way, I would much rather praise the progress that has been made, and appreciate that we actually have more options for our individual requirements.

edh
Posts: 1618
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Location: UK

Post by edh » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:48 pm

TooNice wrote:Rather than ridicule a technology that has come a long way, I would much rather praise the progress that has been made, and appreciate that we actually have more options for our individual requirements.
It would have been better however if that progress had been made on improving the basic architecture of a single card. Graphics cards have been progressing quite slowly for the last few years and both NVIDIA and AMD seem to just be throwing more hardware at the problem and then releasing respin products at a lower price rather than releasing completely new designs.

If you consider the enormous leaps forward in performance we used to get with new graphics designs where the state of the art performance would literally double overnight on release of a new generation, we're hardly moving now.

yensteel
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:58 am
Location: Hong Kong

Post by yensteel » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:17 pm

edh wrote:
yensteel wrote:One of the biggest advantages I would find with SLI or crossfire is the fact that it's a lot easier to cool than just only having one thermally hot card. Mainly, the HD 4870 and the GTX 260 and up. I could get better performance than these two cards and still have the cooling fanless for example.
Better cooling 2 cards than 1? Unless you're referring to some kind of ducting setup caused by the second card, which is highly unlikely then this is completely incorrect as there's twice as much heat being generated.
It's only because it allows two coolers instead of one. When I said that I could get better performance, I was talking about pairing two slower cards.
edh wrote:
yensteel wrote:In these economic times, I think SLI and Crossfire will be more widely accepted since nothing is wasted.
Nothing is wasted? How about a whole extra card having to be manufactured and guzzle more power? I'm surprised that SLI hasn't already been shunned as environmentally unfriendly.
When I was talking about "Wasted", I was talking about the financial aspect of it. You save more money by buying a less expensive card to boost the performance of your computer, and you won't have any leftover graphics cards to worry about. Also, I have said that it guzzles more power than a single card at the same performance.

I'm not really in support of multi-GPU setups or against it, I was just bringing up some points that I've observed.

edh
Posts: 1618
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Location: UK

Post by edh » Sat Mar 21, 2009 5:47 am

yensteel wrote:It's only because it allows two coolers instead of one. When I said that I could get better performance, I was talking about pairing two slower cards.
That doesn't make sense in terms of performance vs. cost or performance vs. energy consumption. You also need more space and other than very rare uATX boards with SLI support, it means you have to go ATX, thus requiring more raw materials and energy to build the motherboard, case and longer cables. You can't run a focused positive pressure cooling setup as easily with a larger case and therefore noise may have to be higher. In a system with SLI you also have limited space between the cards which will limit cooling ideas. Yes, you can run an S1 in a spare slot between the cards but you would not be able to directly bolt on a slow running 120mm to improve air cooling. Unless you use a front mounted fan to blow air down all of the cards (easier in a uATX case, so probably no SLI) you can not cool many modern cards quietly.
yensteel wrote:When I was talking about "Wasted", I was talking about the financial aspect of it. You save more money by buying a less expensive card to boost the performance of your computer, and you won't have any leftover graphics cards to worry about.
This is a popular delusion. It started when the modern SLI (Scalable Link Interface, not the old Scan Line Interleave) came out. Around late 2005 there were then lots of people who'd been fooled by it complaining because they were no longer cable to buy a second 6800GT or Ultra to add to their existing setup. This upgrade potential is irrelevant unless you plan on upgrading within 6 months in which case the price is unlikely to have changed much. Graphics card prices are no longer allowed to slide by the manufacturers, many of them stay at a very similar level throughout their life.

smilingcrow
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 1809
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2004 1:45 am
Location: At Home

Post by smilingcrow » Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:38 am

edh wrote:This upgrade potential is irrelevant unless you plan on upgrading within 6 months in which case the price is unlikely to have changed much. Graphics card prices are no longer allowed to slide by the manufacturers, many of them stay at a very similar level throughout their life.
This may be true of low end cards but mid to high end cards seem to come down in price quickly which isn’t surprising as newer cards are released which are faster and also sometimes cheaper to manufacture due to using a smaller process technology.

yensteel
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:58 am
Location: Hong Kong

Post by yensteel » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:49 am

edh wrote:
yensteel wrote:It's only because it allows two coolers instead of one. When I said that I could get better performance, I was talking about pairing two slower cards.
That doesn't make sense in terms of performance vs. cost or performance vs. energy consumption. You also need more space and other than very rare uATX boards with SLI support, it means you have to go ATX, thus requiring more raw materials and energy to build the motherboard, case and longer cables. You can't run a focused positive pressure cooling setup as easily with a larger case and therefore noise may have to be higher. In a system with SLI you also have limited space between the cards which will limit cooling ideas. Yes, you can run an S1 in a spare slot between the cards but you would not be able to directly bolt on a slow running 120mm to improve air cooling. Unless you use a front mounted fan to blow air down all of the cards (easier in a uATX case, so probably no SLI) you can not cool many modern cards quietly.
yensteel wrote:When I was talking about "Wasted", I was talking about the financial aspect of it. You save more money by buying a less expensive card to boost the performance of your computer, and you won't have any leftover graphics cards to worry about.
This is a popular delusion. It started when the modern SLI (Scalable Link Interface, not the old Scan Line Interleave) came out. Around late 2005 there were then lots of people who'd been fooled by it complaining because they were no longer cable to buy a second 6800GT or Ultra to add to their existing setup. This upgrade potential is irrelevant unless you plan on upgrading within 6 months in which case the price is unlikely to have changed much. Graphics card prices are no longer allowed to slide by the manufacturers, many of them stay at a very similar level throughout their life.
Points noted.

~El~Jefe~
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 2887
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: New York City zzzz
Contact:

Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:41 pm

the only thing that seems to work well is two cheap ATI crossfire cards.

not to be a fanboi. It just seems to be the case. two 4830's kinda pound for cheapie cheapie.

Post Reply