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Old August 23, 2009, 12:28 PM
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Default SLI is Obsolete!

When I was building my computer a few years back, I only considered motherboards, power supplies, and cases that were “SLI ready”. I couldn't afford the top of the line graphics cards, so I thought that a reasonable tactic was to buy a mid range graphics card (then $500 was considered mid-range), get the computer built, and then in a year or so when I had more money, I could buy another graphics card and use SLI to boost my graphics performance. Then I discovered that you needed to have EXACTLY the same graphics card, right down to the same firmware version, or SLI would not work properly. So, by the time I could afford another identical graphics card, they were either no longer available, or so out of date I would be better off to buy a single new graphics card. However, even when you could find the exact same card to run in SLI, the performance boost was minimal. When ATI crossfire cards and motherboards came out, they had the slight advantage in that the second card could be a different model than the first card you had. Once again, the performance boost is nothing to get excited about. Now, many newer motherboards have on board graphics that are reasonably good, and can run in Hybrid SLI or Crossfire mode. This allows you to use the on board graphics for things like surfing, email, and other simple applications, and then utilize both the onboard graphics and the addon graphics card together when running games or other graphics intensive applications. So, I propose that classic SLI is obsolete. The future belongs to Hybrid graphics, using onboard, and addon cards together. What do you think?
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Old August 23, 2009, 12:33 PM
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Default 9800 GT and XFX Radeon HD 4770

haha, sorry I thought I made a new topic.

Last edited by Schnerf; August 23, 2009 at 01:26 PM.
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Old August 23, 2009, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by fletchoid View Post
When I was building my computer a few years back, I only considered motherboards, power supplies, and cases that were “SLI ready”. I couldn't afford the top of the line graphics cards, so I thought that a reasonable tactic was to buy a mid range graphics card (then $500 was considered mid-range), get the computer built, and then in a year or so when I had more money, I could buy another graphics card and use SLI to boost my graphics performance. Then I discovered that you needed to have EXACTLY the same graphics card, right down to the same firmware version, or SLI would not work properly. So, by the time I could afford another identical graphics card, they were either no longer available, or so out of date I would be better off to buy a single new graphics card. However, even when you could find the exact same card to run in SLI, the performance boost was minimal. When ATI crossfire cards and motherboards came out, they had the slight advantage in that the second card could be a different model than the first card you had. Once again, the performance boost is nothing to get excited about. Now, many newer motherboards have on board graphics that are reasonably good, and can run in Hybrid SLI or Crossfire mode. This allows you to use the on board graphics for things like surfing, email, and other simple applications, and then utilize both the onboard graphics and the addon graphics card together when running games or other graphics intensive applications. So, I propose that classic SLI is obsolete. The future belongs to Hybrid graphics, using onboard, and addon cards together. What do you think?
There's a fair bit of misinformation in here that I think needs to be addressed.

- $500 is not a mid-range graphics card. It never has been.
- You do not need the same graphics card. You can use one from a different manufacturer, one with a different clock speed, one with a different firmware, etc, etc, etc
- The performance boost is not minimal. The general rule that I've observed is that 2x prev. generation cards at price point X is approximately equal to 1x current generation card at price point X. Basically you're able to get next gen performance out of old gen cards.
- Onboard graphics are not reasonably good, and hybrid SLI/Crossfire are utterly useless. They are not even supported by Windows 7.
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Old August 23, 2009, 12:56 PM
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I'd say SLI is a pretty decent boost. For example In L4D running single card vs tri sli I get double the frame rate. Certainly a big boost, but not as much as a top end card. Pretty much everything that Linus said is spot on, onbaord is terrible.
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Old August 23, 2009, 12:57 PM
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OP: Not so- SLI/Xfire have finally come of age within the last year or so. It has now become a very practical solution; not just for the performance nuts, but for the dude sitting on a single 8800GT that can now pick up another used 8800GT for next to nothing and have cutting edge performance. Nowadays adding another like card is close to doubling the performance.
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Old August 23, 2009, 01:02 PM
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I get almost double performance with my 2nd card in..
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Old August 23, 2009, 01:06 PM
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I get almost double performance with my 2nd card in..
@ x8x8 or x16x16?

The motherboard choice also has a massive effect on the performance of CF or SLI. Your performance at x8x8 wont necessarily be twice that of the original card because the pcie slot on one card will run at x16.... it'll more less be like 1.75-1.8 time the performance.... correct? The only real way to get 2.0times the performance, on any set of cards, is to have a motherboard that supports dual (or tripple on some) x16 pcie, and I beleive the only readily available motherboards that support that are the i7 boards....

Am I correct or just regurgitating bad info?
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Old August 23, 2009, 01:14 PM
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I completely agree-scaling and stability in SLI for 8800/260/280/275/285 series or crossfire with the ATI 4870/4890's has really improved in the last 16 months. The scaling and stability on my 4870's has been fantastic and they are so cheap right now. The i7 platform has also helped to make SLI/crossfire a good option.
Plus its looks way better having 2 cards rather than one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Babrbarossa View Post
OP: Not so- SLI/Xfire have finally come of age within the last year or so. It has now become a very practical solution; not just for the performance nuts, but for the dude sitting on a single 8800GT that can now pick up another used 8800GT for next to nothing and have cutting edge performance. Nowadays adding another like card is close to doubling the performance.
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Old August 23, 2009, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mattlef View Post
@ x8x8 or x16x16?

The motherboard choice also has a massive effect on the performance of CF or SLI. Your performance at x8x8 wont necessarily be twice that of the original card because the pcie slot on one card will run at x16.... it'll more less be like 1.75-1.8 time the performance.... correct? The only real way to get 2.0times the performance, on any set of cards, is to have a motherboard that supports dual (or tripple on some) x16 pcie, and I beleive the only readily available motherboards that support that are the i7 boards....

Am I correct or just regurgitating bad info?
IIRC the 680 and 780 nvidia chipsets all support dual 16x SLI.

Crossfire 16/16 support is given on the /X38 (with PCIE 1.0 however) and (P45? Unsure) X48 (PCI2.0)
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Old August 23, 2009, 01:48 PM
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Even high end cards can't even use all the bandwidth on a X8 slot yet. It's close, but you can see people run Crossfired 4870X2's on P45 boards with no drop in framerates compared to boards with X16 slots.
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