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SLI or Crossfire?


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#1
Mike11418

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whats up guys, so I decided to save up alittle more a get a cp that will last for awhile and is available for upgrades later (i'll ask your opinion for that when the time comes) but my question for now is, what is better SLI or Crossfire? and is it worth it?
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#2
jackflash1991

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It depends on the card you are getting because SLI needs an SLI board but Crossfire only needs a regular Intel board. But SLI is mostly a big scam to eat up your money because you need to get a bigger PSU, a compatible motherboard, and when you do go SLI you would probity be investing into an out of date technology. I think it is not worth it in the long run. What I do is I just buy a good card and when it goes out of date I just sell it on eBay, the value of the card does go down while reselling it but it is still more cost efficient then the SLI and crap.

Edited by jackflash1991, 16 October 2007 - 06:35 PM.

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#3
Troy

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Hi Mike11418! I think I'll elaborate on jackflash1991's response here.

I would say that SLI and Crossfire are about equal, really, the only obvious differences being the cards used (ATI vs. Nvidia). I've come to understand that Nvidia's SLI is more popular, though.

Jack, for Crossfire, you need a Crossfire-certified board, not a regular Intel board. Think about it, and research your answers. A regular Intel board is exactly that, regular. SLI and Crossfire are not "regular", I would class them as "Performance Gaming". SLI and Crossfire are extreme for the price/performance ratio. If you have lots of money to spare and want excellent performance, then by all means, go for it! But in all honesty, If you can just get the next card up, then it would be much better. (e.g. Instead of SLI'ing 2x 8600GTS cards, go for either a 8800GTS [320MB] or 8800GTS [640MB] version.)

Hope this helps. :)
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#4
james_8970

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Jack, for Crossfire, you need a Crossfire-certified board, not a regular Intel board. Think about it, and research your answers. A regular Intel board is exactly that, regular. SLI and Crossfire are not "regular", I would class them as "Performance Gaming". SLI and Crossfire are extreme for the price/performance ratio. If you have lots of money to spare and want excellent performance, then by all means, go for it! But in all honesty, If you can just get the next card up, then it would be much better. (e.g. Instead of SLI'ing 2x 8600GTS cards, go for either a 8800GTS [320MB] or 8800GTS [640MB] version.)

Just going to add a little more, then direct people here if they have a question regarding SLI/crossfire, as the question seems to pop up fairly often.

I think what he was getting at was the fact you need an Intel chipset to run crossfire for a Intel CPU(with only one exception).
Crossfire and SLI have a differences, but in the end they are more or less the same. SLI and Crossfire can only be recommended for a ultra high end setup. The common thought would be if one card is great two must be much better, this is the case, but not to the extreme many expect. As an example, lets say you have a 500$ budget, two 250$ mid performance cards will not equal the same as a single 500$ card. The 500$ card will beat the two 250$ cards is most if not all circumstances.
So if the performance/price ratio isn't worth it, why does the technology exist?
Basically in one sense it is a marketing gimic, instead of buying 1 card you are now temped to buy 2, and once you realize your not getting the performance you may have wanted, you may go all out and get the best card on the market, to replace these two. But then there is the other case, people with near bottomless budgets, if you want the best of the best in performance, what is better the the best card? Two of the best cards :)

The simple reason why SLI is the more popular technology at this time is because Nvidia currently has the best cards, so if you want the best performance you'd get their two best cards, rather then go to ATI who doesn't, at this time, have the best of the best.

Also at the end of the day you will not receive a 100% increase in performance as some assume. You, as well as others need to understand that there are many other facts in playing a game, such as the CPU and RAM. You are simply moving the bottleneck from the graphics cards, to other components. The only time you'll see a significant increase in performance due to SLI/crossfire, would be if the GPU was an extreme bottleneck. However all games that are released have tasks more or less balanced between all the components so that if you have an awesome PC with great parts, but only an intergraded GPU. The intergraded GPU will not hold you back as far as it would have, had the game been much more dependent on the GPU then a balanced system.

However, running crossfire/SLI, isn't as simple as purchasing two cards. You need to look at specilized parts, as it has already been mentioned, the motherboard needs to be SLI/crossifre compatible, as does the PSU. What this means, is basically, the cards are now working in parelle to complete a common goal, there are a number of ways that this is achieved. SLI does it by admistering 1/2 of your monitor to each GPU. But you need to look closely, as the PCIe slots, may become a bottleneck. Basically speaking, the P35 chipset is on of the crossfire enabled chipsets, but it has limitations, it can only run one slot in x4 mode, and the other in x16 mode. What this means is that the information that can be transfered from your card to you monitor is limited because the x4 slot has a much lower bandwidth then the x16, thus it can carry much less information. Meanwhile there are the x38, which are the successor to P35. The x38 boards have two x16 slots, meaning you will not experience a bottleneck. This is only one example of many, some 6x0i boards are limited to dual x8 slots. While x8 slots won't be a bottleneck at this point in time, in coming future (1 or 2 years?) we may exceed the x8 slots available bandwidth. Finally we come to the PSU's. Simple adding another high end card to an already strained PSU, is not a smart idea, infact it may lead to frying your PSU and your entire PC setup. So is it worth the risk, to just try it out on a lower end PSU, NO! Please don't fall victim to such a simple mistake.
When buying a PSU, there are many terms to consider, two of which are the following.
1.Make sure PSU does indead have all the needed connectors to power your new GPU's,
2.Check the AMPS on the 12V rail.
A high end card today, needs roughly 34-36A on full load, without this, your risk, frying your computer because of unvolting things (assuming your PSU doesn't have undervoltage protection), your cards automatically throttling down (resulting in a huge performance hit), artifacts or other mysterious problem.

To sum it all up, crossfire and SLI have their advantages, but your better of to buy the most expensive card you can buy with your budget, then get 2 cards that have a lower potential. If you want the best of the best, then SLI two Ultra's(or GTX, should you overclock them), otherwise SLI/crossfire is basically a cash cow for Nvidia and ATI/AMD.
To end this, the same applies to Tri/quad SLI/Crossfire, believe it or not this is one the horizon, never would have guessed people would need 1KW+ PSU's.....
James

Edited by james_8970, 18 October 2007 - 01:36 PM.

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#5
jackflash1991

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Great post James! That must have taken you at least a 1/2 hour to type up. :)

Edited by jackflash1991, 18 October 2007 - 05:38 PM.

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#6
Mike11418

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lol I agree....thanks a lot James for the thorough response really do appreciate it
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#7
james_8970

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Not quite 1/2 an hour as you can tell the grammar is a little off, plan on making a huge thread in december/January that will cover water cooling (once I have completed by own setup), PSU purchases, cable management, overclocking and a variety of other things to simplify matters and explain issues clearer, should be interesting.
Glade I could help. If you have any questions, just post away!
James
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