SLI or Single HD GPU?

By Indiglo5997
Dec 6, 2009
  1. In the continuing effort to draw the line in the sand on my PC build i have come to another bridge i need to cross. I cant seem to decide if i want to go with an SLI configuration or a single HD hi output GPU.

    I have read about SLI and feel i have a pretty good idea about it and how it works and when i have talked to different people i have been told that SLI is worthless unless you are running multiple screens, i find this to be wrong from what i understand but is this correct?

    This PC will be used for gaming alot so i would like to have a pretty solid graphics setup but input from the pro's out there would help alot

    Thanks in advance
  2. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,813   +1,116

    If cost isn't a problem then go SLI (or Crossfire for that matter I guess). I run GTX280 in SLI . Benefits of dual cards:
    Higher minimum and average framerates = smoother gameplay (especially in games that nVidia cards lack performance e.g. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series)- better gameplay experience,No need to OC the cards, can use higher screen resolution and/or better AA/AF settings
    Drawbacks : Cost, power consumption, scaling not linear.

    I wouldn't bother with SLI unless the cards had better than 512Mb RAM each- the cards will bottleneck because of the memory buffer and you'll only see increases in framerate on games that you can max out with 1 card anyway.
    My motivation for going SLI was purely because I hate stuttering framerates while gaming- just kills the mood! With dual cards the gameplay is much, much smoother even with SSAO, HDR and smoke/water effects maxed.
    Occasionally the drivers aren't as up to speed as I'd like-but it's just a matter of disabling SLI for that game until the next beta/whql driver fixes it (hopefully).
    Make sure you're PSU is up to the task and you have good airflow through the chassis- oh, and if you're not gaming at 1920 x 1080/1200 at least then SLI is a waste.
  3. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +8

    Firstly, what would your budget be for your GPU?

    What I would suggest you do is try and get hold of a single Radeon HD 5850 for now. You'll be able to max out all games I'm sure. Later, if the situation demands it, add another one of those.

    Always remember, CrossFire / SLI is heavily dependent on driver / application support. At the present moment CF probably scales better than SLI.
  4. Indiglo5997

    Indiglo5997 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    In general my budget is about $400 to $450 but i am willing to add a bit to that if it call for a setup that will work good for me.

    To be completely honest i would for simplicity and ease of setup i just like to go with one card and not have to deal with two and the drivers etc. but i hear once you have an SLI/Crossfire setup dialed in pretty good it is way better gaming experience like already mentioned due to smoother better game play
  5. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,424   +142

    I would highly recommend getting a 5850 in your scenario.
  6. Indiglo5997

    Indiglo5997 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    With this said is it safe to say that with a 5850 i would get good performance and make the overall install and setup a snap?

    And are 5850's the ones that have a shortage because TSMC ran short on there 45nm production?
  7. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,424   +142

    Actually 40 yes.
    Also you will want to verify your powersupply too.
  8. Indiglo5997

    Indiglo5997 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Woops my mistake i mean 40nm, as for my power supply i have a Corsair TX650W, i would think this should be able to handle the setup but if not i can take it back and go for a bigger unit if needed as i have yet to open it
  9. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,424   +142

    Sounds good.
  10. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +8

    For a single HD 5850 the 650TX will be great. For two of them in CF consider the 750 / 850 TX.
  11. Indiglo5997

    Indiglo5997 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    This will be going into a Danger Den Water Box Plus, i have seen one fully built in person and have yet to assemble mine but is it safe to say that this GPU(s) are small enough to not have any serious clearance issues?
  12. Indiglo5997

    Indiglo5997 TS Rookie Topic Starter

  13. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,424   +142

    Double lifetime warranty is better...warranties are a good thing.
    The double lifetime warranty means it can transfer to a second owner if you should decide to sell your card.
    Oh and XFX is the best good choice I think.

    Most likely you will be just fine, but if you really want you can measure it.
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