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New 3-way and 4-way SLI

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MattSlagle View Drop Down
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Joined: 03 Apr 2008
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  Quote MattSlagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: New 3-way and 4-way SLI
    Posted: 15 Apr 2008 at 12:03pm
The new 9000 series of NVidia's GeForce video cards has ushered in a new era of multi-card gaming.  Instead of trying to obtain the most performance from a single card, NVidia is taking the direction of using multiple less-expensive cards to obtain more performance.
What kind of performance gains can we expect to see?  NVidia claims that the 9800 GTX in 3-way SLI can achieve up to a 2.8x increase in performance.  They also claim a 3.4x increase in performance when using the 9800 GX2 in quad SLI compared to a single 8800 GT.
These results were taken from a popular hardware review site.
If gaming at anything higher than 1600x1200, multiple video cards offer greater performance due to parallel processing and higher memory sizes.  Even though these setups offer amazing performance, how much would it cost to enter 3 and quad SLI?
To enable SLI, you need to use a motherboard with a NVidia chipset.  These boards usually carry a price premium.  3-way SLI must use 790i chipset, while a quad setup can work on any latest SLI chipset.  This is because the quad setup essentially seems just like any normal SLI configuration to the motherboard.


9800 GTX

9800 GX2

Tri-SLI 9800 GTX

Quad-SLI 9800 GX2




Any $30 - $400


Any $30 - $400


790i $385


590i $200 – 790i $385

Card(s) Price:






$408 - $778

$655 - $1025


$1450 - $1635


Costs per FPS






$8.23 - $15.69

$8.81 - $13.80


$21.04 - $23.73


$18.80 - $35.85

$17.6 - $25.55


$22.44 - $25.33


$22.30 - $42.50

$20.53 - $32.13


$24.74 – $27.90


$16.44 - $31.35

$15.64 – $23.83


$22.74 - $25.65

I know I am only taking one game into account, but Crysis is one of most used games to test new video cards.
Now, this is quite a bit of data to sift through.  From what the data shows at the lower resolutions, it is quite price favorable to use a lower-end setup to play the games.  However, as the resolution goes up, the higher-end setups become more and more price friendly.  It is unfair to the quad and tri setups as they require more expensive motherboards than the single card solutions, but that is the price you have to pay for performance.
The most obvious difference is that the GX2 actually is not more expensive than the GTX in the SLI setup.  Since the tri-SLI setup requires a more expensive motherboard than the quad-SLI setup, the quad SLI setup can achieve higher FPS for the same price.
It is about time that we are now finally able to play Crysis on the highest settings without needing to use the lowest resolution.  If the ultimate in visual appeal is more important than price, than SLI just makes sense.
Data and reference checking was done at www.nvidia.com
Prices were used directly from AVADirect's retail pricing
Costs may be higher than stated as more video cards require the usage of potentially more expensive components such as better processors, ram, power supplies, and etc.

Edited by MattSlagle - 15 Apr 2008 at 6:04pm
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