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Crosfire Vs Sli


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#1 JPHarvey

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 12:53 AM

Howdy all,

Looking at developing a new gaming system (not too high end, coz I ain't made of money) which will run SLI or Crossfire on a Core 2 Duo MB/CPU.

I've heard that there have been compatibility problems between whether a MB will run SLI or Crossfire. (Looked on eBay and there were a couple of guys selling GPUs coz it would run SLI/Crossfire on there MB)

What I'm after is the following (all opinions welcome):
(Bearing in mind that I already know about the exhasutive power requirements of SLI/Crossfire)

Which is better (obviously opinion based) - SLI or Crossfire?
What determines whether SLI or Crossfire will be compatible with a given MB?
What pointers do those that run an SLI/Crossfire setup have (ie regarding RAM, HDD, Cooling, etc)?

Feel free to point me in the direction of existing threads/links to save you typing it all out. I just don't want to make any mistakes.

Thanks alot guys :thumbsup:
[CPU]Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo @ 3.19GHz
[MoBo]ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium (nForce590)
[RAM]4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CL4 @ 710MHz
[GPU]XFX 8800 GTX 768MB [SLI] @ Stock
[PSU]CoolerMaster 1kW
[Audio]ASUS Xonar D2
[Case]Antec Nine Hundred
[OS]Windows Vista Ultimate 64
[LCD]SAMSUNG 226BW
[Other]WC'd CPU & SLI

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#2 Mr Alpha

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 05:53 AM

Which is better (obviously opinion based) - SLI or Crossfire?

SLI is the better technology: It is more mature with more tuning and scales better. CF also needs a CF master card and an external connection between the cards, making it more of a hassle.

What determines whether SLI or Crossfire will be compatible with a given MB?

SLI only works on motherboards with nVIDIA's SLI chipset. I've heard about some third party hacks to get it to run on other chipsets, but I don't know how well they actually works. To choose from there is the nForce 570SLI and nForce 590SLI, but there has been some disappointment with them in the overclocking department mainly. nVIDIA is supposed to release some new chipsets addressing the problems.

On the CF side there is a bit more flexibility. First there is ATI's new own chipset which you won't find. Since AMD is buying ATI Intel has been leaning on the motherboard manufacturers not to use any ATI chipset. DFI claim they will still use it, but that remains to be seen. Rumor has it though that it was supposed to be a really good chipset. But Intel's own high-end chipset, the 975X, also runs CF, although there has been complaining about instability and weird behavior, like suddenly switching of CF. ATI and the motherboard makers got together and made a hack that enables you to run CF on the P965 chipset, but it was newer designed for multi-GPU operation and thus comes with a performance penalty.

What pointers do those that run an SLI/Crossfire setup have (ie regarding RAM, HDD, Cooling, etc)?

Well the first thing is power, as you already know. The second is space: Two long cards with dual slot coolers takes a lot of space and severely limits you your expansion possibilities. It can also get in the way of airflow in to small a case. Thirdly: No point in getting either CF or SLI if you don't waste lots money on a CPU, or it will bottleneck your system.

A few other points:
It is a better idea to get one high-end card than two mid-range int CF or SLI. Multi-GPU makes sense only in the high-end.
Financially Multi-GPU never makes sense. Sit on the money from the second card, and a year later you can get a single card as fast as the multi-GPU solution would have been, but also with the newest tech.
SLI and CF only works in games which have an SLI of CF profile.
nVIDIA is set to launch the GeForce 8800GTX and the GeForce 8800GTS in November, it might be something to keep an eye on. We are talking 128 unified shaders and 768 MBs of memory.
"Anyone who cannot form a community with others, or who does not need to because he is self-sufficient [...] is either a beast or a god." Aristotle
Intel Core 2 Quad | XFX 780i SLI | 8GB Corsair | Gigabyte GeForce 8800GTX | Auzentech X-Fi Prelude| Logitech G15 | Logitech MX Revolution | LG Flatron L2000C | Logitech Z-5500 Digital

#3 JPHarvey

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 07:28 PM

Wow, that does help. Yeah, I was also wondering about the whole CF Master Card thing...
I didn't know about the SLI/CF profile required for games. That would have sucked. Alright, well this leads to my next question:

I was looking at two x 7600GT 256MB (about $AU700 together). So where would I be spending my money for a single card - ATI or nVidia.

Also, which type in particular? (obviously the higher the number, the better, eg X1300 vs X1950, or 7600 vs 7900). And what about the letters on the end? As far as I can pick up, ATI's GT is usually the lower end, and nVidias GT is the high end; ATIs XT is the high end and nVidias GS is the low end (is that right?).....

I do still want a Core 2 Duo system, but can I get away with a higher end card for now, and then update the main parts later, or should I be doing it the other way round? I have PCI-x X800 GTO at the moment with the Pentium 630 (3GHz) and the Gigabyte i955 MB. Also, my RAM is 2 x 1GB Corsair Twinx.

Sorry to be a pain, but I am keen to upgrade, and don't want to go the wrong direction....

Cheers :thumbsup:
[CPU]Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo @ 3.19GHz
[MoBo]ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium (nForce590)
[RAM]4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CL4 @ 710MHz
[GPU]XFX 8800 GTX 768MB [SLI] @ Stock
[PSU]CoolerMaster 1kW
[Audio]ASUS Xonar D2
[Case]Antec Nine Hundred
[OS]Windows Vista Ultimate 64
[LCD]SAMSUNG 226BW
[Other]WC'd CPU & SLI

#4 protozero

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 08:20 PM

If you want to buy a single card right now. You should probably go for a X1950 as they fixed the cooling solutions and it has good price/performance ratio, but the 7900 will come out just behind it. You might want to wait for the G80 series, if the specs are anything I've read, they're sopposed to be what Mr Alpha hinted you off with. Or you can wait for ATi's next series of DX10 card sopposed to come out early next year.

I'm sure as with how close nVidia and ATi always are, it'll be similar in perfromance.

Oh, and here's a link to what's sopposed to be of the G80,.
Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.




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