Nvidia SLI Technology

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Nvidia SLI Technology // Hardware

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Post by Humdinger // Jul 7, 2008, 2:28pm

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Hello


So i recently upgraded my PC which can support multiple Nvidia cards running this SLI 'stuff'.


I know I am always looking to improve the speed of my real-time display as much as possible.


Has anyone used a system running two or more NVidia cards in this manner in TS 6.6 and if so have you notice any marked improvement in the speed of the realtime display?


From what I have read it would make sense that it would, but I like experience from real world users over marketing BS.



thank you in advance.

Post by Jack Edwards // Jul 7, 2008, 11:33pm

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The way I understand it Humdinger, you'll only see improvement at very high (HD) resolutions with AA turned on. Also you'll likely see more performance increase in Workspace than in Model side or 6.6.

From what I've read, basically what it does is divide the screen in half and send each half to a different card to render.

Post by Humdinger // Jul 7, 2008, 11:53pm

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Hi Jack


That was pretty much what I thought the docs were saying.


Darn !


:)

Post by ghost--scout // Jul 7, 2008, 11:58pm

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I've got sli setup on my laptop and as Jack already stated you only really see any difference at high resolutions or when doing a render on model side. There are 2 modes, one which splits the screen and has a gpu render each side, and one that has one gpu render all the even number frames and the other gpu render the odd number frames. forums.slizone.com is a pretty good place for info and to talk to the sli community.

Post by v3rd3 // Jul 8, 2008, 4:56am

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I went SLI to improve render times on model side and that works for me.

Post by Breech Block // Jul 8, 2008, 6:14pm

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I was an ardent fan of SLI for quite a few years and to date have built 3 custom SLI rigs using a pair of GeForce 6s, 7s, and 8s respectivly. However, I have since become very disillusioned with the SLI system because getting a good performance out of the system is heavily dependant on good drivers. You'd think upgrading to the latest Nvidia drivers would help but whilst they may improve single card performance they are often a step backward for SLI. If you take the time to read the technical notes issued with the drivers you would be quite amazed at the list of "Known Issues" and unsupported software. In addition, you need rock solid support from your motherboard's manufacturer with frequent BIOS updates. In the readme file for my latest BIOS update I discovered that there was a bug fix that stopped the second PCI-E slot from detecting that certain graphic cards were even present. And Vista didn't even support SLI for nearly a whole year because Nvidia couldn't provide suitable drivers. I now have a single Geforce 8800 GTX which I actually got new, for just £25 more than I paid for my pair of SLI geForce 8s. And as for the performace, it is just unbelievable. Crysis at 1920 x 1200 all options on and not even a dropped frame whilst my pair of SLI'd geForce 8s struggled on at medium at 1024 x 768. My SMC entry, although not particulary complex by any means, was originally rendered at 1920 x 1200 and took less than 80 seconds. To try and answer your question, you will gain a performance increase in tS thanks to SLI but that will probably be more due to the extra memory the cards add to your system rather than as a direct result of their processing power.

Post by TomG // Jul 9, 2008, 5:37am

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I have an SLI mobo, but just a single card - if I got around to upgrading my graphics, my first stop would be just to buy a new single card. I'd only go SLI if I was buying the top end single card anyway and wanted more power, which of course wouldn't exist on the market at that point :) But up until that stage (which at $1,000 per card for the latest tech is NOT going to happen on my budget) I'd still go the "newer single card" route every time.


The SLI docs I've read show too many restrictions on just what it can improve and what it can't for me to be really interested in it - I did consider it when assembling the system, and 8800, or two SLI'd lesser cards, and went with the single :)


HTH!

Tom

Post by ghost--scout // Jul 9, 2008, 1:22pm

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In some cases it doesn't really improve performance at all, it improves the frames that you see without speeding up your frame rate. SLI is a very touchy animal and you have to tweak it just right to get a noticeable boost and just perfect to get an awesome one. Every now and then you'll do something random that moves from great to jaw dropping though. Also if you decide to run SLI get good ventilation both inside the case and outside. Mine is in a laptop that sits on a desk (elevated with a fan blowing on/under it) in front of me and while the cards never overheat, sometimes I do from the heat they put off.
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