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SLI/Crossfire or Replace and upgrade?

mmoguy43mmoguy43 Member UncommonPosts: 2,770
Which would you suggest? Do you get more life out of a card with a lower cost upgrade getting a second one or is usually better to just replace the old with a new but more expensive one? I'm not one to need to completely maxed out settings on every game but running on medium and possibly lower on latest games on my 3-4 year old card. I thought SLI/Crossfire is mostly for hardware enthusiasts or when you need really high resolutions. Does that still hold true or is it a viable cost effective upgrade option?


  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Member CommonPosts: 10,910

    To me, the whole CrossFire/SLI thing is a way to get the most performance, but in the least efficient way possible.  It seems kind of glitchy and people can have trouble with it, even if they have it setup correctly.  So Crossfire/SLI gets the most performance, but it also costs the most per whatever performance metric you want to use and is less reliable than just buying one, really fast card.


    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • VrikaVrika Member LegendaryPosts: 7,902

    It depends on your graphic card. If you've got a graphic card that was once good, and can buy similar used card cheap enough, then it might be worth getting SLI.

    But if you don't have good enough PSU, or if the card was mediocre to start with, or if there are no cheap used cards available, then it's likely better to just buy a new card.

    EDIT: If you use the computer a lot, also take into account the power usage of two old cards running crossfire compared to a new card. It's not worth saving 10$ in graphic card if you end up paying that much more in power used /EDIT

  • flizzerflizzer Member RarePosts: 2,455
    I always feel I want the best single graphics card I can get rather than a SLI/Crossfire build. Inevitably there will be hiccups and issues regardless how "smooth" it is.  
  • rutaqrutaq Member UncommonPosts: 428

    The Single card approach is usually better and the price point for the newer tech is reasonable.  


    SLI/Crossfire is great technology and isn't a glitchy as you hear but it requires that you buy multiple cards, larger power supply, more fan noise,etc..   Also the performance increase is based on how well the game scales in SLI and in most cases the two cards only gives you 150% the power of a single card.


    With the release of the GTX 700 series you can get a single card that can max out almost everything for less than $ 300.   


    Now if you are talking about MulitMonitoring gaming or 4K stuff then  SLI is practically required.   Running games at 5760x1080 or higher is too much for a single card even a GTX Titan.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 25,371
    It depends on exactly what hardware you have, but if you're looking to upgrade a 3-4 year old system, you should be thinking replace, not SLI/CrossFire.  SLI and CrossFire are really only for when one high end card isn't good enough for you, so you want two high end cards.  3-4 year old cards are not high end anymore.  Adding a second older card for SLI or CrossFire really only makes sense if the second card is free to you or nearly so.
  • NoshizNoshiz Member CommonPosts: 12

    Single card is always preferable, less problems than SLI/Crossfire (like micro-shuttering and not being able to use both cards on a new game till a profile update arrives), plus it consumes less power and has better heat.

    If your budget allows it go for a GTX 780 or even better a GTX 780ti, if your budget doesn't allow one of them, go for a GTX 770.

  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,383

    I agree with nearly everything previously posted here. I'll add a story.

    A few years back, 2009 or so, I got an itch and decided to play with SLI some.

    I had a GTX260 at the time. It was a mid-range card, it was capable enough for me at the time - it played everything reasonably well, if not MAX MAX then at high enough settings that it was ok for me. But I wanted to see if SLI was all that.

    So I got a second.

    It installed fine. I have a full tower case, a custom water cooled loop, a big enough power supply - so all of those factors I already had in place (for the record, I don't advise it, it was expensive and almost completely unnecessary - but I was single and had money burning a hole in my pocket at the time). The nVidia drivers picked it up fine.

    The problem is that support is game by game. Either the developer bakes it into the game, or nVidia does it for them via Profile updates. So even though the hardware worked ok, I only had a small handful of games that actually supported it. When it did work, I did see a performance increase - a couple of games it was substantial. Mostly it was not that impressive.

    It did make more noise - the power supply working harder, the second cooling fan on the card. It wasn't a lot, but it was noticeable, particularly because my CPU cooler is dead silent (on a passive water loop). It did pull more power. GTX260's aren't huge power hogs, just under 200W, but two of them with mild overclocks is also noticeable.

    Now, SLI/CFX may have come a long way since then... but really I don't think that they have come that far.

    If it's free and you don't have to spend any money on doing it - you already have a motherboard that supports it, your power supply is good to go, you have room in your case, and you get the second card for free - absolutely go for it.

    If you just have the itch and your wanting to play around with it - absolutely, go for it.

    If your trying to get more gaming bang and be budget conscious, avoid it. It sounds cheap up front, but your better off saving your money for a better/bigger upgrade down the road, or ebaying your existing hardware and putting that money + your savings toward the upgrade (you'd be surprised how much used hardware can fetch second hand sometimes).

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 Member UncommonPosts: 2,770
    All good advice. I'll save up for a single better card.
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