It’s becoming a fairly common practice for high end gaming PCs to employ more than one graphics card to run those especially juicy games on the highest settings possible. The SLI and Crossfire technologies support up to four GPUs in one PC - and who wouldn’t want four times the graphics processing power?
Unfortunately, as with most things in life, it doesn’t end up as simple as just that. With each graphics card added, you gain diminishing returns on the power eked out of each card. So the question becomes about the cost of two cards versus the amount of performance gained from it.
If we take the NVIDIA GTX 980 ti 6gb as an example, you’d be looking at over £1100 for a pair of the cards. The amount of improvement you'll be looking at when running at 1080p is less than 50% increase in performance, but let’s be honest, if you’re using a multiple GPU setup then you’re looking to run at a much higher resolution than 1080p, at which point the performance of multiple GPUs begins to increase exponentially.
Another thing to consider is that not every game supports multiple GPUs. Gears of War Ultimate Edition and Quantum Break are just two examples where your money will literally be going to waste. For a game as resource intensive as Quantum Break, it does boggle the mind a bit that they wouldn’t cater for the highest end specs of PC gaming right out of the box.
So far AMD has the edge over NVIDIA in performance increase on the R9 Fury X CrossFire versus the GTX 980 ti SLI, and with the promise of DirectX 12 offering even further performance gains on AMD hardware, it seems AMD has the edge over its competitor.
If you are a believer in the multiple graphics card way of life, then it’s definitely important to consider which card you’ll be using. There’s no point slotting two GTX 960s together for £330 when you can get a GTX 970 for just over £270. Less power consumption and less cost for better performance? An absolute no brainer.
What do you guys think? Are multiple GPUs worth the cost despite the diminishing returns on performance or is every ounce of extra performance worth the money?