SLI vs CrossFire: Which Dual-Card Setup is the Best?



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(The opinions expressed by the reader are strictly that...opinion. Haters can get the bawleys..)

I don't really care which wins the GTX480 SLI or 5870 Xfire solution.  I've owned both cards, and honestly I'm perfectly happy with my 5870.  After two GTX 480's died after only 3 months (the original, and then the factory replacement) I'm pretty much fed up with Nvidia.  Sure its a beast of a card, and will stomp all over the 5870.  But price/performance, ATI's won this one.  In fact, I'd nominate the 5870 as hardware of the year.  I hardly notice that much of a difference in performance in any of my games, between the two cards. (I run everything at 1920 x 1200)  Only thing that seems to lag is Unigine Heaven benchmark, and the lack of Gpu simulated water in Just Cause 2.  Other than that, the 5870 kicks @ss.  Not to mention, it runs a heck of a lot cooler, even overclocked...within reason of course.


Regardless, it comes down to personal preference.  I've always been a big fan of Nvidia, but their latest offerings, left a bad taste in my mouth.  Maybe the GTX 580 will change my mind....we'll see...



first of all, you must be idiots, all the cards here are similar, and you can run two different Nvidia cards in SLI mode, get out from behind your rig, I've done it, it will run at the slower one's mode, and as far as ATI, yuk, Nvidia rules alway will, has better drivers, they fine tune there drivers as newer games come out, ATI doesn't and ATI has too many driver issues, If ATI was so great how come they are chasing Nvidia not the other way around  DUMMIES



"You guys are all nvidia fanboys", "these results are biased, they didn't even test the 5970" blah blah blah. Do a single one of you internet flaming morons who think you know everything notice that all those cards are single GPU graphics adapters? No, you're right; you didn't. So please, actually contribute in the damned comment section instead of flaming these tech reporters over nothing. They don't do this for their f***ing health. They actually like to see discussions and not bull**** in the comment section.....

Unless someone can prove to me that they have one of these cards with Dual GPU's then i believe I am right. And you are all morons. (the people who acted like morons that is)

And no, Im not a Nvidia fanboy. I have a 5870 and ATI's drivers suck. Not MaximumPC's fault.



The 480 came out on top in almost every benchmark, not much to dispute there. But to say that the GTX 470 spanks the 5870 is stretching it a little bit. The cards are nearly neck and neck in many/most of your benchmarks and the 5870 lost big in one or two, excepting those tests, the differences aren't exactly as drastic as you make them out to be. That being said, the GTX 470 does come out on top in most of the matchups. Personally, I will stick to the fastest single GPU I can afford for my box.



According to THG's article on the difference between SLI and CrossFire

They found out that in the different CrossFire modes with BFBC2 @ 1920x1200, 4x AA, 8x AF, HQ, DX10

No connectors: 46.9 FPS

1 connector on left: 82.7 FPS

1 connector on right: 82.9 FPS

Both on left and right: 83.0 FPS


Seriously that article is more detailed and shows the benefits as well as drawbacks into using a dual gpu setup.,2678.html



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typical nVidia fanboy. the benchmark test are obviously unfair. rounding up higend nvidia cards with "not-so-highend" ati cards



Hay Loyd, looks like you hacked off a few AMD gamers with your benchmarks. Ive never used any Crossfire setup but have used SLI for some time. My outdated 3GHz Core 2 Duo, NVIDIA MoBo and 2 8800 GTS SLI are still running all the DirectX 10 games I play on a 22 inch LCD monitor.  Thanks Loyd for the info, readers who are satisfied with their gaming rigs need to chill out, and uses these benchmarks as they were intended.

INTEL and NVIDIA are still my choices for upgrade in the future.

How badly would a single GTX 470 spank my SLI 8800GTS on a 22 in monitor?



The folks over at TomsHardware benchmark the 5970 Ares and the 480 still came out on top. The 480 is a beast, but the power draw and heat makes an SLI setup IMO not worth it.



I've looked all over Tom's Hardware for a comparison between the 480 and the 5970, and most of the ones I've looked at have the 4870x2 beating out the 480.



but wait until I dial my xfire 5850's up to 1 GHz core / 1150 mem. We'll see who gets spanked then



If you're going to do a benchmark and tout to the world that you are an nVidia guy, cool, but at least have some respect and do a proper benchmark here.  If you're going to use the top of the line nVidia card and then use ATI's 58xx series when there's the 59xx series available then you might as well compare apples to watermelons.  If you were to make the headline correct either put a HUGE asterisk next to the title, or rename it to something else.



 Hey MPC can you please benchmark the 5970 I feel cold curled up in a corner Im a ATI guy put the 5970

to the test along with the best from NVIDIA please make us ATI fans feel better.



the power graph was a little confusing because it was supposed to be a graph of power consumption, but was labeled as FPS instead of Watts.  Also there was no distinction between the blue bars and the red bars.  From reading the short explanation below the graph i guessed they were PC at idle and PC at 100% load



I would say that Bigger is not Better when it comes to power!!!



When I researched multi video card solutuions a while ago for one of my builds, I remember that Crossfire was the only one that could run multi monitors while nVidia SLI only supported one monitor. That has probably changed since then... I hope. I still hear from friends at LANs and on forum posts that there are some issues with multi monitor multi GPU configs. I would rather trade in two cards for a dual proc single pcb solution that eliminates the SLI connector and extra power plugs and power.



No 5970 benchmarks?



I'm gonna guess that they wanted to use only single-GPU cards for their benchmarks.  Seeing as the 5970 is a dual-GPU card, it doesn't fit the specifications for this article.



A single card is always better anyways, plus we all know that the 5970 will spank a 480 in both power consumption and heat.  nVidia has always been horrible with power and heat.



I don't care how many GPUs are on a card.  I only care that it is a single card.  Why test the AMD X6 to a quad-core i7 if they follow this mantra?  They say that 4 chips don't scale wel in Crossfire.  Who cares?  We still want to see the perfromance.

It's a conspiracy.  They knew they'd get the question.  They are saving it up for another article.... more articles less work.  But i know nothing.... *wink wink nudge nudge*



its not a conspiracy but i would like this test to include tri and quad crossfire and sli setups even though the performance increase would be minimum.



If you want a apples to apples test then it will be a single HD5970 vs 2x GTX480 in SLI.

As the HD5970 is a dual GPU card so it's technically already in CrossFire.



After reading many forum posts for various games, it seems like SLI And Crossfire have too many compatibility problems to be worth the money. 



With ATI you can have two cards that are in the same Series. nVidia they have to be the same identical card with identical firmware or they have problems.  I'm running two different 4870s, one Diamond 512MB and the other Sapphire Vapor-X 2GB with no issues at all.  Technically you could run a 4830 and a 4890, and the Crossfire would just downclock the better card to play nice.


Talcum X

I don't konw when I will get the chance to upgrade (will be a complete rebuild)...will have to see what monitor I pick out.  Will only be playing UT2K4 / III still anyways, so I guess 1 will still do, even on a 30".  Depends on life at that point.

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