Now in case you’re not completely up to speed on the state of SLI at the moment, here’s a quick refresher. When Nvidia launched the GTX 10 series, they made the controversial decision to limit SLI to 2 GPUs, as the only officially supported configuration for gaming. But, immediately after that, they claimed there would be an “enthusiast key” that would unlock 3 and 4 way SLI configurations for people running specialized programs like overclocking software and professional applications. But shortly after THAT, they walked back that promise. So here we are, 2-way SLI is Nvidia’s only officially supported configuration for multi-GPU gaming. Which is, honestly, probably just fine, because these days not many developers are building in native support for multi-GPU setups. That said, there are ways you can run 2, 3, and 4 GPUs using alternate methods, like DirectX12’s multi-display adapter feature, but, I’m not gonna get into that because that’s not what we’re here for.
We are here to see what kind of performance we can get from these two GTX 1080 Tis. The system we’re using is the same one I used in the original 1080 Ti video, with a Core i7 7700K and 32GB of G.Skill TridentZ DDR4. The two MSI GTX 1080 Tis are connected with a high bandwidth SLI bridge so we’ll get the highest performance possible. An LED SLI bridge would support playing at 4K, but in order to hit higher resolutions, we need the HB bridge. And we’re using the same 4K monitors that we used in another Triple 4K video back in May 2015, Samsung U28D590Ds. All of these benchmarks were run at Ultra Settings, with Vsync and Anti-aliasing off.
I was able to test Battlefield 1, GTA V, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Witcher 3 at all of my chosen resolutions, while DOOM in OpenGL and Vulkan as well as Overwatch did not play nice with Nvidia Surround. Overwatch does not officially support multi-monitor configurations, and DOOM had it, but actually patched it out? That’s what it looked like from my research anyways – leave a comment if you think I’m an idiot and I totally could have gotten it working. Now, to the benchmarks! In my original 1080 Ti video, I concluded that it looks like 5K and 8K gaming was not quite here yet, but I’ve gotta say, some of these numbers are arguably playable, especially if you’re willing to play at high or medium settings instead of Ultra.
te seeing double the average FPS of a single 1080 Ti, or even higher. That could be because I used MSI’s custom 1080 Tis instead of the reference model, or because of better optimized drivers, even factoring in those things, it appears that we’re seeing SLI scaling around 90 percent, which is pretty awesome. Overwatch, in particular, got over 2 times as much performance in SLI as I did with a single 1080 Ti so… I’m guessing there must have been a nice driver update. We did not see a large increase in DOOM in OpenGL, and DOOM in Vulkan apparently doesn’t support SLI. And just like last time, 8K didn’t even work using Vulkan. With the exception of Battlefield 1, we also see an increase in FPS going from 8K to Triple 4K, because of course, the total number of pixels in 8K is 26,265,600 compared to 24,883,200 in Triple 4K. We also got an 80% increase in FPS in Unigine Heaven, but that was only at 4K since that synthetic benchmark doesn’t support DSR.
So… to answer the central question of this video – SLI can be very good, depending on the game. We saw in Overwatch, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Battlefield 1 some very good scaling, but not as good in DOOM. 4K was made even better with dual 1080 Tis, and 5K was impressively playable in quite a few titles. At 8K, I’d say Overwatch, GTA V, and even Battlefield 1 might be doable if you turn down the settings. And in Triple 4K, Tomb Raider and GTA V would be alright, the others not so much, and DOOM And Overwatch don’t actually support it.
So what does this mean for the gaming landscape? Well, it seems like years of experimenting with multiple GPUs and multi-monitor setups have kind of led the market towards the place we find ourselves now, which is – It doesn’t seem like those things are really worth the time and money to set up. 4K and Ultrawide monitors provide excellent gaming experiences, and if you can get a single powerful GPU to run those, you’ll probably be better off than trying to double up graphics cards or extra monitors. It was great to see that 2 of one of the highest performing GPUs on the market could power some experiences at 5K, 8K, and Triple 4K, but, would I recommend anyone else try to get this kind of setup? Not unless you just hate having money and need to get rid of it somehow. And even then, I’d probably say use it for something more worthwhile. Like you know. Charity or something.
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