Over on PCPer, Ryan Shrout has just published a video and blog post detailing a fairly rigorous performance test, that pits AMD and nVidia’s flagship cards – the Radeon Fury X and GTX 980Ti, respectively – against each other in dual-GPU and triple-GPU configurations. In combination with the single-GPU testing they’ve already performed on both flagships, the analysis also helps to uncover how efficiently performance scales when utilizing multiple graphics cards.
That’s actually quite important, since in the past, such scaling has traditionally tended to be inconsistent, and highly dependent on the proper implementation of drivers and other tuning. Frame variance, in particular, has been known to plague certain multi-GPU setups, greatly hampering the visual fidelity of games even as the frame rates remain high.
Somewhat predictably, triple-SLI and CrossFire doesn’t ending up performing so well on average, as Ryan explains in his closing remarks:
Let’s start with the easiest outcome to decipher: 3-Way SLI and 3-Way CrossFire just do not present a positive experience for gamers of either camp. It would seem that either due to neglect or complexity, drivers and profiles that center around more than 2 graphics processors have been left off to the side of either teams’ roadmap, and maybe deservedly so. SLI/CF users are already a niche; and users that combine 3 or even 4 GPUs in a single system are even more rare than that. From what I am told by both NVIDIA and AMD, developing robust and reliable drivers for beyond two GPU configurations is incredibly time consuming, expensive and… under utilized.
Regardless of your thoughts on if either company should invest more time in these kinds of setups, it seems obvious to me that going into a build with the intent to run either three AMD Fury X cards or three GTX 980 Ti cards is a fruitless gesture. Just don’t do it.
Still, with dual-GPU configurations, the final results are much more surprising, to say the least: In terms of energy consumption, the Fury X’s pulled around 100W more than their 980 Ti counterparts. But in terms of performance… well, you’ll have to read for yourself to find out!
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