Hardware Investigation – Is SLI Still Worth Doing in 2018?

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Have you ever wondered why people still setup SLI in their gaming PCs even though almost no new games even supports SLI. If you’re not sure what SLI is, its an NVIDIA technology where it uses 2 or more video cards to render what ever you’re seeing on screen. The theory is that it will give you more performance because each card is working as one. That’s the theory.

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Lets find out if SLI is really worth spending double the money on another identical card. Spoiler alert. You’re in for a real surprise and its not what you’re expecting.

I decided that I would run benchmarks with Unigine superposition on every single setting minus the 8K setting and also use the Final Fantasy XV benchmark. All of the tests were done with SLI enabled and with SLI disabled. I monitored the GPU usage with the 2nd card disabled and there was 0% load at all times.

So there you have it. After years of me being an SLI guy I’ve basically just had my heart ripped out of my chest. For gaming right now with the way game developers and NVIDIA is treating multiple GPUs, Its just not worth it. As far as I’m concerned SLI is dead. Well for gaming at least. I feel a little bit robbed to be honest.

As for editing and video rendering my render times are literally cut in half with using a 2nd GTX 1080, however that is with both SLI enabled and disabled. That is just having 2 physical cards present. In fact you don’t even have to have 2 of the same cards installed if you want to gain some rendering performance. That is because Adobe Media Encoder combines all of the CUDA cores and distributes rendering evenly across multiple cards regardless of the model.

I’m not sure 2 video cards in SLI or not in SLI for rendering is enough of a deciding factor for me to continue doing SLI setups in the future. Right now it doesn’t seem like it will be viable. Especially as support for SLI is slowly drying up and GPU prices continue to rise. Video cards will inevitably get more powerful and video rendering times will be cut down as a result anyways.

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