Upgrade Advice: Triple SLI?

Upgrade Advice: Triple SLI?

triplesli.jpgIf you saw last week’s post on triple SLI and were considering buying a motherboard with an nForce 780i chipset, I have one word for you.


Scalable Link Interface (SLI) technology is aimed at two markets – enthusiasts and pro overclockers. I know for a fact that a lot of enthusiasts can’t make extensive use of SLI because it’s just too damn expensive. Pro overclockers don’t really care about price, and most of the time the hardware is being provided free by the likes of Gigabyte and ASUS.

If you think you need more performance, a better idea is to sell your old graphics card and use the proceeds to buy something better. There’s always an 8800 GT in every generation, so you’ll definitely find a good compromise between price and grunt.

Keep in mind not all games support SLI and some, like BioShock, can even run slower.

If you buy a 780i-based motherboard, you’ll be paying a premium for a feature you’ll never use. Sure, it’s nice to have the option, but it’s like the self-destruct on the USS Enterprise – only Kirk had the balls to flick the switch. It came in handy but, dear God, Starfleet Command would have been chasing Kirk up until he died to collect payment for that boo-boo.

Having three PCIe slots running at the advertised 16x speed is nice. Finally. But not enough to sway me. Especially when you consider the beefy and expensive PSU you’ll need to power the things, and the additional cooling so they don’t explode.

As an aside, PCGH broke an NDA to get its triple SLI article up first. I don’t know how big the site is over in German, but pulling this sort of crap is just, well, juvenile. I hope the couple of extra thousand hits it got makes up for being in NVIDIA’s bad books for the rest of eternity. Arsehats.


  • Triple SLI is just absurd.

    I think even, two is over the top, imagine having to purchase 3 Video cards, as well as a power supply that could power a capital city!

  • Yeah I’d have to say SLi isn’t the answer, I have a amd 6000+ just bought the g92 8800gts and 2gb of crucial ballistix ram, runs crysis 1680×1050 full details 😀

  • Think you’re being a bit of a hypocrite calling someone elses article juvenile!

    The points you’ve raised:
    * “Pro overclockers” get given video cards.
    * “Enthusiasts” can’t afford 3 video cards.
    * You need a big PSU to run 3 video cards.
    * Someone broken an NDA.
    * Some games don’t make much/any use of SLI.


    Your comment about SLI and “a feature you’ll never use”?… How can you call a 33% improvement in Crysis with 3xSLI over 2xSLI something you can’t use!?


  • The board is fine for users who want dual SLI and support for Intel’s Yorkfields. It provides the same features the P35 and X38 boards do at about 5% less performance (780i).

    And you’re not saving money. Most 780i motherboards are sitting around $240USD or so, and many X38 and P35 are around $300USD. I dont know why mfg’s think a board should be that much, but those are the breaks.

    This article seems a bit short-sighted, telling people not to buy 780i just because of tri-sli. X38 and P35 don’t support SLI at all without hacked, unsupported drivers.

    It’s the fault of game programmers if their game is not coded to take advantage of a scalar tech like SLi and Crossfire. But those who do see benefits of 60, 70 and even 80% of 1 card. Considering 2x 8800GTs (each of which does 10% less performance than 1 8800GTX) cost less than 1 GTX, SLi would be a great feature in this case (of course 8800GT don’t support Tri-SLi, but again, dual SLI is the more popular of the 2)

  • @Mewmew: I think you may be a little confused.

    I didn’t say the article was juvenile, but the act of breaking an NDA just to get extra pageviews. Essentially, NVIDIA provided them a behind the scenes look at something cool, and then they went and slapped not only the company, but also other magazines and tech sites, in the face. I’d say that’s pretty childish.

    And that 33% improvement comes at the cost of three $500 video cards ($1500), a $300 motherboard and a $600 power supply. Definitely not worth it, in my opinion. But then, maybe you have this sort of money to speed for 10 extra frames per second. I know I don’t.

    I should add, at the resolutions they’re playing at, you’d need a $800 monitor as well.

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