Total War: Warhammer Doesn't Support SLI Yet

It's been in the works for a while, and as of tomorrow the latest iteration of the Total War series. (Let's all just agree to call it Total Warhammer to save everyone time.) And because Creative Assembly went to the effort of leveraging the classic Games Workshop franchise, it's not hard to say that Warhammer might be the most anticipated Total War game yet.

But it's also highly intriguing from a technical perspective. Total War games feature a lot of units and they're pretty damn good at pushing your computer to the limit. Unfortunately, they don't seem terribly great at pushing SLI setups to the limit.

With the embargo finally lifted, coverage about Total Warhammer's campaign, multiplayer, aspirations as a Warhammer game and technical capabilities are starting to flow around the internet. I've been playing it for a week or so, and while I'll have more to say later my initial impressions: the game hasn't crashed once, is reasonably well-optimised and is probably one of the best launches a Total War game has had in years.

But there a few question marks over the game's performance. Creative Assembly said Total Warhammer would support DirectX 12, but they were doing so as an exclusive partner of AMD. DirectX 12 support hasn't been officially added as of yet, although a patch is expected very soon.

In the meantime, AMD has supplied some sites with an automated DX12 benchmark. That raises issues of fairness when it comes to real-world conditions and with NVIDIA cards, however. So until the new render is fully patched in, a fairer alternative is to run through a battle or a replay multiple times with varying hardware, which is what the technophiles at Russian site GameGPU have done.

The site used a multitude of cards to put Total Warhammer through its paces at 1080p, 2K and 4K resolutions. But not only did they find that the game is pretty taxing on the older DirectX 11 render, it also doesn't support SLI at all:

Photo: GameGPU

You can read the rest of the benchmarks over here, if you want to see how the game handles higher resolutions. (The 4K results are very interesting, for DX11 benchmarks at least.)

The real interesting element is how, as fans had begun to suspect, Total Warhammer doesn't have any SLI support. I even noticed on my own GTX 780 SLI system that having SLI enabled caused loading times to increase significantly, with no tangible performance benefit whatsoever.

Creative Assembly has spoken a lot about the power of DX12 and the optimisations made by moving the engine from 32-bit to 64-bit, but they've been eerily quiet when it comes to multi-GPU systems.

One of the advantages touted by DX12, however, has been multi-GPU support — along with better multithreading. It's something CA developers spoke very warmly about in a AMD promotional video, stringing off a range of jargon that will sound like utter mumbo-jumbo to a large chunk of gamers.

It sounds good — provided you're running Windows 10. For those still playing on Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, it's a trickier question. Total Warhammer doesn't currently support SLI (or presumably Crossfire) and if the only multi-GPU support is patched in through DX12, it probably won't arrive for a while.

It's becoming harder for gamers to justify not upgrading to Windows 10. Total Warhammer's performance at 1080p is an indication of what the next year or two might look like for those stubbornly hitching their wagon to the Windows 7, DX11 train. Whether you want to or not, you'll be tempted to upgrade. And if you want your multi-GPU system to get the most out of Total Warhammer, chances are you're going to have to.


Comments

    Do games ever support SLI when they release?

      some do...but is bloody rare. Ive actually given up on SLI and Crossfire just because of the amount of games that dont support it

        So have NVidia, limiting official support to two cards. Hopefully though that will mean more game support in the future.

    I feel like Duel is only a thing, because the graphic card company say so. I went SLI on my 480's back in the day, and, TBH, I think its not worth it. You end up with more problems than only one card has. Ala, Batman AK. Never had a problem with it, and was not SLI. A mate of mine was SLI, and he did get problems. And then they dropped SLI, and I think that's the best thing they did.

    Duel card systems are a joke, and should not be done. What needs to be done, is you need to just buy one card. That is it. GPUs are powerful enough for the games, and no games company makes games to only run on 2 cards, so there is no point to them. None. The ONLY people that really need 2 GPUs or more, are people doing rendering projects with 3D graphics programs like Blender.

      lol

      So much hate for SLI, I don't understand it. My last two systems have been SLI (570's and now 780's) and I've had zero issues. Yes there are some games that don't support it, but they tend to be games where your CPU is more of a restriction than your graphics card anyway (e.g. big strategy/RTS/WoW).

      The vast majority of games that do make use of it, result in major performance boosts necessary to play at higher refresh rates with high settings. And contrary to what uneducated say, there is a clear difference between 60fps and 120+ fps.

        The major performance boost from having two cards in SLi has always been in the region of +95-99% , with three card set-ups dropping further on a per-card performance basis to around +80-90%. It's been marketed as a way to upgrade an older card with a matching card, to get double the performance without having to shell out for a more powerful single card. This makes perfect sense for the company selling the cards, as it appeals to a very specific market: people who want more performance but don't want to spend/can't afford the price of a newer, more powerful single GPU card.

        The problem with SLI has always been (game-specific support aside) that two older cards in SLI will usually always underperform (screen tearing wise especially) when compared to a newer single card with twice the power. The only exception to this as far as I'm aware would be if you buy two top of the line cards, as there is no comparable single GPU card. That rare situation aside, your best bet to get max performance and min screen tearing is a single card and a G-sync monitor (not sure what the equivalent non-Nvidia monitor technology is called).

        And that last bit, unedu-what sorry mate? couldn't quite hear you up there. Could you get off your horse please?
        Cheers

        Last edited 24/05/16 12:31 pm

          Well actually, I purchased both of my previous SLI set ups at the start of the respective generations (and probably will again with the 1080's later this month), so the 'newer single card' is irrelevant because you'd be waiting year(s) for that to be released. And if you go down that path, then in the meantime your performance is undoubtedly lower. And if you upgrade every generation, you spend roughly the same amount of money anyway.

          Having said that, you're also off the mark re SLI being outperformed: top level cards in SLI will generally speaking match or exceed the next generation's single GPU set up, e.g. https://community.futuremark.com/forum/showthread.php?182976-GTX-780-SLI-vs-GTX-980-Ti-benchmarks or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q_QLPzXIAM (if you have two cards with higher VRAM, they will be even more competitive).

          Screen tearing has been irrelevant for me, I haven't suffered from it. Same with micro-stutter.

          Max performance (maxed settings, high framerate @ your resolution of choice) will always be a multi-card set up. SLI does have problems, but as an SLI user they're blown completely out of proportion.

          Last edited 24/05/16 8:12 pm

            Cool, good to know. To be honest I've never gone down the SLI path myself so I'm just going off what people have told me/reviews etc.

            But yeah, it kind of goes without saying that you'll get better performance with an SLI set up if there is no comparable single GPU card available at the time, same for max performance. SLI is obviously the best choice where it is the only choice available. Also if you're going down the max performance route (unless you're set up for like triple screens in 4k or something crazy like that) your frame rate's going to be so high you'll never have to worry about the more common SLI problems anyway. But again, it kind of goes without saying that if you've got a top of the line system, you wouldn't expect to encounter the same problems as the majority of other users, and if you haven't encountered any problems yourself it's natural to think that the problems have been blown out of proportion. I wouldn't expect someone who's only ever driven Ferrari's to understand the problems that owners of markedly cheaper cars experience either.

            If you're upgrading to SLI at the start of a new product cycle you almost certainly fall into the graphics enthusiast category, which to me seems to be the only group of gamers that will get benefits from SLI without any of the potential downsides. Remembering that all that just released GPU grunt comes at significant cost (admittedly not so much for the new 1080s), and that's not really an option, by choice or circumstance, for the vast majority of gamers. If you've got enough money there's very little you can't fix by just throwing more of it at the problem. For everyone else that can't do that, I wouldn't recommend SLI.

    The dev team was obviously too busy making those Chaos units that they offered up as day (then week)-1 DLC. /snark

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