We look at dual card graphics and PC gaming. When you add a second card, which cards are faster? Which scale better? And which can you actually stand to have in your system?
Graphics cards have gotten faster and added more features. So we have to ask the question: is it really worth adding a second GPU to your system? Will you get enough of a performance boost to justify the extra power draw and added cost? The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. It all depends on what games you’re running, how much you dial up features like anti-aliasing, whether you’ve dived into the world of stereoscopic 3D and what monitor you’re running.
Perhaps the most important factor in the decision is display resolution. If you’re running a 1680x1050, 22-inch display, a single midrange or high end card will get the job done. Adding a second GPU is overkill. If you’ve got a 30-inch, 2560x1600 display and want to crank up the AA and postprocessing features, then that second GPU can be a big help.
Stereoscopic 3D, like Nvidia’s 3D Vision, demands more performance as well, since you’re effectively doubling the frame rate requirements of a game. Most 3D displays currently available max out at 1920x1080, however, so the performance demands aren’t overly onerous.
Games themselves are evolving and adding more features. You can see that in a title like Just Cause 2. Still a DirectX 10 title (and it requires
DX10 or higher), Just Cause 2 adds a host of postprocessing effects that can demand much from your graphics card. Toss in DX11 titles, like Aliens versus Predator or STALKER: Call of Pripyat, and frame rates can plummet as you add features. So that second GPU can indeed contribute to the overall experience.
With these thoughts in mind, let’s take a look at our SLI and CrossFire X candidates. Read more at the source.