GeForce GTX 480 3-way SLI review -
Final Words & Conclusion
As stated in the introduction, the GeForce GTX 400 series was welcomed with mixed feeling into the gaming community. However, and I do mean this seriously, the potential is there and it is in articles like the one shown today where the GTX 480 shines. The performance scaling you've just witnessed is just phenomenal, for 2-way that is. If you want to go 3-way .. then you better have a massively overclocked core i7 processor as you'll run into all kinds of CPU bottlenecks. And that's a luxury problem I admit, hehe :)
Get this, our Core i7 965X processor is overclocked at default at 3750 MHz, and man .. it's just not enough to satisfy three GTX 480 cards most of the time. And that makes sense as it's just such a truckload of raw GPU horsepower. I mean that's 9 billion, yes nine BILLION transistors that need to be fed by the processor with some juicy data. The equivalent would be say roughly six GeForce GTX 285 cards. Severe CPU bottlenecks, we see it time after time in 3-way SLI setups.
Power consumption is high .. well preposterous high really, but in 2-way SLI not much higher than say the three GeForce 8800 Ultra cards you ran a couple of years ago in SLI. So while I am not defending the power consumption at all, it is really preposterous, surely I'm also not going to ignore the sheer performance you can gain from SLI setups. Noise wise sure, this will be loud .. but the true aficionado will go with liquid cooling anyway (at least we feel that's the case) so yeah .. we do expect to see some interesting submissions in Guru3D's Rig of the Month section soon :)
Nope, placed in 2-way SLI things certainly are looking good. The driver team did a magnificent job, all titles we used were running SLI straight out of the box , there was no tweaking needed, no manual profiling ... nothing. It's a testimony of the multi-GPU driver development that NVIDIA started years ago, and right now you reap the benefits of that fruit. 3-way SLI well .. it opens up a can of worms called bottlenecks. We really need next generation processors for that.
So guys there you have it, nobody will discuss or argue that a setup like this is loud and power hungry in terms of energy, it however is the best of the best performance your money can buy you and surely the x-factor here is huge. We very much enjoyed playing around with the GeForce GTX 480 in SLI and especially 2-way SLI seems to be a smackdown homerun when we look at the sheer performance scaling. In most cases you'll see 1.7x to 1.9x perf increases, and that's just breathtaking.
We'll cook up a GeForce GTX 470 SLI article as well, stay tuned. Personal thanks go out to Point of View for sending out the review samples.
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