As always it is nice to see what kind of number a SLI combo manages to out in terms of framerates. Interesting is that two of these cards are priced roughly 40% lower then say a GeForce GTX Titan, yet you'll hover at roughly the same performance. Fact remains though that SLI is not for everybody. Even yours truly rather would have the fastest single GPU based graphics card over a SLI solution. But fair enough, over time NVIDIA has done a great job, micro-stuttering is a thing of the past and there are hardly any driver issues. And with triple A game titles, NVIDIA will have a driver for you at launch day ensuring your multi-GPU solution is supported.
If you are going to stick with one monitor then the reality is that with graphics cards so powerful only 2-way SLI is a viable solution (you use the hottest games that are GPU limited).
Our recommendation as such is simple, with a single monitor setup like 1920x1080/1200 your maximum number of GTX 760 cards should be a maximum of one or just go for a GTX 770 or 780.
Now, if you have that nice 30" monitor with a 2560x1440 or 2560x1600 resolution, that's where a 2nd card could make the difference alright.
Processor power then. Each time we publish an article on multi-GPU solutions we read it on the forums, "you should be using a faster test platform". Hence we recently moved to a X79 / Core i7 3960 Extreme processor clocked at 4600 MHz. These two components alone cost 1200 EUR (excluding the liquid cooling), with multi-GPU gaming they do show an increase in performance. You do need to wonder though if the 10~15% performance increase in lower resolutions really justifies that money, but obviously if you can afford two or three GTX 760 cards, you probably will go for the best and fastest infrastructure as well. But performance scaling wise, up-to 2-way SLI very little negative can be said about the GeForce GTX 760.
Noise & Heat
Depending on your configuration the temperature target protection of the GeForce GTX 760 will keep these cards at 80 Degrees C. As explained, in a poorly ventilated chassis this can have an effect though, since the temperature is the top priority the cards could clock down a bit once they want to pass that 80 Degrees C target. Noise wise really it's as good as it can be. Up-to two cards you can hear a bit of airflow under full GPU stres and with three cards in the same conditions you'll be able to hear a fair bit of airflow. Nothing rather irritating or annoying though.
I do want to make clear thoughy that custom cooled board partner cards can be much more silent and cool much better as well. This is just a remark on reference design cards.
Power consumption then. The two GPUs consume roughly 350 Watts, add to that the rest of your system (processor, chipset peripherals) at say 200 Watts and you'll find yourself in the 500 Watt power consumption region tops when playing a hefty game with two cards. If you plan to overclock CPU and GPUs, then make sure you add at least another 200W onto your PSU requirements. Keep that in mind okay? Increased voltages means increased power consumption. To be able to operate two or more cards in SLI mode you'll need a SLI compatible motherboard, most if not all Intel X58, P67, Z68, Z77, Z87 and X79 motherboards are SLI certified, some P55 motherboards as well. AMD's 900 series also carry SLI support and sure, upcoming Haswell (Z87) solutions will all run fine too. Carefully check that out before opting for your SLI preference and thus before purchasing multiple cards.
Driver compatibility - in all our tests we had no driver issues whatsoever. All games worked straight out of the box. We see a bit of a bottleneck with Hitman Absolution being capped to 65 FPS. But other than that, seriously props to that. SLI has been well refined by Nvidia over the years.
With a MSRP pricing for GTX 760 overall EUR 245 / 249 USD for SLI could make a lot of sense. Shave off another 10% in about four weeks and that will be the final pricing (roughly). So in a month or so perhaps two GeForce GTX 760 cards set up in SLI will still cost you say 450 EUR, for that money you'll gain a truckload of performance kicking your configuration into the highest gear performance wise. We'll admit it though, if you are on a single monitor, there's probably no real need to go SLI unless you like to break 3DMark scores. Realistically, once you reach higher monitor resolutions like 2560x1440 or multi-monitor gaming with three monitors, that's where a SLI configuration makes more sense. Alright, piece, Hilbert outta here. We hope you enjoyed this review with the newsly added FCAT test results.
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