It is impressive to see what kind of number a GTX 770 combo poops out in terms of framerates. In fact two of these cards are priced similar to say a GeForce GTX Titan, yet you'll gain a good chunk in performance. Obviously though, SLI is not for everybody. Even myself, I'd rather have the fastest single GPU based graphics card over a SLI solution. Then again, 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 770 cards should be a maximum of one.
Now, if you have that nice 30" monitor with a 2560x1440 or 2560x1600 resolution, that's where a 2nd card could matter.
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 770 cards, you probably will go for the best and fastest infrastructure as well.
So performance wise, up-to 2-way SLI very little negative can be said about the GeForce GTX 770.
Noise and Heat
The fun part of this all is that the GPUs will hardly heat up. See, depending on your configuration the temperature target protection of the GeForce GTX 770 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.
Power consumption then, honestly it's not that bad. Two GPUs consume roughly 450~500 Watts, add to that the rest of your system (processor, chipset peripherals) at say 200 Watts and you'll find yourself in the 700 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 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.
So the MSRP pricing for GTX 770 overall is EUR 329.00 excl. VAT, which means roughly 395 EUR / USD depending on your country. And that's quite honestly a very reasonable price, especially when you consider that it is the suggested retail price. Shave off another 15% in about four weeks and that will be the final pricing (roughly). Two GeForce GTX 770 cards set up in SLI will still cost you say 800 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 just no need for it unless you like to break 3DMark scores. Realistically, once you reach multi-monitor gaming with three monitors, that's where a SLI configuration makes more sense. We hope you enjoyed this review, we had a blast making it with the cool gear at hand of course. Until next time.
Don't forget to check out our other GeForce GTX 770 content & related downloads.
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