Content of the material
- What Is AMD CrossFire?
- Difference between SLI vs Crossfire
- 1. Compatibility
- 2. Cost
- 3. Connector
- 4. Flexibility
- The Pitfalls of Using Multiple Graphics Cards
- SLI vs Crossfire Conclusion: Is It Worth In 2021?
- Similarities Between AMD CrossFire And Nvidia SLI
- Is There Anything Good About These Technologies?
- PC Hardware
What Is AMD CrossFire?
CrossFire is, as we’ve already established, the name of AMD’s proprietary hardware technology that allows two or more compatible AMD GPUs to work together, thus improving graphics quality and performance.
Difference between SLI vs Crossfire
- You can use the different vendor card and clock speed for SLI. But with same GPU and same memory configuration. ex: SLI with EVGA 1080ti with Gigabyte 1080ti
- On the other hand, you can crossfire two different vendor cards with different clock speeds, VRAM amounts, and even different GPUs as long as both the card has the same architecture.
- NVIDIA requires SLI certification for your card. Plus for SLI PCI.E 8x slot is minimum required. They require a board manufacturer to pay a license fee.
- But for the AMD crossfire, you don’t need any certification, license. Also, crossfire support any PCI.E slot to run.
- NVIDIA SLI needs an SLI bridge to connect the two graphics card in order to run together.
- AMD card doesn’t require any sort of connector. They are capable of crossfire over the PCI express bus. Its’ Higher-bandwidth, cleaner-looking solution.
- NVIDIA doesn’t allow or impossible to SLI with the CPU’s integrated graphics. Because you need an SLI bridge in anyways.
- AMD allows their low-end card to crossfire with their onboard graphics of their APU’s.
I guess that the main difference between NVIDIA SLI and AMD crossfire. NVIDIA has some strict rules to use SLI. On the other hand, AMD offers some flexibility and choice. Though these options aren’t best, at least you can pick them.
The Pitfalls of Using Multiple Graphics Cards
While utilizing multiple graphics cards has been a great way to help users get more in-game performance out of their systems, in recent years, the performance advantage of running SLI or CrossFire systems has diminished slightly.
In the past, more game developers took the time to develop their games to be compatible with multi-GPU technology. Nowadays, though, fewer developers are working to optimize their games for SLI and CrossFire configurations.
Still, though, running dual GPUs can provide a nice increase, with many benchmarks showing ~50% higher improvements when adding a second card.
Questions do surround the future of dual-GPU setups, though. NVIDIA themselves have even pulled back on SLI support on a few of their latest generation cards. Only the GTX 1070 or higher can be SLId. The GTX 1060 can technically be set up in multi-GPU configurations, but it is not officially supported by NVIDIA (they have not included the SLI connection ports on 1060s).
Another downside of running SLI or CrossFire setups is the costs involved make them a tough buy for anyone that has any kind of restrictions on their budget.
While one could argue that since dual GTX 1070s cost only slightly more than a single GTX 1080 Ti and often outperform a single 1080 Ti in benchmarks, that they offer a similar (or better) price-to-performance. However, the reality is that dual GTX 1070s will require you to spend more money on your power supply, motherboard, and your case/cooling. This is because dual graphics cards will produce more power consumption and heat, and will also require an SLI certified motherboard (which are typically more expensive) as well.
So, you have to factor in those extra costs when determining the price-to-performance of running multiple cards.
SLI vs Crossfire Conclusion: Is It Worth In 2021?
The SLI and crossfire things came into the PC gaming industry a long time ago. But we are now in 2021, using these kinds of stuff is like taken a step backward. It’s becoming less common to see multi-GPU setups. As I said before some technical issues inherent to the platform. Due to poor synchronization, micro stuttering cause happen. Alternate frame rendering doesn’t always play nicely on some modern games.ADVERTISEMENT
Newer technology doesn’t completely solve the problem that multiple GPUs perfectly communicating with each other. Although from NVIDIA a newer bus called NVlink has greater bandwidth. But it was designed for the professional GPU user not for gamers. Newer API such as DirectX 12 and Vulcan API hasn’t made the situation easier for average consumers.
In the past, SLI and crossfire took an active role to split the work across the GPUs. However, newer gives more control to the game developers to code the game for the multi-GPU system. Although it sounds like it games work more efficiently on multi-card setup but it turns out developers are not quite interested to put extra time and effort into code. Because the multi-GPU setup users are very very low. So lots of modern games are not well optimized for multi-GPU setup.
The fact is that modern cards such as RTX 2080 or Radeon 7 are more powerful which makes multi-GPU less appealing. Most gamers out there are playing on a 1080P monitor and a solid single current-gen card in well enough to run a modern game at a smooth frame rate. You do not require a $2000 multi-GPU rig to run Cuphead or Sonic mania and even popular current title Fortnite doesn’t require expensive hardware.
Similarities Between AMD CrossFire And Nvidia SLI
Differences aside, the core concept remains identical, and as you’d expect, there is a significant overlap.
CrossFire and Nvidia share the same multi-GPU rendering modes: SFR and AFR. SFR or Split Frame Rendering sees two or more cards share the frame by dividing it into two and rendering their respective parts independently. The rendering work is then combined to create a single frame.
In a CrossFire setup, the mode is called Scissor rather than SFR but is the same process.
AFR or Alternate Frame Rendering works by assigning specific frames to each card on an alternating basis. One GPU renders the first frame, while the other draws the next frame and so on.
As for compatibility, both CrossFire and SLI support dual, triple, or quadruple GPU setups. Also, both technologies work best at higher resolutions for graphically demanding games.
Criticism of both technologies is more or less equal due to the core concept being identical. The most widely berated issue is the need for profiles from AMD and Nvidia for games to work, although this is set to change as DirectX 12 makes inroads in the months and years to come.
Additionally, AFR mode is widely recognized as suffering from micro-stuttering problems for both CrossFire and SLI.
Is There Anything Good About These Technologies?
It would be unfair to be completely critical when it comes to Crossfire and SLI and their fulfillment of their creators’ promises. Neither actually delivered a 100% FPS increase, but perhaps we set the bar too high.
The fact is that most of the time, multi-GPU can actually deliver an increase in performance and have a lower frame rate. The biggest pitfall of this technology lies in what was said in the previous sentence.
As mentioned earlier, multi-GPU setups are likely to cause micro stuttering and, due to the lack of general game developer support, in many cases, the frame rate increase will be negligible or perhaps even a decrease.
It might appear that two cheaper GPUs can significantly outperform a single, more expensive card while only costing slightly more. At first glance, this seems to be the case.
However, GPUs run at high temperatures, and having two inside your case will only increase your PC’s internal temperature. You will likely also need to upgrade your PSU in order to supply sufficient power to your biggest consumers. If you’re trying to run SLI, you will need to have an unnecessarily expensive “SLI certified” motherboard.
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