3DMark Comparison Test
For the comparison between SLI, each computer will be using the same settings:
- AMD Athlon X2 3800+
- ASUS A8N-SLI nForce4
- 1GB PC3200
- Western Digital 160GB 7200
For the two graphics cards, the test will compare the GeForce 6600GT 128MB, GeForce 6600GT 128MB (SLI mode), and a GeForce 7600GT 256MB. While they are not the most current cards on the market, the gap between the two models makes it important to show how big a difference SLI makes when comparing to one graphics card that is not too far advanced. The program used was Futuremark's 3DMark05. After optimizing the each system, the results came out as follows:
GeForce 6600GT Single Card: 3606
GeForce 6600GT SLI Mode: 3595
GeForce 7600GT Single Card: 5994
The test for the SLI mode was done two more times for the sake of making sure that the results were not some fluke or error. Surprisingly, SLI mode didn't seem to make a hit at all, which brings up doubts about the capabilities of SLI. The average difference of frame rate from the 7600GT to the 6600GT was between 10-15FPS. While other online tests have shown that not all companies produce the same results for the same video cards, the fact that this 6600GT made virtually no impact seemed to show that SLI doesn't always produce improvements.
Another issue has been the program being run for the test. 3DMark does provide a good benchmark with a fair number of tests that stress the performance of a computer, but certain games, like Half-Life 2 and Quake 4, have been known to run better on either NVIDIA or ATI. This is irrelevant to the SLI performance tests here, but it is possible that dual cards may perform better on a certain application that is optimized for one brand.