I have recently gotten an overwhelming amount of e-mail from readers since I posted my launch day review on the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 video cards asking why I didn’t compare a pair of GeForce GTS 450 video cards in SLI to a couple of ATI Radeon HD 5770 video cards running in CrossFire. The answer to this question is simple: time constraints. I benchmarked the cards for that article and then headed to the airport for the Intel Developer Forum where I finished up writing the article and then posted it while flying somewhere over Nevada at 40,000 feet above the ground. Now that I am back from attending both IDF and GTC 2010 I am back in the trenches and have had the time to do the quick and dirty CrossFire versus SLI performance scaling article that you are reading here today.
I will be using reference cards provided to us by both ATI and NVIDIA for testing. A reference clocked GeForce GTS 450 1GB video card runs about $129.99 online, so a set of these cards will cost you about $260 out the door for an SLI configuration. The ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB video card can be found for $139.99 online, which makes $280 for a CrossFire multi-GPU setup. Both multi-GPU solutions are within $20 of each other and are clearly the enemies if there was ever such a thing for video cards.
I loaded up ATI Catalyst 10.9 drivers for the ATI Radeon HD 5770 CrossFire setup and then installed the latest ATI CrossFireX application profiles to ensure we had the absolute latest set of profiles installed on our PC. I then did the same on the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 SLI setup with Forceware 260.63 drivers and made sure we installed the latest SLI Profiles.
Since I have already done in-depth reviews on the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 and ATI Radeon HD 5770, I’ll let you go back and reference those if you need a background refresher of the cards’ clock speeds or architecture. Let’s take a look at the test system and go straight to the benchmarks!