SLI: Grand Enough For A Grand?

There some preliminary numbers for nVidia SLI figures in this article.

There’s enough information there to tell us that putting two relatively cheap video cards isn’t going to leave you any better off (and usually a bit worse off) than one expensive card.

Essentially, it’s buying a better video card on the installment plan. Pay $200 for the card, plus another $50-70 extra for the motherboard, then spend another hunk for another video card later to get close to the performance of a $400 card.

Seems to me you’d be better off spending $400 for the high-end video in the first place and pay a few bucks in credit card interest to begin with, but I’m sure plenty with less income and/or a hole in their pocket will take that option.

The other option, of course, is to buy (sooner or later) two high-end cards. The final price tag on that (two cards and an upgraded mobo) will be $750-$1,000).

That’s as much as a pretty decent computer these days.

Is It Worth It

Up to now, “more” has always been related to “better” when it comes to video cards.

However, SLI effectively more than doubles the price of the top-end video card to around $1,000.

Is it worth it?

By that, I mean “Is there any pragmatic, objective benefit to it? How many extra frags will you get from it? Will you get any? For those hooked on eye candy, just how much better to how many people does the an SLI setup look than a single video card setup at a bit lower resolution?

Forget bang-for-the-buck; just how much bang is someone getting for their extra $500? I don’t think “more is better” is going to cut it anymore.

When it comes to video cards, the market splits into three segments, the “have to have its,” the “can’t have its,” and the “could have its.” The first group will buy it no matter what you tell them. The second group simply can’t or won’t pay that kind of money. That leaves the third group, which could make the financial sacrifice, but would rather not.

Should they? Is there any real payback for that $500?

I don’t have any answers to that, but I think people ought to put on their thinking caps are start thinking of some.


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