Summary Charts & Conclusion

The Summary Chart

Below is the summary chart of 25 games and 1 synthetic test. The highest settings are always chosen and it is DX11 when there is a choice (except for Ashes of the Singularity, Hitman, & Rise of the Tomb Raider which are always run in DX12), and the settings are ultra. Specific in-game settings are listed on the charts.

The benches are run at 1920×1080, 2560×1440, and 3840×2160. All results, except for Firestrike, show average framerates, and higher is always better. In-game settings are fully maxed out and they are identically high or ultra across all platforms. “NA” means the game would not run at the settings chosen, and an asterisk (*) means that there were issues with running the benchmark, usually visual artifacting. “X” means the benchmark was not run.

First we look at our main summary chart which looks at a single GTX 980 versus GTX 980 SLI, and at single GTX 980 Ti performance versus using GTX 980 Ti SLI scaling.  We also show a single 290X compared with 290X CrossFire scaling.  Where scaling is poor or negative on the multi-GPU side, the background color is darkened.  Where multi-GPU scaling is fair, only the number results are given in light blue.

SLIvCFvSingle-GPU-finalThe multi-GPU performance scaling results are excellent for most older games.  However, once we move into 2015 games, the picture for both SLI and CrossFire change for the worse.  8 out of 25 games do not scale well for SLI, and one game has just fair results.  With 290X CrossFire, 9/25 games do not scale well, and with one fair result, although they are not necessarily the same games.

In addition to poor scaling, GTA 5 ran very poorly with 290X CrossFire although technically it did scale, and Dying Light had some artifacting and blurriness with 290X CrossFire that it did not have with a single 290X.

All three of our tested DX12 games scale poorly with multi-GPU, and we also note that often it is the latest DX11 games that do not scale well either.  In the case of DOOM, our most recent game, the game scales very poorly with GTX 980 Ti SLI, or negatively with 290X CrossFire or with GTX 980 SLI.

Let’s compare SLI and CrossFire with top card single GPU performance.


In many cases, it is far preferable to use a single top card versus using lesser cards in either SLI or in CrossFire.

Now let’s give our Big Picture to see how AMD and Nvidia’s performance compares with each other across 12 video card configurations


Let’s head for our conclusion on the next page.



  1. I wonder how the scaling is in surround/eyefinity I’m running 2 980ti’s in SLI @ 7680×1440 which is 11 million pixels compared to 8.2 million pixels of 4K. DOOM runs around 45-50 fps with everything max except for textures, running those at ultra not nightmare, and I’m pretty sure single card wouldn’t be able to do that FPS. But I could be wrong.

  2. Unfortunately I don’t find some of the above results reasonable. I own RX 480 and I ran many games.
    I can tell you clearly that GTA V scales very well with it, you may also refer to TechPowerUp and see their results which are consistent with what I observed, in various resolutions. The only issue is microstuttering, but it is well acceptable to me.

    I can’t say for sure if this is because 290X wasn’t optimized well, but definitely it doesn’t reflect what Crossfire and SLI are really doing.
    You may refer to this instead for Crossfire performance:

    • This review was posted in June and the SLI and CF results were accurate. Since then, AMD has made good progress with CrossFire in GTA V and it scales better now.

      As you can see, Nvidia has also made good progress with SLI since June. This article shows GTX 1070 SLI vs. Titan XP and it was posted in September.

      From time to time, BTR will update CrossFire and SLI results in future evaluations.

      • Right but that’s a good reason why an article like this in particular might need to be pulled entirely. A huge point was made, and strong conclusion drawn, over what amounts to software tuning issues. These issues have largely been resolved, but the article doesnt even have a note indicating that yet still attracts comments and is standing as advice (and from the comments you can see supporting confirmation bias)

  3. I have a water-cooled tri-fire setup, and I have suffered greatly at the hands of micro-stutter and non-scaling. At this point however, cost wise, I would have to put in another $400 (cdn) at least after selling my stuff to get a GTX 1080. The idea that my cards can beat the 1080 or come close, and do so quietly, has me holding on to what I got.
    I’m shaking my head that games are not optimized for crossfire/sli. Don’t they want crazy people like us spending all this money on multiple cards and accessories?
    Bottom line, never again. Especially if support is getting weaker as new games come out.

  4. I upgraded my horrible video card to a gtx 950 about 6 months ago. It was a massive improvement for the money. Now, I’ve decided to build a whole new box and realize that I should have spent that money on a 1070/1080. Should I recoup the money spent by adding another 950, or go with a 1070?

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