Performance Summary Charts & Conclusion

Performance summary charts

Here are the summary charts of 51 games and 2 synthetic tests. The highest settings are always chosen; DX12 is picked above DX11 where available, and the settings are ultra or maxed.  Specific settings are listed on the performance charts.  The benches were run at 1920×1080, 2560×1440, and at 3840×2160.  All game results show average framerates in bold, and minimum framerates are shown next to the averages when available in italics and in a slightly smaller font.  In all cases, higher is always better/faster.

The GTX 1070 Ti performance results are in the first green column and GTX 1070 Ti SLI results are shown in the second darker green column.  The 3rd yellow column shows the percentage increase from the GTX 1070 Ti results to GTX 1070 Ti SLI results – negative scaling is shown as “negative”, while any number result is the GTX1070 Ti SLI performance increase over a single GTX 1070 Ti expressed as a percentage.



Out of the 51 games that we tested, we are only going to count 50 as Conan Exiles is still in early access and will not be released until March.  Seven games scale negatively with SLI and three more games have mixed scaling results depending on resolution.  Four other games need to be played in DX11 which is generally not a negative when an alternate API is available.  So eighty percent of our 50 games – 40 games – generally scale positively with SLI and most of them give solid performance increases depending on the resolution.  4K often sees the most benefit where it is mostly needed.  In addition, Metro Last Light Redux used to scale with SLI, but a recent driver update broke SLI.

We also note that GTX 1070 Ti SLI is generally overkill for 1920×1080 as it generally scales rather poorly compared with scaling at higher resolutions although there are exceptions.  Ideally, a gamer would pick GTX 1070 Ti SLI for 2560×1440 to 4K resolutions.  The games that benefit from SLI will sometimes have some dramatic performance increases, often from 20% to sometimes to well over 90%. Several benchmarks show more than 100% scaling, but it is usually because we are comparing DX11 GTX 1070 Ti SLI to a single GTX 1070 Ti running on the DX12 API.

Compared to the last time that we tested SLI just 2-1/2 months ago, we have seen a further improvement in SLI performance for the games that NVIDIA can improve with drivers.  Several games like Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Call of Duty: WW II probably will never implement SLI as their respective predecessors also eschewed mGPU (multi-GPU).

Let’s head for our conclusion.

Conclusion

This has been quite an enjoyable exploration for us in comparing a single GTX 1070 Ti against GTX 1070 Ti SLI using more than 50 games.  SLI scaling is good performance-wise in mostly older games and where the devs specifically support SLI in newer DX11 and in DX12 games.  When GTX 1070 Ti SLI scales well, it easily surpasses a single GTX 1080 Ti or TITAN Xp in performance; and when it doesn’t, a single GTX 1070 Ti can usually manage 4K resolution with some visual compromises.

SLI’d GTX 1070 Ti’s are out of reach of most gamers at their current ridiculously high prices, plus the costs of about $45 for a SLI HB bridge if it is not included with a motherboard.  However, pricing for Pascal cards may drop after NVIDIA releases the next generation of GeForce video cards and it may become cost-effective for some gamers to upgrade to SLI instead of upgrading to the new cards.

It has become very clear that SLI scaling in the newest games – and especially with DX12 – is going to depend on the developers’ support for each game requiring a SLI gamer to occasionally fall back to the DX11 pathway.  We also note that recent drivers may break SLI scaling that once worked as in the case of Metro Last Light, and even a new game patch may affect SLI game performance adversely.

Compared with just 1 year ago, support for SLI has significantly improved and GTX 1070 Ti SLI appears to be a viable upgrade path for someone with a large game library who has a GTX 1070 Ti or any other SLI-capable Pascal GeForce.  What makes SLI extra-special is the ability to completely max out details at a high resolution and high framerate, and then to add SuperSampling for amazingly crisp visuals that breathes life into older games.  And this evaluation applies to all Pascal SLI as scaling will be similar.

The Verdict:

NVIDIA should be complimented for continually working to improve SLI scaling in games that can scale, and over the past year, we find SLI to be “most improved”.  If you want an extremely fast video card configuration and have a large game library that you frequently revisit, GTX 1070 Ti SLI can easily beat a GTX 1080 Ti or a TITAN Xp when it scales, and it is very well-suited for playing at Ultra/4K/60 FPS.  But if you play the very latest games on Day 1 and rarely revisit your games, SLI is not your best choice and you should instead buy the most powerful single-GPU video card that you can afford.

We don’t know what the future will bring, but if prices drop on Pascal video cards when the next GeForce generation is launched, SLI may be a potential upgrade path.  Stay tuned, there is a lot more coming from BTR.  We have just received a Nucleum, a 7-in-1 Type C USB hub from Kingston, and we’ll post a full review next week.  In the meantime, don’t forget to check out BTR’s growing tech community!  Feel free to comment there or in the comments section below.

Happy Gaming!