When it came to the ultimate gaming setup a few years ago, most enthusiasts would advise installing two or three video cards on your computer. However, nearly no one nowadays discusses multi-GPU configurations.
Wouldn’t it make sense for gamers to take advantage of the power that Nvidia and AMD’s video cards provide in order to push their computers to their limits? But why is it that nearly no one does it anymore? Let’s have a look at why that is.
1. The Financial Scenario
The expensive cost of GPUs is one of the main reasons why gamers stopped using dual GPUs. Considering that the top-end Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 costs $1,500 and AMD’s top-of-the-line Radeon RX 6900 XT costs $1,000, purchasing just one device is too expensive.
The chip scarcity aggravated the situation, with some RTX 3090 models fetching $3,200 and RX 6900 XT cards fetching $2,200. You may expect to spend more than $5,000 on graphics cards alone if you install two or more of these. That doesn’t even take into account the processor, motherboard, cooling systems, and high-end power supply needed to keep everything running.
Even if you can afford to spend that much on gaming and entertainment, you can put the money saved on something else, like a 4K monitor with a rapid refresh rate.
2. It’s too hot for air conditioning.
The heat created by these video cards would probably be too much for air cooling, even if you used the largest case you could find. Furthermore, if you’re stressing your machine, you can get thermal throttling concerns. Most stock air-cooling solutions will be overwhelmed by the heat created by two high-end video cards, plus the high-end processor required to avoid performance bottlenecks.
Because most cases don’t have enough space for three AIO water coolers, you’ll have to use a custom loop water cooling system. You may also utilize AIO coolers for each GPU, but you’ll need to design your own computer case.
All of the heat produced by your system will have an impact on the environment. So, if you want to stay cool, especially in the summer, you’ll need to put an air conditioner or a heat exchanger in your room.
3. Limits on Power Demand
Another factor to consider is the amount of power GPUs require to function. To run at full power, most high-end models require at least 300 watts. That’s just the video card; the processor, motherboard, cooling system, and other accessories aren’t included.
Consider this: two RTX 3090 cards would necessitate 700 watts of power. You’ll need 240 watts if you’re using an Intel i9-12900 processor. That means a 1,000-watt power supply would be insufficient to power your system. A power supply that supplies 1,300 watts or more is available, but it is more expensive.
They also use more electricity, which means your electric bill will rise as well.
4. A lack of developer assistance
To perform successfully, specialized hardware setups require support from game titles. Even if you have four 6900 XTs connected to your system, if the game you’re playing doesn’t support CrossFireX, you won’t be able to take advantage of its benefits.
It made sense for developers to offer dual GPU systems in the past, when GPUs weren’t as powerful and couldn’t keep up with AAA titles. The RTX 3090s and 6900 XTs, on the other hand, are strong enough to enable 4K high FPS gaming on Ultra settings. That is why multi-GPU machines appear to be overkill for the majority of games.
When you combine that with today’s sky-high GPU prices, it’s clear that fewer people will be sporting this configuration. Developers should not make their games compatible with SLI or CrossFireX because of this.
5. Does It Make Sense?
As previously said, GPUs have become so powerful that Ultra Settings in games no longer require twin or more GPUs. So, even if you have two or more video cards installed on your computer and you’re playing a game on Ultra that supports this setup, you’re probably missing out on a lot of performance.
This unused performance indicates that you are not putting your GPU to the test. While you may argue that having several GPUs running at low power is preferable to having one video card running at high intensity, remember how much you paid for it. You might have spent your money on other systems and peripherals that would have improved your gaming experience.
You can’t also claim that this system will “future-proof” your machine. After all, computing power is increasing by leaps and bounds every generation. You never know, but by the time Nvidia or AMD delivers the next generation GPU, you might find that using just one video card is more powerful than using two 3090s.
When Should You Use a Multi-GPU System?
It is not advisable to have a multi-GPU system today if you only use your computer for gaming. You won’t be able to get the most out of your computer, and your resources will be underutilized. If you’re working in a professional environment, such as video editing or large-scale rendering, you might want to explore a multi-GPU setup.
If you need to render big sceneries with millions of polygons or simulations with millions of calculations, you’ll find it useful because it reduces processing time to a fraction of what it was with a single GPU.
Multi-GPU builds necessitate extremely deep pockets.
If you’re planning to utilize your computer for professional work where time is money, then you should definitely get this system. That’s because the time you save waiting for the render will far outweigh the expense of purchasing and maintaining your hardware.
However, if you exclusively plan on gaming on this system, you should think twice. After all, the money you’ll save on equipment, maintenance, and power consumption by adding a second GPU could be used toward something more cost-effective for you, like a 50-inch 4K monitor, a gaming lounge, or both.
However, if you can afford all of those while still getting a dual GPU, go ahead and reap the benefits of your labor.
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