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Multi-GPU Scaling

When the performance of a single GPU isn’t enough, adding a second one can sometimes help. NVIDIA and AMD both offer this sort of option, though they use different names: SLI for NVIDIA, and Crossfire for AMD. Both companies also offer solutions with two GPUs on a single physical card, which is effectively the same as having two cards but can save on space. The R9 295X mentioned on the previous page is an example of that.
However, a second card usually doesn’t mean a full doubling of performance… and if a game is limited by CPU performance instead then it may not improve things at all. To see how NVIDIA and AMD cards scale in this initial release of Arena Commander, we tested a pair of GeForce GTX Titans against a single Titan (using the results from the previous page), and also the R9 295X in its normal Crossfire mode versus the same card with the second GPU turned off (again, as on the previous page). Here is what we found:
As with the single GPU results on the page before, the Titan wins out in performance at 1080P. However, I observed some light graphical corruption at this resolution. On the AMD card, it would show up as occassional flashes of odd colors and shapes - fleeting, but noticable. On the NVIDIA card it was more like every other frame was being rendered with a slightly different color pallet, more pinkish than the colors should have been. Both were definitely distracting, but it was playable. This seemed quite odd until I ran the 4K resolution testing.
When the resolution was moved up to 3840x2160, the graphical corruption increased dramatically. Both cards were now showing weird colors and strange geometric shapes all over the place, almost completely obscuring the screen. It was absolutely unplayable, though underneath it all you could tell the game was running. I thought about trying to get results anyway, but I couldn't bring myself to play for five minutes to give the same length of testing that I had on other settings.

From other reports on the Star Citizen forums, it appears that most people with dual GPU - either SLI or Crossfire - are seeing similar corruption issues. As such I don't think that it is a hardware problem so much as either drivers that need optimizing for this game or game code that needs to be changed a bit to work properly with dual GPUs. This is one of the pitfalls of benchmarking during the alpha stage of game production, but hopefully the findings help the game developers fix this well before the Star Citizen's full release.

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Tags: star, citizen, benchmark, performance, hardware, specs, space, simulator, arena, commander