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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
Avatar Anonymous

On what setting was this tested on? Also, what graphics card was used? This is important info that I felt was left out.

Posted on 2014-06-12 22:32:19
Avatar Anonymous

For the CPU cores test, that is.

Posted on 2014-06-12 22:36:40

The info is there, but it is a little hidden on the second page:

"Unless otherwise noted, tests were done at Very High quality and 1920x1080."

I guess I didn't do a good job of spelling out the video card, though - on the CPU core testing it was a single GTX Titan 6GB.

Posted on 2014-06-12 23:39:24
Avatar Mihael Keehl

Using area commander v1.0 I'm getting an average of 55 FPS in broken moon against bots, they must have optimized the game a lot! Considering I've got a R9 280X 3GB and it runs faster than both R9 295X 4GB and GTX Titan 6GB running area commander v0.8, I guess doing benchmarks on an unfinished game is pretty much pointless.

Posted on 2015-01-09 21:48:33

Yeah, I've noticed a lot of dips and gains in FPS in my own playtime. However, I'd not quite say it is 'pointless'. It gives a good idea of where the game is starting out in terms of performance requirements, and if you needed to get a computer before the full release but wanted to be in good what when it launches then it could be helpful.

I plan to test again in the future, probably when multi-crew ships come out. Those will be bigger and even more complex models, so it may put some additional strain on the video cards... we'll see :)

Posted on 2015-01-09 21:54:09
Avatar Mihael Keehl

Thanks for getting back so quickly. It definitely was not pointless at the time, but it can be very confusing for someone who does not know the game at all. I can definitely see someone reading this and deciding not to get the game. We need as many people as we possibly can to join us in SC, more tests (and perhaps a comparison to the old tests) will be awesome! :-)

PS: I was surprised to see that Crytek dropped their normal release cycle in favour of a rolling release system.

Posted on 2015-01-09 22:17:57