The concept of multi-GPU configurations has always been a favourite amongst PC enthusiasts and hardcore gamers that crave maximum performance. Thanks to the hardcore ASUS Republic of Gamers team in UAE, I had the opportunity to build and test drive an all-powerful ASUS GTX 980 4-Way SLI rig.
Without any doubt, a single GTX 980 card still remains one of the fastest graphics cards that money can buy. ASUS provided us with their finest hardware created. We punched in a pair of ASUS Matrix GTX 980 cards, and a pair of the ASUS Strix GTX 980 on an ASUS ROG Rampage V Extreme gaming motherboard. Central processing was taken care by a Haswell-e based i7-5960X, along with two 8GB GSkill DDR4 RAM, and a Kingston 240GB SSD running 64-bit Windows 8.1 OS.
The ASUS Matrix GTX 980 card offers an extra 13% gaming performance out of the box with more room for stable overclocking as compared to reference designs. While the Strix GTX 980 came with factory overclocked speeds, it offers the quietest gaming experience with 0Db fan noise. That said, we didn’t want to stress the whole setup so no manual overclocking was done, except for the cooling fans that were cranked up at 100% max speed for all the four cards. And boy, the room was noisy!
We tested the setup in four sessions, starting with one GTX 980 and disabling others through the NVIDIA control panel. The second, third and fourth sessions were followed based on 2-way SLI, 3-way SLI and a full blown 4-way GTX 980 SLI configuration. For the interest of time, we ran the latest 3D Mark 11 FireStrike, FireStrike Extreme and FireStrike Ultra benches, along with games such as Tomb Raider 2013, BioShock Infinite, Resident Evil 6, and Metro: Last Light. Check out the numbers below.
As you can see, different modes of SLI configurations clearly have performance differences when it comes to 3D Mark 11 benches. The 4-way SLI has the highest score. However, that isn’t always the case when it comes to gaming benchmarks. As you can see above, you sometimes experience a drop in FPS with 3-way or 4-way SLI. Reasons for that could be that the game isn’t developed to scale well with multiple GPUs.
Nevertheless, a quad SLI setup is still an extremely powerful combination and probably on top of the list of any hard core gamer. We’d like to thank ASUS Middle East for lending us these cards to perform the tests.