Every gamer wants a powerful machine. Unfortunately, building one can be wildly expensive. As the graphics card often dictates the in-game performance of your computer, a high-end GPU is considered a must for any serious gamer. The most powerful graphics cards can put a serious dent in your wallet and also become obsolete over time.
However, with the emergence of multi-GPU technology, you can combine multiple cards to achieve better performance. This means you can purchase less expensive graphics cards to put in your gaming PC. As your needs increase, you can purchase another card to share the workload with your current hardware. This will give you an increase in performance that was previously only available on a high end gaming card.
Nvidia’s SLI and ATI’s CrossFire technologies offer this multiple card support. If you are interested in build a rig based on this strategy, you should be careful to get the correct components. If you want multi-GPU support, you will need a motherboard that supports it. Most newer gaming motherboards will offer this. Also, you will need a beastly power supply to pump out the electricity necessary to run multiple cards. These SLI-ready power supplies are not necessarily expensive. However, you just don’t want to have to upgrade your power supply when you get a new card.
When you use this strategy for building your gaming system, you can purchase decent graphics cards that are just a few months behind the newest releases. These are much cheaper cards. Don’t worry about the performance of your machine lagging behind, though, the addition of future cards will give you a similar boost in performance to one of the newest, expensive cards. You can save up money for extra cards as you go without having to throw out old parts.
Remember to plan your purchases around the current limitations of multi-GPU technology. For example, an Nvidia SLI rig will require you to use multiple cards of the same chip set. If you plan on using a GeForce 9800 GT, for example, you will need to buy the same card when you add a second. ATI’s CrossFire technology allows you to use different cards from the same series. These aren’t unreasonable limitations, but it’s frustrating to have issues later on down the line if you didn’t do the research upfront.
If you play massively multiplayer online games, you may want to think about using one high performance card instead. These games are often very processor intensive, and there are frequently support issues for multi-GPU setups. However, for other games that put more pressure on your graphics card than your processor, multiple cards can vastly improve your performance.
High end graphics really display the incredible power of the desktop PC. Gaming does not require the massive budgets of the past. If you choose a smart build, you can get smooth frame rates on the latest games at a reasonable price. Multi-GPU technology allows you to upgrade your machine at your leisure.