When building your own PC or even just upgrading the one you already have, you have a tendency to always go bigger. A lot of the time people do serious upgrades when they upgrade their GPU. A lot of people upgrade to the next higher model, but some double up and get two GPUs. But then there are the others who put their money down on the question of whether or not three GPUs is all that much better than two?
Nvidia has been the undeniable leader when it comes to multi-card scaling with AMD always trailing behind. However, there are a new array of GPUs from AMD that may just push them ahead of Nvidia in the multi-card scaling race. The geniuses over at Tom's Hardware loaded up a super fast computer with single, dual and triple -GPU configurations to find out the truth.
In the GPU market, everything is pretty much a waiting game. About every six months or so, either AMD or Nvidia releases a product and the other company waits to see what is going on hoping to bounce that one back by tweaking the clocks, power and configuration of their own device. Both companies do this in order to build anticipation with their followers.
Despite the hysteria in the GPU world, the past few launches have barely raised the bar at all. Anybody out there that wants to play their games at a high resolution without giving up all the juicy goodness of the game will probably have to use a multi-GPU setup.
So the big question here is not necessarily which card is better but rather which works better in pairs and trios. Buyers and enthusiasts can save a lot of money by purchasing AMD's 1 GB card. However, the newest 2 GB AMD Radeon HD 6950 is the least expensive three-way CrossFire option.
The closest competitor to this is Nvidia's GeForce GTX 5570 1280 MB GPU which also represents the cheapest current three-way SLI configuration from Nvidia. Tom's Hardware has already reported on great scaling from three-way SLI so what is probably the biggest question is whether or not AMD's scaling has improved to the point where it can surpass Nvidia. Two-way figures point to the positive and it seems that Radeon devices work together much better than in the past.
Overall, CrossFire's value-oriented win in the two-way area and the performance win in the three-way configuration setup was enough to make Radeon the clear cut winner according to Tom's Hardware. However, if that isn't convincing enough for you, then the low power consumption of the Radeon HD 6950 should be. If you want the full rundown and specifications of the tests and all the juicy details, head on over to Tom's Hardware now and check it out.
Source: Tom's Hardware - Triple-GPU Scaling: AMD CrossFire Vs. Nvidia SLI