When I wrote our first “4K Gaming Showdown” article, nearly 6 months ago, the article was very popular among our readers. However, one of the most common pieces of feedback I received was something to the tune of: “As 4K monitors are so expensive most people who would be buying a 4K monitor will also probably be going with SLI or CrossFire of high end graphics cards, can you test that too?”. To a large extent I agree with that idea, of course there are cheaper 4K monitors out there but most of the good quality 60Hz ones (which you really need for a fluid gaming experience) still cost thousands of dollars, if you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars on a monitor then you would be likely to spend a similar amount on GPUs. I’ve therefore taken this as an opportunity to see what SLI and CrossFire bring to the table for (60Hz) 4K gaming – as requested by our readers. In this article we will be doing a “smackdown” of Nvidia GTX 780 Ti SLI against AMD R9 290X SLI in a variety of games. Based on specified MSRPs the GTX 780 Ti SLI ($699 x 2) is a much more expensive option than the AMD R9 290Xs ($549 x 2) but with recent (mining induced) inflationary pricing on AMD R9 290X graphics cards the pricing is actually a lot closer than you might think and so it begs the question – which combination should you choose for the best 4K Gaming experience?
As you can see above we have a rather complicated mix of cards – sadly we do not have two identical cards for each GPU. That said we will both running all cards at reference clocks for the respective GPUs and the solitary reference graphics card, the Nvidia GTX 780 Ti, will be set to maximum fan speed to prevent thermal throttling as it is the only card out of the four where cooling is a limiting factor. With those modifications made we have 2 reference speed R9 290Xs and 2 reference speed GTX 780 Tis all able to performance at their maximum potential without any thermal throttling. Without any further ado let’s get on with looking at the monitor, the performance and my thoughts on 4K with dual GPUs.
Anyone interested in the reviews of the above graphics cards can find those listed below in order of their appearance in the above picture (top to bottom):