It’s Finished – Nvidia has practically killed off Multi-GPU with its RTX 30 series

It's Done - Nvidia has practically killed off Multi-GPU with its RTX 30 series

It’s Finished – Nvidia has practically killed off Multi-GPU with its RTX 30 series

It’s time to admit that multi-GPU is dead. With the rise of modern APIs like DirectX 12 and Vulkan, game-level multi-GPU support has gotten rarer and rarer, and graphics card manufacturers have done little to stop standards like Nvidia SLI and AMD CrossFire to become increasingly irrelevant. 

With Nvidia’s Turing range of graphics cards, SLI was restricted to their RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti, expanding to include their newer RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2080 Super when they launched in 2019. On the AMD side, RDNA lacked any official support for CrossFire, bringing Multi-GPU support into its death throes.

Now, with their RTX 30 series of graphics cards, Nvidia has dealt multi-GPU support what could be a lethal blow. With Ampere, SLI support has been restricted to the RTX 3090 exclusively, making multi-GPU support too expensive for all but the wealthiest of PC gamers.   

With Nvidia’s RTX 3090 costing £1,399 in the UK and $1,499 in the US, SLI support is now only available to those who can afford a $3,000 GPU setup. With the RTX 30 series, Nvidia has a new RTX NVLINK bridge, adding even more expenditure into the mix. You can’t reuse your Turing SLI/NVLINK Bridge with Ampere. 

Multi-GPU was doomed to fail

Even at its best, Multi-GPU support was always flakey in games. From frequent stutters to lower than expected performance, multi-GPU systems rarely delivered the 2x performance boost that consumers wanted. Developers were also given little reason to support the standard, given how few people used multi-GPU PCs and how modern graphical APIs (DX12 and Vulkan) placed multi-GPU support almost solely in the hands of game developers.

With little software support, and the poor user experience that multi-GPU setups provided within many games, it made sense for GPU manufacturers to move away from standards like SLI and Crossfire. This became especially true as multi-GPU support became a factor outside of the control of GPU vendors, as DirectX 12 and Vulkan placed that control away from GPU drivers and further into the hands of developers. 

Ultimately, development difficulties damaged multi-GPU support in games beyond repair. GPU makers had little control over the ecosystem, and the prospect of poor user experiences forced multi-GPU to become a feature that was exclusive to the high-end market. Today, multi-GPU setups can only be recommended for those who chase high benchmark scores, and those who have both the money to purchase two flagship-level graphics cards and the patience to deal with the poor multi-GPU support in most modern games.  
 

It's Finished - Nvidia has practically killed off Multi-GPU with its RTX 30 series  

With Ampere, SLI is only for those who can afford two RTX 3090 graphics cards, giving multi-GPU a $3000 price tag after you include the price of an SLI/NVLINK Bridge. For all but the wealthiest of gamers, multi-GPU gaming is dead, and it is unlikely to rise again in the near future. 

You can join the discussion on Nvidia effectively killing SLI with its Ampere series of graphics cards on the OC3D Forums.  

It's Finished - Nvidia has practically killed off Multi-GPU with its RTX 30 series