Is SLI Worth It For Rendering? Quick Answer

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Here we start all information about Is SLI Worth It For Rendering? SLI is not a good investment for the majority of gamers today. Most people should invest in one strong GPU rather than two to improve performance and visuals.

SLI is still a viable option for a limited segment of gamers who play at the cutting edge of technology. To keep up with the tremendous demand for pixels and frames, you’ll need two GPUs for those that game at the highest settings with a 4k 144 Hz or 8k monitor.

Is SLI Worth It For Rendering?

Sadly, it’s not ideal. The possibility of heat and bug issues is increased when your GPUs are linked together via SLI or NVLink bridges. You cannot work with a vast and complex task in SLI because you cannot access more VRAM than the master GPUs.

Is SLI Worth It For Rendering 1

SLI is developed further in NVLink. It is used to connect numerous GPUs so they can operate simultaneously. Yet because it’s a new technology, there will be changes from SLI. To begin with, NVLink can link up to 16 enterprise cards to corporate space, whereas only two cards can be connected to consumer space. The maximum number of GPUs that can be linked is higher than with SLI.

Second, NVLink offers increased bandwidth. NVLink Bridge can aid you with a speed of 200GB/s, while SLI bridges can only manage 2GB/s. Hence, NVLink eliminates SLI’s information transfer speed restriction.

What Is NVLink

Because it doesn’t operate in a master-slave relationship, NVLink has a significant advantage over SLI. Mesh networking underlies its operation, allowing for bidirectional communication and shared memory across cards.

How is it superior to the master-slave arrangement in SLI? When using SLI, the master card will use most of its processing resources to gather and manage data from other cards. Naturally, you cannot utilize the master card’s full rendering power.

You may make each GPU operate independently of the others using NVLink. Without transferring data to a master, each GPU may directly communicate with the CPU and each other.

It’s safe to claim that with NVLink, you will obtain the double VRAM even though combining two cards using SLI cannot. VRAM can be pooled with NVLink, giving it a viable option for complex calculations.

The fundamental idea behind SLI and NVLink is to combine at least two GPUs to increase their performance. Those two have aided in the operation and interfacing of numerous GPUs. Working with several GPUs where they can communicate and finish a single task simultaneously is preferable to doing it individually, as is working with more GPUs than one.

Yet, in the majority of circumstances, is it genuinely worthwhile? A common myth concerning SLI and NVLink is that adding extra graphics cards can increase speed or video RAM by a factor of two, three, or even four.

Nevertheless, NVLink can only provide you access to extra bandwidth and VRAM. This will be useful if your scenario is too complicated and only one card needs more VRAM. But why add more hardware and have your PC distribute its resources to support a simple scene that may benefit from only one card?

Because SLI used to be considerably more widespread than it is now, it is still a topic of contention among gamers. Why did it use to be so well-liked, and what happened to make it less so?

Scalable Link Interface, or SLI, is a trademarked parallel processing technique of Nvidia that enables several GPUs to connect and operate on a single System. An SLI bridge that transmits data between the two GPUs makes this possible.

Scalable Link Interface was not the initial of SLI. It was created in the 1990s by 3Dfx, a business that Nvidia has now bought, and was known as Scan Line Interface (SLI). This also worked by connecting two GPUs.

Why Was SLI Previously So Popular

When the first SLI-capable graphics accelerator line was introduced in 1998, it did not immediately become a significant commercial success. Nvidia received the SLI technology when it acquired 3Dfx, but it didn’t do anything with it until 2004 when Scalable Link Interface was introduced.

SLI was a practical and convenient technique to practically quadruple your PC’s graphics capabilities in the early 2000s. SLI was the only way to play games and maximize graphics on high settings. SLI wasn’t just for a select group of enthusiasts; many titles and even mid-range GPUs supported it.

In reality, it depends on your requirements and your software. Let’s discuss multi-GPU rendering engines like Octane, Redshift, Arnold GPU, V-Ray, Cycles, etc. You can use SLI or NVLink if your program supports it. You cannot use some of them since they do not support certain technologies.

Some of them work best with SLI, while others don’t. For instance, the developers of Octane, Redshift, and Cycles do not recommend turning on SLI, whereas the developers of Arnold and Vray do. That all depends on how intricate your scene is while using NVLink.

First off, is SLI or NVLink truly necessary to render multiple GPUs? No, is the response. Without any technology to connect them, every multiple GPU rendering software can operate several GPUs independently.

When producing the final renders, the rendering engine frequently favors bucket rendering, which divides the image into smaller regions known as buckets. The amount of GPUs in your systems determines how many buckets you need.

The final rendering process may be seen in the image below, which features a large image of numerous small square buckets. The second query is if SLI and NVLink accelerate render times proportionally to the number of GPUs you have.

The response is regrettably no. Your computer will only fully utilize the technology if you use a connector and have it distribute resources for it. Let’s examine the V-Ray GPU rendering Chaos test with and without NVLink.


I hope you get your answer about whether Is SLI Worth It For Rendering? The concept of joining two GPUs together to function as one unit is familiar, and thanks to unrelenting efforts, numerous solutions have been developed.

But, currently, you need a connector to connect two (or more) GPUs and have them work flawlessly as a single unit. NVLink can achieve that. Although the GPUs can communicate with one another more quickly and share VRAM, the GPUs will still need to merge into one and provide linear rendering speed.

Sometimes it’s easier than you might believe in performing better. You can either need to render using your GPUs without a connector like SLI or NVLink, or you can optimize your scene and remove some of the extra items.

In some circumstances, you will need them, but generally speaking, they are obstacles, and you should stick to the basics. What else should you research before installing an SLI, then? Of course, there is your heat sink and the GPU.

Keep in mind that you can only add graphics cards if you ensure that they are compatible with one another. SLI compatibility also requires that the motherboard and the power supply be compatible. Overall, you’re modifying more than one element, you’re changing numerous. When making the upgrade, use caution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does SLI improve rendering?

A multi-GPU arrangement called Scalable Link Interface (SLI) increases rendering performance by spreading the workload among several GPUs. The system must have an SLI-certified motherboard to use SLI.

Does SLI improve graphics?

Besides games, SLI may enhance the performance of graphics-intensive apps. The improved visual performance from the computer’s SLI graphics subsystem for computers with two GPUs, such as those in the list of Applicable Models above, is often less than twice that of a single GPU.

Is dual GPU good for rendering?

Particularly, rendering on multiple GPUs simultaneously can be 5, 10, or 20 times faster than rendering on a single GPU. As a result, some of the top brands in the world are concentrating primarily on creating solutions that enhance multi-GPU performance.

Is SLI still useful?

SLI has been obsolete for a long time. Nowadays, it’s rare to see a build that still uses it.

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