What is SLI & List of SLI Graphics Cards from Nvidia

SLI or Scalable Link Interface is a multi-GPU technology from Nvidia. It is based on the principle of parallel processing where two or more GPUs share the load of game or graphics application. In SLI you can connect and run multiple (up to four GPUs) graphics cards on a single motherboard and thus double, triple or even quadruple your graphics performance in gaming or other graphics applications. Nvidia’s rival i.e. AMD also has their own multi-GPU technology which is known as CrossFire, but here I am going to talk about SLI and provide you the list of all SLI supported graphics cards from nvidia.

sli-graphics-cards

Major Requirements of SLI

The major requirements for running a SLI configuration are as follows:

Identical SLI Graphics Cards

The first and foremost requirement of SLI is two or more identical SLI Ready Graphics Cards. This means these graphics cards should have the same GPU and Memory capacity. For example you can run two GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5 graphics cards in SLI but you can’t run a GTX 1060 and GTX 960 in SLI mode. You can use graphics cards having the same GPU from different manufactures in SLI e.g. you can use Asus GTX 1070 with EVGA GTX 1070 or other GTX 1070 from different graphics card manufacturer.

multi-GPU-SLI-setup

SLI Motherboard

The other major requirement of SLI is the SLI enabled motherboard. A motherboard that supports SLI comes with two or more (up to 4) PCI Express x16 slots and it is specified on their product detail / manual or on their web page that it is SLI Ready or SLI Certified. This is because all motherboard having multiple PCI-Express x16 slots do not support SLI. Some motherboard supports SLI, some CrossFire (AMD multi-GPU technology) and some can support both SLI and CrossFire. Most of the Z series motherboards support SLI.

sli-motherboard

For Dual GPU Graphics Cards you don’t need SLI motherboard as they can work in SLI mode on normal motherboards too having PCI-E x16 slot.

Check out SLI Motherboards

SLI Bridge

SLI Bridge or SLI Connector is a small connecting device or connector that connects two or more SLI graphics cards. It plugs in the SLI slots of your graphics and establishes a direct connection or communication between two or more graphics cards for data transfer. It is much faster than the PCI Express Bus and offers much higher bandwidth.

sli-bridge

It is possible to run graphics cards in SLI mode without SLI Bridge but then the performance will suffer especially in the case of high-end graphics cards that offers greater bandwidth.

There are three types of SLI Bridges:

Standard Bridge – It runs at 400MHz Pixel Clock and offers 1GB/s bandwidth. This is the most basic and common type of SLI bridge and comes with motherboards that supports SLI. It is recommended for monitors up to 1920×1080 and 2560×1440@60Hz.

LED Bridge – This Bridge has higher performance compared to Standard SLI Bridges. It has Pixel Clock of 540 MHz and is recommended for monitors up to 2560×1440@120 Hz+ and 4K. It is sold by Nvidia, EVGA, MSI, Asus and other graphics card manufacturers.

High-Bandwidth Bridge or SLI HB Bridge – This is the fastest SLI Bridge and offers maximum Bandwidth. It has 650 MHz Pixel Clock and supports monitors up to 5K and Surround. SLI HB Bridges are available only in 2-way configurations and are sold only by Nvidia. Supported graphics cards include GeForce GTX 770, GTX 780, GTX 780 Ti, GTX 970, GTX 980, GTX 980 Ti, GTX 1070, GTX 1080 and GTX TITAN series.

Buy SLI Bridges Online

Operating System

SLI configuration won’t run on operating systems that do not support SLI. Operating systems that fully support SLI are given below:

  • Windows Vista 32-bit
  • Windows Vista 64-bit
  • Windows 7 32-bit
  • Windows 7 64-bit
  • Windows 8 32-bit
  • Windows 8 64-bit
  • Windows 10 32-bit
  • Windows 10 64-bit

Also you require 2GB to 4GB RAM (for 64-bit OS) for SLI.

SLI Driver

As of now you do not have to download special drivers for SLI because NVIDIA ForceWare Unified Driver Architecture (UDA) supports SLI technology. You just have to download the latest driver for your graphics card as all the SLI profiles and SLI drivers comes include in it.

Download Nvidia Drivers

Powerful Power Supply

You need a very powerful and reliable power supply if you are running two or more high-end graphics cards in SLI mode on your computer. This is because each high-end graphics cards can consume up to 200 – 250 Watts of power which results into tremendous power requirements all together.

SLI Games & Applications

All games and applications do not support SLI technology. You can only see performance increase in games and applications that are GPU bound and supports multi-GPU configuration. For them Nvidia includes SLI profiles in their driver package so that you don’t have to configure anything for them. Almost all the latest games support SLI and you can really increase your gaming performance to much greater level.

Types of SLI Configuration

There are three types of SLI configuration in which you can connect multiple GPUs (up to 4).

2-Way SLI – In this you can connect two single GPU graphics cards in SLI mode using 2-way SLI Bridge.

3-Way SLI – In this you can three single GPU graphics cards in SLI using 3-way SLI Bridge.

4-Way SLI or Quad SLI – This is also called Quad SLI and in this you can connect 4 single GPUGraphics Cards in SLI using 4-way SLI Bridge or can connect two dual GPU graphics cards using 2-way SLI bridge. You cannot connect 3 or 4 dual GPU graphics cards in SLI because that would make it Hexa and Octa SLI configuration which does not exist.

Note: 2-way SLI is the most popular and active SLI configuration used today because Nvidia has reportedly dropped most of the support for 3-way and 4-way SLI. This is because of the complexity involved in driver development. Modern graphics cards such as GTX 1070, GTX 1080 and higher will only support 2-way SLI.

SLI Modes

There are various types of SLI modes of operation which are being mentioned below:

Split Frame Rendering (SFR) – In this mode GPUs split the workload equally to render the image on the screen.

Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR) – In this mode one GPU renders odd frames and other GPU renders even frames alternatively.

SLI Antialiasing – In this mode two GPUs split the workload of Antialiasing to provide smoother and superior image quality without any jagged edges.

Hybrid SLI – In Hybrid SLI, discrete GPU (Graphics Card) and IGP (Integrated Graphics) work together to increase performance. It can be found on laptops too.

Important Note – You need a powerful CPU for high-end SLI configuration otherwise the CPU will be a bottleneck for the graphics cards and performance will suffer drastically.

Recommended: Best Kaby Lake Processors for Gaming

List of Desktop Graphics Cards supporting SLI

Here is the list of all SLI supported desktop graphics cards from Nvidia.

  • Nvidia Titan Xp
  • GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Nvidia Titan X
  • GeForce GTX 1080
  • GeForce GTX 1070
  • GeForce GTX TITAN X
  • GeForce GTX 980 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 980
  • GeForce GTX 970
  • GeForce GTX 960
  • GeForce GTX 950
  • GeForce GTX TITAN
  • GeForce GTX 780 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 780
  • GeForce GTX 770
  • GeForce GTX 760 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 760
  • GeForce GTX 690
  • GeForce GTX 680
  • GeForce GTX 670
  • GeForce GTX 660 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 660
  • GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST
  • GeForce GTX 480
  • GeForce GTX 470
  • GeForce GTX 465
  • GeForce GTX 460
  • GeForce GTX 460 SE
  • GeForce GTS 450
  • GeForce GTX 555 (OEM)
  • GeForce GTX 560 Ti (OEM)
  • GeForce GTX 560
  • GeForce GTX 550 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 590
  • GeForce GTX 660
  • GeForce GTX 560 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 545 GDDR5
  • GeForce GTX DDR3
  • GeForce GTX 570
  • GeForce 9800 GT
  • GeForce GTX 580
  • GeForce 9600 GT
  • GeForce 8500 GT
  • GeForce 8600 GTS
  • GeForce 8600 GT
  • GeForce 8400 GS
  • GeForce GTX 275X
  • GeForce GTS 150
  • GeForce GT 130
  • GeForce GT 120
  • GeForce GTS 250
  • GeForce GTX 285
  • GeForce GTX 295
  • GeForce 8800 ULTRA
  • GeForce GTX 280
  • GeForce 8800 GTX
  • GeForce 9800 GX2
  • GeForce GTX 260
  • GeForce 9400 GT
  • GeForce 9500 GT
  • GeForce 9800 GTX
  • GeForce 9800 GTX+

Final Words

At the end I would like to say that I have tried my best to explain all the important things regarding SLI. If you still have any queries or doubts then feel free to ask me by leaving a comment below.

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