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Current state of SLI & Skyrim




Once SR Legendary Edition is complete, I intend to go through the process of installing it. In the past I have used ENB's but found the frame rate hit too much to make them worth it.


In your opinion, does SLI work well with Skyrim and does it significantly improve performance when using ENB's?


I have also read that you need to enable 3DVision to fix some issues. Is this still the case?


I have a single GTX 670 2MB (will be using 1K textures) and a i3570K at 4.4Ghz. I can currently run Skyrim at 1920x1200 and maintain 50-60 FPS. I am considering the purchase of a second GTX 670.

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ENB is not optimized for SLI and most likely never will be. You will always be better of getting a better single card then two.

You might get a bit more performance, but not enough to justify the cost of the extra card, and the extra power requirement etc.


Do not get a SLI setup for Skyrim, it is just not worth it. With the latest version of ENB there are massive improvements in performance... of course this assumes that the preset that you like uses the latest versions (180+).

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Aiyen is correct... if its just for Sky rim then don't get SLI.


Bethesda's engine is too old and not made for it and neither is enb.


That said... its great for many other games. :)

I challenge you to name one current game where you think SLI makes a significant difference. I use a single EVGA GTX 680 4 GB after coming from duel SLI MSI GTX 470 1.25 GB. For modded Skyrim it is memory that counts.  I have yet to see any game a single GPU (though high powered) can't handle (tosses down the gauntlet). Having SLI with two screaming GPUs only really gives you bragging rights, like having a large penis. Size really does not matter, it is what your do with it that counts.
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As Aiyen and Neo said, it's not really worth to SLI for Skyrim and really in general it's not the "ideal" way to go. Generally speaking you are always better off going with a single card over a two card setup (whether it's SLI or Crossfire) because a lot of games aren't optimized for it and some are never even updated to be. Usually when games are released there are problems with dual card setups and many of the patches I see are still fixing/improving dual card performance long after single card performance has been optimized for any certain game. So that's one inconvenience you will run into with a dual card setup. This of course can vary from game to game, but it seems to be a fact with almost every big name game I've seen- just going through the patch history for Nvidia/AMD will confirm that dual card problems persist after single cards have been fully optimized.


Another problem is that you will never achieve 100% performance increase by adding another card. Even when it comes to one of the best (if not the best) scaling multi-card performers, the GTX Titan, you won't double your performance by adding another in SLI. Now this can be off-set if someone is adding another older card to their setup in SLI rather than upgrading to a newer single card because the older card has depreciated in value enough to make it worth it. In your case however, I'm doubtful this is the case. It's hard to say without knowing exactly which 670 you have, but since it's still from the latest gen (since the only 700 series cards we've seen are all re-branded GK104 boards) you aren't likely to find them at super discount prices quite yet, even on the secondary market. Maybe you can find one at enough of a discount to make yourself comfortable with the performance gains, but I would advise against it.


The biggest problem with running SLI is that besides not gaining 100% performance increase with each card, there are some benefits you wont see at all. In your case I would argue the biggest weakness of your card (for Skyrim specifically- as it's plenty good for other games) is your 2GB RAM. At your resolution of 1920x1200 (which I run as well) you will be okay with 2GB as long as you cut back on your textures, but ideally you want 3GB or more. I've seen a few people posting performance screen shots on here lately, using a mix of 1k and 2k textures and they've had a bit over (2.1-2.4 GB) VRAM usage. That's pretty consistent with what I've seen with my own install. Now with other games besides Skyrim heavily modded with textures- you won't have any problems with a 2GB card, especially at 1200p. So it's really up to you whether increased performance in Skyrim is worth changing cards. Adding a card in SLI will do nothing for this problem because they don't add their VRAM together, it just doesn't work like that. So the biggest weakness I see with your current setup wont become a strength adding another card.


If you are looking for advice on what to do, I would personally recommend selling your current card and buying a better single card solution. Although my first question for you would be: how well does your current card overclock? or are you interested in overclocking? Because if you aren't then it becomes harder to suggest a replacement. Personally I love to overclock and I think you might as well, judging by your i5-3570k (same card I have, very nice). With that in mind I decided, personally, to go with a MSI R7950 3GB Twin Frozr. When I bought this card a year ago, it was $309 AR with 3 games. Well it hasn't moved much since- currently $319 w/ Crysis 3 no rebate LOL. Although there have been other 7950's at $250 recently, I use slickdeals alerts to keep on top of the Nvidia and AMD video card sales. The only problem is some of the newer 7950s are becoming voltage locked, I think the Sapphire 7950 base-model, I think it's called Dual-X is still voltage unlocked though and I believe the MSI one still is for sure as well (as well as using a 7970 PCB). I always go with MSI cards because of the cooler.

     So why do I recommend this card? That some would argue is inferior to a 670? And at stock, they would be correct. In my experience and in my research I haven't found that to be the case when both cards are overclocked though. It's been argued ad nauseum why AMD went with such conservative stock clocks compared to Nvidia's aggressive stock clocks, personally I have no clue. I upgraded from a MSI 560-Ti Hawk 1GB which was a very good overclocker for me and worked very well for my modded Fallout: New Vegas playthroughs. Skyrim was a whole other level of beast though and I knew I needed to upgrade especially in the VRAM department if I wanted to push the level of beauty in textures and ENB. Anyways- here is what I was able to do with my card *straight out of the box*. plug it in, update drivers- no problems. Run MSI Afterburner and start tweaking. I ended up going to 1200Mhz core and 1700Mhz memory clock speeds with no problems stress testing. When I went to play Skyrim I did get occasional artifacting though, which was annoying. I ended up finding from someone on here that I should put the memory at 1525Mhz and then I had no problems whatsoever. This is a pretty nice overclock, but 1100Mhz core is considered the "Standard" you should expect from a good 7950 card. At 1050Mhz/1500Mhz your card will be as good as a 7970 Ghz which is generally better/on par with a 680. But you can push these cards even further, I don't know what 1200Mhz core 1525Mhz memory is equal to, but it's damn powerful I'll tell you. I might be able to use higher memory clock now, idk, but I've upgraded my RAM and cpu since I last tried, plus the drivers have advanced quite a bit. I haven't actually even tried pushing the card further, because I don't need it lol. All this was on stock 1.2 voltage, I like to keep my cpu and gpu at stock voltages just to keep energy costs efficient. Now I know you can overclock a 670 or even a 680, but I haven't seen them able to overclock 40% like the 7950, seems much more like 10% because GK104 seems to have an upper limit, even on the newer 760/770. Both have their advantages, but if you are looking for a more powerful single card solution then I think the overclocking headroom and bigger VRAM, wider bus width (384-bit vs 256-bit) are what clinches it for me.


All of this is from my personal experience, but I've found I'm not alone in my observations and after doing a lot of research to make sure I was pretty well informed (I build gaming systems as a job). Using the anandtech GPU bench you can find some useful numbers, but since everything is at stock you really need to be able to project what kind of power you can get out of a card, which is hard with these top models. I also found this thread on OCN that's recent and almost unanimously people recommend the 7950 over 670 for ENB modded Skyrim. As well as recommended another good option for an unlocked, powerful model- the HIS X2. Some say they like it better than the MSI TF3, both use the 7970 PCB so both are going to be solid overclockers (latest review states 1175/1740 overclock for the HIS, I've seen many 1200 core clocks for the MSI). 


I know you weren't specifically looking for an alternate single card solution and were instead asking about SLI, but since that isn't an option to give you what you want (the ENB performance) I'm just trying to help (anyone who might read this) find that perfect performance solution (not to mention it's a similar or lower price than a lot of the 670 I see on slickdeals which range from 290-320 for the 2GB and 400+ for the 4GB versions). I would say one last thing: the 4 game "never settle: reloaded" bundle is gone from most online retailers and most cards only come with Crysis 3 right now, but there have been leaked rumors and images of what's to come. With the "new" 700 series cards coming out and 8000 series coming out later this year or early next, I would look for the current 7000 series to drop a bit more fairly soon and the next  "never settle" bundle to drop at the same time. an AMD VP has already linked Battlefield 4 to the next bundle and there have been rumors (unconfirmed/denied) of some other titles linked to the future roadmap of the promotion: GRID2, Company of Heroes 2, Total War: Rome II, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Lost Planet 3, Raven's Cry, and Watch Dogs. It's hard to tell what will actually be included, but with the huge success the Reloaded bundle with Tomb Raider, Crysis 3, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, and Bioshock Infinite had- I think we can expect big things in the future.



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I am already overclocking my GTX 670 so I was looking for a significant performance jump.


It's a pity SLI is so temperamental. I have fond memories of owning 2 3dfx Voodoo2 cards (the genesis of SLI) in the late nineties. They allowed me to run Unreal (anyone here remember the Glide API) with great frame rates compared to a single card and also could run a resolution of 1024 x 768. :D


I think I will save my money for an 8970 when they hit the market.

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I would like to respectfully disagree with those who say a dual graphics solution is wasted on Skyrim.  (Unless I am the one misunderstanding and this is a SLI only conversation and not related to Crossfire? Or maybe NVIDIA runs better then what I can on one card?)


I use 2x Radeon 7970HD cards in crossfire (stock settings, no O.C.). I realize this seems to be a SLI thread, with no mention to AMD's crossifre, but I want to comment on dual graphic solutions in my experience.


First off, I have found ENB and Crossfire do NOT get along well at all. It has an extreme flickering problem when I enable both.


When ENB is off though, Crossfire and Skyrim seem to work more efficiently. Before I posted this reply I did a quick test. Using my Skyrim Revisted, all 2k texture mods. I used GPU-Z to monitor. My testing location was the heavy wilderness in the Rift (heavy on GPU), I used the same route both tests.


With Crossfire disabled:

99% GPU Load

~25-30 FPS

CTD quickly


With Crossfire enabled:

70-80% GPU Load

~50-60 FPS




For me, Crossfire and Dual Graphic solutions gives a great performance boost for a modded Skyrim, which is why we are all here right?

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Skyrim isn't Skyrim without enb. :) at least for me.


With SLI there comes flickering water and loss of Bethesda's adaptation/HDR.


It does improve performance but has some drawbacks. With ENB its just not worth the cash for 2nd card. Faster one card is better.


That being said its a godsend for things like BF3/MWO in eyefinity or 2560x1600 res.

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Apologies for necroing this thread... but I am in the same position of planning a gaming PC so wondered about 2xGPU and Skyrim. Has the ENB/2xGPU issue changed at all in the past few months?


Neovalen - I see you list a pair of 670GTX in SLI in your signature... have you changed your stance on Skyrim and SLI or do you disable one card for Skyrim?

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Apologies for necroing this thread... but I am in the same position of planning a gaming PC so wondered about 2xGPU and Skyrim. Has the ENB/2xGPU issue changed at all in the past few months?


Neovalen - I see you list a pair of 670GTX in SLI in your signature... have you changed your stance on Skyrim and SLI or do you disable one card for Skyrim?

Skyrim + SLI still has all the issues it always has. Water problems (flickering ripples randomly) and lack of HDR, etc. Still a decent framerate boost if you can deal with the issues. Only current feature of ENB that doesn't work with SLI is Temporal AA which is questionable anyways but Boris has pretty much said SLI/Crossfire not his focus so unlikely to get any optimization there. With ENB I can get pretty awesome framerates at 1920x1080 but it starts to really show issues (micro-stutter despite 40ish FPS) running 2560x1600.


In other words, I wouldn't go out of your way for SLI just for Skyrim. The engine doesn't handle it optimally and neither does ENB. I do however recommend SLI for pretty much any other game with a modern engine. I just played the BF4 Beta maxed out at 60fps/2560x1600 on my system, excited for the full version as the last driver version said it updated the profile even more.

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OK, thanks for the reply.


How intrusive do you find the issues? Do you feel like writing a brief guide to troubleshoot ENB 0.229+ and 2xGPU set-ups? Even if you just list examples of the key issues and any workarounds (if any)?


My situation is that I have a 2010 Mac Pro at 2560x1440 with a flashed and modded but not over clocked 7950 3Gb and I am finding the frame rate in SR:LE too low and the fans running flat out. It is actually the PCI bay fan on the MP that is the noise-maker and there is no option to replace it with something quieter as it is proprietary. I can't increase the cooling in the MP case and if I OC the 7950 then I really will hear the fans.


The new 2013 Mac Pro is out of my price range and is not really aimed at gamers away. Despite the fact that they will all ship with dual GPUs they are workstation cards, not consumer gaming cards (even if I could afford the model with 12Gb of VRAM)


I am therefore looking at a PC for future gaming. I am not in a position to buy at the moment so am really just re-educating myself about the state of gaming PCs since I have been out of the PC scene since 2007. At the moment I am still fully engrossed in Skyrim and will be looking at the next Fallout title.


I will be planning a substantial tower case with a hefty PSU with headroom for a second GPU in the future but based on the state of Skyrim which is my main game at the moment, it looks like I should start with a single GPU. If I was to buy today it would be an nVidia 780 but I hear that the AMD cards are round the corner as are the nVidia 7xx ti cards (as well as the Titan 2). Budget is not really an issue - I will just wait until I can do it right first time but I will need to be aware of the noise potential of a two-GPU setup.

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My input is similar for Skyrim especially ENB Use latest incarnation of ENBSeries v0.200+ giving you ENBoost function and if you want it for purely Skyrim Single Card bigger memory works best however if you want Multi game system with multiple Screens

2 cards always beats same single card and you will reap rewards in frame Rate


This is my System only 6 month old and though I might get different today thats because things move so fast before it's built something new would change choices made at purchase.

Scan 3XS Vengeance i7 3770K (4.6Ghz) Crossfired XFX (3GB) Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition DD Customised Gaming System

My New Elder Scrolls Modding Ice Breathing Dovah (Because it Runs Cooler than My Fridge - The 3 Monitors are the Fire Breathers)



Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 650D All Black Mid Tower Case (SATA Dock and Side Window without PSU)

Motherboard - Intel Z77 Chipset: ASUS Sabertooth Z77 Ivy Bridge Motherboard (Intel Z77 Socket 1155 DDR3, SATA III - 6Gb/s, SATA RAID, PCIe 3.0, DisplayPort/ HDMI, ATX)

CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5GHz Quad Core Ivy Bridge Processor Retail (Socket 1155, 5 GT/s DMI, 650MHz GPU, 8MB Smart Cache, 35x Ratio, 77W)

CPU Coolers: Corsair H100i Hydro Series High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler (LGA 115x, 1366, and 2011)

Overclocking CPU: Extreme Overclock - 4.6Ghz (Tuned to Absolute Safe Maximum - Performance Prioritised Over Acoustics and 3 Year Guarantee)

Memory - DDR3: Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB (2x8GB) Dual Channel DDR3 Memory with Corsair Link Connector - Requires Hydro CPU Cooler (PC3-14900, 1866MHz, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 10-11-10-30, DHX, XMP, 1.5V)

ATI Graphics: Two Crossfired XFX 3GB Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition DD (Double Dissipation) with Ghost Thermal and Hydrocell AMD/ATI Graphics Card (1050MHz GPU 28nm 2048 Cores 6000MHz GDDR5 2 x Mini -DisplayPort / DVI-I Dual / DVI-D Dual / HDMI + Free Games (1) and (2))

(1) Bioshock: Infinite and Crysis 3 and (2) Hitman: Absolution, Far Cry 3: The Lost Expeditions Edition and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Power Supply Unit: 1200W Corsair Professional Series AX1200 Full Modular (80 Plus Gold - 90% Efficiency EPS 12V, 1 x 120mm Fan, ATX v2.31 PSU)

Braided Power Supply Cables - Requires Modular PSU: Corsair Individually Sleeved Blue Modular Cable Upgrade Kit (for the Pro Series Gold AX1200 PSU's)

System OS SSD: 256GB 2.5†OCZ Vertex 4 SSD - Controller: Indilinx Everest 2 (SATA III 6Gb/s, MLC-Flash, Read 560MB/s, Write 510MB/s, 120k IOPS Max)

System Games SSD: 500GB 2.5†Samsung 840 Series Basic SSD - Controller: 3-Core MDX (SATA III 6Gb/s, Flash Memory Type: 21nm Toggle NAND, Read 530MB/s Write 330MB/s 97k IOPS)

Storage HDD - 2 Units of Total 4TB: 2TB 3.5†Western Digital Caviar Green Quiet (SATA 6Gb/s IntelliPower. 5900 RpM, 64MB Cache 8 ms)

Storage HDD: 3TB 3.5†Seagate Barracuda (SATA 6Gb/s 7200.14, 64MB Cache 4.16 ms)

Optical Drive: LiteOn 4×Blu-ray Reader and 8×DVD Reader (OEM Software Included PowerDVD)

Sound Card: ASUS Xonar D2X Ultra Fidelity 7.1 Hi-Def PCI-Express Sound Card (Dolby/DTS, Cakewalk and Ableton Live Music Production Software Bundled)

Lighting Effects: Sharkoon 4†Blue CCFL 2in1 Kit (x2 CCFL Tubes + 1 Dual Inverter + Adhesive Velcro Strips)

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit SP1 Operating System (Single, Retail)

TFT Monitor: 3 in Eyefinity 7680×1440 Dell UltraSharp 27†Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor with PremierColor (IPS A12 2560×1440, DisplayPort/2xDVI-D/HDMI, 5 Port USB Hub, 8-in-1 Card Reader, Fully Adjustable Stand)

Gaming Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K90 Performance MMO Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Cherry MX Red Mechanical Switches, 18 G Macro Keys, Dimensions: 502mm Length × 163mm Width × 24mm Height)

Gaming Mouse: Corsair Vengeance M65 Performance Laser Gaming Mouse - Gunmetal Black (8200 DpI, Selectable Response Time - Choose Between 1ms, 2ms, 4ms or 8ms, 8 Programmable Buttons, Dedicated Sniper Button)

Gaming Mouse Mat: Razer Goliathus Standard Control Fragged Gaming Pad (Heavily Textured Cloth Weave, Optimised for All Sensitivity Settings and Sensors, Dimensions: 355mm Width × 254mm Length × 3mm Height)

Gaming Mouse Mat: Razer Goliathus Extended Control Mouse Mat (Heavily Textured Cloth Weave, Optimised for All Sensitivity Settings and Sensors, Limited Edition Extended Design, Dimensions: 920mm Width × 294mm Length × 4.3mm Height)

Headphones: Corsair Vengeance 1500 Dolby 7.1 USB Gaming Headset with Microphone (7.1/5.1 Dolby Digital USB Sound Processing, 50mm Audio Drivers and High-Sensitivity Noise Cancelling Microphone, Large Diameter, Circumaural Earcup Design)




I've drawn paticular attention to Graphics Card and Monitors as to run Latest games at those big resolutions with full graphics settings is the only reason for having two cards.

If you plan a single 2560×1440 monitor one good card is enough for any game at full graphics

You will be wasting your money (the new 4K Monitors are I believe the one exception treat as same as 3 of 1920×1080 and you should be fine).

You might get by with a single Titan they had only just come on market and first batch of a new Generations top of range can be risky choice but here in England the Titans were £1000 ($1500) whereas I got my pair of 3GB HD7970's for £600 ($900) and my pair is better than one Titan and 3 monitors were £1500 ($2250).

Full PC cost £4500 ($6750) and I 'm not rich took 4 years to save for my Dovah. I understand components are about half the cost in USA these are good prices here for whats in my PC. and its Overclocked CPU and Graphics card are in 3 year guarantee as well as PC.


Repeating this as most important point

You will waste your money on second card unless you have 4K monitor or three screens, your good eg last generation top of range or this generation 2nd tier card will not break a sweat.

Metro Last Light for instance is beautiful game in 7680×1440 Eyefinity goodness and this is where both my cards start to sweat but its worth their hard work.

Bioshock Infinate Far Cry 3 are super and Crysis 3 is graphics heaven @ DanimalTwo multi-monitor is only exception to your challenge for any game

Modding Skyrim for all it's faults  is where my hearts at though.

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I have no need for multiple screens - I am aware that EyeFinity benefits from extra cards but it is not something I will be trying.


I am more concerned about the issues that arise when Skyrim with ENB finds itself with a second GPU and whether I can ignore them, get round them or am stuck with them. I would really like to see a video showcasing the issues and how to mitigate them.

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The water issue is the only one you'd really notice and it bugs sometimes but isn't overly in your face. Mitigation is to disable the 2nd card (negating any framerate benefits of course) so I just live with it.


is a video of the issue. For some reason mine is not quite as bad as that guy. Might be with ENB water fixes and water mods it's a lot less visible than shown in the video.
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