How to Set Up NVIDIA SLI

Like Crossfire, Nvidia – Scalable Link Interface (SLI) forces two graphics cards to run simultaneously on the same PC. The principle of operation of the system is simple – the more video cards are connected, the less the load on each of them. There are 3 algorithms in total:

  1.  SLI. Shares the anti-aliasing load between the cards and produces the highest quality image at the output.
  2. AFR. Here, the frames are arranged in a kind of queue, where one card, for example, is responsible for even frames, and the second for odd ones. At the output, again, we get a full-fledged image.
  3. SFR. This is where the power split comes in. For example, if you use two video cards, then one will process, say, the left side of the screen, and the second right. Then all this is combined into the final frame.

Let’s say right away that although there will be an increase in capacity, one should not expect miracles. First, the computer will still only use RAM from one video card. The reason for this is simple – it is important that all graphics cards receive the same information at the same time.

Secondly, one of them is always the main one. That is, if you have several monitors, then it will not work so that one works with one graphics card, the second with the second. The work is always carried out with the same component, it’s just that the second video card will share resources to maintain efficient operation.

We also note that trying to save money on buying two cheap video cards instead of buying one expensive one is a controversial decision. Although in general it is working, but component manufacturers are also aware of this chip.


A good example is that it would be much more profitable to buy two GTX 1060s so as not to spend money on one GTX 1080, but Nvidia foresaw this and generally removed support for SLI from this generation of video cards.

Otherwise, MultiGPU can really improve PC performance significantly. It will be useful not only for gamers, but also for designers, 3D modelers, video editors, and so on.

The only important thing to understand is that not every game supports the technology presented above. For example, among the popular games with SLI support are:

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Escape From Tarkov
  • The Outer Worlds
  • Deliver Us the Moon
  • Hunt: Showdown
  • F1 2019
  • Quake 2 RTX
  • Tropico 6
  • Anthem
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  • GRIP Combat Racing
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Strange Brigade
  • Jurassic World Evolution
  • Far Cry 5
  • Warhammer: Vermintide 2
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Total War: Warhammer 2
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Project Cars 2
  • Destiny 2
  • ARK: Survival Evolved
  • Dirt 4

How to set up SLI

First of all, make sure that your PC components support multiple video cards. To do this, the motherboard must have several PCI-Express slots, respectively, on which video cards can be placed.

You will need a powerful power supply. It must provide enough voltage and have the right number of PCIe slots to support the graphics cards.

Well, do not forget about the cooling system.

If there are no problems with this, then move on and study the video card market. It is important to purchase models that support SLI technology. The list of requirements is as follows:

  1. Using the same GPUs on all cards.
  2. Be sure to match the amount of video memory. With some tricks, you can include models with different amounts of memory, but this is fraught with technical problems and is not recommended.
  3. It is not necessary, but it is much better to purchase components of the same type from the same manufacturer. This way you will definitely avoid compatibility issues.

Setting up SLI Nvidia

First of all, perform the physical configuration of the system and install two video cards on the motherboard. Usually, along with such components that support SLI, there is a special bridge. Mount it on top of the graphics cards so they can communicate directly with each other. If you wish, you can do without a bridge, and then the exchange of resources occurs through the motherboard, but with much less efficiency.

When you start your computer, new hardware should be detected and NVIDIA Installer should offer to update the drivers for it.NVIDIA INSTALLER

Otherwise, you can do it yourself through the official website of the company. As soon as you figure out the drivers, right-click on the desktop and select “NVIDIA Control Panel”. There you need to find and click on “Configure SLI, PhysX”.NVIDIA SLI control panel

Click on “Maximum 3D Performance” and “Apply”. For some time, the settings will be applied, the PC may freeze and the monitor screen will flicker. After the end of the procedure, the system will offer to save the current settings, confirm this.

Here, we note that the menu above may not contain the necessary item and, most likely, in this case, the matter is in connecting one of the video cards to the computer. Either it was generally unable to connect through the motherboard, or the system does not see it. You can check this through the “Device Manager”. If you notice the problem, then it is worth solving it either by reinstalling the drivers or by troubleshooting the graphics card.

Complete Installation

If everything is fine, then in the menu, look for the section “Change 3D image settings”, there you find “SLI rendering mode”.SLI rendering mode

By default, there will be an option with one graphics card. The user needs to select “Alternative processing 2” and then SLI will turn on immediately for all possible applications.

In the event that one of them does not have preliminary settings for working with technology, then you can install them individually. To do this, select “Application Settings”, “SLI Performance Mode” and independently configure everything you need.

This completes the Nvidia SLI setup and all that remains is to test the technology. The easiest way to do this is by running some demanding game, but before that, in the Nvidia control panel, we recommend that you open “3D Settings” and select “Display SLI operation indicator” there.

This very indicator will appear on the left side of the screen and it will change when you launch demanding applications. If as they work, the bar becomes higher, then everything is working correctly.

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