Monday, September 21st 2020

NVIDIA Will Stop Creating SLI Driver Profiles After January 2021

NVIDIA has been limiting SLI support recently with only the RTX 3090 featuring support for the feature and even then only through modern APIs such as DirectX 12 and Vulkan meaning that games must explicitly support SLI to work. NVIDIA will no longer be adding new SLI driver profiles on RTX 20 Series and earlier GPUs starting on January 1st, 2021. The only way to use SLI going forward will be through native game integrations which NVIDIA will focus on helping developers provide. NVIDIA also noted that various DirectX 12 and Vulkan games already feature native integrations such as; Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Civilization VI, Sniper Elite 4, Gears of War 4, and Red Dead Redemption 2. Creative and other non-gaming applications that support multi-GPU acceleration will continue to function across all supported GPUs.
Source: NVIDIA
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36 Comments on NVIDIA Will Stop Creating SLI Driver Profiles After January 2021

#1
Vayra86
"But all muh games still work, SLI is fine"

Mhm
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#2
LiquidTrance
Imo, They've been trying to phase it out for while. I think it is because users would have less incentive to buy new cards and money would be spent on the secondary market to buy an older matching gpu to what they already had once they wanted to increase frames. My 2 cents.
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#4
silentbogo
That was inevitable. DX12 has explicit multi-gpu, Vulkan - pretty much the same (e.g. "want multi-gpu support - make it yourself"), and most older DX9/10/11 games that do have SLI support won't get any better anyways at this point.
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#6
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
Now if only we could Push more developers to use DX12
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#7
Assimilator
LiquidTrance
Imo, They've been trying to phase it out for while. I think it is because users would have less incentive to buy new cards and money would be spent on the secondary market to buy an older matching gpu to what they already had once they wanted to increase frames. My 2 cents.
When SLI was originated, game engine renders were relatively simple beasts that were very amenable to having their workload split between two or more GPUs. Today, with so many effects and interdependencies, SLI quite simply doesn't make sense in a majority of cases. Given this complexity, having NVIDIA be responsible for multi-GPU is ridiculous, since they know far less about the game engine than the game's developers. Also, it's a large time and cost investment for NVIDIA to create and test SLI profiles, and keep them updated every time the developer updates their game in a way that breaks an existing profile.

Looking to the future, the way that ray-tracing works mostly precludes multi-GPU, and that's the future NVIDIA is moving the industry towards. I say "mostly" because it's of course possible to render the same ray-traced scene in parallel on different GPUs - theoretically you could have different effects considered by each GPU, and have the end result composited together to create the rasterised image - but that again would almost certainly be something that a particular game engine would have to have support for, which ties back into explicit, not implicit, multi-GPU.
FreedomEclipse
Now if only we could Push more developers to use DX12
If they want multi-GPU, they'll be forced to do so. And since DX11 no longer guarantees a free SLI profile from NVIDIA, there's one less reason for devs to stay with the older technology.
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#9
bug
NVIDIA has been limiting SLI support recently with only the RTX 3090 featuring support for the feature and even then only through modern APIs such as DirectX 12 and Vulkan meaning that games must explicitly support SLI to work.
Afaik, explicit mGPU in DX12/Vulkan is available for all cards, that's not a 3090 exclusive feature.
I think SLI and explicit mGPU got mixedup here.
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#11
Paganstomp
More signs forcing you to go gaming on console or something similar. It's coming. Whether you like it or not.
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#12
LiquidTrance
Assimilator
When SLI was originated, game engine renders were relatively simple beasts that were very amenable to having their workload split between two or more GPUs. Today, with so many effects and interdependencies, SLI quite simply doesn't make sense in a majority of cases. Given this complexity, having NVIDIA be responsible for multi-GPU is ridiculous, since they know far less about the game engine than the game's developers. Also, it's a large time and cost investment for NVIDIA to create and test SLI profiles, and keep them updated every time the developer updates their game in a way that breaks an existing profile.

Looking to the future, the way that ray-tracing works mostly precludes multi-GPU, and that's the future NVIDIA is moving the industry towards. I say "mostly" because it's of course possible to render the same ray-traced scene in parallel on different GPUs - theoretically you could have different effects considered by each GPU, and have the end result composited together to create the rasterised image - but that again would almost certainly be something that a particular game engine would have to have support for, which ties back into explicit, not implicit, multi-GPU.



If they want multi-GPU, they'll be forced to do so. And since DX11 no longer guarantees a free SLI profile from NVIDIA, there's one less reason for devs to stay with the older technology.
SLI makes more sense now than ever, higher resolution requires more memory, plus 2 gpus=more frames, much needed for 4k or 5k res, sli/nvlink is the solution. But now nvidia is cramming a ton of memory in these new gpus and making them more powerful, which is GREAT move on their part. We finally have a card that can actually fully support 1080p 240hz. Can't wait to see what games start to look like over the next 5 years.
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#13
Assimilator
LiquidTrance
SLI makes more sense now than ever, higher resolution requires more memory, plus 2 gpus=more frames, much needed for 4k or 5k res, sli/nvlink is the solution. But now nvidia is cramming a ton of memory in these new gpus and making them more powerful, which is GREAT move on their part. We finally have a card that can actually fully support 1080p 240hz. Can't wait to see what games start to look like over the next 5 years.
You aren't reading what I'm writing. SLI is literally not possible in many games, and this will only get more common as newer engines' rendering pipelines continue to grow in complexity. Further, consoles only having a single GPU disincentivises developers from writing engines that are amenable to multi-GPU. To put it bluntly, apart from bragging rights or tech demoes, there's zero economic incentive to code mGPU support into your engine.
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#14
LiquidTrance
Assimilator
You aren't reading what I'm writing. SLI is literally not possible in many games, and this will only get more common as newer engines' rendering pipelines continue to grow in complexity. Further, consoles only having a single GPU disincentivises developers from writing engines that are amenable to multi-GPU. To put it bluntly, apart from bragging rights or tech demoes, there's zero economic incentive to code mGPU support into your engine.
Have you messed around with nvidia inspecter at all? Some of those "sli not possible in many games" actually is. It sounds like developers don't want to adapt or put the effort in and the consumer gets an option taken away from them. Also what I said earlier in the thread about nvidia being able to control where the cash goes, instead of someone buying a secondary market gpu from a person to pair with a gpu they already have when games get a bit more demanding as time goes by(frame wise, and assuming decent enough memory already), chances are now that nvidia or a partner will get that money from the consumer.
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#15
CGi-Quality
Paganstomp
More signs forcing you to go gaming on console or something similar. It's coming. Whether you like it or not.
How does this implicate anything like that?
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#16
CrAsHnBuRnXp
Paganstomp
More signs forcing you to go gaming on console or something similar. It's coming. Whether you like it or not.
What? You cant be serious...:confused:
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#17
Assimilator
LiquidTrance
Have you messed around with nvidia inspecter at all? Some of those "sli not possible in many games" actually is.
Yes. Because they are older games. Where SLI works well enough for some people, but not others, that NVIDIA decided against putting out a SLI profile that would break half of users. Please don't attempt use your sample size of 1 to argue against facts regarding multi-GPU and game engines.
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#18
CandymanGR
LiquidTrance
SLI makes more sense now than ever, higher resolution requires more memory
Video Memory doesn't add up in multigpu environment, if that is what you mean.
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#19
LiquidTrance
Assimilator
Yes. Because they are older games. Where SLI works well enough for some people, but not others, that NVIDIA decided against putting out a SLI profile that would break half of users. Please don't attempt use your sample size of 1 to argue against facts regarding multi-GPU and game engines.
I don't recall providing a sample size in any of my previous posts. Consistency was an issue for SOME games, but that just means nvidia needed to spend more time developing the drivers. For those who were a bit tech savvy, they could create their own profile using nvidia inspector. I created my own SLI profiles that utilized both gpus for mass effect:andromeda and starcraft 2, just to give you a sample size of two to work with ;P
CandymanGR
Video Memory doesn't add up in multigpu environment, if that is what you mean.
It does with Nvlink. Which is one reason why I am so surprised that nvidia is making this call. Consumers just bought nvlink gpus within the last 18 months and now nvidia wants to get rid of SLI support with 15 months. I think they should have given consumers 5 years out and not offer any SLI on any new products coming out, that way if for example if someone had bought into two 2070 supers etc in nvlink/sli, they'd at least get 5 years of drivers.
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#20
Spencer LeBlanc
F
I always wanted to try SLI/Crossfire. Since it was announced in 2004.
Alas I was never able to afford it since its inception.

I won't really miss it, but it did serve for good entertainment on Tech channels that had GPU's to spare.
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#21
Assimilator
LiquidTrance
It does with Nvlink.
Only in applications that explicitly support it. Which, guess what, is not most games. And also not something that an SLI profile can fix.
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#22
Bubster
Nvidia is forcing people to upgrade and buy the new ampere cards at hefty prices...only to shock them the year after (like the 2080 TI victims)
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#23
LiquidTrance
Assimilator
Only in applications that explicitly support it. Which, guess what, is not most games. And also not something that an SLI profile can fix.
So it has use cases and nvidia is taking it away in 2021. Just to reiterate my point, consumers bought into it and nvidia seems to be cutting support for it REALLY EARLY. There is no downplaying it or reshaping the narrative, It is what it is. Sucks though. They really should have set a date further back, only giving people who spent thousands on hardware 2, MAYBE 3 years tops is kind of bullox. Btw, it sounds like you had a bad morning or something, getting vibes from you like you are trying to pick a fight online with someone you disagree with. Are you ok? If someone pissed on your cornflakes this morning, i could get you another bowl, frosted flakes if you want, just me know and i'll make it happen.

Lets hope nvidia really steps it up with developers to keep it going.
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#24
Mysteoa
If they do really help devs to support SLi in DX12 or Vulcan, does this also mean that it will support Crossfire also. I don't expect it will work well without AMDs help, but there will be the option. Or do you think Nvidia will force devs to exclude the AMD GPUs from it.
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#25
silentbogo
LiquidTrance
So it has use cases and nvidia is taking it away in 2021.
I think people always get confused about "end of support" notifications. NVidia ain't taking anything away, since all the games that had SLI support will continue to have SLI support. What Nvidia did, is simply give a heads-up that there will be no new SLI profiles on per-game basis (e.g. they won't be wasting time on optimizing SLI perf for each specific game individually, and put it all on shoulders of lazy game devs that should be doing it in the first place). That was the case pretty much for the past 3-4 years (e.g. since DX12 finally started to pickup)... now it simply became official.

For the end-user it means.... khm... nothing.
For game developers it means 3 options:
1) Not to implement SLI support
2) Use UE4 or any other sli-capable engine
3) Move on to DX12/Vulkan and do explicit multi-GPU instead
...so, once again, the same thing as 2, 3 or 4 years ago.

IMHO, nothing is going to change from technical perspective - NVidia gave up on the old SLI implementation a long time ago.
DX12 is over 5 years old right now, Vulkan is formally a bit younger. Neither supports SLI or CF, but both can do mGPU just fine without proprietary interconnects and platform-restricted APIs.
Also, multi-GPU ≠ SLI... so the "hypothetical" end of one barely translates to the end of the other.
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