I never considered myself a hardcore gamer until I started modding Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Seriously, if you want the following details as shown in the screenshots below, you definitely need some serious juice in your Chassis. The fact that I installed Skyrim over 20 times, modded it 40 times and tested different versions of the ENB, I agree that each modification brings something worth exploring to the gamers.
What made me buy an EVGA GeForce 760 GTX SC (Super clocked Edition) 2 GB?
Of course, not all modders and tweakers are hardcore or insane enough to buy another Graphics card the same day, they got disappointed in their PCs frame rate performance. The story goes that I had just finished installing Kinematic’s ENB modification and presets to my Skyrim directory. The size was already staggering over 40GB.
Another In Game Screenshot after SLI – Elder Scrolls Skyrim Living Lights Mod
Kinematic series is not made for stability or balance; it offers breath taking visuals at the cost of serious resource consumption. At the time of running this mod for the first time, I was getting a whopping 4 – 10 FPS. It was a complete WTF moment for me. DO bear in mind that I already had a GTX 760 EVGA installed at my end; therefore, at that very morning I decided to add another member of the family inside the Chassis.
Here’s my current system Rig after SLI overhaul:
GPU: Nvidia EVGA GTX 760 (2 Way SLI X 1 Super Clocked and 1 Normal Version)
Motherboard: Asus Maximus Formula 5
PSU: CM GX Bronze 750
CPU: Intel i53570K 3.40 GHZ
RAM: Kingston 6GB 1333 MHz
Casing: CM Storm
HDD Space: 2.5 TB
I will talk more about Skyrim and benchmarks later in this article. But first, let’s see how adding an extra Super Clocked Edition EVGA 760 GTX to a normal EVGA 760 GTX felt like. I do have to say that the experience has been beyond awesome so far. Read on…
2 Is Better than 1 – My observations regarding EVGA GTX 760 SC + Normal Edition (2 Gb Each) SLI:
- Both cards consumed optimal power. Probably because of the GX 750W CoolerMaster performance.
- The temperature spiked up during benchmark tests. Metro Last Light also causes an increase in temperatures during benchmarking. However, the cards did not make any noise during few hours of intensive gameplay.
The interesting theory about benchmarking 2 Way GTX 760 SLI is that I was getting 40 – 42 FPS during the entire show. However, the in game performance at maxed out details (1920 X 1080p resolution and 4X SSAO) had no impact on frame rate. On the average I was getting 60 FPS with ultra realistic details.
- Compared to AMD cards, both GTX 760 EVGA cards are offering great price factor.
- The Super Clocked Edition is already overclocked by EVGA for optimal performance. Therefore, by default, you are chipping in for a boost without the need to going through extra setups or Nvidia Inspector program.
The Slight Confusion about Superclocked and Normal GTX 760 SLI:
I already had a normal 2 GB EVGA GTX 760; so I was hoping to get the same card from the retailer. However, I was informed that they ran out of stock and the Super Clocked (SC 2 GB) version of the same GPU was available. I was skeptic, thinking how 2 different cards can be compatible in SLI considering that one of them is already clocked and the other one isn’t.
These Screenshots are from Kountervibe Kinematic Author – Skyrim Nexus
The retailer assured me that both cards will run fine. “It is the card model which matters. If you are using GTX 760 normal edition and a Super Clocked version for SLI, they’ll both work.” He also guaranteed that he will take the SC card back with a 100% refund policy – no questions asked. I didn’t have anything to lose, did I?
Unboxing and First time SLI Installation– GTX 760 EVGA Super Clocked:
The unboxing process was a delightful experience. I was beaming throughout the process, until the charm wore off when I noticed that either one of the cards had an SLI bridge cable. Frantically, I looked through the box contents of my old card and the new one, thinking that EVGA may have secretly tucked the SLI bridge cable somewhere behind a cardboard flap or inside the ‘Game of Pwns’ life sized poster.
Nope, it wasn’t there.
Luckily, the Asus Maximus 5 Formula motherboard comes with a SLI Bridge cable. It is provided by default, in case you ever consider upgrading the GPU setup to 2 way SLI. I tore open the small packet from the motherboard’s box, and there it was; the Republic of Gamers SLI Cable! Viola, problem solved.
This Metal Sticker is Only Included in the SC Edition of EVGA GTX 760
Another thing which I almost forgot to mention is that both Super Clocked and EVGA Normal 2 GB GTX 760s come with almost identical accessories. There is one exception though; the SC Edition has a metallic EVGA Sticker. On the contrary, this metal sticker was not there in the normal edition GPU packaging.
Right now, I have a pair of each accessory; two ‘Game of Pwns’ posters and 2 of everything from both boxes. The Wrench Stickers are also 4 now, since 2 of them come with each brand new purchase of these powerful GPUs.
The installation process was hassle free. Since the CoolerMaster GX Bronze 750W PSU has been designed to support 2 Way SLI (only), I just had to connect the last pair of cables to the second card. The fitting part was a little hectic because the CM Storm casing is a bit small for my current rig. I was initially thinking of installing the second card in the third PCIe slot, but the PSU was already taking up that space.
My SLI Performance for both EVGA GTX 760: Super Clocked + Normal Edition (2 GB Each):
I ran three different tests. By default, the Valley benchmark test setup comes in the EVGA GTX 760 card installation CD ROM. This test was not intensive and I didn’t feel like posting its stats. Take my word; if you are running this test in SLI mode, the frame rate will be at an astounding 100 – 180 FPS rate. You don’t have to install this benchmark software.
Moving on to Heaven, you can see my Average FPS (73 – 74+) and max FPS 100+. Don’t worry about the minimum FPS factor because you will hardly notice any lags during the entire benchmark. All details were maxed out, with tessellation set to maximum size and area before running the Heaven GPU assessment software.
Moving on to 3D Mark Fire Strike/ Fire Fight test, both cards were completely drained. I also ran their mid stream test; don’t remember its name right now (probably Cloud). Details of those tests are pasted below for your ready reference.
Some sample test scores are also appended below:
3DMark 11 Scores
GTX 760 —- vs. —- GTX 650 Ti
Graphics: 8582 ———— 5099
Physics : 7114 ———— 6935
Combined: 7090 ———— 4100
Avg. fps: 40 ———— 24
So how was Skyrim on a 2 Way SLI (GTX 760) Setup?
I have disabled the Frame Rate limit from the ini files. Skyrim is running perfectly normal. The frame rates are averaging at 60. I also went through the pains of making sure that SLI was enabled:
- Right click at desktop screen.
- Go to NVidia Control Panel.
- Select 3D Settings
- Add TESV.Exe and SKSE.Exe (you’ll have to browse for this particular file).
- Make sure that SLI is enabled by individually checking both apps.
- You can also set the ‘Frame Rate Rendering to 2’ for both TESV and SKSE exes, but it will drop your frame rate to 24 FPS.
Last night, I was looking through Skyrim SLI forums and the guys said that Frame Rate Rendering has to be set to “2” for maximum performance. Nope, it didn’t work for me. Instead of getting maximum performance, my frame rate was limited to 20 – 24 in game.
This is what my Metro Last Light Looks like after SLI Setup
I am using Kinematic Kountervibe 0.233 ENB Skyrim mod (The Living Lights), at ultra settings. I have also combined the “Effects.txt” file from Kinematic’s 0.168 Full Version with his 0.233 release for maximum results. DoF (Depth of Field) files were taken from Kountervibe 0.233 “Optionals” folder.
Needless to say, Skyrim is a marvel and a beauty to look at. By the way, if you are looking to properly mod Skyrim whether in 2 Way SLI, or with a single GPU installed in your system, PLEASE email the head editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are both using over 60 different plugins and have not run into any conflicts.
Climates of Tamriel / Tameriel and Realistic Lightning Overhaul patches have been disabled thought. For our complete list of mods and detailed setup personalized for your PC only, you can send the email anytime.
SkyrimPref.ini, Skyrim.ini and RenderInfo.txt are not being used from the Kinematic Kountervibe K ENB The Living Lights folder. He has maxed out those settings according to his System rig, so they never work 100% for people who simply download and paste them over their original files.
Performance in other Games: EVGA GTX 760 SC + GTX 760 Normal Edition:
- Battlefield 4 – Running at ultra settings with SSAO enabled. No performance issues or whatsoever noted. The frame rate is averaging at 55 -60 FPS.
- Metro Last Light – Running at ultra settings with SSAO set to 4X, vertical synch On and 1920 X 1080 resolution.
- Bioshock Infinite – Please don’t ask; it is already running at probably 200 FPS at all settings maxed out.
Any Heat, Noise or Power Issues Encountered:
This is my 3rd day with the brand new SLI setup. I have not experienced any heat issues or GPU fan noise issues. Part of the reason is that you have to use really good power supply unit. If you are thinking of using molar extensions and bypassing default connections etc. I will not recommend this setup.
Get a good power supply. Cooler Master’s GX 750W Bronze was made for 2 Way SLI and it works extremely well with these cards. If you are considering 3 Way SLI or 3 Way Cross Fire, go for another PSU. A 1000W or 1200W Xigmatec Power Supply, in your case, would be awesome.
My PSU is connected to 4 hard drives, 1 DVD ROM, 2 GPUs (SLI Setup), Chassis fans and God knows what else. Still I have not seen any power issues. There can be temperature issues, considering that I have clogged the chassis with all kinds of extremities. I am already aware of spacing issue, and in talks with a retailer for a CM HAF Series chassis.
Conclusion – To SLI or to Oblivion with it!
Definitely SLI; once you have tasted GPU performance in SLI mode, you will never go back. There are some stutter issues with some games, but such games are never optimized for SLI. Even Skyrim is not optimized for 4 Core GPU processes, which is why you have to go through various mods and customization to make sure that everything is running the new way.
The clock speed of cards, memory configuration and a solid 1080p is well worth your investment on 2 EVGA GeForce GTX 760s. Good luck and happy hunting.