View Full Version : 3-Way SLI Heat Problems
03-23-2009, 03:57 AM
Yes--I finally did it. I found 3 GTX 280s for $200 a piece on craigslist and decided to make use out of my 3 PCI-e2.0 full x16 lanes on my 790i.
I can safely say that I'm having no problems playing games...Or actually doing anything. The only thing it doesn't do for me is get me laid. But I've got a wife, so I'm set. It is even good enough to cook my food.
And therein lies the problem. This thing produces waHAAY more heat than I ever thought it would. I can feel waves of it coming out from under my desk. I have excellent case ventilation, but that isn't helping keep my house cool. This is going to drive my cooling bill through the roof. Oh, plus--it's very uncomfortable...
And since I don't intend to do 3D renders or play Crysis at 80+ FPS 1920x1200 FSAA 4X Enthusiast (yes, a little bragging...I have to feel good about spending $600 some way, right?) 24 hours/day, I'd like to learn of a way to disable the other 2 GPUs one way or another.
Anyone have suggestions on how to lower the thermal output of these guys? Thanks in advance--I know you guys have an answer....Radiator?
Oh--the bios doesn't have any options that will help--I poked around. I tried to find something in the Nvidia CPL, but nothing stood out. Apparently not that many people are crazy enough to think it reasonable to run 3 280s at the same time (or any other card for that matter).
On a sidebar--haven't seen any microstuttering thus far. I'm absolutely floored by the performance. I threw in 3 Intel x-25e SSDs and this machine flies (got a heck of a deal on them too). I'm booting Server 2008 in under 15 seconds FULLY, 126 processes.
03-23-2009, 10:29 AM
First of all , congratulations ! 200 USD per card is well... CHEAP , they were released at over 600 USD at first .
They should all downclock themselves by a LOT when idling by default , but I'm not sure if you can disable two of the three GPUs completely .
The only solution I can think of , that would actually work is watercooling .
And you haven't seen microstuttering , because no game will run a low enough framerate for you to notice microstuttering with that setup .
03-23-2009, 08:45 PM
I couldn't pass it up when I found them for that price, because yes--I remember the launch point per card. It was depressing.
They definitely idle back quite a bit, but it still produces so dang much heat. I considered water cooling, but it's such a pain, and I've already invested quite a bit of dough into making this air-cooled and silent. Besides, even with water cooling, the radiator has to drop the heat. Unbelievable amounts of heat.
03-24-2009, 01:02 AM
Then I'm stumped , beacuse I don't think you can disable two of the three cards when idling... unless ofcourse you just pull them out of the PC :P .
Some sort of active case cooling solution? But that doesn't help your cooling bills any... Ehh, don't listen to me drool...
What kind of case do you have?
03-24-2009, 04:34 AM
Yes--well, don't feel too bad--I was stumped long before you. That's why I posted. Couldn't find/think of anything...outside of pulling out my newly purchased babies out of the case...
RK, I wonder what the smallest possible active cooling unit solution would be? They need to come out with tiny AC units.
03-24-2009, 11:58 AM
I just came up with a fairly stupid idea... get watercooling and put the waterpump outside of the window.. a friend of mine did that , but he did that only temporarily .
03-24-2009, 06:19 PM
That's hilarious! If my office wasn't in the center of the house, I'd totally do that just for kicks. I attached a photo just for those among you who drool over this sort of thing.
RK--It's a CoolerMaster Stacker case. Sorry guys, for the lack of LEDs... Just don't go into that sort of thing.
03-25-2009, 12:24 PM
I can see that the case is poorly ventilated ... virtually no fans at all attached to it .. no seriously , DAMN that looks like fun ... 4 vents on the side panel .
03-25-2009, 11:53 PM
...And that's only half of the fans. 1 in the front, 1 in the back, 1 in the top.
Ventilation isn't my problem--heat is. My right side stays quite warm.
I'm not sure whether I had more fun building it, or playing with it. The best part is, those fans are totally silent. The only thing I can hear is the clickity-click of my mouse and keyboard. When it isn't being drowned out by my M-Audio Bx5a's--which I heartily recommend to anyone who is sound conscious but on a budget.
03-26-2009, 10:54 PM
Well not much you can do about the heat... unless you want to build some weird 24/7 LN cooling system , but that's well.. impossible .
You could spend a load of money and get the room really well ventilated , though .
Just an idea, but would it be possible to duct your AC into your case? Lower the ambient case temps, lower the output temps.
You ever tear apart a mini-fridge? Run the cooling elements in front of the intake fans?
03-27-2009, 02:44 PM
You know, I have a mini-fridge that I haven't been using. Perhaps tearing it apart and trying what you're suggesting wouldn't hurt. It's insane--but it might work, and having 3 of these cards doesn't exactly land in favor of my sanity, anyway.
Be careful if you do, Freon is nasty shit.
04-01-2009, 07:53 PM
I have these kind of problems everyday at work :p
you should try putting 2 of the opposite fans on the left side to blow outside
On the right side you can create something very cheap to suit you.
take a piece of long wide tube (diameter 15cm) then attach a fan on the end of the tube and let it blow to the outside, that way it will pull the air outside.
you can put that side out the window or up the attic or something.
hope this helps!
04-05-2009, 07:58 PM
That's also a good idea. I have thought about ducting it outward. What I've done in the time being is update the top fan to the most powerful air mover I could--a 110cfm Scythe. It's moving the hot air out of the case so rapidly that it disperses and prevents the massive wave of hot spots I was before. I'll see if ducting is necessary.
04-09-2009, 01:10 AM
OT:"Why in hell do you need 3 video cards??? (my wife)
"Because of all of the 3D Graphics rendering I'm intending to do..." (Me--through my teeth, without making eye contact)
That = funny!
04-10-2009, 09:05 AM
Well...Crysis renders in 3D... :)
04-10-2009, 01:38 PM
Speaking of Crysis , could you run some benchmarks ? I'd like to see how it runs on your setup . At Very High settings obviously .
04-11-2009, 05:58 AM
Sure. I'm curious to see myself. I already played through Warhead without a single fps hitch. WITH FSAA 4x. I'll post as soon as I have the time to do it. I should run it now to compare with when I get my 8GB of RAM back. Had to RMA the first set because it quit after two weeks. Now I'm running 2GB@1333, so there's no OC. Might be a good idea to see how more RAM, at higher speed, with OC improves performance in this game.
04-11-2009, 10:21 PM
Close to no performance difference... plus 8 GB is way too much .
You would see a performance difference in winrar and things like that , but almost certainly not in games .
04-13-2009, 05:23 PM
You know the best part about 8GB of RAM? It installed Crysis (fresh, new install) in 1.5 minutes flat. Used 90% of the RAM during the install.
04-13-2009, 11:29 PM
Yeah no kidding, RK.
Allright, so it seems the only thing impressive about my system when it comes to Crysis is the install time. I don't get it--I know something is wrong though. That's where this thread begins to shine as a GPUReview Forum example...
It's like my fps is capped (and not by v-sync). All settings turned up to max, excluding FSAA, and I get like 20fps average.....I was getting this with my 8800GTs. WTF. Turn on FSAA all the way up to 16x--still 20fps. SWTF. Turn to 16xQ, and it dips to 17fps. Change detail level to high, all FSAA off, and I get 22fps. Sweeeeeeeeet. WTF, over?
Checked to see if it's CPU--nope--38% utilized. Is the system only using one core? Nope, checked that. Switched to Alternate Frame Rendering, and to Split-Frame Rendering. No difference.
Now I'm lost.
04-13-2009, 11:33 PM
Seems Crysis doesn't take kindly to your SLi setup... 3-way SLi has always been a hassle , and I'm not supprised , that you get some anomalies .
Try updating or reinstalling your drivers . Fresh windows right ?
Take one card out , and see if the problem continues .
And does it happen in other games aswell ?
One more question - when you turn AA up , does it actually switch on too ? Because people have had problems with it and forced AA from the control panel doesn't seem to work , aside from adaptive AA .
04-14-2009, 01:50 AM
The drivers are in a fresh windows install--latest from nvidia. No such problems in any other game. I get over 100fps in every game I've tried. I'm not forcing from the control panel--I'm setting this from the in-game menu. I'll try removing/reinstalling drivers.
04-14-2009, 02:18 AM
By the way is Crysis patched ?
And doesn't it go over 20 FPS at all ? Or is 20 FPS just the average ?
Oh and first and foremost , have you tried reinstalling the game itself ? Didn't think of asking about that before >.> .
04-14-2009, 02:38 AM
There is minimal change in framerate. It stays between 16 and 23, no matter what I change. Even down to High settings. Doesn't make sense. High settings, no FSAA all the way to Very High settings, 16xFSAA, minimal change?
04-14-2009, 02:39 AM
I'll try using the original .exe. I'd used a no-DVD version. It's patched to 1.2
04-17-2009, 11:48 AM
Well, reinstalling the game didn't work.
This is taking me longer than I'd like, since I've been busy with porting a 32-bit only .msi for a software company to work in Server 2008. Money comes before funny.
I'll try removing a card when I get the chance, then I'll repost. This is annoying.
Another thing that raised an eyebrow...I can't install the .50 drivers (just came out a week ago). The system BSODs with the applicable driver error whenever I try it.
04-17-2009, 12:24 PM
That's strange .. did you properly remove the old drivers before installing the new ones ? Other than that , I can't think of anything .
05-12-2009, 11:05 PM
Seems to be behaving better in Windows 7. I wonder if it was just a glitch with the way Vista x64 installed? DX10 issue? I don't know.
Did you try Crysis on lowest settings? Crysis Warhead, Crysis Wars, or just Crysis?
I just took a look at this thread and thought I'd ask...
You still having that heat problem dude?
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