The concept of stuffing multiple video cards in a single computer in pursuit of boosting performance is not a new one. But these days, multi-GPU systems are usually left for top shelf gaming rigs or systems built specifically for cryptocurrency mining.
Unfortunately, a limitation common to both NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire is that GPUs from different generations or series are unable to be linked together to improve performance. The safest option has generally been to obtain two or more identical video cards to avoid running into compatibility issues but with multiplied cost. However, that might be about to change.
Just over a year ago, it was rumoured that DirectX 12 would include an API that would enable systems to leverage multiple video cards from both AMD and NVIDIA simultaneously. According to a new report, Stardock is working on software that will leverage this capability, to create a pool of GPUs from all of the video cards installed on a system. Stardock CEO Brad Wardell said:
“Basically, it’s multi-GPU. You can mix and match cards however you want.”
“One of the biggest problems with games is that a new video card comes out from AMD and Nvidia, and they’re like [expensive], and you have to make a call. I like my video card. I can play most games on it, and I don’t want to spend $800 on some new video card. But imagine, instead, hey, they’re having a sale [using my GTX 760 as an example]. Hey, they’re having a sale on an AMD 290 for $75. Wouldn’t it be cool to put this into your computer and double your performance,”
“You keep this in there [the 760]. You put this in there [the 290], and your games are twice as fast without doing anything else."
This could represent a great opportunity for users on a budget who want to be able to play more recent games but cannot afford to upgrade to the latest and greatest GPU solution. By allowing video cards of varying performance and price points to be combined together, users will be able to wring just a bit more out of of their hardware investment, while opening the door to new experiences, including VR.
Given that DirectX 12 is key to enabling this functionality, users who have not yet upgraded to Windows 10 will seemingly be unable to use Stardock's software solution. The company has yet to confirm anything in the way of system requirements, pricing or availability.