So, if you have the dollars where do you put your money? - Well, surprisingly the best setup here is the three-GPU configuration that a Tri-SLI GTX 285 card offers. For the most part the HD 4870 X2 manages to suck the most power while offering the worst performance in today's most intensive games (with only a few exceptions being seen).
I suppose the real question is why would you buy Quad SLI over Tri-SLI? - For starters, a single GTX 295 is faster than a GTX 285, so in the event that you want to start with baby steps and take the SLI / Tri-SLI / Quad SLI leaps later down the track, you're going to get better performance today.
As weird as it sounds, the four-GPU setup that utilizes two GTX 295s is actually also cheaper than purchasing a three GPU configuration that uses three GTX 285s. The cheapest GTX 295 on offer over at Newegg is a BFG Tech card and comes in at 499.99 USD, whilst a BFG Tech GTX 285 will cost you 379.99. The Quad SLI setup also manages to use less power and it also doesn't run as hot. There's no denying the Quad SLI setup is awesome, but the Tri-SLI GTX 285 one is really the fastest VGA setup to date.
While some people might be upset that we're ultimately comparing new generation cards like the GTX 285 and GTX 295 to what would be considered a generation behind card like the HD 4870 X2, the only people you can really blame are ATI. NVIDIA were never going to lay on their back and let ATI hold the performance crown; ATI know this and really should've had a card ready to combat these two new setups. Really, with all the leaked information that get's out it surely wouldn't be hard to figure out what kind of performance the NVIDIA cards were going to offer.
At the moment we're really at an excellent place for gamers; I spoke about how people mention HD, Full HD and its interpretation into games with talk of Full HD gaming experiences. With Full HD considered as 1920 x 1080, these NVIDIA setups offer extremely playable FPS at even the highest of settings at 2560 x 1600.
Quad SLI and Tri-SLI setups with the cards we've tested today are giving you a "Beyond Full HD" experience. For people who have the money and pleasure of owning a monitor that out puts 2560 x 1600, these SLI configurations will not only make you enjoy your game experience more than ever before, but simply give you a grin from one end of your face to the other.
While on the topic of these monitors, this is only 1/3 of the puzzle; you also need a graphics card setup like you've seen today and a serious processor that isn't going to limit your FPS. An i7 920 clocked around the 3.9GHz mark like we have today is perfect. If you've got the money, go out and buy a Quad SLI or Tri-SLI setup, because I'm going back to Far Cry 2 running 2560 x 1600 with 8x AA and loving every minute of it.