Nobody is going to deny that the X99 system is a more powerful rig. Whenever the CPU plays a key part, it manages to outperform the X79 setup without an issue. The problem is that the CPU tends to only play such an important part in gaming situations when the resolution is quite low. In this case, that's seen under 3DMark 11 and 3DMark Fire Strike, when we benchmark at the standard lower resolution setting.
It's fair to assume that if you're looking at buying a video card setup as high-end as this, that you're going to be gaming on something like a 4K monitor. If you found yourself thinking that it's not worth going for such a strong video card setup, as you don't want to upgrade to X99, it's clear that it's not something you have to worry about when this kind of resolution comes into play. Apart from Nexuiz which saw a massive increase, you can see everything else at the extra intensive 3840 x 2160 resolution sees no change at all, or at least very minimal.
I think everything was summed up fairly well in our previous 4K Showdown article, which saw the results of one, two, three and four GTX 980 4GB cards run in SLI. The sweet spot for SLI continues to be at two cards, as we see that setup for the most part really having no issue handling even the most intensive of games.
If you're worried that your X79 setup isn't going to be able to make the most of such a high-end video card setup, I think we did a good job of proving today that it's not something that you need to worry about at all. So, if you're thinking about going for a quad SLI GTX 980 4GB setup on your X79 setup, not having an X99 based rig shouldn't be the thing that stops you.
The thing that should stop you is just the overall value of the setup. As we just said, two video cards are indeed the sweet spot for this setup. You could put a bit of an argument forward for going 3-way, but the value does start to drop off when throwing a third card into the mix. And it's pretty tough to justify a four-way setup, unless money is not an issue.
If you're really set on looking at the performance of three cards, I think one of the best setups will be the GTX 970 4GB. The model alone holds fantastic value and with 3-way being the maximum for that card, you don't have to worry about thinking about throwing a fourth card into the mix. When it comes to these new NVIDIA Maxwell setups, it looks like 2-Way SLI GTX 980 4GB or 3-Way SLI GTX 970 4GB would be the perfect place to be, and as we saw today, an X79 or X99 setup will support them just fine with basically equal performance between both Intel platforms.
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