I am trying to put together an HD video editing system and am stuck on whether I should use a single high end video card or an SLI / Crossfire configuration. My intent down the line is to combine my HD video with approximately 10% 3D animation. Would I benefit from SLI or should I stick with the high end single graphics card? The software I intend to use for video editing is Adobe CS3. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I have a dual core dual processor system with 2 Quadro FX3400's and do not really notice any difference at all when I run them in SLI mode.
As a general rule of thumb though, it is recommended/suggested that one always buys the best SINGLE video card they can afford initially and then add a second card at a later date. For example, you would be better off running a single 8800GTX than running two 7600's. If by chance, for example, by some strange tweak, you were to get a slight performance increase with the two 7600's over the single 8800GTX, your long term dollar would still be better spent purchasing the 8800GTX initially and adding another at a later date when the cost drops.
One disadvantage to SLI is also that you can only use one monitor while running in the SLI mode so if you like to work on two monitors while editing it would ruin your day.
I spent a lot of money to put two Quadro's in my system years back and with hind sight being 20/20, I would have spent the money elsewhere and will not make the mistake twice. I say that even if money is no object. I went all out on the build I put the two Quadro's in and money was no object, but in my opinion it was and is a waste regardless of your financial situation.
If money is no object and you want DX10 capability for future proofing, then go for the FX3700 or whatever the latest and greatest is in the new line. If DX10 is something you are not worried about then get a FX4500 or 5500 or the best one in that series you can afford.
These are of course just my opinions, but I build a lot of computers and just don't think the dual video card route improves the performance enough to make it worth the money for the extra card. I have edited in Avid Media Composer, Avid Liquid, Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, Vegas, and on occasion with Pinnacle Studio and have not seen any noticeable difference switching to SLI mode. That's not to say that there may not be a few percent increase in some situations, but not enough that I notice and not enough for me to give up my preference of working on multiple monitors.
Well, that is probably too much babble on the topic so I will shut up now that I have had my say... Thanks for listening and I hope this helps someone.