There isn’t a single forum on the internet that doesn’t have at least a dozen threads about NVIDIA’s SLI technology. Although motherboards supporting NVIDIA’s Nforce4 SLI chipset are barely out yet and cards faster than the GeForce 6600GT are far and few in between, the world plus dog seems to want to own a SLI rig. I’d say kudos to NVIDIA for a marketing job well done, as like the iPod every enthusiast, gamer or case-modder wants to own one and brag about it to friends, family and online.
The lucky few that had saved enough to be able to afford an SLI rig rave about the frame rates they’re seeing, the coolness of having two graphic cards in your system crunching away at the latest games and the fact that they’re now the center of attention at every lan-party or clan meeting. But of course none of them talk about the hefty requirements on the power supply, or the price tag associated with it. In reality running two 6600GTs in SLI isn’t much faster than a single 6800GT, but the total cost will be much higher.
Once you move into 6800GT territory though things do change, both in terms of cost and performance, but also in online appeal. The lucky few that can afford and have been able to find a pair of 6800GTs will not only see performance besting that of a single 6800U but will gain popstar appeal amongst their peers in online forums. Their purchase will only be ridiculed by the jealous few that rap about the power requirements and noise production or ATI’s upcoming technology.
These naysayers don’t get much respect though, as SLI truly is the first thing in years to get people excited again, like the Athlon 64 and the Voodoo 2 SLI before that, all products that stood out above the rest with head and shoulders and had massive public appeal. Now that 6800Us will be available by the end of the month things are about to heat up again and many piggy banks will come to a cruel end to finance the purchase of two 6800Us and a compatible SLI motherboard. I for one will be one of the first getting a few, just to brag about to my co-workers, fellow journalists and friends, it is good to own something that gives you bragging rights again.