Excellent article on an excellent subject. It is finally time that we see a real performance upgrade in the computer industry. For the past few years we have all witnessed marginal or better yet, baby steps in performance. This will undoubtably mark another great milesone for gamers.
Thank you Nvidia for making such a great contribution to computing technology. If only the rest of the computer industry would follow your example. Now all we need is for everyone to finally lock into a collaborative effort on tech standards.
- Antonio aka sonic
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I had a computer in the days of the Voodoo 2 SLI, but I was very young, and it was only a 386-amd processor running at 33Mhz. I used Windows 3.11 (not 3.1, but 3.11).
I've heard about the Voodoo 2 SLI and it's abilities. I think Voodoo also wanted to do something like this with the Voodoo 5--but only in principle--using two rendering chips (GPUs) on their card. That was like 5 years ago... Sadly they're gone, anyhow...
Sounds amazing. I'll probably never get a setup like that, but this could be big in the future. Especially if graphics cards keep improving like crazy. Could mean even better special effects for movies and advertisements--and I know those don't use gaming graphics cards--I just mean the technology could be extended to those projects if the cards can scale that well.
And I know when this becomes available some gamers are going to nut themselves. We'll see extreme cooling solutions and all kinds of insane overclocking to get the best 3DMark scores, or whatever the hell is out in the next year or so.
I owned a Voodoo2 SLI configuration years ago, paid a hefty price premium for two of those cards but it was worth it. So yes, I think this'll give 3D graphics a nice push forward, Far Cry, Half Life 2, Doom 3, it is all going to be playable at very high frame rates at 1600x1200 with all of the eye-candy switched on. If there's enough demand I'm sure one of the motherboard manufacturers will debut a motherboard without all of the workstation stuff and make it a lean and clean platform for dual PCI-E graphics, as afterall we don't need onboard SCSI, dual Gigabit NICs, PCI-X, etc.
Oh, and to be brutally honest, this is the first benefit I see for PCI-Express and a great feature to sell it on. It is a shame though that this won't be available on desktop motherboards soon, as dual PCI-E-x16 would be a great feature to pitch in sales.
I love the idea buying one card now and one later when the price is reduced 50 % or so. You could buy your second geforce 6800 upon release of the next big thing and the platform you have at that point can outperform the one released that day. As we all have seen before new cards dont mean twice the performance.
In my opinion this is the next big step in video card technology we were all silently waiting for. Who knows what competition might come up with now
I think this setup will require not only a new motherboard but a new chipset as well.
I've read that the new chipsets deliver 20 PCIe-"tracks" og "lanes" like on a highway. Those 20 are usually used as one 16x-slot for graphics and four 1x-slots for others (replacing the PCI-slots).
If these two cards each use a 16x-slot, the combined bandwidth needed will be 32x!!!
My guess is that they either have to make a new chipset with more PCIe-tracks OR run the cards at 8x which will probably be just as fast, given the experience with AGPx4 vs. x8... In this case they'll only need a specially produced motherboard (which in itself is no small thing!).
Dual 6800Ultra's, hmmm, that's about $1100.00 then there's the $400 to $500 for the Xeon PCI-E board once they actually become available, then $800.00 for a 3.4 Xeon w/ 800FSB, and on and on.
Why not just come out with a dual GPU AGP card that we can all use now. XGI has the Dual Volari card that you can use right now with out taking four slots of a non-existent PCI-E motherboard.
Don't get me wrong, I can dream and drool right along with the best of them and those two 6800's tied together sure looked yummy but hardly realistic, even for a workstation solution.
What are the road blocks to simply designing an AGP8X card running two GPU's on one card? Especially since the 6800Ultra is a double slot solution anyway. It would seem to me that they could easily build an SLI intergrated solution into a single AGP8X slot solution, or a single PCI-E solution for that matter, and still give you the 4 seperate outputs.
Of course I don't know where you are gonna find a 700W power supply to drive the thing. : )
Now with the 6800GT single slot and less power hungry cards SLI might be more practical but I wasn't that young and I remember clearly how expensive SLI was in the Voodoo days and I was glad to be rid of it when I got my first GeForce card. I am in no hurry to run down that road again.
This sounds exactly like what Alienware is doing with their video array/x2 product that is supposed to come out Q3/Q4. I also recently saw benchmarks from that were similiar to these, and Alienware's solution works in exactly the same way (i.e. by dividing the screen in half vertically and load balancing between them). However, I understood from Alienware's press release that it would take any two perfectly matched pci-e cards, not just nvidia. Is this the same project, and Alienware just can't talk about Nvidia yet (due to nda's etc.) or did they both really decide to do this at the same time? Anyway, as far as motherboard availability, Alienware has designed their own motherboard specifically for this application, and will release it as part of their alx line, which means built in liquid cooling, including video cooling, so heat shouldn't be a problem, even with 2 cards next to each other. You still will probably brown out the rest of your house (maybe even the block) playing quake3 at max settings =)
Performance excellent, Technology Excellent, Cost Highly not affordable. ANybody interested to change their PC to buy this card why not? Its just $3000 bucks more? Just throw that P4 or ATHLONS you have at home. Hehehehe@!!!!!
Sailendran Iswara Jothi
Sailendran Iswara Jothi
MSI 865PE-Neo2 Mainboard
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
Pentium 4 2.8E @ 3220 Mhz 1MB L2-Cache (Prescott HT Enabled)
2GB Kingston DDR 400
512MB ATI Radeon 1950 Iceq 3 Turbo
and much more...
correction in the article:
dual 6800 can have a maximum of 100% increase in performance
Tim Sweeney, founder and president, EPIC Games
"Unreal Engine 3 has an insatiable appetite for fill rate and polygon throughput, running shader programs of 50-100 instructions per pixel to achieve advanced per-pixel lighting and material shading. nVidia's SLI technology running on PCI Express motherboards provides an incredible performance increase of up to 2x, bringing next-generation gaming up to even higher resolutions and frame rates"