Announced at CeBIT 2006, the solution that NVIDIA had for hardcore gamers was the quad solution.
Shortly, Foxconn, the new contender on the video card market slipped a few details about their quad SLI.
Their 7900GX2 are actually two 7900GTX with the PCIe lanes from one card physically routed via a bridge connector to the main card. A PCIe x48 bridge chip sits on both physical PCBs. 16 of those lanes are routed to the motherboard and the other 32 are spread between the GPUs. But when these video cards were doing some heavy operations, they consumed about 650W.
Of course that this solution is addressed to gamers, the hardcore, fanatic ones who need speed, without caring for the money. For them, X-bit Labs made some benchmarks and found out that the solution is implemented very badly.
Here are some conclusions:
“The reason why several big names, such as Alienware, are not yet shipping the quad SLI systems commercially amid formal launch is because this technology does not seem to be ready for commercial systems: users, who will utilize graphics cards to play games at extreme quality, will almost surely run into significant troubles with freezes, crashes, quality issues and so on. It transpires that Nvidia’s current quad SLI is not a product for buyers of luxury, as they desire stability and performance, not compatibility issues.”
“The quad SLI technology indisputably has potential: already now it demonstrates the highest scores in such games as F.E.AR., Far Cry with HDR enabled, scores best high-resolution numbers in Elder Scroll’s Oblivion, it wins Chronicles of Riddick tests, it produces amazing quality with 32xs SLI AA enabled, it does a plethora of great things. At the same time, it crashes in 3DMark05, Far Cry and numerous other games, produces artifacts when SLI AA is activated in Chronicles of Riddick and Serious Sam 2, which all degrades the value of this technology for the user right here and right now.”
It would seem that NVIDIA is hungry for revenues and launches video cards very fast, with almost no difference between them, new solution that makes the buyer a virtual beta tester. ATI was blamed when they launched Crossfire in September 2005, but they managed to get over and to grow up. They released good drivers and overpassed the disadvantages.
Can NVIDIA do the same and make this quad SLI a real solution for those that want the games to run like the wind?