With the re-introduction of SLI, it is clear to see that the 3DFX influence inside nVidia is still well and truly alive and kicking. It's fantastic to see nVidia bringing back SLI again for the hardware enthusiast community to feast over and we expect it will be welcomed with big wide open arms. The new and improved SLI technology should do a tremendous job of regenerating a lot of tired users who have become bored with less than exciting personal computer technologies over the past while. Sure, we now have DDR-II memory, 64-bit processors and PCI Express card slots but we won't see these new technologies increase performance dramatically for the average consumer for a little while yet.
With nVidia's implementation of PCI Express SLI, we are able to see performance increases over single PCI Express graphics cards system of up to almost 90% in some instances. The typical performance increase we will see will be closer to 60% but that is still very impressive and will help the transition from impressive to life-like realism computer gaming graphics in a shorter amount of time as image quality settings such as Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering are ramped up even more.
To the best of our knowledge, it seems like you'll need to an expensive server class motherboard based on the Intel Tumwater chipset for the Intel Xeon processor, if you want SLI, as it's currently the only chipset with dual PCI Express 16x support planned. You'll need a powerful power supply capable of dishing out at least 600 watts of power and the cash to go along with buying the complete system. We suspect nVidia will release upcoming nForce chipsets in the near future with dual PCI Express 16x support which will make the upgrade path to SLI much more feasible than moving to an expensive server grade platform.
nVidia PCI Express SLI should be an instant winner in the "Ultra Enthusiast" market segment for those who demand the absolute best of the best computing performance. However, for those users who don't have as much cash to dish out, it might take a little bit longer to sell, while these users wait for the technology to become more mainstream and as such, more affordable and obtainable.
nVidia has raised the graphics performance bar, how will ATI and others respond? Thanks for making life more interesting, nVidia.
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