Gigabyte tweaks new nVidia SLI chipset
For a little while now we've known about Gigabyte's upcoming 8N-SLI QUAD motherboard and quite frankly, we're a little excited about it. We've been on the backs of our friends from the Gigabyte marketing department to send us a sample to play with but it hasn't been forthcoming as yet. We did however come in contact with some details about the new motherboard and we thought we'd share what we found with you.
What is the 8N-SLI QUAD? It's based on nVidia's brand new nForce4 SLI X16 chipset which allows for SLI to be operated with two PCI Express slots running at the full 16 lanes, as seen here in our ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe. The new chipset is an interesting one in that motherboard companies can brew up a whole mixture of different designs for platforms which they think might be popular.
Gigabyte took the chipset and had some real fun with it. Instead of just creating a motherboard with two full speed PCI Express graphics slots, they created a motherboard with four 8 lane PCI Express slots - hence the QUAD naming scheme. This opens up the doors to a whole range of different possibilities and it's a credit to Gigabyte for stepping outside the square and spending plenty of research dollars to come up with some new and interesting.
:: Latest Pricing of Gigabyte 3D1 6600GT ::
So, you can hook up four GeForce 7800 GTX cards for instance and you've got yourself a platform which can support up to 8 monitors. It's probably not practical for end-users like ourselves, that is unless we want to show off to neighbors but for industries such as CAD it's very feasible. Pop in another PCI-E 1x graphics card and you increase that to a platform which offers display output for 10 monitors, as Gigabyte demonstrated in the picture below.
Later down the track it also opens up the possibilities of having a 4-way SLI setup which nVidia hasn't commented on at the moment to us instead dodging the question as best as possible but we're sure it is possible given the right circumstances (demand). We'd push Gigabyte and nVidia to come up with a 4-way SLI system, because that would just be damn cool in our books.
What is possible right now though through the rigorous testing of the software people at Gigabyte is a total of 4 GPU's in one system. Gigabyte have had their 3D1-68GT (dual GeForce 6800GT on one graphics card) on the market for some time now and with this setup you can run two 3D1's in SLI which will provide some serious 3D punch. You'll be able to disable the third and forth PCI Express graphics slots and change the first and second slots to the full speed 16 lanes for maximum performance and given each 3D1 has two GPU's on board, they'll need it...or at least want it.
Representatives from Gigabyte didn't tell us when the motherboard would be available or in what quantity but we can't wait to test it out even if never does make mass production. It's been clear over the past 12 months or more that Gigabyte has really wanted to make an impression on the industry (with their solid state i-RAM product, for example) and have stepped well away from the days when they just offered very basic (but stable) motherboards with nothing breath-taking or exciting for consumers to get all enthusiastic about.
We'll report more on the 8N-SLI QUAD Royal later when we receive our sample.