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nVidia Quad SLI Introduction - Gaming Future Looks Good

By: Shawn Baker | NVIDIA SLI Articles in Video Cards | Posted: May 9, 2006 4:00 am

The Cards



GX2 are very long cards and this causes a lot of troubles fitting into cases. Gigabyte had to do some modding on their Aurora case to make sure they could fit without a problem. This is one of the first flaws in the 7900GX2 which has been revised. The new cards will be shorter which will make them compatible with cases.


Due to the two cards being so close together, quite a small fan is used on the card. While the heatsink is large, the fan that cools the card is only small which in turns means it has to spin faster. The problem with fast spinning fans are they tend to whine and cause a more irritating noise and these cards are no different. Hopefully the 7950GX2 cooler will be more noise friendly. While we have seen pictures of the card, we won't know what it's like to play with until they're out.



While the PCI Express power connector is located in the top right corner like it normal is its angled 90c so it's easier to plug in the four PCI Express power connectors needed.



We can see the SLI connector on the cards; they are in different positions so you can use two bridges at the same time. Most of the features found on the GX2 are similar to those on the normal 7900GT/GTX.



While there are two cards per set, there are only two DVI ports and not four like you might expect. Apart from that we also have an S-Video out for TV Out. The 7950GX2 cards should also support VIVO when they come out like the 7900GTX and some 7900GT cards do.



Connecting the cards together



Connecting the two cards together is where the technology becomes interesting. A miniature PCI Express interface is used to connect the two cards together. The problem that we can see though with the placement of the connector is that on the card where you can't see the cooler, the airflow is blocked from going straight. On the other hand the way the connector is angled it does hit it and push it out the top of the card. Heat as far as we can tell wasn't an issue with the card - while they do get warm, there were no stability issues experienced throughout our testing.





Clock Speeds


What is probably the most interesting when it comes to the cards is the clock speeds. With the size and price of the card, you would be expecting some astronomical numbers for core and memory speed. While the standard 7900GTX comes with a core clock of 650MHz and partner models coming in at excess of 690MHz, the GX2 cards come in at a surprisingly lower 500MHz.


A similar picture is painted with the memory; the standard 7900GTX comes in at 1600MHz. The 1.4NS memory on the GX2 which is capable of 1400MHz yet is only clocked at 1200MHz. This is 400MHz slower then your standard 7900GTX which doesn't include "OC" models that go in excess of 1700MHz+.


Pixel pipelines and vertex shaders are the same as the 7900GTX in a 24/8 combination. When you run SLI though you have 48 pixel pipes and 16 vertex shaders however the setup we have here today though doubles that again with 96 pixel pipes and 32 vertex shaders between the cards. Some say excessive... others say impressive.


What's the reason for the lower clocked memory and core you may ask? While there has not been anything official said to us so far, it's safe to say that to keep down heat and power, the clocks have been dropped as the same G71 chips are used on the GX2s as we see on the 7900GT/GTX. With the drop in speeds though the two extra GPU's will power on past the higher clocked 7900GTXs without a problem.

Gigabyte GeForce™ 7900 GT, (256 MB) PCI Express Graphic Card


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