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Nvidia takes covers off its nForce 780a

Another with Hybrid SLI - w00t
By: Cameron Wilmot | Posted: May 7, 2008 1:39 am

Even though we compared Nvidia's nForce 780a to AMD 790FX's almost four full weeks ago, Nvidia has officially taken the covers off its newest chipset today, that of course being the nForce 780a for Socket AM2+ processors.


It is the newest chipset to support AMD's Phenom processor and as all upcoming Nvidia chipsets will have, it has an onboard motherboard GPU or mGPU for short. It brings along with it Hybrid SLI which includes GeForce Boost and HybridPower as well as three-way SLI and full HDMI support.


The following websites have been good boys and stuck to the NDA even though some 780a based boards have been selling for quite a while now already:


- The Tech Report
- Hot Hardware
- Planet 3D Now (German to English)
- APH Networks
- Neoseeker
- Driver Heaven
- AMDZone
- Overclockers Club
- Legit Reviews
- Anandtech
- Toms Hardware
- FiringSquad


Before you get too excited about the potential for asymmetrical SLI, we should note that Hybrid SLI isn't quite what it sounds like. Hybrid SLI is an umbrella term that covers two very different technologies: GeForce Boost and HybridPower. The former allows for, er, hybrid SLI configurations that team a motherboard GPU with a discrete graphics card to improve 3D performance. In order for GeForce Boost to improve performance, the motherboard GPU and discrete graphics card must be closely matched in terms of horsepower. Since integrated graphics processors are generally pretty weak, GeForce Boost only works with low-end graphics cards, making it a poor fit for a high-end platform like the nForce 780a SLI.


Hybrid SLI's HybridPower component is far more relevant to the 780a because it's designed specifically to reduce the power consumption of high-end graphics configurations. With HybridPower, the mGPU acts as the primary display adapter, and you plug your primary display right into the motherboard. If the system is idling or you're just messing around on the desktop, not using applications that demand significant graphics resources, the motherboard GPU runs the show while the discrete graphics card lies dormant to conserve power. This power saving mode doesn't rely on fancy clock throttling or special low-power states-it literally turns off the discrete graphics processor.


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