Introduction

One of the first things we thought of when we heard that NVIDIA was going to try to bring back the multi-GPU craze was the single board solution. Even back in the 3dfx days, there was Obsidian ready with the single board SLI solution. Gigabyte is hitting multi-GPU technology hard out of the gate with a single board 6600 GT solution dubbed the 3D1. We were able to get our hands on this and two new motherboards from Gigabyte last week for a round of holiday testing.



The two major focuses of the article will be to explore any advantages offered by the 3D1 over two-card SLI solutions, and to take a first look at the performance of the GA-8AENXP Dual Graphic Intel SLI offering from Gigabyte. This is the 925XE version of the earlier announced 915P based Dual Graphic board.

The reader should understand this before beginning the review: these solutions are somewhat limited in application until NVIDIA changes its philosophy on multi-GPU support in ForceWare drivers. In order to get any multi-GPU support at all, the driver must detect an SLI capable motherboard. This means that we had to go back to the 66.81 driver in order to test Intel SLI. It also means that even if the 3D1 didn't require a special motherboard BIOS in order to boot video, it wouldn't be able to run in SLI mode unless it were in an SLI motherboard.

As it stands, the optimal single card solution can't be had until NVIDIA allows multi-GPU functionality to be enabled on motherboards without explicit SLI support. Combine this with a multi-GPU graphics card that doesn't require special BIOS hooks to POST, and we have a universal single card solution. Until then, bundling the GA-K8NXP-SLI motherboard and 3D1 is a very good solution for Gigabyte. Those who want to upgrade to PCI Express and a multi-GPU solution immediately have a viable option here. They get the motherboard needed to run an SLI system and two GPUs in one package with less hassle.

For now, we are very interested in taking a look at the first of many innovations that are sure to come out the graphics card vendors' multi-GPU R&D departments.

The Hardware
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  • reactor - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    so basically it performs the same as sli and for the same price as the sli setup, but only works with gb boards. wouldve like to see some power/cooling comparisons and pics although ive already seen it.

    in the end id rather get a 6800gt.
    Reply
  • mkruer - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    Just wait we will see Dual Core GPU's soon enough. Reply
  • yelo333 - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    #5,#7,#9 - you've hit the nail on the head...

    Esp. for something like this, we need those pics!

    For those who need to slake their thirst for pics, just run a google search for "gigabyte 3d1" - it turns up plenty of other review's w/ pics.
    Reply
  • Paratus - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • Speedo - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    yea, not a single pic in the whole review... Reply
  • semo - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    yeah, it's bad enough i can never own one

    we want to see some pretty pictures!
    Reply
  • miketheidiot - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    I agree with #5

    wheres the pics?
    Reply
  • pio!pio! - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    #4 dual core video cards in SLI on a dual core cpu dual cpu mobo w/ quad power supplies Reply
  • pio!pio! - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    no pics of this card in the article?? Reply
  • Gigahertz19 - Thursday, January 06, 2005 - link

    It's only a matter of time until we see dual video cards that each have dual cores in a system...>>Homer Simpson>>ahhhhhgggggaaaahhhhhhhhh Quad GPU's :) Reply

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