Hell Freezes Over: NVIDIA Announces Native SLI Support for the Intel X58 Chipsetby Anand Shimpi & Laura Johnston on August 28, 2008 4:00 AM EST
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Why is NVIDIA doing this?
NVIDIA was clear in mentioning that it will continue to design chipsets for Penryn based platforms, but it will not be making any QPI enabled chipsets for Nehalem. Thus, with Nehalem, the only way to get SLI support would be to use an Intel chipset.
Note that NVIDIA will be making LGA-1160 based Nehalem motherboards (dual-channel DDR3) for the low end and mainstream markets, but that platform isn't expected to debut until late 2009. LGA-1366 based Nehalem systems (dual/triple-channel DDR3) are the ones launching this year and the ones that NVIDIA won't have a chipset for.
NVIDIA originally expected OEMs to use its nForce 200 chips to enable SLI support on X58, however we heard from the very start that most motherboard manufacturers weren’t going to use the nForce 200 + Intel X58 combination. If NVIDIA wanted to offer SLI on Nehalem, it would have to open it up to all X58 motherboards, otherwise AMD could actually gain a multi-GPU advantage by being the only multi-GPU technology natively supported by Nehalem.
The timing of the announcement is very last-minute. Most motherboard manufacturers weren’t even aware that NVIDIA was opening up SLI to X58 until tonight, they received phone calls shortly after NVIDIA briefed us earlier this evening.
NVIDIA is committed to enabling X58 SLI motherboard support by the time Nehalem launches later this year. We were also told that while Intel’s own X58 motherboard isn’t currently on the certified list, Intel is more than welcome to submit it for certification.
NVIDIA went even further to say that if we were previewing any X58 motherboards that hadn’t yet made it through certification, that it would work with us to get our hands on a driver enabling SLI on the motherboard. It remains to be seen how easy it will be to simply hack in support for SLI on any X58 motherboard, regardless of certification status.
And there you have it: in response to the complaint of no-new-news out of NVISION 08, NVIDIA dropped the biggest bombshell of them all - native SLI support on X58. While I’d like to see top-to-bottom SLI support regardless of chipset, this is most definitely a good start.