Multi-monitor SLI Users Rejoice!

Hey guess what? If you've got SLI and two monitors, you no longer have to turn SLI off to use both monitors. It's been 4.5 years since the introduction of SLI and we finally have support for a feature that should've been there from the start. Granted AMD/ATI/SnowWhite didn't have support for this multi-GPU/multi-monitor setup until last year with the Radeon HD 3870 X2 so it's not purely a NVIDIA thing. If you run a full screen 3D application your second display will go blank and come back as soon as you've quit your application, whereas in the past you had to go into the NVIDIA Control Panel, enable SLI, run your 3D app/game, go back in, disable SLI and then you'd get your second display back. In the new driver you don't have to do any of this - sweet.

While NVIDIA's driver supports up to 6 monitors, for SLI to work you can only have displays connected to the master card in SLI with a maximum of two monitors connected. So if you want to have more than 2 monitors and support SLI you'll either need three cards or you will still need to disable SLI to get your non-master SLI card to output video.

The multi-monitor driver interface also got an update in a very sensible way; you can now select which monitor will receive the display when running in SLI mode, it's no longer tied to a fixed output on your video card. Hooray for flexibility!

While selecting the SLI Focus Display is done in the SLI settings menu, when adjusting your multi-monitor setup, there is an indicator that lets you know which display is the SLI focus display. It's a little green square in the corner. Check it out.

When we played around with it, the primary display had to be the SLI Focus Display when the primary display was connected to the SLI bits. The only way to make the primary display (the one with the start menu and all that stuff) not the SLI Focus Display was to run it off a second card. At which point, the SLI Focus Display could still be selected if two monitors are connected to the SLI hardware.

Another multi-monitor feature to note is that 3 games (Flight Simulator X, World in Conflict and Supreme Commander) are also accelerated across multiple monitors. We would really like to see all games supported across multiple monitors (without the use of one of Matrox's DualHead2Go or TripleHead2Go boxes), but there are still some difficulties with rendering a game across multiple displays when the game does not expect to have its framebuffer split. It is good to see that NVIDIA is at least extending support of new features in new drivers to games whose developers have specifically included multiple monitor support.

The extensiveness of the SLI and mulit-monitor flexibility is nice, and we are definitely glad to finally have all of this working. It's been a long time in coming, but we are glad that it's finally here.

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  • Intelman07 - Monday, November 24, 2008 - link

    I most certainly do not regret switching from Nvidia to ATI. Nvidia's drivers were horrid in Vista. I've not had too many issues since. I do not mind bashing ATI as much as I mind praising Nvidia.

    Reply
  • kondor999 - Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - link

    I'm running 3 GTX280's in Tri-SLI under Vista x64 and the 180.xx have made a large difference by greatly increasing the *minimum* framerate in games such as Far Cry 2 and Warhead.

    Of course, be advised that I'm running these at 5040x1050 using a Matrox TH2Go at 4-8x AA.
    Reply
  • Mr Roboto - Wednesday, November 26, 2008 - link

    Good for you, you poser. I know you're type. The kid at school who thought that by lying about his personal possessions he was somehow cool or that he would gain more friends. It turns out those types are just compulsive liars with NO friends. We called them lietokickits. You don't have to lie to kick it. Especially in the Anand Tech comments section. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Friday, December 26, 2008 - link

    It really doesn't look like you called that one correctly:
    Note the date, Oct. 30th 2007 kondor999 " got a copy of Vista Ultimate OEM on the day it was released, quickly discovered that performance was poor (specifically - graphics, audio, and file copying) and shelved it after struggling with it for 3 months. I'm now back to my old copy of XP Pro and it's just so much nicer. Simply put, everything works as it should. BTW, I have a nice rig: 3ghz Core2, 2gb RAM, 8800GTX, dual 150gb Raptors. If my rig chokes on Vista..."
    http://www.firingsquad.com/matrix/comment_view.asp...">http://www.firingsquad.com/matrix/comment_view.asp...
    Then there's the age match > " http://www.ageod.com/forums/member.php?u=4951">http://www.ageod.com/forums/member.php?u=4951
    Age
    42
    Join Date
    June 18th, 2008
    Total Posts
    5
    " I'm an older gamer (42) and I remember when games like Longbow 2 and F-15 came with big ring-bound manuals that ensured you *wanted* to buy the physical game " (from the first link)
    Then there's this:
    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2626829">http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2626829
    Looks like the money is there.
    __________________________________

    Oh well, better luck next time.
    Reply
  • george1976 - Monday, November 24, 2008 - link

    Well, talking about stability, i have problems now with NFS Undercover with this new driver, problems i never had with 178.24.... So much for treats... Reply
  • fausto412 - Monday, November 24, 2008 - link

    Every driver after 178.13 breaks AA in Battlefield 2142. I just downloaded 180.48 drivers and they make left 4 dead stutter so much it is unplayable. I try new drivers and go back to 178.13 everytime. what gives Nvidia? Anyways, perhaps Anandtech can question Nvidia on the stability of their drivers. Reply
  • rocky1234 - Sunday, November 23, 2008 - link

    Wow big deal Nvidia releases a driver & everyone goes crazy yay. They add a few small features & make a big stink about it yippy. Have they fixed the Vista issues yet don't know because I gave up waiting 6 months ago & switched to the red team. PhysX is a nice feature but even a Owner of a ATT card & windows XP can go out & buy a cheap Nvidia card slave it & install these magic drivers & get PhysX in the supported games that is if you got a second PCI-E x16 slot. At least that is what I heard people are doing I own a 9800GTX it is sitting on the floor here I may try it to see it it works...lol. Now if MS would come out with a patch for Vista that would allow you to do it there too that would rock. Reply
  • Mr Roboto - Saturday, November 22, 2008 - link

    Am I the only one who seems to see through Nvidia'a bullshit? Why is Anand praising them for un-crppling their drivers after five YEARS! When the only reason they're doing it is because AMD is handing them their ass!

    Nvidia is in a free fall so they finally start to pull out all the stops and release features that they should have given their users years ago. I mean it only took ATI to essentially kill their profit margins on the GTX series for them to release dual monitor SLI.

    I'm a long time Nvidia owner (8800GTX) but even I see the way Anand lays on the bullshit real thick. Quit playing nice for Nvidia. Are you afraid they won't send you review hardware or return your phone calls?

    Well since Anand won't do it I guess the readers must.

    Nvidia's Vista drivers were nothing short of fucking atrocious for YEARS (there's that word again). Only in the last 3-4 months have they gotten a little better, coincidence? (4800 launch). Nvidia even had SLI working on the Quadro setups for YEARS. Now that they're falling fast they decide to un-cripple their desktop drivers. This goes hand in hand with gouging their customers, pushing flaky hardware out into market (G92-94), IMAP bullshit, the fucked up, confuse the noobs naming scheme and broken, buggy and just all around shitty drivers.

    Fuck Nvidia and fuck their shit motherboards. I was a loyal Nvidia owner for as long as I can remember but they have taken greed and screwing their customers to another level. I hope

    Reply
  • Mr Roboto - Saturday, November 22, 2008 - link

    I hope ATI takes them to the brink of bankruptcy but only for the sake of competition. Otherwise I could care less about Nvidia and their busted hardware. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Friday, November 21, 2008 - link

    Is a simple email informing me of new driver release with a link to the page and what it fixes/changes. A VERY simple email. I don't care WHEN they release the driver, but more importantly that it works and that I know it's available for download. Too many releases just gets to be a hassle, not enough means I have to wait forever for my favorite application or game to work properly. Communication between graphic card companies and software companies probably could use some improvement as well. The way I see it, AMD/NVidia/Intel need to get on board with a standardized support of their products using the email method. Software developers should have a single website to access all three in regards to drivers, and end users should have a standardized email platform from all three. When companies get together and provide good support for their products, everyone wins. As long as they don't lie in bed together on making money, hardware and software can advance at a faster and more complete pace than they have previously...and that means smoother computing for all. Reply

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