Final Words

From a performance standpoint, SLI is just about as good as it gets.  If you have the budget for it, a pair of GeForce 6800GTs will let you run at 1600 x 1200 with 2X or 4X AA enabled in the latest games while still maintaining a very smooth gaming experience – something that no single card is able to do. 

The GeForce 6600GT seemed to scale reasonably well, with a pair of 6600GTs outperforming a single 6800 Ultra in Doom 3 and Half Life 2.  It doesn’t make too much sense to buy a pair of 6600GTs today however, as you’d be much better off getting a single 6800GT and upgrading to a second one down the road, which brings us to our next point, the upgrade value of SLI. 

If NVIDIA is able to get their SLI certification program successful enough and if motherboard manufacturers are able to get SLI boards cheap enough, then the upgrade value of SLI is significant.  We’ve already seen that going from a single $200 GeForce 6600GT to a pair of them offers performance greater than that of a single $400 GeForce 6800GT.  Take into account that the price of these cards goes down over time and you’re looking at a pretty decent upgrade path for the future, requiring minimal investment today. 

The upgrade path for 6800GT owners is even more enticing; if you’ve only got $400 to spend on a card today you can’t beat the 6800GT as a single card solution.  Then, as the price of the 6800GT drops, it may become more attractive for you to upgrade to a second card rather than buying a next generation GPU.  As long as we’re between DirectX cycles, SLI enables you to have the fastest most robust graphics setup out there without missing out on much. 

While companies like ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI are working to get their boards out before the end of the year, it looks like the majority of manufacturers won’t have product on the streets until the first few months of 2005.  We’d anticipate that by the middle of 2005, you’ll be able to purchase SLI motherboards for near mainstream Socket-939 prices, which should definitely drive for higher adoption and lower prices on SLI products (not to mention wider availability of NVIDIA certified SLI products). 

The power requirements as well as the lack of NVIDIA certified SLI products out on the market today does trouble us a bit, but we’ll have to keep an eye out over the coming weeks to see how things change to better accommodate the introduction of SLI.  At the same time, should SLI catch on, it has yet to be seen how NVIDIA and their partners will change pricing/availability strategies of older cards. 

ATI will also have their own SLI chipsets and graphics cards in 2005, which should lend further credibility to SLI as a viable upgrade option.

The main thing to keep in mind that SLI is an option for those who want it; and whenever we have an option that offers a 40 – 70% performance increase where it counts, we welcome it with open arms (and wallets).

Battlefield: Vietnam Performance
POST A COMMENT

74 Comments

View All Comments

  • Kolbe - Monday, February 14, 2005 - link

    BUYER BEWARE!!
    first, I have this ASUS motherboard and two GigaByte 6600GT's. AFter countless hours of trying to get this to work AND of course upgrading bios and drivers, I came to find out that these two gigabyte cards are not certified by Nvidia and they will not work in the sli mode on this ASUS board. ASUS has not returned my calls or my emails, but gigabyte, bless their hearts, wrote me back and said in essence: "our 6600GT cards work on OUR board" so too bad. Thank God for Newegg and their awesome return policy. I am returning these two and getting one 6800 GT, but of course, not from Gigabyte!
    Reply
  • mashie - Sunday, December 5, 2004 - link

    It would be nice to see tests at 2048x1536. After all if you can afford the videocards for SLI I bet you can get a proper monitor as well ;) Reply
  • Denial - Thursday, December 2, 2004 - link

    Again, why no vanilla 6800's? How would they compete with the 6600GT's in SLI? This is starting to get rediculous. Reply
  • nserra - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    Sorry forgot link.

    http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20041123/...
    Reply
  • nserra - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    #69 Yeah i agree.
    But let me tell you i already see something that SLI will give me.

    Having a 6600 and a X700 on the same PC.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, November 26, 2004 - link

    I don't know if anyone's said this, but SLI is an absolutely stupid idea, why on earth don't they take the 3Dfx Voodoo5 approach and just stick two GPUs on one card? Surely this would yield similar benefits without special mobo requirements.. 16x PCIe is easily enough bandwidth to cope... then just double the amount of RAM on the card and surely this is more viable solution? sure it'd be an insanely costly card, but still cheaper than an SLI setup, and lets face it, once a single card can outpace your shiny new SLI setup, that SLI setup is going to look poor value for money and you're just going to waste both cards, it seems obscene. Reply
  • stance - Thursday, November 25, 2004 - link

    will the new duel core amd cpus that come out mext year be supported by this motherboard Reply
  • stance - Thursday, November 25, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • tombman - Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - link

    ANAND, please answer:

    1.) Can you really force SLI for games with no profile in the driver?
    2.) please make 2048x1536 or higher Tests (my CRT can da 2304x1440 :D)
    3.) please make 8xAA Tests
    4.) please check if HDR (high dynamic range rendering) in far cry works in SLI mode (other sites say no)

    Especially # 1.) is very important.

    If only games with a profile can run in SLI mode, SLI will not become very popular imo. We know nvidia- they will only have profiles for benchmarks and most common hyped games. For not so popular games there surely will be no profiles...

    thx
    Reply
  • tombman - Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - link

    test Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now