The world of consumer 3D graphics knows a number of examples when companies introduced technologies to allow higher speed because of doubling the number of graphics cards or processors within the system.
Historically, professional and visualization graphics solutions boast the technique of multiple graphics chips quite successfully being able to produce roaring performance and image quality. The main issue with the approach of making numerous graphics processors to work in parallel is ability to develop drivers and to deal with exceptional cost of end-products.
While the price and thoroughly tailored drivers for specific applications are not problems for professional products, consumers want a cost-effective and a universal solution, something that always kept the dual graphics offerings away from the consumer market.
3dfx Voodoo2 SLI, 1998
3dfx, ATI Technologies, XGI Technology – all tried to popularize dual graphics cards or chips, but all failed because of different reasons, with the only exception of the 3dfx Voodoo2 SLI, which was the king of the hill and a graphics solution of choice for Quantum3D, a visualization company. NVIDIA has just stepped on the rocky road its competitors have failed to finish. However, it looks like the company is not pinning a lot of hopes to popularize the dual graphics card option among gamers, but bets more on professionals, leaving something for those who do not want to save on performance of 3D games.
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI, 2004
Before NVIDIA’s newly introduced Scalable Link Interface technology gets fully real and there are performance numbers available, let us try to analyze whether the SLI is here to live for long, or is something that is just done to show the muscle.