Wise people say there is nothing new under the sun – brilliant ideas are all right here in the air waiting for someone to take and make them a reality. That’s true with computer hardware, too. In an attempt to validate its claim to the title of the manufacturer of fastest consumer graphics cards in the industry, NVIDIA Corporation went what was seemingly the most obvious way. The company suggested that the user united two graphics cards based on specific GeForce6 GPU models into an array that would ensure a much higher performance than that provided by single-chip solutions from ATI Technologies, NVIDIA’s archrival.
This “simple” idea gave the user an incentive to transition to PCI Express platforms that would support two graphics cards, but it was also associated with certain requirements like a special mainboard and a high-wattage power supply. As it turned out later, the support of particular games in NVIDIA’s driver was also necessary to get the desired speed boost and to avoid problems like hang-ups and visual artifacts.
Pursuing its promotion plan for multi-GPU solutions, NVIDIA surely expects a growth of its profits, an increase of its market share, and a universal recognition among the users, but the company will also have to optimize the driver for graphics card arrays and to do other word like collaborating with game developers. Anyway, despite all the difficulties, we can say that NVIDIA’s multi-GPU technology called Scalable Link Interface (SLI) has a real chance to conquer the market: the necessary graphics cards and mainboards are already available and can be purchased freely, although at a rather high price.
Today we will study the operation of multi-GPU arrays based on NVIDIA’s GeForce6 graphics cards and the difficulties or possible problems you may encounter with them. We will also offer you the results of our testing the arrays in a wide range of popular computer games.