NVIDIA SLI: Compatibility Issues
At first we wanted to use the same games as in our mega-roundup of the graphics hardware made in 2004, but we were stopped at the capriciousness of the NVIDIA SLI platform. Particularly, the games from the list below either wouldn’t start at all or were unstable, hanging up regularly:
- Unreal Tournament 2004
- Far Cry
- Shadow Ops: Red Mercury
- Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
- Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
- Lock On
- Colin McRae Rally 04
Well, you can of course launch each of these games on a GeForce6 SLI system, but using only one of the graphics cards to do the rendering. It’s not exactly what you’d expect from a $500 graphics subsystem?
Some other games would have no speed bonus on the SLI platform or would even run slower on it than on a single graphics card, but if the game and the system remained stable, we included such games and results into our review. After we had thrown away unstable or unlaunchable games, we got the following list:
First-Person 3D Shooters:
- Call of Duty: United Offensive
- Doom 3
- Halo: Combat Evolved
- Half-Life 2
Third-Person 3D Shooters:
- Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow
- Hitman: Contracts
- Thief: Deadly Shadows
- Deus Ex: Invisible War
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Aces in the Sky
- Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004
- Command & Conquer Generals: Zero Hour
- Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War
- Rome: Total War
- Final Fantasy XI Official Benchmark 3
- Futuremark 3DMark 03 Build 3.5.0
- Futuremark 3DMark 05 Build 1.1.0
You don’t see Counter-Strike: Source and Vampires the Masquerade: Bloodlines due to their very low speed on the PCI Express platform.
Against all expectations, we witnessed few image-quality-related problems in the SLI mode; in fact we only saw them in the flight simulator IL-2: Sturmovik.
As you can see, the problem is evidently connected with the pixel shaders the water surface is rendered with. This problem is likely to be corrected in a ForceWare update or a patch from the game developer as IL-2 is among those games where the advantages of SLI technology are most conspicuous. Without doubt, the stability issues in some games will also be seen to very soon, but at the moment of our tests the stability of the NVIDIA SLI platform was rather far from perfect.