So, it’s now possible for you to assemble a GeForce 7950 GX2 quad-SLI system with your own hands. You only need an appropriate mainboard and a couple of GeForce 7950 GX2 cards. About half a year has passed since we were introduced to quad-SLI technology, and Nvidia took this time to do a colossal but successful job on solving the driver-related issues. We don’t see a corrupted image, spontaneous system reboots and other unpleasant things. However, there are still a number of problems with the Control Panel. The current version of ForceWare doesn’t always enable the full-screen antialiasing mode that you select in the Control Panel and you have to enable/disable the appropriate option there to make it work. The same option accessible through the tray icon doesn’t work at all.
Despite the small deficiencies, we can now evaluate the GeForce 7950 quad SLI basing only on its performance rather than on our negative impressions as in the previous review of that technology.
Performance under Typical Conditions
Our tests have shown that the GeForce 7950 quad-SLI system is hardly worth its cost. It’s only in a few applications that we’ve observed a considerable performance boost in the standard modes (1280x1024, 1600x1200 and 1920x1200 resolutions with 4x FSAA and 16x AF), namely in F.E.A.R., Prey, Titan Quest, and 3DMark06. This is only four applications out of twenty! A minor increase of speed was observed in five more games: Far Cry, Quake 4, Serious Sam 2, Tomb Raider: Legend and X3: Reunion. Quad-SLI technology looks even worse than that if you compare it with the Radeon X1950 XTX CrossFire tandem which improves performance in 13 tests out of 20 and only refused to work in Hitman: Blood Money and Tomb Raider: Legend.
So, under typical conditions the GeForce 7950 quad-SLI system wins in 5 applications out of 20 (F.E.A.R., Prey, Tomb Raider: Legend, Titan Quest and IL-2 Pacific Fighters) whereas the Radeon X1950 XTX CrossFire is better in 12 applications out of 20 (Battlefield 2, Call of Duty 2, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Serious Sam 2, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, X3: Reunion, Age of Empires 3, Rise of Nations, 3DMark05, and 3DMark06). In the remaining three games (Far Cry, Hitman Blood Money, Quake 4) the two competing graphics subsystem deliver similar performance.
Performance under Extreme Conditions
As for extreme antialiasing modes like 8x, 14x and 16x in different resolutions, the Nvidia GeForce 7950 quad-SLI system isn’t unrivalled, either. Here’s a small table that lists the maximum quality settings in different games for the GeForce 7950 quad-SLI and the Radeon X1950 XTX CrossFire.
As for the minimum level of comfort, we base ourselves on the subjective impressions that may vary depending on the person. We guess the following speeds are comfortable:
- 60fps for first-person shooters
- 40-45fps for third-person shooters (we put Titan Quest into this category, too)
- 60fps for flight sims
- 30fps for strategies
You can see that even in the highest resolution and with extreme levels of antialiasing, the quad-GPU system from Nvidia wins in fewer cases than the dual-processor solution from ATI.