As hardcore gamers constantly want more and more power out of their hardware, designers of appropriate products are working to fulfill the demand. According to a web-site, NVIDIA Corp. has plans to enable four-way graphics solutions as early as in several month time. Currently, some makers of mainboards are already testing their products with four slots for graphics cards.
NVIDIA ForceWare Release 90 drivers are expected to allow up to four graphics processors (GPUs) to work in collaboration, The Inquirer web-site has reported. It is anticipated that the driver will be available sometime late this year or early in 2006. Theoretically, this may allow installation of four graphics cards or two graphics cards each of which utilize two GPUs.
While the cost of 4-way multi-GPU solution is unlikely to be lower than $1800 - $2000 or more only for graphics cards, provided that the drivers work fine, end users who agree to pay that amount of money are likely to get unbelievable performance. Even ATI Technologies, who first doubted about the success of multi-GPU technologies on the desktop market, recently said that 4-way multi-GPU was possible on the consumer market.
Gigabyte Technology, a leading maker of mainboards, has developed GA-8N-SLI-Quad-Royal mainboard that has four physical PCI Express x16 slots for graphics cards. The platform is designed for Intel Pentium 4 processors and incorporates a pretty unusual set of NVIDIA’s logic: nForce4 SLI x16 Intel Edition SPP as well as nForce4 SLI for AMD processors. The chips are connected using 16-/16-bit 800MHz HyperTransport link which provides 3.20GB/s bandwidth in total, whereas every PCI Express x16 slot provides 5GB/s bandwidth to hosted graphics cards. Theoretically, such mainboard may make four available PCI Express slots for graphics cards, allowing create four-way SLI configurations provided that there is either appropriate MIO connector, or NVIDIA manages to allow SLI without connection between all the graphics cards.
NVIDIA currently neither confirms, nor denies possibilities of four-way multi-GPU applications. “It looks like a great technology demo,” a spokesman for NVIDIA Corp. has said about Gigabyte’s GA-8N-SLI-Quad-Royal. The technology may become very interesting for professionals seeking for the highest performance possible.