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In a bid to popularize its multi-GPU technology called Scalable Link Interface (SLI), Nvidia Corp. has established an online store where users can acquire or sell components “certified” by the company for operating within systems that run two or more graphics cards. The company hopes that this will help the multi-GPU tech to be adopted by masses.

“Now you can sell your old components and find the right hardware to upgrade your SLI PC – simply, quickly, and in one place. We’ve taken the guesswork and the legwork out of buying, selling, and configuring SLI-certified components,” said Ujesh Desai, general manager, desktop GPUs at Nvidia.

Nvidia’s SLI marketplace consolidates more than 50 different destinations, including system builder sites, e-tail sites and eBay item listings of SLI-certified components in the U.S. By launching SLI marketplace, Nvidia makes it easier for end-users to pick up graphics cards, mainboards, power supply units and even memory modules.

The SLI marketplace features an analyzer that can inform users which graphics card they need, and then provide options for users to immediately purchase new or lower-priced second-hand cards.

Introduced over two years ago, Nvidia SLI technology allows two or more graphics cards to be installed into a personal computer (PC) to boost performance and image quality. ATI Technologies offers competing technology called CrossFire, which is designed for the same reason. However, even though both leading developers of GPUs try to popularize their multi-GPU technologies, as this effectively increases total available market (TAM) for their products, the masses still do not bit the multi-GPU and prefer single-GPU configurations.

According to poll recently conducted by X-bit labs, the majority of users (54%) use single-GPU configuration according to their needs, but not necessarily high-end graphics processing units (GPUs). Another huge group of people (31%) use utilize high-end graphics cards, those, which usually cost $299 and beyond. Those two groups represent 85% of computer enthusiasts, the main auditory of X-bit labs. Only about 5% of computer users have two high-end graphics boards in their PCs from ATI or Nvidia with the majority of them using graphics cards powered by Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra GPUs or higher-speed options from the Santa Clara, California-based chip designer. Another 2% out of 2500 questioned used a pair of mainstream or low-end graphics cards in SLI or CrossFire multi-GPU mode.

But multi-GPU technologies may have higher market share in the future, as 7% of respondents plan to acquire a multi-GPU setup as time goes by and those technologies become more mature or affordable.


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