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Even though financial analysts claim that there are not enough Nvidia GeForce GTX 400-series graphics boards available on the market, Nvidia Corp. on Wednesday released a driver that enabled the latest graphics cards to work in 4-way multi-GPU mode to boost performance. While 4-way SLI for GeForce GTX 400 family is available formally, far not all end-users will take advantage of it.

The latest WHQL-certified Nvidia Forceware drivers version 197.55 for Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems enable 4-way SLI with GeForce GTX 480 or GeForce GTX 470 graphics boards. This is the first time when 4-way multi-GPU mode is enabled for four consumer graphics cards. Previously both ATI and Nvidia only allowed 4-way multi-GPU mode to work on two dual-chip graphics boards; besides, both companies enabled 3-way multi-GPU modes for single-chip solutions.

Considering the fact that the GeForce GTX 480 graphics card outperforms the ATI Radeon HD 5870 accelerator, the 4-way SLI quartet powered by four of such graphics boards can easily become the fastest graphics solution for consumers.

Although there is now software support for 4-way SLI technology with GeForce GTX 400-series graphics adapters, it will not be easy for actual end-users to take advantage of the option. The cost of four premium single-chip graphics cards varies from $1400 to $2000, which is quite a lot. In addition, a special mainboard with four PCI Express x16 slot is needed, there are not a lot of such motherboards on the market. Besides, since GeForce GTX 400-series graphics cards consume a lot of energy and dispose a lot of heat, end-users will have to acquire high-end power supply units in addition to specially-designed cases. Finally, end-users will have to obtain a special 4-way SLI bridge, which is not supplied with graphics cards and has never been supplied with mainboards with four PCIe x16 slots.

4-way multi-GPU solutions have never been popular among gamers, partly due to cost reasons, partly due to various issues with hardware and software. Considering the fact that now there are a lot of technological roadblocks with 4-way SLI, the configuration will be pretty rare outside systems from boutique PC makers.

Tags: Nvidia, Geforce, Fermi, SLI, GF100, NV60, 40nm

Discussion

Comments currently: 8
Discussion started: 04/21/10 03:10:41 PM
Latest comment: 05/03/10 03:09:14 PM
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[1-7]

1. 
As always, thanks for breaking the news. GeForce 197.55 WHQL it is.
0 0 [Posted by: AuDioFreaK39  | Date: 04/21/10 03:10:41 PM]
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2. 
Yeah and they will manufacture at least 12 cards before they get 4 cards that work. And we pay for all of them.

Such a deal!
0 0 [Posted by: Aristide1  | Date: 04/21/10 03:23:22 PM]
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- collapse thread

 
only 30% yield yah?
0 0 [Posted by: andromedagt285  | Date: 04/22/10 12:24:18 AM]
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3. 
What a single PSU Unit can HOLD this 1500 peak power consumption for 4 GPU at 300 watt an A system with core i7 980.
0 0 [Posted by: andromedagt285  | Date: 04/22/10 12:23:21 AM]
Reply

4. 
I would not recommend a single PSU for a 4-way SLI. Then again there might not be an app to push 4 GTX480s to the limit so they could work on peak load. BTW I saw a thread on the EVGA forum with 4 OCed GTX480 and OCed i7 980 pushing over 100K in 3DMARK!
0 0 [Posted by: jonup  | Date: 04/22/10 04:27:21 AM]
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5. 
So what does this jest do for the consumer...............ZERO
0 0 [Posted by: alpha0ne  | Date: 04/22/10 10:08:13 PM]
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6. 
Question: What is the difference between 4-Way SLI and Quad-SLI?
0 0 [Posted by: y eye  | Date: 04/24/10 08:19:29 AM]
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7. 
I am building a Lian Li P80 R
ASus Rampage 111 Extreme
intel cpipset
24 g's Corsair mem
Quad gtx 480 evga water cooled
Silverstone 1500 watt
External cooling x 2 units
By July all will have worked itself out ??
You only live once!!!
0 0 [Posted by: ariseshellfish  | Date: 05/03/10 03:09:14 PM]
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