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After months of existence of Intel Core i7 central processing units and Intel X58 platform and mainboards Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. have finally decided to sign a licensing agreement that allows Intel to enable Nvidia’s SLI multi-GPU rendering technology on its own DX58SO motherboard widely known as “Smackover”.

“The addition of Nvidia SLI technology to the Intel DX58SO motherboard has been a welcome addition. The pairing of our new Core i7 processors on our Extreme Series motherboard and Nvidia GeForce graphics has resulted in some of the world's fastest consumer gaming PC platforms. For playing any of today's hottest PC titles, this is one awesome combination that our customers have been asking for,” said Clem Russo, vice president and general manager of channel desktop platform group at Intel.

Since Nvidia does not have a license to create chipsets compatible with Intel Core i7 processors and was unable to deliver its own core-logic to support SLI, the firm decided to license its technology for rumoured $5 per mainboard unit or sell a special nForce 200 hub to mainboard makers. Previously Intel has neither used a hub nor paid Nvidia for certification.

Leading mainboard makers, such as Asustek Computer, Gigabyte Technology, MicroStar International and others have already enabled technology that allows numerous graphics chips to render one image at higher rater compared to one processor.

It should be pointed out that there are virtually no technical obstacles from running multiple graphics chips on various platforms provided that those platforms have necessary amount of compatible PCI Express slots and necessary amount of PCIe controllers. For instance 4-way, 3-way and 2-way ATI CrossFire GPU configurations work fine on the vast majority of platforms.

It is necessary to note that SLI technology is not a part of a cross-licensing agreement between Intel and Nvidia. If the SLI pact was signed on condition of royalty payments to Nvidia, then eventually certain other deals between the two companies may not be that favourable for the graphics chip designer.

For all the makers of premium-class computer components, including high-end central processing units and expensive graphics processing units, it is important to ensure that their products are compatible in order to enable maximum amount of PC configurations that appeal to the end-user. Since there are customers wishing “all-Intel” platform that includes Intel CPU, Intel chipset and Intel mainboard, but a number of Nvidia GeForce graphics cards, the agreement seems to be important.

Tags: Intel, Nvidia, Geforce, SLI, Nehalem, Bloomfield, X58, ATI, Radeon, CrossFire

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