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Nvidia's dual-display SLI implementation is bonkers

Buy three graphic cards!!
Wed Nov 08 2006, 10:33
WE HAVE BEEN asking the Graphzilla about SLI and multi-monitor support ever since it came out with the SLI technology.

The continuous mantra previously growled at us was that it was going to be solved in future revisions of drivers. Then, the 7800GTX series came out and the mantra was changed to: watch out for future revisions of hardware. And now, with the 8800 series coming out, this is changing to: Buy a third graphics card.

Nvidia is launching its third-generation SLI-capable hardware, and users can still forget about multi-monitor support when SLI is enabled. We know the problem lies not in the driver, but in the way two displays are being set-up, GPU-wise.

The presentation about the Nforce 680i chipset, which is being launched today, contains an explanation as to why Graphzilla is now offering three long PCIe slots for placing three graphics cards on the motherboard.


The possibilities offered by the third PCIe slot are six monitors (which is nice), SLI Physics (marked as "Future Support") and SLI + Dual Display support - also marked "Future Support".

Now, wait a bit: Dual Display support and three graphics cards? We won't go into the power consumption debate, but this seems rather excessive and expensive.

As you can see in picture above, two of the graphic cards are today's babies, the 8800GTXs, while that one in the middle is 7900GT, probably playing a role of future DX10 mainstream graphics card. And in the future, dual display support just may be added. As SLI-Physics will.

Of course, since the third PCIe connector will be a feature of 680i only, you really need to forget about lower-end chipsets such as also introduced 650i. Bear in mind that the third graphics card will be pretty much idle, since this is not for enabling gaming on the second monitor, but rather enabling Windows desktop. You know, heavy fillrate hitting stuff like Windows Explorer, Skype, ICQ, MSN, and oh my, incredibly complex TeamSpeak screen. At least, according to powerpointery.

Nvidia should either stop talking about dual display support or pull a George Broussard and utter the words: when it's done. µ


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