GeForce 7800 GTX SLI -
Well, you have to be at the least a little surprised how well SLI already works for the 7800 series. Face it, the G70 is a relatively new graphics core that works quite well out of the box. Most definitely all newer games are widely supported. The performance increase we see with two 7800 GTX's working in SLI mode is extraordinary. To be able to notice that performance increase we used the newer game titles and we do need to focus on the highest resolutions with nice image quality settings. If we go lower in resolution, IQ or take on older game ... well the G70 is just to powerful, let alone combined in SLI. Older games are slowly getting outdated and easily are becoming CPU limited and cannot make use of all that SLI rendering power as the CPU can't send data fast enough to the graphics card driver.
The obvious downside of two 7800 GTX cards in SLI mode of course is the colossal price you have to pay in order to get all of it working. It's for the 1% of our audience, people that have a lot of money. It's not only the two 600 USD cards I'm talking about here. You'll need the SLI mainboard, high-end CPU and PSU (Ed: Please, please don't forget about getting a quality PSU) to be able to maximize and utilize those cards to their full capabilities. But once you have all that utilized in that uber-powered gaming rig of yours, well the results are absolutely fantastic and in my opinion quite shocking.
As an example I'd like to steer you to our Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. This game is now my favorite benchmark thanks to its new shader mode. For once we can bring a high-end graphics card down on its knees where it's praying and screaming for help. Riddick can utilize a Shader 2.0++ mode that previously made it impossible to play the game on thanks to its massive use of SoftShadows (which quite honestly makes the game so beautiful from a graphics point of view).
Even a GeForce 6800 Ultra was not able to manage to pull a decent framerate (except in SLI). The 7800 GTX was the first card that allowed acceptable gameplay in 1024x768. Now with the 7800 GTX SLI, this game in that 2.0++ shader mode runs beautifully even in 1600x1200 with a framerate of 47 FPS! It demonstrates the raw power you can realize with the SLI combination, and with this particular game this was really inspiring.
Splinter Cell 3 Chaos Theory is another fine example that was showing the huge advantage of two 7800 GTX's in SLI mode. At 1600x1200 with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and 16 levels of Anisotropic filtering and any other HQ setting we could set to high enabled, the framerate almost doubled from 43 to 80 frames per second. That 80 FPS at 1600x1200 is doing the same framerate as one single 7800 GTX is managing at 1024x768.
3DMark 03, you'll burst into laughter the first time you run it and notice a 26424 default score. Two years ago I think if I remember correcty the first ever run of 3Dmark 03 for me resulted in a 3500 score, look what we managed today. Well enough said. As you can see, I was extremely pleased with the performance that SLI in the 7800 GTX series was showing.
And of course I know, the massive investment to get a setup like this working is not even slightly relevant for the most of us unless you donate your kidney, but dang... this sure was a fun project to experiment with. For those that can afford this setup, you'll love every little bit about it.
If you like to learn more about the technology that is GeForce 7800 GTX, please read our reference Geforce 7800 GTX review.
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