You know, a couple of weeks ago I started to get the Guru itch, it happens so often really. In this case, the itch to achieve something remarkable with hardware. Reaching that x-factor with cool gear. Right at that time NVIDIA released a new driver for the GeForce GTX 480 cards, that new driver supports 4-way SLI on just one title ... 3DMark Vantage.
And as silly as it really is, it intrigued me. You know, the fastest multi-GPU setup I created last year achieved a 26449 mark (P score 3Dmark Vantage). Now with the recent refresh of the X58 motherboards, the all new Core i7 980X processor and the GeForce GTX 480 slowly becoming available we figured, frack it ... go for it. Create an uber-PC worthy of breaking that personal 3DMark Vantage score of mine.
Oh my, that was easier said than done. First order of business, contact NVIDIA. We needed more GTX 480 cards, helps us! So after a few calls, we had in house the reference GTX 480, two GTX 480 cards from Point of View and a week later, Zotac jumped in as well and send out their GeForce GTX 480 as well. So the four cards needed are in.
Meanwhile I requested to Intel to get the Core i7 980 Extreme shipped back for this uber-tweaking project. To create the infrastructure needed for Quad SLI we however made one monumental mistake, we picked the wrong motherboard.
See, to bypass CPU bottlenecks and really move forward in the Vantage score we'd had to overclock the processor on a very capable motherboard. Right after reviewing it we picked up the ASUS Rampage III Extreme. Once we started building this rig, during unboxing we realized .. for quad-SLI with four graphics card we'd need a 4-way SLI bridge. ASUS does not deliver that bridge with their motherboards, somewhat puzzled, that should have been our first hint.
We contacted some AIBs for that bridge to no avail, we contacted NVIDIA to no avail as they actually discouraged this article as Quad SLI with four cards really was only intended for the hardcore overclocking scene versus 3DMark Vantage scores. Considering that's exactly what we are after we then pushed forward.
eVGA Europe was kind enough to send out the 4-way SLI bridge. Meanwhile eVGA USA got back with a curiosity, they sincerely doubted that 4-way SLI would even work with the ASUS R3E as it has no additional NVIDIA NF200 ICs embedded on the motherboard, according to eVGA the motherboard would need 2x NF200 to support 4-way SLI.
And there the story becomes complex .... next page please.
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