So, 30 minutes after our GeForce GTX 580 review we started receiving e-mails, 'ehm Hilbert could you possibly do an article on 3-way SLI as well?' Well sure we can, but the dynamics are way more complicated.
See, one GeForce GTX 580 is already a power-house in terms of performance, with two cards we already started noticing CPU-limitation in certain titles, e.g. the two GPUs would like to go faster yet the processor (an overclocked Core i7 965 @ 3.8 GHz) is, with somewhat dated titles, not able to keep up with the GPUs 100%.
With GPU performance nearly doubling up each two years this is going to become a problem in the years to come. See, a lot of games these days do have multi-threaded processor support, yet often that is limited to two or three CPU cores. The processor industry is making a huge shift to multi-core processing and with the serial architecture of the processor it poses an issue for multiple and high performance GPUs gaming wise.
In short, we really need faster per core processors to deal with that issue, unfortunately processor manufacturers are only focused on more cores. In the upcoming year for example AMD scheduled production of 16 core CPUs in the second quarter of 2011 and launch with widespread availability in the third quarter. Yep, AMD has revealed its latest Interlagos processor featuring up to 16 CPU cores, of course initially HPC / Server targeted... but that's where we are headed.
Why this tremendous comment on processors in a GPU article? Well, 3-way SLI on the GeForce GTX 580 allows us to look into the future. Two to three years from now what you'll see will be the new high end single 'GPU' performance. Showing you the great potential so much raw horsepower really has also shows drawbacks, in terms of CPU limitation.
So before starting up the article, rest assured we'll be showing you performance of our standard benchmark suite, that means some older titles, some modern titles and some DX11 titles. There's some shock, some awe and some coolness to be found in this article.
Let's head on over to the next page where we'll walk you through, well... everything.
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