NVIDIA 3-way SLI review 3x XFX 8800 Ultra
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 12/13/2007 02:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
Before we start, we need to have a chat about system requirements. First off, you'll need a nForce 680i SLI or 790i SLI mainboard. Luckily ... we have both of them. But in general, you need to have a pretty beefy system to be able to keep up with three-way SLI. It's also pretty much for the rich and famous only.
NVIDIA recommended system specifications:
- Three GeForce 8800 GTX or Ultra graphics cards
- Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 2.93 GHz or better processor
- 2 GB 800 MHz DDR2 memory
- nForce 680i or 780i SLI mainboard
- Windows Vista
- Two HDD in RAID0 (Stripe) configuration
- DVD drive
- Sound card
Woohoo, our test platform matches pretty much completely. Except for the RAID0 configuration. NVIDIA here's a small hint, we really want Hardware RAID, not the silly mid-windows RAID configuration. So PRIOR to booting windows, we need our RAID configuration to be setup. Anyway, we'll use a 150 GB WD Raptor drive at 10k RPM.
Now here's where the system requirements will get a little sour. NV advises a power supply that's ... really making you go like "uh what ?":
- Minimum 1100 Watt peak power
- Six PCI-E power connectors
There are not a lot of PSUs out there who can do that. Rest assure thought hat NVIDIA's requirements are a bit on the high side. An 900/1000 Watt I presume would suffice also unless you seriously start to overclock. We however do have a couple of 1200 Watt PSU's in the lab and obviously will use one of them. And if I do not forget, I'll monitor peak wattage output of the PC.
The SLI connector
Now this is something you'll need. Expect vendors like XFX to sell the new SLI connector separately if you already have a 680i board. If you purchase the soon to be released 780i mainboard, it'll be included, both (which we'll now call) the two-way and three way SLI connectors.
The new 3-way SLI bridge connector, like the three musketeers. All for one, one for all.
If you had a close look at the 8800 GTX & Ultra, you'd notice there's a second SLI finger (connector) and to date there has been a lot of speculation about that extra connector, to name one .. it could have been an extension for physics over a third card. The truth is often to be found in the most simple and logical solution, it was all about SLI from the get go. If you have one of these rather expensive cards you can now link up three cards and enable 3-way SLI.