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Video Cards and Displays AMD, NVIDIA graphics card talk, as well as monitor/HDTV discussion.

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Old 10-13-2007, 12:29 AM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default 3-Way SLI coming?

VR-Zone has made a post claiming that 3-Way SLI is on the way, and it's got me thinking. One immediate problem I see is that it's currently compatible with high-end cards only, such as the 8800 GTX and 8800 Ultra. This is due to the fact that each of those cards have dual-SLI bridges. Even the upcoming 8800GT card lacks those, so I am not sure how NVIDIA plans to market this, exactly.

I run a single 8800GTX for example, and earlier this evening I ran the new Unreal Tournament III demo at 2560x1600 resolution just fine. I didn't touch the options or max them out, but it still ran quite well, considering I am using a single GPU and the largest resolution possible. If I were to crank up all of the settings, such as AA, I'd understand the need for adding a second 8800GTX to the rig, which I've almost been tempted to do in the past.

But three? From what I can see, there are no limitations right now with having 8800GTX/Ultra in SLI and running the maximum resolution on a 30" monitor, so what's the reason behind launching a 3-Way SLI? Sure, frames might end up higher, but will the increase even be noticeable, outside of canned benchmarks?

The way I see it: The cards themselves will become "obsolete" (features-wise) before a game would ever touch the power of all three GPUs combined.

What are your thoughts?

http://vr-zone.com/articles/Nvidia_R...logy/5341.html
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Old 10-13-2007, 04:21 AM   #2
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After I created this thread, I had a craving for more UT3, so I decided to do a few tests while I was at it. It turns out that the game did have maxed out graphics. Sadly, the game doesn't give fine control over graphical settings, such as AA. It simplifies things to a slider bar. Therefore, games that do feature such fine tuning and high AA options will no doubt run slower than this game. I basically ran these tests to show just how powerful a single 8800GTX card is, and how useless 3x 8800GTX will be... if the rumor is true, of course.

To test, I played both available Deathmatch levels, Shangri La and Heat Ray. As mentioned, an 8800GTX was used at 2560x1600 Max Details. Other system specs include an ASUS P5E3, Intel QX6850 3.0GHz, 2GB RAM.

Here are the results of a full deathmatch session for each:



The lowest that the Avg FPS went was 29, and that was only for a brief moment. Other than that, it looks like the Avg FPS hovered around 50. Not too bad considering this is on a single GPU that's churning out over 4,000,000 pixels on the screen 30 - 50 times a second ;-)

Don't get me wrong though. I well understand that some games are going to prove more graphically intensive than this one. UT3 doesn't allow fine control over AA and the like, but if it did, then a second GPU would be desired, no question. I was only playing with four other players in offline mode, so chances are if you are hitting the 16+ mark online, a second GPU would also come in handy. I felt no slowdown in the game even when all four players were in the same area, however.

For those curious, here are the screenshots from gameplay, in full resolution:



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Old 10-13-2007, 12:26 PM   #3
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Dood, throw your PhysX card in there and see how it performs. I might go into work and setup a download of the demo and try it out with the Ageia card.
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Old 10-13-2007, 07:13 PM   #4
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Overkill!

No. Really.
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