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Can You Run Nvidia Dual Graphics Without SLI?

Last response: in Memory
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August 17, 2006 10:49:39 AM

Nvidia says you need an SLI motherboard to support dual- and quad-Nvidia graphics. But will a cheaper mobo from Epox do the job that isn\'t SLI certified?
August 17, 2006 11:12:19 AM

I think it's good for low SLi setup like with 6600. I wouldn't use it with high performance graphics card like 7900GTX, for it would just bottleneck it's performance. It's pretty cool and interesting anyways.
August 17, 2006 11:41:36 AM

Yay!!! Finally... Toms tells it like it is.

Guys.... this should have been written months ago. ;-)
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August 17, 2006 2:15:31 PM

I am baffled by the conclusion. the maximum difference between the two solutions was a 10% difference in a single game, and that was not a significant drop in FPS at all. Sure the SLI won in just about every comparison, but it was always by such a tiny margin it was not worth being concerned about.

If you can save $40+ US on the motherboard for the non "official" SLI board, why would you not? I don't get it. the comparison was done with a pretty good card (7900), so why was someone suggesting only doing it with a 6600, when you can see the difference is so marginal with a better one?

looks similar to the THX certified concept. because it has a THX sticker, the price is higher, and performance MIGHT be marginally better. I guess money is no concern for the author?
August 17, 2006 3:31:25 PM

Quote:

looks similar to the THX certified concept. because it has a THX sticker, the price is higher, and performance MIGHT be marginally better. I guess money is no concern for the author?


Basically, yes. Add to this something that Toms didn't touch on but really should have. You don't even need two 16x PCI express slots to run 2 vid cards in SLI. Modern graphics cards dont use all of the bandwidth offered by 16x. Most don't even use above the equviliant of a 4x PCI slot. None use above the equiliant of a 8x PCI slot. This info is out there, not all that easy to find though.

SLI certification is marketing, not much more. The THX comparison is a good one.
August 17, 2006 3:56:25 PM

I would have liked to see a larger selection of Graphics comparisons, similar to a typical graphic card review, rather than a set of benchmarks similar to those used for system reviews.

Yes, I understand that this is a review of the Epox motherboard, but the purpose of the review is to evaluate the SLI graphics capability of said motherboard.

Do 4 charts accurately represent a THG graphics comparison??
August 17, 2006 4:15:19 PM

Quote:
If you can save $40+ US on the motherboard for the non "official" SLI board, why would you not? I don't get it. the comparison was done with a pretty good card (7900), so why was someone suggesting only doing it with a 6600, when you can see the difference is so marginal with a better one?
1) Limited driver support
2) Fewer SLI profiles
3) Newer features won't be available (Threaded optimization and OpenGL error reporting are only in forceware release 90)
August 17, 2006 4:34:55 PM

The Abit board is generally going to have more OCing potential and the Quiet OTES is a nice feature.
August 17, 2006 5:01:29 PM

this has been known for several months.... on a certain forum drivers 84.43 where released and your able to run SLi on Intel Chipset Boards (975), supposely you ar also able to run on SLi on ULI, ATI and of course Nforce. but Ive only tried them on Intel.....
August 17, 2006 5:20:12 PM

I hope SLI becomes a standard motherboard technology, so that low-end motherboards have it (like SATA and RAID now). I do not see any reason I should pay more for a motherboard with a technology I cannot benefit from unless I buy two video cards anyways. If anything, they should be cheaper to encourage consumer acceptance of SLI (especially considering the speed increase is nowhere near 100%).

Maybe someday it'll be worth it for the budget pc consumer.
August 17, 2006 8:14:12 PM

Quote:
If you can save $40+ US on the motherboard for the non "official" SLI board, why would you not? I don't get it. the comparison was done with a pretty good card (7900), so why was someone suggesting only doing it with a 6600, when you can see the difference is so marginal with a better one?


If I may, the reason would be that if you are going to get dual 7800GTs, like in the setup (specs say 7800GT), you have to spend $580 for them alone. What difference is $40 if you're already dropping about $600 on video cards? I'd rather know that I can use the latest nVidia driver and not have to go through some backwards hacked source driver stuff.

Tho, if you were using 6600(GT)s, tho two can be had for as little as $200, at which point the increase of $40 for an SLI board could be something worth considering.

BTW, Newegg has the Epox for $70, the Abit A8N 32x for $150 (then a $30 rebate) , but the A8N 16x SLI board is $90. If the Epox is going to offer essentially two x8 slots, then the A8N 16x SLI is the same thing but with SLI, for $20. Are you really going to moan about $20. I wouldn't, plus it's an Abit instead of an Epox. I've never used Epox, but I wouldn't put them in my top three, or five...wouldn't put them in with PCChips, Jetway or Biostar, either.
August 18, 2006 8:15:48 AM

Everyone. Well someone. A few of us. Me and a couple others...knows that the JetWay 939GT4-SLI-G Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard is an excellent overclocker that does SLI in the mid 70-80 range. It kept up with the top of the line nforce4 DFI, here

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813153030
August 18, 2006 1:25:25 PM

Well, these are some interesting results; I'm glad to see that someone's actually managed to hack a BIOS to run SLi; personally, I've been rather annoyed at nVidia's attitude when it comes to SLi support; I don't like these "exclusive" sentiments. with luck, perhaps we just might see motherboards in the future that support both CrossFire and SLi at the same time. (as well as S3's "ChromeVision")

However, I must say that the performance difference suprised me. I never thought that a third-party hack could come so close. Also, I'm suprised that performance in non-graphics tests were more or less identical; I had previously seen the nForce chipset as the all-around most powerful one to be had; I guess this only applies to gaming and other graphics-intensive tasks.

Of course, this sort of solution is not for everyone; the biggest one, of course, is what Heyyou27 pointed out; it's a higher proprietary, cobble-together solution. As such, compatability is iffy at best; you must use a certain (far from current) ForceWare driver, and you lose out on a number of modern features, including support for a number of modern games. However, from the point of view of a true hardware enthusiast, this is exciting news; this may mean future updates that would actually benefit the "average" gamer thinking about dual-GPU rigs.

[edit]Is it just me, or is it that most front-page article threads wind up in the "Memory" section for no apparent reason? I'm really interested to know why this keeps happening...
August 18, 2006 4:38:32 PM

NotTheKing, its not a bios hack, its a driver one.... and the only reason why its not hacked on the new drivers yet, its because nvidia changed the structure of them. Its just a matter of time before someone finds where the instructions are in the new 90.xx drivers.
August 18, 2006 5:41:06 PM

Just a fundemental flaw: 1697's rival should be nForce4 SLi (not x16) or nForce5 570 SLi, where they are single-chip and having similar features(especially 2 slots of pci-express x8 )

I'd like to see an update with motherboards with nForce4 SLi or nForce5 570.
August 19, 2006 10:13:09 AM

I have only recently discovered that my Asus P5WD-2E mobo can support SLI and quite by accident. Thru some sheer luck I ended up with two nearly identical video cards, a 7900 GT and 7900 GT KO from eVGA. I was going to sell one and I was told by a friend that he'd heard rumors of 975x chipsets running SLI even though its really only marketed as a Crossfire mobo. I decided that it probably couldn't hurt to try it out so I installed it and my friend was able to track down a hacked driver for me. Low and behold it worked on the first try. Initially the stock driver just said that it was SLI capable. But driver locked me out and indicated I didn't have the right mobo to enable the feature. The hacked driver got around that and allowed me to enable it. Suddenly I was in SLI heaven. The display worked normally in XP so I tried to boot a game. Smoothness. I cranked the setting to max in everything to see if I could choke it. I set it to 1920 x 1200 (I have a Dell 2405), 8X AA, 16X anistropic, max effects, lighting, HDR, the works, and still got a minimum of 30 fps and a max fps of about 150 in FEAR. I was amazed. I have since purchased a cheap SLI bridge to try to eek out a little more performance and try to get all that going at 60 fps all the time.

From browsing the other forums, it seems a lot of people don't know about this fact that 975x can run SLI. I wouldn't have believed it myself if I hadn't tried it. I was always under the belief that SLI required something in the Nvidia chipset itself. Obviously this is not true as my mobo doesn't have Nforce in it. I'm not sure why Nvidia would prevent SLI usage on a board that obviously can support it. One reason that comes to mind is that if they allow use on all mobo that can physically support it, they might lose sales of Nforce based mobos. However that would be offset by people buying more video cards to use in those non-Nforce mobos. People who've written to Nvidia to complain or plead their case have been getting responses saying that they are negotiating with several parties and support for it may come in the future. Certainly with AMD teaming with ATI, this would be a fantastic time to do so.

Finally, I agree with other people here that if I had the choice of buying a SLI mobo for a few bucks more I might get that instead of a non supported mobo because looking for hacked drivers is a pain in the butt. For all I know, when they do a serious update to the drivers, I might be out of luck finding an updated hacked driver and my SLI would cease to function. I would be seriously bummed having gotten used to the speed and quality of graphics.
August 19, 2006 12:00:15 PM

I did a little more research and found that in some forums people actually say that its been easier to hack the new drivers then the old ones... now i wasnt able to find the new drivers as im not really that much interested in them. the only new things i see in the drivers are a few new game profiles, a new lousy interface, and support for the 7950's and quad sli.

also im not interested because i am going back to the nforce based motherboards.... this one in particular:

http://zeus.asus.com/hq/products4.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=33...

nforce 590 for intel baby !!! and this mostly because my p5wd2-e does not support conroe nor will it support kentsfield....
January 28, 2007 10:06:07 AM

I dont know alot about graphics cards, but I was wondering if I could combine an agp card with a pci (not express card) on an old motherboard? I recently upgraded my nvidia driver (to forceware) and under 3d settings it tells me that card is sli enabled. i have bought microsoft fsx and was pretty excited at the though of inexpensively being able to double my graphics. A little research later and I have found that my existing Geforce4 ti 4200 is an agp card and I only have a spare pci (not express) slot. also motherboard is an Asus Kirin, I was thinking about putting another geforce4 agp card in the pci slot, but maybe risky? does anyone see a way I could get 2 cards to work? thanks,

I have a 2003 sony viao. pentium 4 2.4 ghz, 1b ram.
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