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Gigabyte: Enable SLI On X58 Boards

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 16 comments

Late last night, motherboard manufacturer Gigabyte said that SLI mode can be activated on many of its X58 boards.

A few weeks ago, we reported that Taiwanese magazine PC Home Advance figured out how to enable SLI support on a Gigabyte motherboard--the EX58-UD4--that didn't have Nvidia's prized SLI certification. Typically, motherboard manufacturers using Intel's X58 chipset must pay for Nvidia's SLI certification if they want support in the ForceWare drivers. The "cheat" discovered by PC Home Advance bypassed that certification by flashing the EX58-UD4 motherboard with the latest F6 Gigabyte EX58-UD4P Nvidia SLI-certified BIOS, thereby enabling SLI unofficially on the cheaper, non-SLI board.

Now Gigabyte has officially announced that most of its X58 motherboards support Nvidia SLI technology. There's no cheat this time around; X58 motherboard owners simply need to download a BIOS update straight from Gigabyte's website. "Users can enable Nvidia SLI support on their current [X58] motherboards for ultra smooth 3D rendering, blazing-fast frame rates and enhanced visual quality possible with a multiple graphics card solution," the company said. "Whether playing current and future graphics-intensive games at max settings, or enabling multi-monitor support for enhanced productivity, Gigabyte gives users the flexibility to design their system according to their specific needs."

Gigabyte's list of SLI-enabled X58 motherboards includes the following: the GA-EX58-EXTREME, GA-EX58-UD4, GA-EX58-UD5, GA-EX58-UD3R, GA-EX58-UD3R-SLI, and GA-EX58-UD4P. These motherboards comprise six out of seven in the X58 series, supporting Intel's Core i7 processor, the new QPI interface, 3-channel DDR3, and even ATI's CrossFireX support. Gigabyte also boasts its Ultra Durable 3 design used in the X58 series, featuring 2 ounces of copper for both the Power and Ground layers, dramatically lowering system temperature by delivering a more efficient spreading of heat from critical areas of the motherboard throughout the entire PCB. The PCB impendence also sees a 50-percent reduction, and the copper layer design provides improved signal quality and lower EMI.

Undoubtedly, the X58 series looks and sounds quite tasty, and with SLI now enabled in addition to the native CrossfireX support, the X58 series offers gamers a wider option when building the ultimate rig. It's probably safe to assume that Gigabyte planned to release an SLI-certified BIOS all along, but that the Taiwanese magazine stumbled upon the ability before Gigabyte could get the official Nvidia certification.

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  • 1 Hide
    kyeana , April 3, 2009 5:52 PM
    Good news!
  • 0 Hide
    kyeana , April 3, 2009 5:53 PM
    Edit double post
  • 1 Hide
    tester3000 , April 3, 2009 6:16 PM
    This is awesome... SLi on a $185 board!!! Might be going i7 this year and this really helps me make my decision.
  • Display all 16 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    Cache , April 3, 2009 7:14 PM
    Any bets as to how long before nVidia sues over copyright breaches or something similar?
  • 1 Hide
    Eggrenade , April 3, 2009 7:56 PM
    As soon as their lawyers finish with Intel, so never. Or they'll just hire a bunch more, so it could be soon.
  • 3 Hide
    baseline , April 3, 2009 8:04 PM
    Sure I'll take that bet. It's not going to happen because Gigabyte went to NVIDIA and got certification.
  • 1 Hide
    radiowars , April 3, 2009 10:29 PM
    Yay Gigabyte. Now I think I HAVE to buy their board. Good move :D 
  • 0 Hide
    Inktfish , April 4, 2009 9:35 AM
    So now they are giving native SLI support on those boards or are they just admitting that their BIOS can be altered illegally very easily?
  • 1 Hide
    Inktfish , April 4, 2009 9:35 AM
    So does that mean:
    SLI support legally on the 6 Gigabyte boards
    OR
    are they admitting that it can be done easily
    ?
  • 1 Hide
    kyeana , April 4, 2009 6:35 PM
    ^they have provided a BIOS update to allow SLI on those boards
  • 0 Hide
    kingnoobe , April 5, 2009 7:34 PM
    Its all legal read all of the article. They just had to get certification for it. Or of course they just wanted to make money, and hoped more people would buy the more expensive board, but when the article broke they figured "hey might as well now, it'll make us look good".
  • 0 Hide
    mirazh1976 , April 5, 2009 8:13 PM
    This kind of gives a clue on per board production costs if they can undercut their own higher market boards. Also, I am sure they would stipulate that this bio's tweak voids the warranty as well?
  • -2 Hide
    bounty , April 6, 2009 4:13 PM
    "It's probably safe to assume that Gigabyte planned to release an SLI-certified BIOS all along, but that the Taiwanese magazine stumbled upon the ability before Gigabyte could get the official Nvidia certification."

    I don't know if I'd call that safe to assume. Not with that wording anyways. I'd call announcing your motherboards support SLI and that there is a bios patch, different than official Nvidia certification. Also it may not be the same as official Gigabyte support. In other words, you can dl it and try it, if it doesn't work for you for some reason I doubt they'll send you another board. They'll probably tell you if you want official SLI support, but the official SLI mobo.
  • 2 Hide
    martel80 , April 6, 2009 7:35 PM
    I thought nVidia would collect some small fee for SLI support on a per-board basis. If this was the case, Gigabyte would be in trouble (evading fees).
  • 2 Hide
    marraco , April 7, 2009 1:17 AM
    I don't get why Nvidia allowed the existence of crossfire-capable motherboards without SLI. Taking itself away from the market does not make sense.
  • 1 Hide
    kyeana , April 7, 2009 2:43 AM
    Its not nvidias choice what mobo manufactures do, gigabyte decides what features will go into their product