As reported earlier, Nvidia is now licensing SLI technology to manufacturers of AMD motherboards despite its rivalry with the company in the GPU sector. SLI will be made available for boards playing host to AMD's 990FX, 990X and 970 chipsets.
"Long term gamers probably remember that for a long time AMD offered great high-end CPUs, but in recent years, AMD’s stature as the preferred gaming CPU fell by the wayside and Intel CPUs have been the gamers’ choice," Nvidia's Tom Petersen explained in an official blog (opens in new tab). "For this reason, we’ve only licensed SLI for motherboards with Intel chipsets."
Previously AMD users required an unofficial patch to make SLI work on their AMD-based motherboards. But then news of Nvidia's official support for 9-series chipset boards surfaced last month by way of a leaked slide. It showed that the AMD 990FX chipset is capable of supporting two PCIe x16 slots or four PCIe x8 slots for running 2-way (2 x16) or 3-way (3 x8) SLI. As for the AMD 990X, the chipset only supports 2-way SLI (2 x8). There was no mention of the 970 chipset.
The slide also stated that SLI on AMD 9-Series chipsets use the same "key" technology that Intel SLI platforms use and the same certification process (the same SBIOS support is required). It also said there will be no support for Nvidia's nF200 bridge chip which was designed to work with Socket A AMD processor and DDR333/400 memory.
"We’ve been recently hearing chants of 'SLI for AMD CPUs,' and figured that now is a great time to do it," Petersen said. "After all, we want to make sure gamers can benefit from the new CPU competitive landscape and ensure they have NVIDIA SLI – the highest performance, most stable multi-GPU solution - to game on! According to Steam, 93-percent of all multi-GPU systems in use today use SLI."
ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock, and MSI are among the first motherboard manufacturers to offer SLI support, with more coming on board shortly.