Driver update enables DIY quad-SLI systems

Santa Clara (CA) - If only four graphics cards deliver enough pixel power for your PC and you just weren't ready to shell out more than $5000 for a new PC, then here's your solution: Nvidia today posted the first generally available driver to support do-it-yourself quad-SLI graphics.

It's no secret that it is tough to squeeze more performance out of Nvidia's quad-SLI systems in a usual game environment. But if you are running systems that ask for enormous pixel calculation, Nvidia refers to that as "extreme High-definition gaming," and use a fancy 30" display or Matrox TripleHead2Go hardware to run three displays in tandem, more graphics chips will deliver a better experience.

So far, the only way to get a quad-SLI system was the purchase of a new high-end PC - such was Dell's quickly sold-out $10,000 Renegade, which was the first computer to offer four graphics chip in a PC. With a new Forceware driver, version 91.45, enthusiasts can build their own quad-SLI system - consisting of

  • an Nforce 4 SLI X16 or a new 590/570 SLI-based motherboard
  • Two Geforce 7950 GX2 graphics cards (which include two graphics chips each)
  • and an AMD Athlon FX- 62 or Intel Core 2 Duo processor

Of course, the simple individual availability of these does not mean that a home-made quad-SLI system will be cheap. According to, 950 GX2 graphics cards currently sell for an average of about $580 from manufacturers such as Evga, MSI or XFX. SLI X16 motherboards can be ordered for between $160 and $220 and if you want to upgrade to AMD's and Intel's flagship processors than you are looking at about $1300 for the Core 2 Extreme and about $820 for the FX-62 CPU.

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