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PCIe And CrossFire Scaling: Does Nvidia's NF200 Fix P55?

P55 Triple-GPU CrossFireX, Fixed?

Does Nvidia’s nForce 200 PCIe bridge solve the CrossFireX performance problem plaguing previous P55 platforms? You bet.

MSI’s Big Bang–Trinergy fell less than 2% behind the venerable X58, a performance difference that can easily be compensated by the fact that LGA 1156-based processors typically overclock a bit better than their LGA 1366-based predecessors. Non-gamers will make non-gaming arguments, such as the future availability of hexacore processors for X58-based platforms, the X58’s additional support for high-bandwidth devices such as professional RAID controllers, or the LGA 1366 interface’s ability to support triple-channel memory that will probably only noticeably benefit (drum roll, please) hexacore processors. But while those are all valid reasons for choosing a more flexible and less overclockable X58 option, anyone who wants the ultimate gaming experience should already know where to use the extra CPU speed that's usually available with Lynnfield-based Core i5 and Core i7 processors.

Asus fans will note that the P7P55 WS Supercomputer preceded MSI's Trinergy and uses the same NF200 connection method to supply four, rather than three, x16-length slots. The identical connection method should yield nearly identical performance results, but Asus' slot layout is more favorable to placing three double-slot cards into a standard ATX case.

EVGA’s P55 Classified 200 gave up another 0.4% to gain an extra PCIe slot. We’re not quite sure when Nvidia or ATI will develop five-way GPU arrays, but EVGA will be on the leading edge when it happens.

We also took a brief look at the performance benefit of applying this same principle to the X58 chipset to allow 48 lanes of graphics power over 32 lanes of connectivity. We have, unfortunately, not yet seen a graphics card configuration and game that require that much bandwidth, leaving the MSI Eclipse Plus at the orphanage once again. Yet good news for current owners of cheaper X58 motherboards was found in the same test, as the x16/x16/x4 slot configuration of Asus’ lower-cost P6T gave up only around 4% in performance compared to its x16/x8/x8 competition.

  • liquidsnake718
    Score One for the X58. The NF200 should help the P55 however but at an added cost. ALl in all interesting to see that Nvidia has been busy making this for the onboard and motherboard vendors instead of focusing on the GF100. I am sure they are really strategizing and letting AMD/ATi get the upper hand for a short time as their target market for business is also reaching a wider market in motherboard vendors. Then when GF100 comes out, ppl will see the type of quality GPUs that are meant to please the eye and take on the best and most demanding apps/games/HD content.
  • outlw6669
    With dual CrossFire/SLI (where it really matters most) it is kinda hard to fix something that ain't broken.

    Nice gains with three way though.
    Pretty sure if you have $1200 to dump on GPU's you would have gotten the proper platform in the first place...
  • falchard
    MSI wins again.
  • apache_lives
    well there you go, high end x58/1366 systems with a high end price offer the higher performance, and pushing a mid-range 1156 platform to high end performance requires extra exotic equipement/chips to do it - no new news here
  • apache_lives
    outlw6669With dual CrossFire/SLI (where it really matters most) it is kinda hard to fix something that ain't broken.Nice gains with three way though.Pretty sure if you have $1200 to dump on GPU's you would have gotten the proper platform in the first place...
    Exactly my point +1000
  • elmo_gr
    Testing should have been done with 5670's
  • mfarrukh
    Just Give us the Dman FERMI already
  • 2shea
    It proves again that the x58 is stock the best performer albeit not very much in comparison with the buffed up p55 gf200 chipset. But in practical mode, I don't see the big wins with triple vs. dual gpu's. Moreover I probably won't even go dual videocards because of the relative high fps which don't matter much, 60+ is more than enough for any game on a flatscreen monitor. 30+ is mostly enough for most single player games.
    It DOES however prove that the chip gives a reasonable gain if games are going to demand more then they do now. The only games available that can really max out anything are crysis, WIC, total commander and that's pretty much all.
    For the rest pretty good article though
  • Hupiscratch
    I prefer to use the remaining 4x PCI-e 2.0 lanes of the X58 for a Fusion-io Duo drive. Can you imagine?
  • a4mula
    I bow to you Crashman. This was the granddaddy of all p55 reviews and I openly admit to standing corrected. I honestly didn't believe the NF200 could pull it off, but I was obviously wrong.

    I wish this review had come a week earlier, I would have gone 1156 over 1366 but at least it finally showed up. The last vestiges of X58's hold over P55 have been erased in my mind.

    Now you can move on to figuring out SATA 6Gb/s for us. I know, I know I'm never pleased. Great work.