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.