Some people aren't content with just one graphics card. For enthusiasts with Nvidia graphics cards, that means relying on the company's Scalable Link Interface (SLI) to run multiple GPUs at the same time. But a recent post on the 3DCenter forum suggests that recent Nvidia drivers have quietly enabled a new checkerboard rendering mode that points to potential for upping graphics without SLI.
The post claimed that Nvidia enabled this new rendering mode starting with graphics drivers from the r435 development branch. Saying the feature was quietly introduced might actually be an understatement -- it apparently can only be enabled using tools like the Nvidia Profile Inspector while running a multi-GPU setup. This is all according to the 3DCenter post, as translated via Google Translate.
Once the mode is enabled, however, it's said to run in DirectX 10, 11 and 12. It's reportedly not perfect, with some games experiencing graphical issues and others failing to load entirely. This suggests that Nvidia's in the early stages of developing this technology and didn't intend for it to be discovered in recently released driver updates -- so does the company's "no comment" in response to our request for more information.
But now that it's out there, speculation has already started about what Nvidia intends to use this new checkerboard rendering mode for. Some Reddit users guessed that this is part of Nvidia's rumored plans to introduce multi-chip GPUs, a way for the company to make up for declining SLI support from game developers or just part of Nvidia's efforts to improve performance for people with multiple GPUs.
Nvidia isn't the only company that appears to be curious about multi-chip GPUs either, with Intel recently announcing that its Ponte Vecchio graphics cards will feature a multi-chip module (MCM) design that uses multiple compute units. This probably means recent Intel graphics drivers that added support for multiple GPUs were actually meant for the new multi-die architecture.
Right now this is all conjecture. Nvidia's revealed precious little about its next-generation graphics cards and how it plans to respond to increasing competition from Intel and AMD. It could be a while before this new checkerboard rendering mode debuts -- if it ever debuts at all. We won't know more until the company decides to acknowledge the fact that its recent driver updates were more than they seemed.