We’ve obviously seen SLI on a stick several times before with the GeForce 7900 GX2 and GeForce 7950 GX2, but never before have we seen SLI on a single card using a pair of GeForce 8M-series chips. This is where MSI’s GeForce 8600 Geminium fits in – it’s based around a pair of GeForce 8600M GT MXM modules each with 256MB of memory.
The modules are upgradeable and you should have a reasonable amount of headroom for upgradeability thanks to the PCI-Express power connector on the card’s main PCB. However, we doubt that you’re going to be able to upgrade much beyond this current power envelope, because power requirements (and heat) will spiral out of control with anything more powerful.
We were actually quite surprised when MSI said that this isn’t just a concept design – it’s something the company is planning to bring to market in the near future. Of course, because of the way the card is laid out, you’re going to need at least one slot free either side of the card, and maybe more than that.
MSI’s P35 Diamond
Back in April, when we went to visit MSI’s offices, we got to see its P35 Platinum motherboard (there’s a review coming shortly, too), which features the same board layout as the P35 Diamond. However, because the P35 Diamond is MSI’s flagship P35 board, it supports DDR3 memory instead of DDR2. That’s not all though because MSI has decided to include the kitchen sink with it.
On top of the board itself, you’ll also get a SkyTel add-in card for IP Telephony – this allows you to connect your standard housephone directly to your PC, so that you can use it as an IP telephone when your PC is switched on and connected to the Internet. Apparently, previous IP telephony add-in cards have only been usable when the PC is on, while MSI says that this one allows you to use the phone (albeit as a normal phone) when the PC is switched off.
More interesting to bit-tech readers is the PCI-Express based Creative X-Fi soundcard that MSI will also include in the P35 Diamond’s bundle. This is based on the X-Fi Xtreme Audio chip and, from what we’ve been told, it’s the same chip that Creative uses on its PCI-based X-Fi Xtreme Audio card. The second question we asked was whether this will come to market as a standalone product – MSI’s representatives said that it probably will, but not this year. So, for now it’ll be limited to being bundled with its Diamond-series motherboards.