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NVIDIA's SLI: Part 1 - Motherboards

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unrealhippie 16th May 2005, 10:39 Quote
nice stuff, ofcourse if you can get a bridge you can mod the Ultra-DR to SLI-DR.
webchimp 16th May 2005, 12:23 Quote
The layout of the DFI board is awkward if you want to watercool the motherboard chipset, but if anyone's interested there are some solutions:

http://www.dfi-street.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11253

http://www.mips-computer.de/

With the arrival of the new Venice and San Diego cored socket 939 cpu's I am sorely tempted to upgrade my ageing Athlon XP Barton based PC. However, it seems there is always something better just over the horizon. Do I wait for the dual core A64's, what about Socket M2? :|

Is it me or do the life spans of CPU sockets seem to be getting shorter?
zr_ox 16th May 2005, 13:46 Quote
Thanks that review was just what I was looking for ;)

Just one question:

"Do you guys have any inside information regarding any attempt by ATI to offer an alternative to SLI?"

okay two questions

"When will the AMD 64X2 Processors start shipping?"

Cheers

;)
The_Pope 16th May 2005, 14:28 Quote
zr_ox: I'm sure you'd understand if I said that we couldn't comment on any "inside information" that we may or may not have regarding ATI's new stuff. Unless of course it's information that's in the public domain - otherwise the NDA's prevent us from leaking the info beforehand.

AMD X2 chips, if I remember rightly, are "June", but you might want to read around to make sure that's accurate.

As for ATI SLI? Well, I hear they're working on some sort of solution, and you can be sure we'll be putting it through its paces just as soon as we get boards from ATI :D
zr_ox 16th May 2005, 14:44 Quote
Thats Great, Thanks "The_Pope"

I better start saving then :D
Tim S 16th May 2005, 14:47 Quote
AMD Athlon X2 is due to ship 'in June' - that's all that AMD will tell us at the moment, and there's no specific date set in stone for availability. I doubt they're going to be widely available until next year, though.

ATI's SLI... it's just rumours at the moment, there's no date for launch and no date for availability confirmed anywhere.

webchimp:

yes it's possible that the life cycle of sockets is dropping, and I don't particularly agree to the socket tennis that we're playing at the moment. However, I'd hope that M2 will have enough power to last a little longer than Socket 939.

We're not going to see that available for a while yet though IMO. :)
Awoken 16th May 2005, 14:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by webchimp
The layout of the DFI board is awkward if you want to watercool the motherboard chipset, but if anyone's interested there are some solutions:

http://www.dfi-street.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11253

http://www.mips-computer.de/

With the arrival of the new Venice and San Diego cored socket 939 cpu's I am sorely tempted to upgrade my ageing Athlon XP Barton based PC. However, it seems there is always something better just over the horizon. Do I wait for the dual core A64's, what about Socket M2? :|

Is it me or do the life spans of CPU sockets seem to be getting shorter?

Whats the thread on those blocks? Has anyone seen a custom block for the DFI which will accept 1/2" Barbs? I'm still torn over the motherboard choice...on the one hand the DFI provides a lot of power and a heady overclock but on the other it's noisy, the A8N is £95 (£33-35 cheaper than the DFI SLI-D), the A8N has room for chipset watercooling and has more space between the PCI-E slots for watercooling. Its really tough as I love silence and with SLI watercooling seems to be the only way to achieve a nice quiet, powerful machine. Oh well I've still got the summer/autumn to make up my mind :D
Tim S 16th May 2005, 14:52 Quote
I don't think the DFI heatsink/fan is all that loud, providing the variable fan is configured correctly in BIOS. :)
webchimp 16th May 2005, 16:14 Quote
I believe the MIPS DFI LANPARTY Freezer waterblock has 1/4" thread which should accept 1/2" barbs like these: http://www.watercoolingshop.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=49_56&products_id=128

However, the site is in German, so I'd contact MIPS first and check that the block will accept a barb with a 1/4" BSPT thread. The block appears to be very shallow, so that it fits under the grapics card in the top PCI-E slot. It may be necessary to file a little off the thread end of the barb so that it doesn't protrude too far through the lid of the block.

Alternatively, a BSPP barb with an "O" ring washer may work better: http://www.watercoolingshop.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=49_56&products_id=167. If it's necessary to shorten the thread end there's no taper to worry about and no messing about with PTFE tape.
Tim S 16th May 2005, 16:33 Quote
that block looks pretty sexy, and it'd be a damn good addition to one of these LANPARTY nF4 motherboards.
kickarse 16th May 2005, 16:52 Quote
Very good review guy! I appreciate the in depth, straight forward information. Just enough information to get you in the know and what you should buy without too much to get your lost on tangent details.
Da Dego 16th May 2005, 17:07 Quote
As usual, great job, biggles. Well covered, and a nice comparative look.
Tim S 17th May 2005, 10:08 Quote
Part two is now published for your viewing pleasure ;)

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2005/05/17/nvidia_sli_pt2/1.html
Darkedge 17th May 2005, 12:08 Quote
ARRGH!! your graphs make it a PAIN to see whats going on.. if the game isn't running at identical settings PLEASE have a gap between the graph bars to show this. Don't lump them all together.

at a glance SLI seems pretty pointless but when i go over this article with a fine toothed comb to work out what it actually is trying to say that might, just might change.
Tim S 17th May 2005, 12:33 Quote
that's why I've spent time highlighting the settings used for each particular video card combination in the text. If you make comparisons between the bold text and look at the graph, it makes sense.
Awoken 17th May 2005, 12:41 Quote
Great article! Looking forward to part 3.

Has anyone tested nVidias list of games which benefit from SLI? The most recent seem to appear in reviews but nothing else. Has there been any indication as to when the list of SLI supported titles will grow?
Tim S 17th May 2005, 13:15 Quote
I've also added in a page with a table 'best-playable' settings for each video card combination, just for those who only look at the pictures. ;)

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2005/05/17/nvidia_sli_pt2/10.html
Firehed 17th May 2005, 18:29 Quote
How come in SC:CT, the HDR option doesn't show up at all for me? I've got all the same settings except for res, and 6800GTs in SLI (@Ultra).

Come to think of it, could be game version. I have whatever shipped, not the newest patch. Although I didn't think Chaos Theory just "patched in" HDR like FarCry.

/edit - meh, as soon as I post, I see it. Go figure.
Fly 17th May 2005, 18:46 Quote
Nice work Tim, you are my hero.
Tim S 17th May 2005, 18:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firehed
/edit - meh, as soon as I post, I see it. Go figure.
always the case ;)
coolmiester 18th May 2005, 00:19 Quote
Excellent article Bigz..........even i could understand most of it :o

I had a great question for you about half way through reading but had totally forgot what it was by the time i finished reading

i'm sure it will come back to me though!
Firehed 18th May 2005, 00:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigz
always the case ;)
Still say HDR doesn't make a noticible difference in Far cry. But I know that as soon as I start it again, I'll be wowed. Probably doesn't kick in immediately or something.

CM, the answer's no. Dunno what the question is yet, but I'm taking an educated guess. It's like a 55/45 shot.
Tim S 18th May 2005, 01:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolmiester
Excellent article Bigz..........even i could understand most of it :o

I had a great question for you about half way through reading but had totally forgot what it was by the time i finished reading

i'm sure it will come back to me though!

Thanks, don't be afraid to ask if you've got something - I'm sure I've missed something somewhere, even if I've written some silly number of words so far. ;)
Quote:
Still say HDR doesn't make a noticible difference in Far cry. But I know that as soon as I start it again, I'll be wowed. Probably doesn't kick in immediately or something.
The difference that I saw was mainly in the textures on the ground - everything looked so much richer. ;)
Sathy 18th May 2005, 04:21 Quote
Yeah, great article, looking forward to reading the next.
Great help there with the table of best settings.

One thing I was wondering was that, does that "multiple display doesn't work in sli" mean that when you have sli -mode enabled in the settings, you can't even use the tv-out?
If that's the case...then..all is lost.
Well not exactly but hope it just involves two screens..
Darkedge 18th May 2005, 11:49 Quote
Biz - it's BIT clearer but not clear enough.
Good article but I don't see a real game bonus enough to warrant SLI.. plus Nvida canning it except for the top end card on the Gf7 range? They know it hasn't got a future.
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