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Nvidia SLI will work on some X58 motherboards

Nvidia SLI will work on some X58 motherboards

The Nvidia NF200 chipset will feature on some X58 boards.

Nvidia confirmed this morning to bit-tech that while it won't have a chipset ready for Intel's new Nehalem architecture, there will be some boards available that support SLI.

This is because in order to get support manufacturers must include a $30 NF200 chipset, like there is in the nForce 780i and 750i SLI boards and Intel's Skulltrail. There will of course still be ordinary X58 boards available that support CrossFire only, and we expect these to be available first.

This does pose some issues though - to have the privilege of SLI in addition to CrossFire support you will have to pay more for your motherboard - together both the X58 and the NF200 will cost around $100, putting estimated board prices around the £200 mark.

While it does mean the time to market for SLI capable boards is short, this is hardly the best scenario: there is a cost of developing a separate PCB and fitting in an extra chip and cooling it, in addition to the two already there.

Although the NF200 chipset simply bolts onto the PCI-Express lanes, given the political situation between the two companies it will no doubt again (in respect to Skulltrail) be like forcing two same poled magnets at each other. In fact, those manufacturers using the NF200 chipset won't get any Intel support what-so-ever - it won't gurantee X58 works with the NF200 and it won't help check or debug the circuitry or software either. Not unsurprising, but hardly the best situation from a consumer perspective.

Is this about Nvidia not getting a QPI license? Not really - Nvidia has told us it has other chipsets in the works for the future, but they won't be released with X58 (so probably not this year).

Talking about Skulltrail though, the second generation of e-peen this "enthusiast" motherboard is also being developed and will again feature the nF200 chipset for SLI and CrossFire like before, although further details about it are as yet scarce. We'll keep you updated as always and you can pose questions in the forums.

20 Comments

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bowman 14th July 2008, 14:40 Quote
Not sure if I even want these chips - according to reviews the chips on the ST are hot and the sole reason for the noisy SB cooler.

'Although the NF200 chipset simply bolts onto the PCI-Express lanes, given the political situation between the two companies it will no doubt again (in respect to Skulltrail) be like forcing two same poled magnets at each other. In fact, those manufacturers using the NF200 chipset won't get any Intel support what-so-ever - it won't gurantee X58 works with the NF200 and it won't help check or debug the circuitry or software either. Not unsurprising, but hardly the best situation from a consumer perspective.'

Even less attractive. I'd prefer having no trace of Nvidia's dreadful chipsets at all on my board. Stick to graphics cards and keep your icky green chips off my motherboard! :p
[USRF]Obiwan 14th July 2008, 14:46 Quote
SLI=fail and crossfire= fail. Both need extreme power, pockets of money for 2 to 4 cards, needs a expensive crossfire/sli motherboard and all that for 10 to 30fps more in a game. And the best yet, all that dual tri and quad videocard power is surpased within 2 years by one single videocart solution that probably has better stuff on it anyway. Not even mentioning the cost of power out of the wall and 90% idle time and minimalistic sli/crossfire support.
ParaHelix.org 14th July 2008, 15:16 Quote
SLI is not an option to go for at the moment, I agree, but its not just the hardware and cost, we need better programmers and better compatibility.
Drexial 14th July 2008, 15:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF
Obiwan]SLI=fail and crossfire= fail. Both need extreme power, pockets of money for 2 to 4 cards, needs a expensive crossfire/sli motherboard and all that for 10 to 30fps more in a game. And the best yet, all that dual tri and quad videocard power is surpased within 2 years by one single videocart solution that probably has better stuff on it anyway. Not even mentioning the cost of power out of the wall and 90% idle time and minimalistic sli/crossfire support.

Neither of them fail, They get B- for sure. But they are not failures. SLI and Crossfire are so much more capable outside the gaming realm. They work Superbly as parallel processing units. But its true as gaming tools they don't quite perform efficiently.

As for your second observation... You will never buy anything if your always waiting for the next best thing to come out. There will always be something more powerful on its way. That's why its a niche market. If you don't want to spend it you don't have to. One single card will play everything you need to. But if you want it to play better, two will give you that little bit of an edge over the other players. As new games come out you will have to pay to play. Its a hobby, they aren't usually cheep. I work on cars, play around with music, game... none of these are cheep. But if I enjoy doing them, I'm not gonna freak out when I know it's expensive.
Drexial 14th July 2008, 15:24 Quote
Oops, Forgot to add my own commentary to the article.

It's not looking real good for nvidia right now. With the bad mobile chips, their bleeding edge card not nearly outperforming the competition as much as it should, and now they don't even have a chip set to support the latest from Intel... there might be some cheep stocks for nvidia right now.
Timmy_the_tortoise 14th July 2008, 15:25 Quote
Agreed, SLI is a waste of money atm.

If a single GPU can run pretty much all games, where's the need for any more? Especially if you've got a single card which can (adequately) run Crysis.
wuyanxu 14th July 2008, 15:49 Quote
any word on the cost of x58 platforms?

Intel 2.66Ghz Nehalem is said to be only going to cost $299, so at least the CPU is going to be affordable. but is Intel going to charge us in the motherboard area?
BlackMage23 14th July 2008, 16:09 Quote
I tested out SLI with 2 GeForce 7800 GTX's back when they were the best. I got a nice 3D mark score, but it did not make a big difference in games. I'm sticking to a single card for now and I normally upgrade once a year.

I'm still happy with my GeForce 8800 GTS 512, but when it comes to upgrade time I am thinking of getting an ATI card again.
Nvidia mobos used to be really good, but I have not been happy with the 680 chipset, and I don't think I'll bother with another nvida board again.
Korvaz 14th July 2008, 16:09 Quote
SLI has been a waste of money since it came out. That's never going to change. The Tech, as it stands, does not yield a great enough improvement in performance so that that next gen, single card solution is performing less than doubling up on an older card. Getting a new one is probably also cheaper, and feature rich. I won't say cooler and quieter, because Graphics vendors don't seem to care for that. But yeah, I'd rather the focus be on cooler running chips than making them a percent or two faster for nearly double the power consumption.
Bluephoenix 14th July 2008, 16:20 Quote
actually, SLI combined with CUDA is oe of the best things that has happened to computers from an engineering standpoint.

the funny part of all the negativity surrounding SLI for gaming is that it was never meant for that in the first place.

the original intent of SLI when it first appeared was to give those workstations lacking the necessary graphical horsepower for their applications with even a current generation card to be upgraded to the specs their function required, but also with the intent of bringing the power of the GPU as a parallel computation engine to bear on the number crunching side of things.

we've finally reached the point where SLI is starting to show what it can really do for the professional community.
Paradigm Shifter 14th July 2008, 16:22 Quote
Hm. The lack of aid from Intel for the manufacturers that choose to do this is disturbing, although not unexpected. It basically sounds like nVidia sent them all a quiet e-mail saying, "Y'know, you can use our bridge chips that are used on Skulltrail with X58 and have SLI compatibility as a selling point! (nudge nudge, wink wink)"

I keep meaning to try SLI or CrossFire... but each time I finally manage to get my act sorted, something crops up that puts me off.
Timmy_the_tortoise 14th July 2008, 16:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
Hm. The lack of aid from Intel for the manufacturers that choose to do this is disturbing, although not unexpected. It basically sounds like nVidia sent them all a quiet e-mail saying, "Y'know, you can use our bridge chips that are used on Skulltrail with X58 and have SLI compatibility as a selling point! (nudge nudge, wink wink)"

I keep meaning to try SLI or CrossFire... but each time I finally manage to get my act sorted, something crops up that puts me off.

Something crops up?

Like the sudden realisation that paying twice the price for 1.1 times the performance is a massive rip off?
Denis_iii 14th July 2008, 18:34 Quote
not fussed, will be happy with plain intel chipset and ati's next dual gpu card
-EVRE- 14th July 2008, 19:52 Quote
and why havent I ever had the option to buy an AMD based bored that can do both?..................
Icy EyeG 14th July 2008, 21:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by article
Is this about Nvidia not getting a QPI license? Not really - Nvidia has told us it has other chipsets in the works for the future, but they won't be released with X58 (so probably not this year).

If this move isn't about the lack of a QPI license, than I don't get it. Now that Intel as a memory controller on its new CPUs, it's totally ridiculous to have 3 motherboard chipsets...
I also don't understand why Nehalem doesn't allow motherboard design simplification as AMD CPUs do (ie, usage of only one chipset, or 2 very small chipsets).
Cthippo 14th July 2008, 22:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
Something crops up?

Like the sudden realisation that paying twice the price for 1.1 times the performance is a massive rip off?

I think the multiplier is more like 1.8 times the single card performance.

My machine has a pair of 7800GTs in it and does just fine. I don't think a single 7800GT would still be working for me nearly as well two and a half years later.
LordPyrinc 14th July 2008, 23:24 Quote
I think multiple graphics cards in a single case is good if you do a lot of high end graphics work, 3D-rendering and such. I'm not convinced of the cost v's benefit for games. Nor do I think multiple graphics cards will ever become mainstream, imho.
Saivert 17th July 2008, 01:49 Quote
So SLi and Crossfire was never meant for gaming? haha.. yeah right. Just check the marketing then. Saying in retrospect that it is best suited for CUDA/GPGPU stuff just tells me that this is one big hack from the outset.

I think I'll go AMD this time around when it comes to graphics. I'm only interested in single cards because that just works (TM) or maybe one card with two graphics chips on it.
Sark.inc 17th July 2008, 13:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
Something crops up?

Like the sudden realisation that paying twice the price for 1.1 times the performance is a massive rip off?

where the hell did u pull that from?
BUFF 17th July 2008, 23:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
any word on the cost of x58 platforms?
expensive, apparently the mobos need to be 6 or even 8 layer & you can bet that the chipset will be $80 or more for mobo manufacturers to buy.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the mobos well over £200 & I wouldn't rule out £250-300.
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