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More on X58 SLI support

More on X58 SLI support

We've got some more information on Nvidia's X58 SLI announcement following discussions with the company's chipset team.

Earlier this morning, Nvidia announced that it was opening its SLI ecosystem up to support Intel’s X58 ‘Tylesberg’ chipset. This is pretty big news and Rich did a good job of disseminating the information earlier in my absence – I crashed out in a heap before I managed to write anything down after what’s been a long and tiring week.

The first thing to note is that Nvidia expects the certification process to be complete on at least a few boards by the time X58 launches. The company’s representatives said the driver work is already done, it’s just a matter of running submitted boards through the certification process at Nvidia’s Santa Clara Certification Lab.

There will be one ‘cookie’ given to each vendor and there will be certain limitations placed on its use – Nvidia wouldn’t answer questions about vendors adding the cookie onto boards that haven’t been through the certification process, but it said logos and branding are a couple of the conditions of use.

So what about if a budding enthusiast manages to extract the key from one or more boards? Nvidia said it wouldn’t do anything to stop enthusiasts enabling SLI support on non-certified motherboards themselves. Tom Petersen, Technical Marketing Director in Nvidia’s chipset business unit, said that he’d be quite happy if enthusiasts did that because it’d mean they’d be using two (or more) Nvidia graphics cards in their system.

More on X58 SLI support More on X58 SLI support
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He added that the certification process is in place to ensure a great out-of-the-box experience – boards that aren’t certified by Nvidia may encounter problems and it’ll require some BIOS modification on the user’s part. I’m not quite sure how Nvidia will react to custom BIOS files enabling SLI support on non-certified boards being hosted on the ‘net, as the company’s legal team has had a fairly rocky relationship with modified driver developers in the past – things could play out either way here.

I then asked whether Nvidia was planning to support other multi-GPU enabled chipsets from AMD and Intel – sadly, that’s not going to happen any time soon but based on what we’ve been told and that’s a bit of a shame. We’re going one step at a time here though.

One reason cited by Petersen was that X58 supports peer-to-peer writing which, he says, is almost exactly the same as the PW Short technology it introduced with the NF200 SLI switch chip. As a result, Nvidia is taking advantage of this technology to provide optimal SLI performance on Intel’s next-generation chipset.

More on X58 SLI support More on X58 SLI support
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PW Short hasn’t been in every Nvidia chipset though, and SLI still works on chipsets that don’t support the technology – this makes me question what’s actually happening here. On the face of it, what Nvidia is doing is a good thing and I applaud the step forward it is taking here – but why is it stopping at just X58? It’s undoubtedly down to a combination of chipset sales in other market segments, driver development and the burden of certifying many different platforms – it’s not just down to the lack of peer-to-peer writes, that’s for sure.

We’ve asked Intel for a comment on Nvidia’s announcement, but we’ve not received anything official at the time of publication. What do you think about Nvidia’s move? Join the continuing discussion in the forums.

22 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
wuyanxu 28th August 2008, 10:42 Quote
good news for extreme customers.

not so good for us who are still 50:50 on whether to go SLi/Crossfire or not. extra spending on something might not use at all.
Baz 28th August 2008, 11:05 Quote
SLI and Crossfire on the same board makes my job a hell of a lot easier - more of this!
sotu1 28th August 2008, 11:08 Quote
i'm still pro single card so...meh. however, great news for the enthusiasts who multi gpu. go!
rjkoneill 28th August 2008, 11:12 Quote
so is this full on sli like the 790i or the budget sli like 750i

if its a case of offering intel chipset quad overclocking with full on nvidia sli then i would be making the move on that decision alone
[USRF]Obiwan 28th August 2008, 11:48 Quote
I am also pro Single card. Every new card was always as fast or faster and better then the previous generation "SLI combined" cards. I also don't have to worry what kind of motherboard I will need. Any chipset will fulfill my needs.

However SLI or crossfire is handy if you have bought one card and a year later buy the same card for dump price. there is one problem, and that is that the card is not made anymore or nobody has them anymore in the stores. "no sir we only got the new generation or a remake of the old type you have buld on 55nm instead of 80nm. And they are not compatible with your old card."

Another fact is that if you buy two brand new cards for sli/crossfire. It takes a year before you see benefit of the increased speed needed for the 'then' new games coming out. But guess what, by then you can also buy the new and improved video card with hexwaxed multi polymoly 3D and DX11 options and takes half the power and less heat your sli setup does.
mrb_no1 28th August 2008, 11:51 Quote
i hate the nvidia 500, 600 and 700 series chipsets, they have given me nothing but problems on boards of my own and those built for other people so part of me is thinking that nvidia is moving along the lines of, well the 780 did nothing to improve on the 680, and now we might lose sli market share as that chipset is sh$t and ati's cards are rocking so maybe those wanting multip gpu systems will look to the reliable and stable systems on intels x48/x58 chipsets... so seen as nvidia have no chipset to compete, to make sure they still attract those after sli setups they have made this move to 'unlock' intel chipsets to sli. Just a thought, but i might be slightly over cynical, slightly harsh towards nvidia but its only a thought and this is a forum.

peace

fatman
ComputerKing 28th August 2008, 12:47 Quote
Great news. But I will go for crossfire no matter what. Dual 4870X2 is a winner :p Thanks Bindibadgi For the information.
TreeDude 28th August 2008, 13:24 Quote
More SLI boards is always better. I personally have a 3870. It would make more sense for me to replace it with a 4870 than get another 3870 for xfire.
p3n 28th August 2008, 13:59 Quote
SLI is terrible?

It needs to be transparent to the software, or it needs to learn how to split jobs before software is optimised thusly... otherwise its like buying a quad core for notepad!
biebiep 28th August 2008, 14:00 Quote
Huzzaah!
Now we can start pirating SLI compatibilty for our motherboard by adding some bits into the BIOS
Redbeaver 28th August 2008, 16:06 Quote
i cant wait for performance reviews between SLI native on X58, SLI on NF200, and SLI on Nvidia chipsets....
metarinka 28th August 2008, 16:21 Quote
Do they still make good "gamer" mobo's that don't have sli, I feel like I'm paying a huge price premium for a feature I'll never need. I'm in the single Gpu crowd too, the economics and practicality just dont' make sense to buy 2 gpus instead just buying a better singular one, and I'm not running top of the line stuff so I have never been able to buy 2x of the highest end cards...

I like some of the features of gaming mobo's but sometimes I feel like they thrown on these extremely fancy features that a really small % of the use base would actually ever use
ComputerKing 28th August 2008, 16:34 Quote
you are right metarinka

I think they must do like gigabyte > DS3Sli for those who need SLI and DS3CFX for those who need CF and DS4 Have both but no SAS or turbo thing. and DQ6 HAVE every thing :D

my point that they must make levels and different models of motherboards not stick with one!
Sebbo 28th August 2008, 16:45 Quote
there were rumours barely a month ago that nvidia was going to step out of the chipset business, native SLI on the x58 certainly reinforces those rumours
Icy EyeG 28th August 2008, 22:05 Quote
Call me crazy, but I think it would be nice if NVIDIA could go one step further and allow the selling of nForce 200 chipsets on a riser card, and enable SLI on any platform...
leexgx 29th August 2008, 05:03 Quote
this motherboard is my last Nvidia motherboard (when looking for new mobo should check if its **** before buying it Striker Extreme with an Quad = very anoying)

as i do not like SLI seem to have more problems with it allways used single powerfull cards (GTX 280 is next on my list to replace the 9800GX2 (2 weeks old i had to turn SLI off) that replaced my 8800GTX that i had no problems with)
liratheal 29th August 2008, 09:07 Quote
Awesome.

I can see the business train of thought is directly responsible for this, but still pretty cool.

Opens us up for both paths without farting around with new motherboards all the damn time!
BlackMage23 29th August 2008, 11:11 Quote
This just shows that Nvidia know that their mobo's have not been at the same standard of Intel, and this is the best way for them to make money until they can sort out their chipsets (if they even bother).
C-Sniper 29th August 2008, 13:59 Quote
Since i run AMD i can't say anything at the moment but looking at one of the layouts with the 2 NF200 chips... wouldn't that need some massive amount of cooling?
Icy EyeG 29th August 2008, 20:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Sniper
Since i run AMD i can't say anything at the moment but looking at one of the layouts with the 2 NF200 chips... wouldn't that need some massive amount of cooling?

Yep, something like the Skulltrail Southbridge cooler. Or worse....
rhuitron 30th August 2008, 04:40 Quote
I have been waiting for this to upgrade my sys!

Watch out Credit Cards, here i come!
PhoneyVirus 8th September 2008, 17:56 Quote
Intel got them just right where they want them, they walked right in there trap. This is all over Larrabee with there big mouth, more GPU then CPU now look at them. Because of this I'll never want a SLI mobo and that's why I'm picking up a P45 an using the other PCI-E for PhysX. Nvidia has finally released drivers enabling PhysX and CUDA support for GeForce 8,9 and GTX series graphics cards. By the way it won't be all before modified driver developers enables SLI on a CrossFire mobo or any other.
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