According to an interview
by CustomPC with head honcho at HP Gaming, Rahul Sood, apparently the new HP Blackbird 002 machine uses the same Asus Striker Extreme base for both Nvidia SLI and
AMD CrossFire. This has been previously locked out until now because Nvidia wants its chipsets to only be available for SLI, even though the PCI-Express lanes can theoretically work with either technology.
It seems HP/Voodoo has twisted Nvidia's arm enough for it to let them open it up on one board at least:
"If I could look at the face of my Nvidia rep right now and see what he was thinking, I’d probably say that he gets it."
In other words - he knows already.
What we're wondering is whether HP/Voodoo commissioned Asus to do this for them, they hacked the Striker Extreme BIOS in house or Nvidia gave them special drivers.
At the time of writing we're still trying to get a comment from Nvidia and Asus, but being Friday afternoon (evening in Taiwan) everyone has gone home for the weekend. We'll ruffle some feathers for the full story as soon as possible though.
If it is
a software hack - either BIOS or drivers, how long before someone drops it on the net? If it's drivers than the generic nature of Nvidia's Forceware should open it up to any nForce 680i SLI motherboard, but if it's a BIOS it'll limit it to other Striker Extreme owners. That is of course, providing you actually want
ATI CrossFire over Nvidia's SLI. Intel X38 is just a few short days away which will enable CrossFire on a pair of full PCI-Express x16 slots anyway, and the price of those boards should be around that of Nvidia's 680i SLI.
Another few notes from the interview:
"From a technology standpoint there’s no comparison, right? This kicks the living crap out of the XPS and pretty much everything in its class."
That's a bold statement if ever we saw one, at least Mr. Sood isn't beating about the bush being diplomatic. Hopefully this will strike some further innovation from the major industry players in order to up their own games. There's also further discussion about bringing the Blackbird to the UK in the full interview which you can read here.
And how about this little gem:
"...we’re not going to put crap inside it."
Here's one for the discussion forums:
"We also think that the DIY market will be hard pressed not to want one of these."
Do you really think that's possible? Will you be pining for one in your next upgrade? Let us know your thoughts here.