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Quad SLI disappoints

Articles / Personal Stuff/Random News
Date: Mar 25, 2008 - 11:01 AM
SLI - in both dual-board and quad-board arrangements - was supposed to be the new "killer app" for PC gaming. Buy an expensive board now, "upgrade" when the price comes down by getting one to match it, etc... or slap a bunch of cheapies together hoping to make four $100 boards equal a $400 board.

Never really made sense to me that way.

And according to [H]ard, it doesn't really work in practice either..

We feel that the use of 512MB of RAM and its more narrow bus per GPU on the GeForce 9800 GX2 is a bottleneck, especially when running Quad SLI. Four of these GPUs are very powerful, with an incredible amount of shader power. The shader performance exists here to push pixels at extremely high resolutions and in-game settings and AA settings. However, the storage space isn?t there to support the high resolutions and AA settings that four GPUs are capable of pushing. That combined with the narrow 256-bit memory bus means the GPU shader performance is way out of balance with the storage and memory bandwidth supporting each GPU. This was proven with GeForce 8800 GTX SLI (2 GPUs, but backed by 768MB of RAM and 384-bit memory bus) allowing higher settings than Quad SLI, and smoother more consistent performance.

Quite simply GeForce 9800 GX2 Quad SLI is bottlenecked, and the result is very underwhelming performance scaling when playing games with it like we think you would be doing with a $1200 video card setup.
Point of reference: if my video setup costs me over $300, no thanks. How many games can I buy (plus an Xbox360 and a Wii) for that $1200?

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