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Digital-Daily : Video : quad_sli

"Take two!" Testing Quad SLI based on two GeForce 7950GX2

"Take two!" Testing Quad SLI based on two GeForce 7950GX2
Author: Dmitry Sofronov
Date: 22.06.2006

Instead of preface

Quite recently, we tested NVIDIA's novelty - GeForce 7950GX2. The video card is made as a "sandwich" of two PCB, each having its own GPU G71 and 512 MB of video memory. Despite its duplex make, GeForce 7950GX2 is positioned as a single video card and, what's most important for today's tests, offers a V-Link connector, that is, theoretically you can take two GeForce 7950GX2 and try merging them into a Quad SLI combination.

NVIDIA's white papers say that Quad SLI is currently unavailable and will be implemented in only future versions of ForceWare drivers and only for authorized assembly operators of ready-made computers. Russian "craftsmen" who are used to assembling whatever "in a semi-basement" without much facilities may think of these restrictions as somehow far-fetched, but NVIDIA's policies are understandable. Not only does the Quad SLI system make increased demands for the hardware part of the computer in terms of power-saving, number and speed of PCI-Express slots etc. but to the software part of the complex. The major point which needs to be focused is how to optimize load distribution and synchronize operation of all the four GPUs simultaneously. While the SLI technology is already refined, proven with time and is able demonstrating a performance boost as high as 80%, things are not so straightforward with the Quad SLI yet. That is why NVIDIA is not hasty at bringing the Quad SLI onto the market. On the one hand, the potential market for Quad SLI can hardly be called as aimed at wide audience. In the most mass sector of 15", 17" and even 19" the typical resolution is 1024768 or 12801024. In this conditions the top-end video cards of today, let alone SLI and CrossFire, are quite capable of providing the maximum image quality at the maximum graphics settings. But the sector of displays capable of providing a resolution starting at 16001200 onwards is much smaller, let alone the 30" Dell 3007WFP and Apple Cinema displays with the maximum resolution 25601600.

Nevertheless, we were really curious to see what this Quad SLI was like. To do that, we used the ASUS EN7950GX2 video card.

ASUS EN7950GX2

Contrary to usual, we are not dwelling on the features of ASUS EN7950GX2. It doesn't make any difference from the reference GeForce 7950GX2. There is no wonder about that. The practice of producing top-end video cards, chips made to the developer's requirements, has not passed by the GeForce 7950GX2 either. Clearly, in this case the package bundle will different in only the shape and setting of the package, kit of accessories, and proprietary labels.


ASUS EN7950GX2

ASUS EN7950GX2

The box in which the EN7950GX2 is packaged is typically large as is usual for ASUS video cards. The specifications and system requirements are certainly the same as those for the MSI NX7950GX2 video card. Two GPU G71, overall memory capacity 1 GB, minimum power rating of the PSU is 400 W (no less than 27 on the 12V line).


ASUS EN7950GX2

The card's belonging to ASUS is seen merely from the plain sticker on the cooler, whereas the surface of the radiator lid bears part of NVIDIA's proprietary "eye".

Package bundle:

  • 2 pcs DVI/D-SUB adapters.
  • HDTV-out cable
  • Additional power cable
  • Quick setup guide
  • CD with a multilingual user manual
  • CD with the game "King-Kong"
  • CD with the game "Project SnowBlind"
  • Proprietary case for CDs.

Since it is evident that ASUS EN7950GX2 is a replica of the reference model GeForce 7950GX2, we did not dismantle and take detailed pictures of it. Currently, we are unlikely to see something different from the reference inside.

Since with MSI NX7950GX2 we have already two specimens of GeForce 7950GX2, we decided to merge their efforts. Look! Arent' they cuties?


ASUS EN7950GX2

In what follows, we'll tell you of our experience in assembling the Quad SLI and what came out of that.

Content:

  • ASUS EN7950GX2.
  • Testing Quad-SLI




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