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SLI...ATI Compatible?


MS-DOS 2.0
Political User
Just curious. I'm at least a year or so away from building a new PC, but I was curious as to whether SLI technology in newer motherboards are only compatible with Nvidia GPUs or if ATI cards work with it. Also, do they have to be two identical video cards or can you mix and match?

Pretty cool how technology changes. :)



Political User
there is no ATI alternative to SLI at the moment but insiders have said that ATI is currently working on something similiar. Alienware was also supposed to be creating a motherboard that would accept 2 identical video cards, but I'm not sure what came of that.

Rest assured, with building a computer a year away ... ATI will have come up with something better, then nvidia something to top that and so on and so on.
ati is in the workings, the alienware one died because it was not working properly. but all the developers are saying the same thing that SLI is a fad and will die like it did the first time it came out in 1998 and then it promted dual core cards which ati is putting more pressure on than SLI, and that will take off more than SLI can ever dream of.


The One and Only
Imagine if GigaByte took it's 3DI or whatever it is, the Dual Core video card with 2 6600GT cores, and made that SLI compatible. *drools* 4 Core SLI.... imagine THOSE benchies.
SLI is just a fad. Been done before and died before. It costs more and uses more power, noise and space to make 2 cards than it does one. This is just an over priced stop gap until someone comes up with a significant breakthrough in GPU topology.

The next step will be dual die on one substrate, same as the CPU folks are going. It's cheaper and inherently faster than dual card or dual GPU on seperate chips. Once you package the chip you choke it's speed by having to drive the high capacitance external lines. Even worse driving off the card.

Lets have a moment of silence for all those fools who bought dual GPU vodoo 5500's just in time for the company to go broke as Nvidia launched a whole new technology in GPUs.


OSNN One Post Wonder
Currently SLI is only for NVIDIA GPU's the 6800 and 6600 PCI-E, but ATI has announced their own "SLI" sollution which will be a total different technology so both will not be compatible.


F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Political User
sli is actually not a bad option...

instead of upgrading to the biggest/baddest option every few months or every year... pop in one card to begin with... add a second identical solution down the line and you almost double performance in some games, and get about a 40-50% boost in many other titles at least...

ati's solution to counter SLi (and Via's) does not require a bridge chip... it will use an onboard controller akin to the northbridge to regulate signal's and load sharing between the 2 gpu's...

since ati is moving towards a unified shader architecture, might actually work out decent...

nvidia meanwhile have the upper hand with the SLi setups and likely will refine the process/drivers more to give people a decent solution to keep their system's viable both now and in the future...

dual gpu setups inherently are a harder beast to tame than dual proc's simply by the nature of the calculations and the amount of work required to be done...


elemental... the 3di setup from gigabyte and the other one floating around already uses sli... it is how the two proc's communicate on the board... you need an sli enabled board for the load sharing to occur... not currently able to put that into a dual config with 2 boards and unlikely to happen w/o a refinement in the tech...


OSNN Junior Addict
The problem with Gigabyte's method well not problem but limitations of the PCIE chipsets at the moment is say you did put 2 3D1 cards together for a 2Xdual GPUs and it well worked..but it would work with one GPU recieving only 4X PCIe lanes. With SLI on consumer motherboards, when in SLI configuration each slot takes only 8X for a total fo 16X. This is a limitation of the chipsets nForce4 anyway. Only professional chipset like the nForce Pro 2200 version is able to deliver 16X to each card in SLI mode.

Using a onboard controller is quite good idea when you come to think of it, in that the CPU (thru drivers) doesn't have to any work to decide what when where etc (in terms of DATA) ie load balancing each cards gets. However an onboard controller would have to quite proficient in it's capabilties and may drive costs up of the chipset.

SLI is not a fad. SLI is the future IMHO be it NV or ATi's version. They will give performance benefits once all the teething problems (like seen now) get ironed out. Some websites just do not know how to set up profiles. Chrisray has extensibly investigated performance and profiling. It is a question of deciding which method of SLI is best, AFR or SFR.

Also, most of the times, SLI is limited by CPU as well. The GPU is waiting on the CPU to finish things up before progressing, like triangle setup. Once this moves to the GPU aka PPP, this might not be an issue. PPP maybe included in next gen GPUs like nv50 or r520. But it's big "might"..

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