NVIDIA’s 3-way SLI indeed works but at the price of entry, it had better. The problem however is that in this instance it is based on technology that is approaching the end of its life. The 8800 GTX and Ultra have all but been replaced by the 8800 GTS 512MB and the 9000 series cards have already started to launch. The Quad SLI launch of the 9800GX2 is imminent and should undercut the cost of either Triple GTX’s or Ultra’s and perform on par or better. So really the only way this is going to be of benefit to anyone is if you’ve already got a 680i or 780i and a pair of GTX’s or Ultra’s.
So while it does have an incredible cost of entry, someone will be able to make use of this powerful system if they’ve got a 30” monitor and not afraid to shell out the money to make just about any game shine on it. For the rest of us it is just as real as a mythical unicorn, and/or computer porn than anything.
Heat and power consumption are two things that are of concern here, the system pulled 380w at idle and over 700w in some of our gaming tests. You’ll also want to run this system in a large room as that much heat being dumped into the air is going to really raise the temperature. Again, these are minutiae to the sort of extreme gamer that would be looking at this type of solution. For the rest of us though, it’s good news that multi-gpu development is going well as the coming generations of GPU’s will be able to offer lower heat and power consumption with this sort of a arrangement without sacrificing too much performance.
Legit Bottom Line: For the gamer who has to have the best of everything, the system to run almost all of your favorite games at 2560×1600 resolution has arrived.