Dream Machine: Kentsfield + 8800GTX SLI + 680i SLI

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Kentsfield w/ 8800GTX SLI

At midnight the day of the launch our friends sent LR a BIOS that is still in development, so it is newer than the P20 BIOS that was given to reviewers on the 5th of this month.  Using the beta from of the upcoming P21 BIOS for the 680i motherboard we gave Kentsfield another chance, but it still didn’t want to play nice with two graphics cards installed.

NVIDIA 680i Bios Update

Since running the Kentsfield processor on 3dmark06 resulted in a high failure rate we only got stock clock speeds in 3DMark06.  Overclocking the processor and GPU were out of the question this time around! 

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With the Intel QX6700 processor running at 2.66Ghz and the Corsair DOMINATOR memory running 3-3-3-9 2T timings at 800MHz I was able to get 11,644 points with just a single 8800GTX graphics card.

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With the second card installed and SLI enabled the 3DMark score increased up to nearly 14,000 points. Not bad, but we had to run the test dozens of times to get these results.  To get some numbers out we turned to our trusty X6800 processor and it never locked up once!  Let’s take a look at the Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 numbers. I also compared the new 8800GTX in SLI to the ATI Radeon X1950XTX set of Crossfire cards here on the Intel D975XBX2 motherboard with the same settings.

(11/10/2006) UPDATE: I’ve been working with NVIDIA and trying to resolve the problems that I have been having with quad-core on the 680i SLI motherboard that I am using.  I just wanted to make it clear that Kentsfield does run with a single GPU just fine and in terms of overclocking the results are impressive.  I have managed to get our QX6700 processor into Windows at 4GHz as seen in the screen shot posted below. NVIDIA believes that I might be having a power supply issue and I am currently waiting on a 1,000W PSU to arrive to see if that fixes the issues we are seeing with SLI.  

Kentsfield Overclocked

Also included in the benchmarking section are overclocked SLI results and for those I used nTune v5.5 and overclocked the core up to 620MHz from 575Mhz and increased the memory from 900MHz to 940MHz. For good measure I enabled direct fan control and ran them both at full speed during all of the test as they do tend to get warm.   The pair in SLI averaged 61-63C at idle, so these cards do run warm.

8800 GTX SLI overclocked

Let’s look at some benchmarks with the X6800!

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