Coming To a Laptop Near You?
SLI For Notebooks?
When asked if it was possible to make a gaming notebook with SLI cards, NVIDIA said that wouldn’t be a problem. The upcoming Alviso platforms will be PCIe enabled and therefore the mobile notebook cards can be paired together just like on the desktop side of things. While it is thought provoking to ponder such a system, it would be fairly impractical as battery life and the Thermal Design Power (TDP) would be points of issues. A single Geforce GO 6800 mobile GPU/Memory config is rated at ~45W TDP. Pairing two of these together would create just under 100W. For those of you wondering about entry level or mainstream GPU’s remember that it has been seen on the desktop side that two Geforce 6600 GT’s do not out perform a single 6800 Ultra. Therefore it is safe to assume the same to be true on the notebook side of things. Something else to ponder is the latest and greatest gaming notebook from Alienware. It has a battery life of less than 25 minutes when running DOOM3 with a single GPU — Imagine adding another! Great idea, but it doesn’t look like any OEM/ODM’s are going to produce an SLI notebook anytime soon.
nForce 5 — Dual Chipsets Again?
In Q4, 2004 NVIDIA locked in the Intel chipset licensing deal and began production of their first nForce Intel platform. Those familiar with the Nforce’s single chipset solutions might be shocked to see their Intel platform going back to a northbridge and a southbridge configuration. This is because the Intel Processors don’t have an integrated memory controller, so get used to having two chipsets back on the board. Nvidia plans on keeping the HyperTransport enabled for this Intel board and has some other goodies up their sleeves on how to make their board a winning solution. My close friend Fuad over at The Inq put together a piece about the technical aspects of the nForce 5 as told by his source. The chipset known internally as C19 still may or may not be call nForce5.
Looks like NVIDIA is bringing back their SoundStorm audio solution in the near future. NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang addressed questions about the SoundStorm audio solution and made it sound clear that version 2 was on the way. What he failed to mention was how we would be seeing it. It could be built into the chipset or GPU and used via a stand alone card. He was quoted as saying that everyone was “going to be surprised at how it shows up”, so we will stop guessing and see what NVIDIA comes out with. Don’t be surprised to see SoundStorm 2 to roll out before the launch of the PlayStation 3, which The Inq noted would be launched in spring 2006 in Japan. So, if you were looking for SoundStorm 2 to be rolled out in the near future don’t hold your breath.
XLI or SLI?
While talking to various Tier 2 motherboard manufactures it seems like they were left out when it came to SLI implementation. While Tier 1 manufacturers like ASUS use a traditional “NVIDIA like” design with a bridge mating the two cards for SLI to be functional, we heard that it is not needed. Some motherboard manufacturers best left unnamed have found a way to enable SLI through the PCIe BUS. NVIDIA told us that the bridge on top of the cards allows for up to 1GB/Sec of data travel and helps other sources had very different comments. Seems like you will be seeing various Tier 2 SLI motherboards coming out that don’t need the bridge link. Since they don’t follow the SLI design they can’t be certified by NVIDIA and therefore dubbed XLI. It will be interesting to see how XLI fares versus SLI as they are two radically different designs that do the same thing.