NVIDIA informed us that the basic configuration will be two PCI Express graphics slots that are both x16. NVIDIA will also be supporting triple-SLI and quad-SLI with the use of x8 lanes. This is strange as NVIDIA doesn’t have a four-card SLI option on the market today. Could this mean that NVIDIA has finally found a way to make Quad-SLI happen and scale?
NVIDIA is also going to allow for advanced SLI configurations if the motherboard is using an nForce 200 SLI chip. For example, if you want to run four graphics cards at x16 speeds then this is the only way to do that. Not too many games and applications take advantage of that much bandwidth, but with CUDA applications in the works it would be impossible to say it will never be used. If just one nForce 200 chip is used, a true Triple-SLI x16 configuration can be had.
NVIDIA will be hand-testing each motherboard model that applies for SLI certification for compatibility and approval before they can use the SLI logo or name. This will help bring in a revenue stream for NVIDIA, as well as making sure the boards will correctly run SLI. Could a motherboard vendor enable SLI and just not market it? With viral marketing so powerful today it could be possible, but NVIDIA said they have a way around that as well. They have developed a piece of code that goes into the SBIOS on the motherboard that is detected by the NVIDIA Forceware video card drivers. If the code is present and correct then the drivers will allow the consumer to enable SLI.
It is highly likely that many motherboards will become SLI certified if the price is right and the processor is quick enough. With the Intel Bloomfield processor launch coming soon it will be a race to get the board certified before they ship to retailers. NVIDIA needs to get the boards on the market on day one also for marketing purposes as they don’t want everyone in the tech industry to say that SLI is not supported! This move to enable SLI for Intel X58 chipsets not only allows consumers to run SLI on Intel X58 chipsets, but it also helps NVIDIA get bring in licensing fees and gives them the opportunity to sell more cards as Intel is the number one chipset marker in the world. In the end this deal is great for both consumers and NVIDIA.