The Definitive Multi-GPU World Tour is a collaboration between nine respected sites around the world to cover the entire ecosystem of products that make up the multi-GPU marketplace.  In this comprehensive series of articles we cover the basics of implementing a multi-GPU setup and the technology behind it, what products we feel represent the best performance and feature-set for each price point, and how each setup performs using 60+ applications and benchmarks.  Throughout this series we will receive an in-depth look at the strengths and weaknesses of the products covered here, as well as what might be right for users in multiple price ranges.

  • Part I: Introduction - July 10th,
    "ATI also has a history of multi-GPU with several products.  The first big product was the Rage3D Fury Maxx, which placed two Rage 128 chips onto a single card to act in unison.  With the Radeon 9700 Pro and following R3x0 and R4x0 series of cards, ATI supported SuperTiling in the simulation market.  SuperTiling is essentially the splitting of a frame into equal size tiles, with each GPU rendering alternating tiles, or in larger arrays perhaps rendering two to four of these tiles."
  • Part II: GPUs - July 12th,
    "NVIDIA's SLI Technology was built from the ground up and was finally introduced with NVIDIA's PCI-Express based GeForce 6800-series video cards, after over three years of development. Initially, SLI was incredibly finicky - you could only use a matched pair of video cards with exactly the same BIOS on each card. However, around eight months after its initial realisation, drivers were released to correct these shortcomings, allowing users to pair any video cards, so long as they were from the same product family (i.e. you could pair a GeForce 7800 GTX with another GeForce 7800 GTX, but not with a GeForce 7800 GT)."
  • Part III: Motherboards - July 16th,
    no question NVIDIA is the feature kings. Not only do they pack their chipsets full with features like Gigabit Ethernet and SATA II support, they also try to come up with stuff like nTune, ActiveArmour, Linkboost, First packet, SLI-mem and so on. Not all of these features are usefull for everyone or even work well but you cannot help feeling you are getting more for your money from NVIDIA.  While ATI's chipsets are light on the features it hasn't really shown when testing the motherboards. The Abit AT8 and AN8 are good examples. On paper the nForce4 SLi 16x has more features but Abit just add third party products and in the end the end user notices nothing. Instead the ATI boards get a feature NVIDIA nForce4 boards don't have: High Definition Audion."
  • Part IV: Common benchmarks - July 18th,
    ATI though have some wins here and there, but in general the latest ForceWare 91.31 driver seems to do the job well. An getting to the drivers which is obviously something we wouldn't leave out without a few quotes. If we look at the latest Catalyst 6.6 driver it seems the driver have a few flaws here and there in terms of performance under 4xAA and 8xAF. We know the ATI Catalyst is capable of delivering better performance in these area and it might be bugs or flaws in driver which gives us these results.
  • Part V: XFire most played - July 21st,
    Our contribution has us looking at a rough cross section of a few of the most played multiplayer games on both XFire and Gamespy, though we do cover a couple more recent high profile titles such as Oblivion.  Not surprisingly, the titles at the top of XFire and Gamespy's list are not at the very bleeding edge of graphics - they require a certain amount of horsepower certainly, but these games are played by a wide range of users who have a variety of system capabilities.  This puts our particular tests in a less exciting light as far as sheer horsepower tests are concerned, but it does make these results highly relevant and representative of what a large gaming audience can expect from Multi-GPU setups.
  • Part VI: Uncommon benchmarks - July 26,
    The NVIDIA SLI platform dominated the mid-range system. It outperformed the ATI CrossFire platform and offered more combinations of playable resolution and antialiasing settings. CrossFire was problematic in 3 out of the 5 games that were tested. Some problems could have been attributed to the nForce4 hotfix driver, although similar problems were present on the low-end CrossFire system using official Catalyst drivers.
  • Part VII: Uncommon benchmarks - July 28th,
    "Now, on to our experiences with the hardware. First and foremost I can't help but be impressed at just how easy to set up and well mannered the SLI systems are. You just pop in the cards, install the driver, click the balloon to enable SLI and you're off and running. While CrossFire is an extremely competitive platform it is still not to the level of SLI in user friendliness."
  • Part VIII: Uncommon benchmarks -
    "Not only is stability on NVIDIA’s side, so is ease of use and practicality. There is no master/slave stuff with SLI and there is no giant pain in the ass dongle with thumb screws that break off and are way too small and with cables that are way too stiff like the monstrosity you get with hardware Crossfire. NVIDIA’s SLI bridge-board is elegant, easy to use, and doesn’t get in your way. Granted you can’t defend yourself against hordes of evil undead zombies with it like you can ATI’s dongle, but really, who wants zombie goo all over their computer anyway."
  • Part IX: Conclusion -
    So we tally up the results from them we see NVIDIA obviously dominate everything, even in certain games if ATI is winning NVIDIA remains really close. Especially in low and mid-range performance systems ATI is under attack. But very interesting to see is are the high-end products from ATI perform with that new Cat 6.7 driver. Be sure to check that out. In short: the overall view thus generic performance among the majority of games without a doubt is looking fantastic for NVIDIA SLI. Nobody will deny that even for a second. But do remember what I already stated in the introduction. The last two or three sites have used the new Catalyst 6.7 drivers in their scores (they received them prior to the official release form ATI) and they clearly make a distinct performance difference. None the less. NVIDIA takes the lead by far. But there is much more to all this then a tally of results. Let's talk a little about Image Quality, HDR+AA and so important ... drivers

Timeframe Article Website Status
July 10th Introduction PenstarSys Live!
July 12th GPUs Bit-tech Live!
July 14th Motherboards Bjorn3D Live!
July 18th Common Benchmarks HARDiNFO Live!
July 20th Xfire most Played NeoSeeker Live!
July 26st Uncommon Benchmarks nV News Live!
July 28th Uncommon Benchmarks Legit Reviews Live!
July 30th Uncommon Benchmarks Rage3D Live!
July 30th The Verdict Guru3D Live!
Participating Canadian Sites
  • NeoSeeker
    Neoseeker is designed to help you find information about hardware and games products provides inhouse computer hardware and games reviews and articles. Our goal is to provide a single place from which you can search and easily find reviews on other sites in the hardware and gaming communities.
  • Rage3D
    Rage3D has been serving ATI owners since 1998 and has since grown to become the largest and most popular ATI fansite on the internet. We offer a very large and active support forum along with balanced hardware reviews and articles. Mark Thorne is Technical Editor, designer, and developer.
Participating Canadian Sites
    HARDiNFO is a primary source for hardware reviews and news for the scandinavian market and strives to deliver only the best for our readers and customers. HARDiNFO delivers articles for IT-professionals, distributors, pc-shops, endusers and most of all tech nerds. Jon Fabricius Fog is Editor in Chief, President and Founder.
Participating Canadian Sites
  • Guru3D
    Guru3D started in 1997 after transforming 3dfx fansite 'the Voodoo Guru' into the diverse 'the Guru of 3D'. Hilbert Hagedoorn is the chief editor of the site and responsible for all it's content, staff, conceptual development and press-relations.
Participating Canadian Sites
  • Bjorn3D
    Björn3D rose to prominence in 1999 when they switched focus from Rendition to NVIDIA, a company that had proven to deliver new products in a steady stream. In 2003 the decision was made to cover not only NVIDIA but also ATI and other companies products and have since made Bjorn3D a site where you will find news and reviews from all kind of computer hardware and software. Scott Sherman is owner and publisher.
Participating Canadian Sites
  • bit-tech is the leading independent hardware review and PC modification site in the UK. We specialise in off-the-wall (and sometimes on it too!) mods, reviews and articles. Our reviews are frank, honest and reliable and we endeavour to provide the best information possible to our readers. Tim Smalley is Technical Editor.
Participating Canadian Sites
  • Legit Reviews
    Legit Reviews was created in the summer of 2002 to give computer users around the world an inside view into the current computer industry and a peak into what the future holds for all of us. Nathan Kirsch is editor in chief.
  • nV News
    nV News has been on-line since April of 1998 and provides daily news, reviews of NVIDIA and other PC based products, and a message board for our visitors to use. Mike Chambers is the owner and founder.
  • Penstar Systems
    PenStar has been covering the computer industry since 1999, with a primary focus on 3D graphics and the economy around it. Josh Walrath is the owner and editor in chief, and has 9 years of writing experience in the industry.
Logo Line abit AMD ATI BFG Tech ECS EliteGroup NVIDIA Sapphire Super Talent

Copyright© 2006