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nV News - Multi-GPU World Tour 2006 - Uncommon Benchmarks - Page 4 of 9

LOW-END SYSTEM COMPONENTS

ATI CrossFire

The motherboard in our budget CrossFire system consisted of the AMD socket-939 based Abit AT8. Based on ATI's Radeon Xpress 200 CrossFire chipset, the AT8 features two PCI Express X16 slots and is multi-GPU ready.

Abit AT8 - CrossFire Xpress 200
Click Image to Enlarge - 985x708 (299KB)

Abit's Silent OTES (Outside Thermal Exhaust System) is a passive cooling solution that utilizes heatpipe technology. Having experienced two failures with the chipset fan on the Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe, passive chipset cooling is a must have feature. Another problem that can limit the performance of chipset fans is that they are often blocked due to the dual-slot design and length of today's high-end graphics cards.

Abit AT8 - CrossFire Xpress 200
Click Image to Enlarge - 847x654 (350KB)

A couple of GigaByte Radeon X1600 Pro's provided the graphics horsepower and the Silent-Pipe II cooling solution made quite an impression. Catalyst Control Center provides a GPU temperature reading in its Overdrive applet, which is available for specific Radeon X1000 Series graphics cards. Although the Overdrive applet was not present for this particular model, the aluminum fins became very hot to the touch under sustained 3D graphics load.

Note that Silent-Pipe II takes up the space of two slots. Depending on the type of motherboard being used, access to some PCI and PCI Express slots may be blocked.

Gigabyte Radeon X1600 Pro
Click Image to Enlarge - 974x697 (436KB)

The Gigabyte Radeon X1600 Pro we tested retails for $96.99 at Newegg and comes with a $15 rebate when purchased from July 1st through the 31st.

NVIDIA SLI

Most enthusiasts have a love/hate relationship with motherboard manufacturers. The A8N-SLI Deluxe eventually failed and was sent back to Asus. Asus followed-up with the A8N-SLI Premium with AI Cool-Pipe passive chipset cooling, which we used for the low-end SLI system. Based on the nForce4 SLI chipset, the A8N-SLI Premium has turned out to be one of the better motherboards I have owned. Asus eventually delivered a new A8N-SLI Deluxe, which was donated to a deserving forum member.

Asus A8N-SLI Premium
Click Image to Enlarge - 683x767 (402KB)

I did not have any "hands-on" experience with the GeForce 7600 GS although Kyle Kerley reviewed Inno3D's GeForce 7600 GST last month and was impressed with its performance.

EVGA GeForce 7600 GS
Click Image to Enlarge - 960x690 (387KB)

A number of on-line retailers have the EVGA GeForce 7600 GS priced at $109.99 along with a $10 rebate.

Next Page: Mid-Range System Components

Last Updated on July 26, 2006


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