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nV News - Multi-GPU World Tour 2006 - Uncommon Benchmarks - Page 5 of 9

MID-RANGE SYSTEM COMPONENTS

ATI CrossFire

The Abit AT8 32X motherboard was used for the mid-range CrossFire system. Based on the ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset, the AT8 32X features two full bandwidth 16-lane PCI Express slots.

Abit AT8 32X
Click Image to Enlarge - 986x750 (355KB)

The two Sapphire Radeon X1900 GTs grabbed some of the spotlight when we installed ATI's nForce4 hotfix driver. Intended to resolve system instability on nForce4 motherboards, we were told that the driver also provides unofficial CrossFire support for the Radeon X1900 GT.

Abit AT8 32X
Click Image to Enlarge - 815x727 (328KB)

ATI has made a breakthrough of sorts as the connector cables and "master card", with its on-board composting chip, were not necessary. If this solution can scale up to ATI's most powerful GPUs, CrossFire will rival SLI and its simplicity in hardware setup. An upcoming driver will feature CrossFire support for the Radeon X1900 GT without a master card.

Sapphire Radeon X1900 GT
Click Image to Enlarge - 902x504 (194KB)

A couple of Radeon X1900 GT graphics cards will cost around $540-$560.

NVIDIA SLI

We assembled the mid-range SLI system with Abit's A8N 32X motherboard. The A8N 32X is based on the nForce4 SLI X16 chipset and supports NVIDIA's nTune performance optimization and monitoring application. nTune was designed for the enthusiast and is one of the extras that add up to give NVIDIA a significant edge over ATI in motherboard chipsets.

Abit A8N 32X
Click Image to Enlarge - 957x733 (399KB)

Abit's µGuru family of motherboard accessories features slick-looking digital readout devices that report overclocking levels, hardware monitoring status, and room temperature.

Abit A8N 32X
Click Image to Enlarge - 944x693 (441KB)

The GeForce 7950 GX2 is the graphics card we selected for the mid-range SLI system and is comprised of two printed circuit boards (PCB) sandwiched together. Each PCB features 512MB of GDDR3 memory and a GPU clocked at 500MHz. The graphics card has a dual-slot design and fits in a single PCI Express slot. Two GeForce 7950 GX2 graphics cards can be combined to form a quad-SLI configuration, which is supported by a recently announced ForceWare 91.37 beta driver.

GeForce 7950 GX2
Click Image to Enlarge - 894x624 (2921KB)

The GeForce 7950 GX2 is an innovative product and a single card can be used on any PCI Express compliant motherboard that supports PCI Express switching.

One GeForce 7950 GX2 has a price tag around $550-$580.

Next Page: High-End System Components

Last Updated on July 26, 2006


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