The performance of a single GeForce 7800 GTX was compared to two GeForce 7800 GTX's running in SLI mode. In additional to benchmarks results from a number of popular games, image quality comparisons, and a section on game play performance are also provided.
AMD Athlon 64 4000+ Processor
MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI Motherboard
Corsair XMS 3200 Memory Model 3200LLPRO - (2) 512MB DIMMs - 1GB Total
Western Digital Raptor 74GB HDD (1), 10000RPM, 4.5ms Avg Seek, 8MB Buffer, SATA
Western Digital Caviar 80GB HDD (2), 7200RPM, 8.9ms Avg Seek, 8MB Buffer, ATA-100
NVIDIA ForceWare Graphics Driver Version 77.77 (WHQL)
NVIDIA ForceWare Graphics Driver Version 78.03 (Beta)
NVIDIA nForce4 AMD Driver Package Version 6.53.02
Vsync Disabled / 75Hz Refresh Rate / 70Hz at 1920x1440 / 60Hz at 2048x1536
Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 / DirectX 9.0c
Brothers in Arms - v1.10 - Direct 3D
Chronicles of Riddick - v1.0.1282 - OpenGL
Doom 3 - v1.0.1282 - OpenGL
Dungeon Siege 2 Demo - Direct 3D
Enemy Territory - v2.60 - OpenGL
Far Cry - v1.33 - Direct3D
F.E.A.R. Single Player Demo - Direct 3D
Guild Wars - v12.083 - Direct 3D
Half-Life 2 - v220.127.116.11 - Direct 3D
The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth - v1.2 - Direct 3D
Morrowind - v1.2.0722 - Direct3D
Neverwinter Nights - v1.66 - OpenGL
Painkiller - v1.64 - Direct3D
Splinter Cell Chaos Theory - v1.03 - Direct3D
Vampire - The Masquerade Bloodlines - v1.02 - Direct3D
World of Warcraft - v1.61 - Direct3D
All applications tested were patched to their latest version with the exception of Doom 3.
Fraps was used to capture the minimum frame rate in some benchmarks.
The predefined multi-chip rendering mode as defined in the application profile was always used when running in SLI mode.
QUALITY VS. HIGH QUALITY IMAGE
All of the benchmarks in this review were run with the driver image setting at high quality. The following results indicate the percent decrease in the average frame rate between the quality and high quality image setting, which averaged 9% for a single graphics card and 5% for SLI.
Quality vs. High Quality
Bumps Along The Road
Note that the application profile system in the 77.77 ForceWare driver is not working properly for Direct3D applications. The problem is that certain settings in the application profile, such as image quality, are not being overridden in the global profile. According to NVIDIA, the application profile should ALWAYS override the global profile. As a workaround, the settings in the global profile should always be used or try out the 78.03 beta drivers.
NVIDIA has also acknowledged that they are working on a correction to reduce the texture "shimmering" that has been reported on the GeForce 7800 GTX and GeForce 7800 GT under certain conditions with the high quality image setting.
Note: While working on this review, I tested ForceWare beta driver 78.03, which corrected the application profile bugs and also provided a noticeable decrease in the magnitude of texture shimmering in the following Half-Life 2 scene.
Texture "Shimmering" Test Area
This link contains a preliminary report and instructions on how to request a copy of the high-quality 1024x768 videos that were recorded with Fraps for each driver.