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Old 06-03-07, 03:24 PM   #1
bgnv
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Default Benefits of using two SLI-enabled cards under Linux?

I'm trying to figure out whether or not it would be worth it to purchase two SLI-enabled cards for use with the Blender application under a recent Linux distro. Has anyone experienced a performance increase specifically with the Blender application under Linux by using two SLI-enabled cards (of course, using the same make and manufacturer, not different cards)?

One of the cards I'm considering purchasing is
xfxforce page for NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GT 256MB DDR3 HDCP Extreme (PV-T71J-UHE4)
. I'm not stuck on using that specific card or manufacturer; speed and reliability are important, and don't mind paying for it. Oh, and the card will need to go into a AMD64 AM2 based motherboard.

I've not purchased either the motherboard or video card yet, as one may drive the purchase of the other. That is, I believe the cards have to be adjacent, so if the card requires a x16 slot, the motherboard should have the two x16 slots side by side. If my reasoning for that is wrong, I'm hoping someone will call me on it.

bgnv

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Old 06-03-07, 03:54 PM   #2
Thunderbird
 
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Default Re: Benefits of using two SLI-enabled cards under Linux?

In theory you can get twice the performance when using SLI but in practice this is quite a bit lower and it depends on what programs you use. SLI can be nice if you buy a card now and later on add an extra card to boost performance or if you want the highest performance there is you can bundle the two fastest cards (geforce 8800 boards).

I wouldn't recommend SLI as in general you can buy a much better single card for the same amount of money. I would invest in a nice Geforce 8800 board.
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Old 06-03-07, 05:29 PM   #3
bgnv
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Default Re: Benefits of using two SLI-enabled cards under Linux?

Thanks Thunderbird. I will search through the NV forums for references to "GeForce 8800" to see what level of success people are, or are not, having with recent Linux kernels.
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Old 06-03-07, 08:59 PM   #4
bgnv
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Default Re: Benefits of using two SLI-enabled cards under Linux?

Thunderbird said:

Quote:
...if you want the highest performance there is you can bundle the two fastest cards (geforce 8800 boards).
And so during my search for forum references to "8800 Linux", I found one posting back in January, http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/show...94&postcount=4, that shows zander stating that some configuration of SLI is not supported (not that I fully understand specifically which configuration is being referred to). Is zander still correct in that support is lacking for two 8800 cards operating in SLI mode, even in recent non-beta NVidia drivers?

Thanks,
bgnv
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Old 06-03-07, 10:05 PM   #5
zander
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Default Re: Benefits of using two SLI-enabled cards under Linux?

SLI is supported on 8800 series GPUs as of 1.0-9755, please see http://www.nvidia.com/object/linux_d..._1.0-9755.html.
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Old 06-05-07, 06:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Benefits of using two SLI-enabled cards under Linux?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderbird
In theory you can get twice the performance when using SLI but in practice this is quite a bit lower and it depends on what programs you use. SLI can be nice if you buy a card now and later on add an extra card to boost performance or if you want the highest performance there is you can bundle the two fastest cards (geforce 8800 boards).

I wouldn't recommend SLI as in general you can buy a much better single card for the same amount of money. I would invest in a nice Geforce 8800 board.
My experience with x86_64 large memory (8Gb) dual dual-core machines is that SLI is nowhere near as stable as running with a single card. Also take a serious look at Quadros. The performance of the Quadro 4500 compared to a 7800GTX can be *astounding* in some applications.
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Old 06-05-07, 01:00 PM   #7
bgnv
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Default Re: Benefits of using two SLI-enabled cards under Linux?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zander
SLI is supported on 8800 series GPUs as of 1.0-9755, please see http://www.nvidia.com/object/linux_d..._1.0-9755.html.
Thanks Zander. That was released in March, and as far as I can tell, that is the first time support for SLI has been introduced for the 8xxx series, right? Its now June, so my gut feel is that is not enough time allowed to shake out any latent bugs in the driver, so I'm leaning to staying with the 7xxx series.

I wonder where I could get hard numbers about performance between the different species of NVidia card specifically on the types of applications I am focused on (CAD, engineering, modeling), versus game apps. Besides, I'm now wondering if I even need the fastest gaming card for my type of applications. I certainly don't want to use a card whose associated driver(s) are not yet deemed stable.

Does anyone know if there is a website that shows a comparison between these species of NVidia card (including Quadro which prefect42 just mentioned) and identifies which types of applications for which they are best suited?

bgnv
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Old 06-09-07, 02:49 PM   #8
bgnv
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Default Re: Benefits of using two SLI-enabled cards under Linux?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prefect42
My experience with x86_64 large memory (8Gb) dual dual-core machines is that SLI is nowhere near as stable as running with a single card. Also take a serious look at Quadros. The performance of the Quadro 4500 compared to a 7800GTX can be *astounding* in some applications.
Taking prefect42's advice, I found a link to a PDF document (dated I believe in 2003, from what I see at the bottom of each page in the document) that gives some technical details comparing the GeForce GPUs versus the Quadro GPUs:

Technical Brief: Quadro vs. GeForce GPUs

It also provides a performance comparision (Probably dated?).
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Old 06-09-07, 03:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Benefits of using two SLI-enabled cards under Linux?

Look for specviewperf benchmarks. Those use various CAD tests. Note as I mentioned that in general SLI is not that useful a standard geforce8800 is twice as fast or more than the best geforce7 in sli (and a 8800 isn't that expensive). It is really very, very powerful. Good luck.
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Old 06-10-07, 12:25 AM   #10
linux23dragon
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Default Re: Benefits of using two SLI-enabled cards under Linux?

If only I knew that the 8800-Ultra was comming out before I bought the 8800-GTX

I feel the need to upgrade now

Edit:
Or I could just get a bigger heat sink and start to over clock the 8800-GTX I already have (and may be a ROM upgrade too).
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