Graphics card maker Nvidia claimed a coup last week as chip maker Intel licensed its scalable link interface (SLI) for use on its DX58SO motherboards.
It means system builders can use SLI to link more than one graphics card for any motherboard using Intel’s Core i7 processor.
Ultimately, it gives system builders far more scope over what they can build for their customers, explained Ben Berraondo, Nvidia’s marketing manager.
“SLI means you can have two graphics cards on one PC, which gives pretty impressive performance. Or you can give a client one graphics card, with an option to upgrade. Alternatively, if you use two graphics processing units, you can end up with four graphics chips in one machine,” he explained.
The result is that end users can build the ultimate gaming machine. The acid test is how a PC runs the popular game Crysis, he said. “That is the benchmark for PCs, because it is so graphically intense. If you can run that, you can run anything.”
Getting Intel on board is a major coup for Nvidia. “We now have SLI available on most major manufacturers’ motherboards,” added Berraondo.
The good news for system builders is that a very popular board maker is now in league with the best brand of graphics card maker.
Pairing the Core i7 processor on Intel’s Extreme Series motherboard with Nvidia GeForce graphics has resulted in some of the world’s fastest consumer gaming PC platforms, said Clem Russo, general manager of the channel desktop platform group at Intel.
“This is a combination that our customers have been asking for, playing any of today’s hottest PC titles,” he said.
Nvidia’s SLI technology is now available for all consumer PC platforms, including the Intel Core i7, Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Duo processors. The AMD Phenom II CPU-based PC is also catered for.
Kriss Pomroy, commercial director at system builder Novatech, welcomed the move.
“The Intel X58 Smackover board is excellent, with fantastic build quality and great performance. But with the inclusion of SLI it is full steam ahead,” he said.
“I am glad we can spec Intel motherboards in our systems. It gives us the chance to capitalise on the awesome performance of SLI technology. It is what we have been waiting for.”
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