SLi Issues

  BigMoFoT 13:27 25 Aug 2005

About 3 months ago I bought myself a new system capable of SLi which included the first of my 6800GT PCI Express cards. After a few months more of saving I purchased my 2nd card (it was a £100 cheaper then as well!). As excited as a little schoolkid I configured my SLi but was absolutley deveastated to find tha it didn't work! After a good hour of re-installing drivers, checking and flashing the BIOS and reading hints an guides on the net it became apparent that my cards (AOpen 6800GT) had different BIOS revisions. After checking the boxes & manuals this was confirmed. My initial card beleive it or not was revision BB but my new card was revision AA. I contacted the seller (Scan computers) confirmed my issue and enquired if they had a BB revision. They sad they couldn't help and it was a stock issue!!!
Thankfully a friend was willing to swap graphics cards to give me a configuration with 2 identical BIOS revisions!

Disaster averted - but then I thought what, if in 6 months time one of my cards fail and the warranty replaceent is a different revision? I'm back to square 1? I know there are tools available to flash nvidia graphics cards (nvflash) but surely this can't be a solution to avid gamers who are spending hundreds of pounds a gaming systems? Is the industry going to change? Is SLi going to change?
Thoughts anyone?

  gudgulf 15:24 25 Aug 2005

I've seen an article on this somewhere and I'll try and find it so I can post a link.

I know that ATI's version "Crossfire" is being designed to work with different Bios versions so you can mix and match cards from different manufactures etc.I believe that the next version of NVidia's SLI will do the same.......after all it's not ideal that in reality you need to buy a matched pair of cards for it to function correctly.

One of the selling points being you could add a second card later to upgrade your graphics performance.........not that easy as you have found out.I think I'll avoid these problems by sticking with a single card solution !(er ok, I can't afford an SLI rig,LOL)

I'll post the link if I can find it.

  gudgulf 16:09 25 Aug 2005

Have a look at this click here

  Mr Mistoffelees 14:41 29 Aug 2005

that the main purpose of SLi is to generate more revenue for nVidia and their partners.

  dave_and_confused 16:23 29 Aug 2005

Can you not flash the BIOS so they are both the same?

  Mysticnas 12:42 30 Aug 2005

There is an actual performance boost on SLi systems in regards to games. However, most cards like 6800GT and above are more than capable of running the latest games at high res and high quality settings are FPS rates way above what's essential.

So IMO SLi is ideal for people with slower cards (they can by 2 cheap cards) or people who still want to be able to reach OTT FPS rates in about 6-12months time.

So unless you want a crazyily fast PC and want to own the fastest PC for 5mins then don't bother with SLi just yet.

  gudgulf 13:25 30 Aug 2005

I'm going to differ slightly from your opinion.......where sli really scores is in the rendering of really challenging games with all the options on.Read the last paragraph of this review click here

Two of the latest nvidia 7800GTX graphics cards in sli formation are needed to run the game Chronicles of Riddick,Escape from Butcher Bay at 1600x1200 with all details maxed out under pixel shader 3.0 and HDR rendering.

To this end it only makes sense with two high end cards as a way of extending capabilities beyond whats possible with a single card.Two budget cards in sli configuration are good for bragging rights but will be outpaced by a decent single graphics card, and given the price premium on the motherboard/beefed up psu needed for sli a standard pc with a decent single card may well be more cost effective.

  Mysticnas 13:52 30 Aug 2005

I'm not saying that they have good performance. Indeed if you read my very 1st line you'll see that I said there is a performance boost.

Now for most people playing the latest games with high end systems (it's not that many people really) only a percentage of those will use 1600x1200 res on max settings. And considering the website 3D Guru, which I sometimes refer to myself, it's generally geared towards the people who want the low-down on the latest high end graphics cards. I currently have a GF6800 Leadtek which I purchased recently in a sale.

Aside from playing games (which i don't get much time to now anyway) I do multimedia creation such as 3D animation/modelling and video editing/production. Yes I would prefer 7800GTX SLi setup just as much as i'd like to update my whole system every time something big came out; but my budget won't accomodate it.

Most people I know that are into their gaming run only 11024x768 and 1280x1024 with max settings in games like HL2 and Doom3 etc..

  gudgulf 14:20 30 Aug 2005

The thing is I am one those people who like to run my games at 1600x1200.At the moment I can do that with all the games I own with 2x or 4x AA and 8x AF.The most demanding in terms of resources that I have is Doom3.

I guess that seriously colours my view on the benefits of sli (which I can't afford either).Anyway I have an ATI card(x800pro vivo bios modded to x800xt spec) which will have to do me for a good while to will the rest of my pc,lol.With its Socket478 cpu/AGP graphics and DDR1 memory some of my gaming friends are already hinting that my rig should be put out to grass or donated to a museum and replaced with the latest and greatest!

As I say I'm not disagreeing with you as such,you're absolutely correct...just think that sli is a complicated/possibly pricey solution to the best performance with a limited budget.

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