A new incarnation of Voodoo2: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 SLI concept
You might remember Voodoo2 that enabled 3Dfx to lead the market for some brief period of time due to SLI (Scan Line Interleave) connection that coupled two cards together to double the total performance. According to Hardware Analysis, until now this idea wasn´t offered as a concept, because naturally there were no boards with two AGP slots.
But PCI-E seems to change this, because a number of Tumwater-based workstations will have two PCI-E x16 slots that would provide a base for testing. So, getting to the matter, today NVIDIA introduced a SLI concept on GeForce 6800.
While Voodoo2 SLI utilized a cable connection, NVIDIA utilizes SLI (Scalable Link Interface; or MIO) connector. It enables two cards to share the load using respective algorithms. Like one card handles upper half of the screen and another handles the lower half. (Voodoo2 SLI had cards interleave the image, so one card managed odd lines, while another managed even. But as there´s no official comments, we just have to state the original: "In essence the screen is divided in two parts; one graphics card renders the upper section and the second graphics card renders the lower section.") Most dynamic allocation is managed by a driver (yet unheard of).
No particular performance results were officially announced. But an undisclosed source said that GF 6800 tandem is 77% faster than a GF 6800 with unoptimized drivers. Meanwhile NVIDIA expects 90% performance boost.
I guess the demand for such a monster is a non-trivial matter. Just imagine yourself buying a dual PCI-E x16 board, then Xeon processors, then two identical PCI-E GeForce 6800 cards (and then optionally 4 monitors — to fully feel the power of tandem.)
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