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Daisy chain reaction

New nVidia technology links up pairs of graphics cards

If a top-of-the range graphics card still doesn’t give you the performance you want, then nVidia may have come up with the answer to your prayers.

An old technology once used to daisy chain two Voodoo graphics cards together has received a new lease of life from PCI Express technology and nVIDIA savvy.

SLI (scalable link interface) multi-GPU technology is a hardware and software solution that enables gamers to connect two PCI Express-based GeForce 6-Series graphics cards on PCI Express-compatible motherboards – and it delivers outstanding performance.

The original system connected two Voodoo 2 cards using an external cable, but in its new incarnation the connection will be internal, in form of a small circuit board (or bridge). This bridge connects the two graphics cards together in a single system with output to one monitor.

To achieve the SLI Multi-GPU effect, nVidia is using a clever load balancing technique to make sure that the workload for drawing the graphics split 50/50 down the line.

The technology is expected to reach the shop in niche gaming systems by the end of 2004.

People wishing to purchase it separately will probably have to stump up high costs due to amount of hardware involved. Consumers will have to buy two high-end graphics cards, the connecting bridge and a compatible motherboard with 2 PCI-Express x16 slots.

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