3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

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3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:25 am

For the last 15 months the GeForce 8800 GTX has represented the most powerful graphics card that sane people were willing to buy. With the right motherboard and three cards you can now run 3-way SLI with a set of these cards and that is exactly what we did today here at Legit Reviews. Armed with nForce 780i SLI powered motherboard and a set of GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB video cards we pushed the limits of graphics technology on our 30" Dell monitor!

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NVIDIA’s 3-way SLI indeed works but at the price of entry, it had better. The problem however is that in this instance it is based on technology that is approaching the end of its life. The 8800 GTX and Ultra have all but been replaced by the 8800 GTS 512MB and the 9000 series cards have already started to launch. The Quad SLI launch of the 9800GX2 is imminent and should undercut the cost of either Triple GTX’s or Ultra’s and perform on par or better. So really the only way this is going to be of benefit to anyone is if you’ve already got a 680i or 780i and a pair of GTX’s or Ultra’s.


Article Title: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3
Article URL: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/659/1/
Pricing At Time of Publication - $399 each
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby DaIceMan » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:00 am

Very nice article. I'd really like to see this more readily available to those of us who don't live in a bank, but I guess that was never the point of the exercise to begin with. As much as I like my 8800GTX, I'd trade it today for a pair of 8800GTS g92 card, because as Brian said the GTX is getting long in the tooth.

Brian, I know you said before your room heated up with the folders running... how was the sauna effect from this baby?
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:18 am

lots of power... nearly 800W at load... nutty

3-way NVIDIA SLI technology is pretty nifty and this is one of the only reviews I've seen with 780i and 8800GTX's. Most of the systems NVIDIA sent out used 680i and 8800 Ultra's. Good job brian on a unique review that was done without the help of NVIDIA.
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby Bwall » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:24 am

DaIceMan wrote:Very nice article. I'd really like to see this more readily available to those of us who don't live in a bank, but I guess that was never the point of the exercise to begin with. As much as I like my 8800GTX, I'd trade it today for a pair of 8800GTS g92 card, because as Brian said the GTX is getting long in the tooth.

Brian, I know you said before your room heated up with the folders running... how was the sauna effect from this baby?


Thanks, guys!

Luckily the QX9770 doesn't add too much heat, but with those GTX's I still had to do the testing with the window cracked, the nice 15f breeze helped out. When I decided to open the window there was about 25f difference between my room and the rest of the place, I think at one point is was about 95f.
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby camaroguy1998 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:53 am

Excellent review Bwall!
Perfect timing!
A friend of mine is looking to put together a 3-way SLI with 8800GTX's and this is one of the few reviews that use GTX's!
I am definitely passing it on for him to read!

Do you have any ideas, thoughts or recommendations to someone setting up a system like this?
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby DaIceMan » Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:09 am

camaroguy1998 wrote:Do you have any ideas, thoughts or recommendations to someone setting up a system like this?


Rob a bank first? hehe. I would saying building a system like this, your main concern would have to be the heat, not only of the video cards, but within the case and the effect it would have on other components as well. You are going to need a case with MASSIVE air flow and cooling. He said that there was a 25 degree difference in the room temp to other rooms, and he was using an open top case. Imagine how much that heat is going to bake components in a sealed case.
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby camaroguy1998 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:21 am

DaIceMan wrote:
camaroguy1998 wrote:Do you have any ideas, thoughts or recommendations to someone setting up a system like this?


Rob a bank first? hehe. I would saying building a system like this, your main concern would have to be the heat, not only of the video cards, but within the case and the effect it would have on other components as well. You are going to need a case with MASSIVE air flow and cooling. He said that there was a 25 degree difference in the room temp to other rooms, and he was using an open top case. Imagine how much that heat is going to bake components in a sealed case.


He chose the Zalman GT 1000 for his case.
We've decided to mount the HDD's on the bottom and remove the HDD cage to allow for better airflow.
I'm betting heat will be an issue for him!
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby vicaphit » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:02 pm

Very cool to see that in action. Though I would have liked to see crysis running on that thing. Send it my way and I will send you some results :)
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby martini161 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:13 pm

if you had three gtx's and a 680i right when they both came out, could you have done this? or were there no drivers for it? and how much of a performance hit do you think this would take if run on a 680i since one slot is only 8x?
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:58 pm

of course you can do this on 680i, but all the original reviews that NVIDIA had people do had those. When I gave Brian the board, CPU, video cards for this article I gave him the 780i cause no one used that board yet or tested GTX's (Seems all the systems NVIDIA sent out to their favorite sites had 8800 Ultras...) There are no special drivers needed for this on the board level, so nothing to report there. The 780i should be a better choice over the 680i, but no point in testing both. With new GeForce 9 series cards coming out soon and 790i SLI motherboards on the way this article was dated before it was even published.
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby DaIceMan » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:16 pm

Apoptosis wrote:<snip>
With new GeForce 9 series cards coming out soon and 790i SLI motherboards on the way this article was dated before it was even published.


Sums up my point to a T. Even if I had the disposal $1000, there's no way I would move to this setup, even though I'm a third of the way there with an 8800GTX.
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby top » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:15 pm

How can you add a decent sound card to a Triple, or even a Quad SLI setup? You really can't, can you? How come the mb manufactures don't add the PCI slots above the PCI-Es?
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby ibleet » Sat Mar 01, 2008 1:11 am

Its very cool and all, but the bottom line is that I haven't found a game yet that I cannot play at high settings using a single 8800GTS 512...I know there will be around the corner, but by then I will be using a single 9800 X2 series card. :mrgreen:

You guessed it...I'm not a huge fan of SLI or crossfire. :finga:

My goal is to enjoy the high end games, not to score 30k on some worthless benchmark...even though they are COOL!

Very cool review though Brian. I love to see the limits pushed!
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby martini161 » Sat Mar 01, 2008 11:09 am

top wrote:How can you add a decent sound card to a Triple, or even a Quad SLI setup? You really can't, can you? How come the mb manufactures don't add the PCI slots above the PCI-Es?

they actually do, but they are pcie 1x. many things such as nic's and sound cards will most likely move to this from pci in the future, and soundblaster already does make a pcie1x sound card, and i have a pcie1x wireless card in my compute right now
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Re: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Review - GeForce 8800 GTX x 3

Postby top » Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:04 pm

martini161 wrote:they actually do, but they are pcie 1x. many things such as nic's and sound cards will most likely move to this from pci in the future, and soundblaster already does make a pcie1x sound card, and i have a pcie1x wireless card in my compute right now


I just saw the card they've got for that slot, so I'm a little less worried about it now. Hopefully Creative will have the platinum series for this slot by the end of the year!
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