XFX GF 8800GTX 575M SLI Review :: Introduction

12-28-2006 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Benjamin Sun

3DFX introduced the concept of two video cards improving performance in games with the Voodoo 2 cards in 1997. In many cases two Voodoo 2 cards doubled performance. Unfortunately, 3DFX decided to buy STB and a variety of other factors led 3DFX to declare bankruptcy in December of 2000 with the assets of the company sold to NVIDIA for $100 million.

The advent of the AGP card prevented the use of SLI in most cases, as AGP was a singular slot on the motherboard, compared to the multiple slots available to PCI cards which are what the Voodoo 2 used. With the advent of PCI Express, multiple graphics cards were again possible and worth the time, as you get the full bandwidth offered by the PCI Express bus.

NVIDA introduced their version of SLI (Scalable Link Interface) in 2004 along with the release of the nForce4 SLI chipset and the GeForce 6800 series of cards. This chipset offers two x8 PCI Express lanes when two graphics cards are installed. This offers 2 GB of bandwidth to each card from the system, the same as the AGP bus provided.

The next inflection for SLI was the introduction of the nForce 4 x16 SLI chipset, which offers full x16 capability to the graphics cards when two are installed. This coincided with the launch of the 7800GTX series of cards. NVIDIA introduced Quad SLI in 2005 with the 7900GX2. This was two 79xx series cards on the same PCB and was sold by Dell. Retail 7950GX2 cards followed early this year.

With the successful launch of the 8800GTX NVIDIA has moved graphics cards to the next level. No other card on the market today has the combination of features and performance as the 8800GTX. Today the 8800GTX is the fastest single card on the market, in most cases beating out dual solutions of the previous generation cards in virtually every benchmark that matters. But the question remains, what about two 8800GTX cards?