Gigabyte 6600GT "Voodoo 5"
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  1. #1
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    Wink Gigabyte 6600GT "Voodoo 5"

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    Trek over to THG, and you will find that Gigabyte has developed a 2 GPU-on-single card design, using 2 6600GT cores and the SLI bridge. Performance? Better than a 6800 ultra and ATIs X850 PE! Bad news? You still need an SLI-capable motherboard. Good news? It will probably be cheaper than a standard 6800 Ultra!

    Now all we need is SLI-capable boards with one x16 slot for less than $200. Who knows what a dual 6800GT would do?

  2. #2
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    Several board manufactures are trying to get around the whole SLI think. nVidia charges something like a $40-60 premium for the SLI chipset right now, but the board manufacturers are starting to cheat. They are taking a non-SLI chipset and making a board with a 16x and a 4x PCI-e sinse the nForce4 supports 20 lanes total. They are tricking the BIOS into making it report as SLI to the drivers and runs the SLI connection actross the PCI-e bus so no extra connector is needed. They say this comes within about 5% of the full SLI for much less money. They leave the end of the 4x slot open so a 16x card can fit in.

    Putting 2 cores on one card seems kind of a waist if it still needs an SLI board. Wait... it looks like it will just be bundled with an SLI bourd, but might not "require" one. Having 2 GeForce6800U cores on one card, then be able to cram two of these cards onto an SLI board would be mighty... if you had the insane amount of money need to build the system.

    Getting 2 cores to perform better than 2 of the same cores in seperate cards using the same PCI-e bandwidth does not sound right... especially by that much. I guess we will all have to wait and see. Of course ATI has been saying all along that all their cores sinse the Rage Rury Pro core supports multiple cores on a singe card.
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  3. #3
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    Well, I think SMP GPUs is a much more advantageous than SMP CPUs. GPUs do not carry the legacy baggage of x86 processors, and are not limited by software, except for drivers. In this case, you have 2 seperate 128mb graphics cards working together with highly efficient link between the two. A 6800 ultra, with nearly the same specs, has a more limited memory interface in comparison. From the pictures, this 2x Gigabyte card looks to be 2 6600GTs stuck together. In rendering, the card looks to be able to split the work in half, with each core getting its own memory to work with. A 6800 Ultra has to do it all on its own, with only 1 memory interface. The only performance-limiting factor for this gigabyte card is the SLI link, which seems to be working very very well.

    So far, I'm impressed with this card, as it offers much more hope for the future. 16 pipe cards seem to be very hard to make on one die. 16 pipes in a 8 + 8 configuration should be considerably easier, and therefore cheaper. Even a 12 + 12 could be easier!

  4. #4
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    Going to be a non-starter IMHO. The memory will have to be fast (e.g. <2ns) because each chip only has a 128-bit interface. So there are 8, expensive chips - same as high end boards. The PCB will probably be more expensive too. A 6800GT will be under $300 by the time this thing comes out.

    Besides, I don't see how two 6600GTs can ever keep up with an X850XTPE (overall) without a serious clockspeed advantage. 3DMark03... ok. What about in bandwidth-limited gaming situations? Games that need a 256MB framebuffer? Aren't SLi-compatible? Back to one GPU... uh oh.

    It's a nice concept but I think there's more of a market for two NV40s on a board, small as that may be.

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up

    I would definitely prefer this over SLI. Even if it's not as quick. Hope ATI has something like this in the wings.

  6. #6
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    Erm... Tuxy? If you want a single slot card, why not just get a 6800 GT. It is faster than the dual 6600 GT most of the time, and likely to cost less. Or wait for the new X800 XL, which will be about 100$ cheaper than the 6800 GT.

    Dunno, SLI with 6600 GT cards strikes me as... pointless. Regardless of whether it's two cards or a single card, it's slower than a 6800 GT, it costs more (doubly so if you need a new mobo for it), it produces more heat, and with two fans it produces more noise too. And you can't put an AC VGA Silencer on a non-standard card with two GPUs either.

    So... why?

  7. #7
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    Lemme clarify,

    I like the idea of one card 2 cores as apposed to SLI.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  8. #8
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    I think I just don't trust those benchmarks. It was likely overclocked.
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  9. #9
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    My confidence and my views of Nvidia's nforce chipsets went out the windows. If I were to get a SLI board id pick up the VIA based boards. The fact you have to pay 1000.00 to get performance that isn't significant enough to justify the price. One thing though, is the fact the 6600 PCI-E geforce card does have an advantage, you get spend less to get almost the same performance of the x800 xt. So you are saving money there, otherwise SLI is a big waste of money. If it was a lot faster than what it is, it would be worth it.



    Jeff
    There are experts in many fields, but one thing is certain. You don't have to be an expert to speculate.. So speculate on!

  10. #10
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    Almost everybody is saying SLI is a niche market and will have little impart in overall sales or anything, but it lets nVidia say they have the fastest "graphics card" even though it would be basically a $1000+ solution. It is braging rights basically. The other thing is businesses that need this much power would gladly pay thousands for this extra speed. This is the really big market. These are the places where they will pay $1500 for a Quanto based on the GeForce6800U with 512MB of DDR3 and slap 2 in a dual opteron motherboard with 8GB of DDR and a RAID 5 configuration for a nice $20,000 and run it 24/7 with engineers or animators making $200,000 a year each sitting in front of it.

    Now 2 cores in one card might have some extra benifits. They might be able to shrink dies easier and leave them clocked at slower speeds, but just use more of them. This can also help them keep up the release cycles and put More's Law to shame, which graphics cards have been doing for quite a while now. Things have been hitting clock speed limits (like CPUs are doing), so multiple GPUs on one card (like multiple cores on a CPU) might be the only way to go. Adding features is nice and all, but they will start to hit a limit in what they can add without the cost going up too much. Increasing the memory bus is one of those things. Adding the 256 bit memory bus cost quite a bit and requires boards with up to 10 layers. Going to a 512 bit bus will be VERY difficult to do. At that point it likely would be cheaper to just use 2 cores with their own memory.
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  11. #11
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    I will put more faith in an NV chipset than I would Via's. I even think SiS does better in the bigger picture. Via's biggest problem is that they try to be a low-cost enthusiast chipset company. While this seems good on the surface, it really sucks for us because in the end we get mid-level priced boards with half the features either disabled or not working properly (and typically late). Via is a great chipset for running things stock, but I lack confidence in them otherwise. NV at least gives you some flexibility to increase the FSB/HTT more than 25mhz. SiS doesn't give you much extra, but at least they are low cost and stable.

  12. #12
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    Actually until nVidia put out the nForce3 250Gb, they were pretty far behind with their Southbridge features and the HT bus in the Northbridge was not running at full speed. VIA had a better perfrorming and more feature packed Athlon64 chipset then nVidia. Until we actually see the final VIA based PCI-e chipset and boards it will be hard to tell.

    On a bit of side news, VIA and SiS, both started shipping their PCI-e chipsets in VOLUME a few days ago, which is something I do not think nVidia has done yet. Those two might actually beat nVidia to volume retail inventory in stores. It looks like the only nForce4 chipset avaluable in quantities in the nForce4 4X chipset, which is a non-Ultra version witha crippled HT bus. It also looks like few board makers really want to touch this chipset until the next revision is avaluable. Other than that only a few very expensive SLI chips are avaluable (with full HT bus speeds).

    I'm not sure if VIA will have SATA-II functionality and they lack the FireWall stuff, but they have never had trouble with the faster HT bus. They do have RAID and the possibility of bundling with VIA's Vynal Audio, which is actually a pretty good solution (I've seen few that use it though on motherboards). They also are doing an SLI and it looks to be a simpler version like some of the board makers are going to do with the non-SLI version of the nForce4 chipset. They are doing a 16x and 4x. The 16x and 2x SLI boards are supposadly working good and require no jumpers/cards to turn on and off.
    Last edited by Todd a; December 19th, 2004 at 05:37 PM.
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  13. #13
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    I like VIA's idea with AGP and PCI-E on the same board. What nvidia did to everyone is pretty much say, "You will HAVE to get a different video card in order to use nforce4". I myself cant upgrade to a nforce4 board if I wanted to, my video card uses AGP. Now VIA does have that option and its to bad the option isn't with the nforce4. Oh well, this is nvidia forcing someone to buy another video card to use a interface that doesn't have a big advantange at the moment, unless you get SLI.


    Jeff
    There are experts in many fields, but one thing is certain. You don't have to be an expert to speculate.. So speculate on!

  14. #14
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    Eh, I don't think they're forcing you to do anything.

    And frankly, I don't know why would you want an nForce 4 if you don't go SLI or you absolutely must go PCIe. Other than PCIe it has AFAIK nothing that an nForce 3 doesn't already have.

    And honestly other than SLI even PCIe isn't really worth an upgrade. It's not like you can even possibly see an improvement. Most manufacturers are just playing it safe and just using an extra bridge on their PCI or AGP cards.

    E.g., if you buy a PCIe 6800 GT, you just basically get the AGP graphics card with an extra chip that translates between PCIe and the AGP protocol that the chip understands. It can't possibly go faster than the plain AGP version.

    The _only_ way to get any benefit out of it is if you plan to SLI two 6800 GTs or Ultras. It's a very niche market. In which case, might as well go PCIe, since the PCI and AGP standards don't really support a second AGP port.

    The deal really is: if you do have some 1000$ burning a hole in your pocket, and you just _have_ to have TEH UBER-L33T 3DMark scores, get a SLI nForce 4. If not, stick to AGP.

    So, you know, "I want an nForce 4, but not PCIe or SLI" is very much like saying "I want a car, but I don't want to drive." So don't get one, then.

    I dunno, people, there still are plenty of ways to blow a wad of cash if you absolutely _must_ upgrade something for christmas.

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