Everyone's talking about it. No, it's not the iPhone but NVIDIA's latest salvo, the GeForce 8800 GT. With 3D performance almost on par with the company's own high-end GeForce 8800 GTX but with a price tag that's only slightly more than its mid-range GeForce 8600 GTS, this is probably the most exciting development in graphics cards for the DirectX 10 era, at least for the majority of consumers who could only drool at the Ultras and GTXs from afar.
Given the anemic state of decent mid-range options for DirectX 10 graphics cards before its stunning arrival, this outburst of enthusiasm is perhaps not surprising but when a GeForce 8800 GTX is almost twice the price of a single GeForce 8800 GT for a couple more frames at normal resolutions of 1600 x 1200 and below, it naturally begs the question of SLI performance for a pair of GeForce 8800 GT 512MB cards.
Admittedly, we should have included a SLI segment in our initial review of the GeForce 8800 GT but due to time constraints, we had to skip that. The arrival of newer drivers from NVIDIA meant that we could now test the SLI performance of the GeForce 8800 GT, along with updating our original test system with the new drivers. So is getting 2 x GeForce 8800 GT the answer to the bunch of hot PC game titles coming your way for the Christmas season?
Our usual test system was not exactly built for SLI so instead of our Intel D975XBX 'Bad Axe' motherboard, we used an ASUS P5N32-E SLI Plus board (nForce 680i) for the SLI testing. The rest of the components were similar to our typical configuration, with an Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 (2.66GHz) processor, 2GB of DDR2-800 Kingston HyperX memory modules, Seagate 7200.7 SATA hard drive and especially for this benchmarking, we had a Cooler Master Real Power Pro (850W) to ensure that power wasn't an issue with two GeForce 8800 GT cards. Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 and DirectX 9.0c completed the rig. For the testing of single cards, we used the Intel D975XBX board instead.
The following cards were tested, along with their respective drivers:
And the benchmarks tested are as follows: