ASUS Responds to Gigabyte
Back a few years ago, 3dfx enthusiastically introduced graphics cards with two GPUs to hardcore gamers and most of us should still remember the name Voodoo5 till this day. There were a lot of hype surrounding the technology and performance of 3dfx's Voodoo5 which was based on the VSA-100 graphics core, but unfortunately, the company closed even before it had the opportunity to sell those cards in volume. Even sadder was the fact that Voodoo6 (the card with four GPUs) never saw the light of day and very few people actually had the chance of holding one in their hands, let alone benchmark it. The legend of Voodoo faded away and it left gamers with fond memories of the once great almighty company that revolutionized 3D gaming.
The concept of graphics cards with more than one GPU or VPU isn't new as it has also been used by ATI (in their Rage Fury MAXX) and most recently XGI (the spin-off graphics company from SiS). NVIDIA's introduction of the SLi technology which made use of the versatility and bandwidth of the PCI Express bus brought gamers a new level of performance, particularly due to the fact that performance scalability through SLi has been encouraging. Graphics card manufacturers raced to provide motherboards and graphics cards with SLi capabilities and only few were able to design something truly unique. Gigabyte made the first move with the 3D1, a single graphics board with two GPUs on it. That prompted other manufacturers to build cards with a similar design and it really didn't take manufacturers long to release cards similar to 3D1. We already saw a couple of them at Computex, particularly from MSI and Leadtek.
ASUS' design was first showcased during CeBIT and it was a whopper of a card. If you want something that looks mean, it has got to be the latest ASUS EN6800GT Dual. ASUS' offering is based on the NV45 core and it's a GeForce 6800GT with the HSI bridge while Gigabyte's 3D1 is based on the GeForce 6600GT. For now, it seems, the ASUS EN6800GT Dual card is probably the fastest dual GPU card there is.
Similar to the Gigabyte 3D1, you cannot SLi two of this cards together to obtain a four GPU setup. Although there has been hints about the possibility of a four GPU SLi, it is still not possible today.
Here's a quick overview of the technical specifications of the card.
ASUS EN6800GT Dual Technical Specifications
- Dual NVIDIA GeForce 6800GT (NV45) in SLi mode
- Clock : 350MHz
- 16 pixel pipelines
- 256MB (each GPU), total = 512MB
- Clock : 1GHz
|Interface, Connectors and I/O
- PCI Express x8 (for each GPU core)
- 2 x 6-pin power connector
- 2 x DVI-I output
- S-Video connector
- 300mm (length) x 145mm (height)
- 2 expansion slots required
The enormous ASUS EN6800GT Dual graphics card with two NV45 cores and a total of 512MB of frame buffer.