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NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2 1GB review

NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2 1GB

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The GeForce 7950 GX2 1GB Graphics Card

The GeForce 7950 GX2 1GB Graphics Card

As we mentioned on the earlier page, the construction of the GeForce 7950 GX2 is such that the one board will interface the motherboard, while the other card has the DVI display connectors. It's a rather interesting design that fits in with the single graphics card nomenclature and what's more, the GeForce 7950 GX2 will work on any motherboard with a PCIe graphics slot. SLI motherboards are not required. The system will detect it as a pair graphics cards installed, but the drivers will see it as only one card with no messy SLI profiles or settings required. Just plug and play. Power requirements aren't exactly doubled either, but it still consumes a staggering 143W at peak usage. Despite that, it requires only one PCIe power connector and would work fine off a simple system equipped with a fine 400W power supply.

Though with the SLI gold finger connector on the card, it does hint of the possibility of a Quad SLI setup for consumers. However, NVIDIA has no plans to allow Quad SLI for consumers at the moment citing reasons for the lack of proper qualified motherboard support with the right BIOS to overcome the complicated intricacies such as accounting for additional latencies and the likes. They do acknowledge the availability in future, but they aren't just ready quite yet.


Motherboard Compatibility

Although we mentioned that the GeForce 7950 GX2 could work on any PEG port equipped motherboard, there is still a clause towards that. The limitation lies with the design of the GeForce 7950 GX2 as it requires a PCIe Switch to share the aggregated PCI Express X16 bandwidth between the two boards.

This switch is also the cause of incompatibility because it's not a readily recognizable component. However this can be easily overcome through a system BIOS update to ensure compatibility. Thus at the moment, only a handful of the latest motherboard BIOS' are completely compatible with the GeForce 7950 GX2. We expect the list (available here:- www.nvidia.com/GX2 ) to grow exponentially in time as this is a relatively easy update. For your convenience, we list the compatible motherboard and BIOS revisions at the time of writing:-

GeForce 7950 GX2 Motherboard Compatibility List
Manufacturer Model Chipset System BIOS version
ABIT AA8 Duramax Intel 925X 2.4
ABIT AW8 Intel 925X 1.4
ABIT AN8 SLI NVIDIA nForce4 SLI 1.9
Albatron K8SLI NVIDIA nForce4 SLI 1.12
ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 1205
ASUS A8N5X NVIDIA nForce4 0902
ASUS A8N-SLI Premium NVIDIA nForce4 SLI 1013
ASUS A8R32-MVP Delux ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 0404
ASUS A8V-E Deluxe VIA K8T890/VT8237R 1005
ASUS M2N32-SLI DELUXE NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI 0404
ASUS P5LD2-VM Intel 945G 0508
ASUS P5ND2-SLI NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Ed. 0304
Biostar i945 G-M7 Intel 945G 24F
DFI Infinity NF4 SLI NVIDIA nForce4 SLI 2006/04/10
ECS KN1 SLI Lite NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra 1.1d
ECS nForce4-A939 NVIDIA nForce4 1.1g
Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Ed. 537F1P34.BIN
Gigabyte GA-8I945P PRO Intel 945P F5
Gigabyte GA-K8N Pro-SLI NVIDIA nForce4 SLI F4
Gigabyte GA-K8N51PVM9-RH NVIDIA nForce 430/GeForce 6150 F1
Gigabyte GA-K8NF-9 NVIDIA nForce4 F10
Gigabyte GA-K8N-SLI NVIDIA nForce4 SLI F9
Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra F9
Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI NVIDIA nForce4 SLI F11
Intel D955XBK Intel 955X 2036
Intel D975XBX Intel 975X 1073
Intel SE7525GP2 Intel E7525 P08
MSI K8N Diamond Plus NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 A7220NZ1 v1.22
MSI K8N Neo4-F NVIDIA nForce4 5.2
Tyan S2895 D/T NVIDIA nForce 2200/2050 2895_103

List is accurate as of launch time only. Please refer to http://www.nvidia.com/GX2 for the most updated list.

In the event that you do want to pick up a GeForce 7950 GX2 card, but your motherboard isn't listed, don't despair yet. Instead, drop a friendly note to your authorized motherboard distributor or to the manufacturer directly to hasten the update process. Without this update, your motherboard might not identify the graphics card correctly and in the worst-case scenario, not boot up at all.


Notes on Monitor Support

By default when you install the GeForce 7950 GX2, it defaults to operating in a multi-GPU mode, hence limiting the monitor output capability to just one visual display unit. This is as expected since any SLI setup would have this limitation as well. If you have two monitors to be powered, the GeForce 7950 GX2 can be 'instructed' via the driver panel to switch to a multi-display mode, thus allowing you to use a proper dual monitor setup along with all its perks and functionalities. Of course when it's time to game, it would be wise to toggle back to multi-GPU mode. This option configuration option is only available via the new NVIDIA control panel interface and not in the classic driver panel interface. Here's a snapshot of that:-