When nVidia first announced that SLI would be making a comeback, geeks everywhere drooled over the prospect of having two 6800 Ultra’s whirring away in their machines. To most, SLI has been a no more than a pipe dream, requiring more money than a small country’s national debt – with even a single top end card being just out of reach. Now, with the mid-range cards such as the 7600 GT throwing quite a punch and fully supporting SLI, it’s no longer just an option for the obscenely rich but a decent upgrade route.
In reality, dual-graphics cards is the way of the future and is moving towards the mainstream like SMP (Symmetric Multi-Processing). At one point, having multiple processors was seen as a luxury – now Intel is suggesting everyone needs dual core to get the most out of what the PC can offer.
Two monitors, two graphics cards, two processors, two hard disks, dual-channel memory. Adding more than one is often the quickest way to improve performance and productivity. Internally, this is what ATI and nVidia have been doing for ages - adding more and more pipelines to their chip architecture at an ever increasing rate.
So when nVidia announced support for SLI in notebooks, I wasn’t entirely surprised. But when I saw what the first notebooks looked like – I was. This behemoth of a notebook from AJP weighs in at a shocking 6.6Kg (more than three times the weight of my Sony VAIO) with a 19in display running at 1,680 x 1, 050. As well as two GeForce GO 7800 GTX graphics chips, this nForce 4 SLI notebook has an AMD Turion 64 ML-40 which operates at 2.2GHz. It’s surprising not to see an X2 used instead, but considering the heat this chassis has to cope with already, we’ll have to make do. Not to say the Turion isn’t an excellent processor, but if you were buying a top of the range desktop machine you wouldn’t skimp on a single core processor.
On the plus side, we do get 2GB of memory and a fast SATA 100GB hard drive. Compared to a desktop, that’s not a lot of storage – so most people will want to run out and buy an external hard drive straight away. If that doesn’t seem so appetising to you, there is a dual layer 8x DVD burner that will be enable you to burn your TV shows to DVD instead of letting them clog up the hard drive.