With nVidia bringing SLI back onto the graphics scene, attention had shifted away from Alienware’s own dual graphics card system. Alienware announced its Video Array Technology at this years E3 back in May. As with SLI, it enables two graphics cards to work in tandem delivering a huge performance increase. However, despite the announcment of SLI, Alienware has confirmed that it will be continuing with its Video Array Technology, even if it suffers from the unfortunate acronym of VAT.
The benefit of Alienware’s technology is that while SLI is a proprietary nVidia solution, the Video Array is designed to work with cards from all manufacturers, such as ATI, 3D Labs and Matrox.
Alienware still plans to build Video Array systems around nVidia cards, but sensibly it is taking a level-headed approach to the rival technology. Senior Vice-President and General Manager Frank Azor stated: “Should nVidia’s SLI technology ultimately prove faster than Alienware’s Video Array, we will offer it to our customers as soon as it becomes commercially available. Our sole interest is in offering technology that provides the very best computing experience to Alienware customers”.
And while systems based on nVidia’s SLI have yet to appear, Alienware has already released preliminary benchmarks of its system in action. In 3DMark03, on a system using a 3.4GHz Xeon with two GeForce 6800 Ultra cards compared to one, the Array achieved a 77 per cent increase in performance at a resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 with 8 x FSAA and 8 x AA. Hopefully, we can look forward to seeing the same kind of increases from ATI cards.
Alienware’s Video Array Technology will only appear in its high-end ALX line of gaming PCs. To deal with the excess heat generated by two graphics card working flat-out, all ALX systems will feature water cooling.
You can find out more about Alienware’s ALX systems with Video Array Technology by clicking here.