NVIDIA nForce 790i SLI Ultra and GeForce 9800 GX2 - HotHardware

NVIDIA nForce 790i SLI Ultra and GeForce 9800 GX2

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Below we have a high-level overview of the nForce 790i SLI Ultra chipset's high level architecture and main features.  As the illustration shows, the 790i SLI Ultra (and non-Ultra version of the chipset) is a two chip solution consisting of the nForce 790i Ultra SLI SPP in the traditional Northbridge position and the 790i SLI Ultra MCP in the Southbridge position.


NVIDIA nForce 790i SLI Ultra Chipset Diagram


The chipset has full support for all Intel desktop processors with front side bus speeds as high as 1600MHz.  The DDR3 memory controller in the SPP is compatible with EPP 2.0 and officially capable of speeds up to 2000MHz, although higher speeds are possible with overclocking.  32 of the chipset's PCI Express lanes reside in the SPP, with the remainder coming by way of the MCP.  And the two chips are linked via HyperTransport.  We should note that the SPP's lanes are gen 2, while the rest are gen 1.  What NVIDIA has done here is essentially bring the NF200 chip present on the 780i SLI and 750i SLI chipsets and brought it right onto the SPP.

Although the nForce 790i Ultra SLI MCP has a new name here in the block diagram, it is still the NF570 chip used on motherboards dating back to the introduction of the nForce 500 series.  It would be nice if NVIDIA revamped this chip and produced it on a more advanced process node to bring power consumption down, but from a feature standpoint it's still as robust as any other solution currently on the market.

 
NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI Chipset Diagram


The nForce 750i SLI's feature set is similar to its high-end counterpart in some respects.  Both chipsets support all current Intel processors and both are linked via HyperTransport.  The nForce 750i SLI, however, utilizes a third chip - the NF200 - for its PCI Express 2.0 connectivity and the chipset has fewer PCI Express lanes overall.  The nForce 750i SLI's MCP is also pared down a bit with fewer USB and SATA ports, and only a single Gigabit Ethernet controller.

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The bottom line IMO is that the GX2 is an impressive card and barely gets beats by 2 x GTS!

$600 isn't really that bad either since this beast is king of the single slot right now and should easily carry a person through 18-24 months of gaming!!!

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I agree the price is a bit steep but it's typical for a flagship card. Look at the history of the 7000,8000 and now the 9000 series. All the flagship cards in those series fit the profile. It was either get 2 mid range cards for the same price with comparable benchmarks or get the high end card. The only difference I see though is that this is a dual gpu card. With that being said you would think they could come out with a single gpu card that could produce these results like other flagship cards have in the past.

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 As I was reading the review, something struck me as odd.  Not about the 9800 GX2, but about the 8800 GTS vs the 8800 GTX.  The 8800 GTS was outperforming the 8800GTX.  Doesn't the GTX have 768 MB ram and 384 bit processing?  How does the GTS with only 512 BM ram and 256 bit processing beat it? 

 I readily admit that I haven't kept up to date like I should have, but I'd appreciate any help in understanding this.

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nhwynter:

 As I was reading the review, something struck me as odd.  Not about the 9800 GX2, but about the 8800 GTS vs the 8800 GTX.  The 8800 GTS was outperforming the 8800GTX.  Doesn't the GTX have 768 MB ram and 384 bit processing?  How does the GTS with only 512 BM ram and 256 bit processing beat it? 

 I readily admit that I haven't kept up to date like I should have, but I'd appreciate any help in understanding this.

 

The new 8800 GTS 512mb is based on the G92 core.  It's often more efficient and thus can outperform the GTX in some games.  More often than not the GTX wins due to the sheer power of 384-bit and it's high clock, but some games like the G92 more. 

The extra memory is actually irrelevant.  Virtually no game uses more than 512mb of memory, Crysis included I believe.  It was good for advertising, but doesn't matter right now.  And future games that do use more than 512mb may nor may not be so stressful that the GTX might not even take advantage of all that memory.  But that's speculation and only time will tell.  At least with 768mb you know the ram will never limit you in a game for a looong time.

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wow  seems impressive

but im getting a system with 3 8800 ultras with an option for getting the 3 ultras or 2 9800GX2 cards

so what do you think i should go for? as its not costing me anything extra either way

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well after reading all the revies and the advice from everyone on here im opting for getting 2 9800GX2 cards as opposed to the originally planned 3 ultras.
thanks for everyones help in deciding this

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 Sweet, much better choice.

 

Now you will have room for a sound card!

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