Do-It-Yourself Quad-SLI: It's Official
Our Summary, Costs, and Conclusion
Assembling and configuring a Quad-SLI system was no different than putting together a standard SLI rig for the most part. There are some hefty power requirements that should be taken into consideration and cooing is very important, but NVIDIA seems to have ironed out most of the technical wrinkles already. The system we assembled worked fine from the get-go with the applications we tested. Any enthusiast that's comfortable assembling a standard SLI rig should have no trouble with Quad-SLI.
For Quad-SLI owners, configuring a system doesn't necessarily stop once the hardware is up and running, however. To take advantage of the high resolutions offered by today's crop of large monitors, many games have to be modified manually. For power users, we don't think this will be an issue, but for gamers that don't happen to be very tech savvy, taking advantage of what Quad-SLI offers could be somewhat difficult. Keep that in mind.
Another major consideration for Quad-SLI is cost. The parts needed to assemble a worthwhile Quad-SLI system are considerably expensive at this time. The products we used for our build consisted of the following core components...
Core 2 Extreme X6800 - $1300
XFX GeForce 7950 GX2 - $570 x 2
Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C3 - $400
Asus P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe - $250
Turbo Cool 1 Kilowatt - $500
Dell 3007WFP - $2199
Total Cost - $5789
* Current "Street" Prices
As you can see, we were approaching the $6000 mark with just the core components to a high-end Quad-SLI rig. We did not take into account a case, drives, input devices, a dedicated sound card, or any other accessories for that matter. Clearly, Quad-SLI is not for everyone; then again it isn't meant to be. But for those that can afford the hardware, there is currently nothing more powerful when it comes to graphics performance. And as NVIDIA further optimizes their Forceware drivers, Quad-SLI performance and compatibility should only get better.
Undoubtedly, Quad-SLI is a niche product / platform. But once costs come down as they inevitably always do, this type of system will likely become more popular with enthusiasts. And it seems NVIDIA has the foundation in place to make moving to a Quad-SLI rig relatively painless.
** Update: NVIDIA has the Forceware v91.45 drivers on-line now.