MSI NX7800 GTX x 2: Retail SLI

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Temps & Overclocking the NX7800GTX x 2

Overclocking the GeForce 7800 GTX & 7800 GTX SLI
(Fastest 3D Video Card x 2) / SLI + Overclocking = Geek Euphoria

Before wrapping up our testing, we spent a little time overclocking our matched pair of MSI NX7800GTX cards using the clock frequency slider available within NVIDIA's Forceware drivers after enabling the "Coolbits" registry tweak. Overclocking video cards in SLI mode is somewhat more difficult than overclocking a single card, however. When overclocking a pair of cards in SLI mode, your peak overclock will be limited by whichever card overclocks the lowest.  If card A's core can hit 475MHz, and card B's core can hit 515MHz, both cards end up being clocked at 475MHz, even though card B still has some clock speed headroom to spare. Each card is not overclocked individually in SLI mode to alleviate potential synchronization problems (although this may not be the case when the Rel. 80 drivers are released)...

Single GeForce 7800 GTX OC=486MHz / 1.31GHz  |  GeForce 7800 GTX SLI OC=476MHz / 1.29GHz


Single GeForce 7800 GTX OC=486MHz / 1.31GHz  |  GeForce 7800 GTX SLI OC=476MHz / 1.29GHz

We've got two sets of overclocked numbers posted above, the single MSI NX7800GTX overclock and the SLI configuration overclock. The scenario we explained above played out in our overclocking experience because one of our MSI NX7800GTX cards overclocked to a higher level than the other. In a single-card configuration, we were able to take one of our 7800 GTX cards to a maximum, fully-stable core clock speed of 486MHz, with its memory clocked at 1.31GHz DDR - clock speed increases of 56MHz and 110MHz, respectively. In an SLI configuration, however, the highest core and memory clock speeds we could reliably hit were 476MHz and 1.29GHz.

With the cards overclocked, we had only marginal increases in performance. The single MSI NX7800GTX card's 3DMark05 score jumped 525 points while overclocked, and its frame rate in Doom 3 (1,600 x 1,200 - 4XAA / 8X Aniso) climbed by a few frames per second. We saw slightly smaller performance increases with the SLI configuration, due to the lower overclocked speeds and affect our CPU had on performance (a pair of GeForce 7800 GTX cards in an SLI configuration is more CPU bound than a single card in these tests). The 7800 GTX SLI rig's 3DMark05 score increased by 539 points, and its Doom 3 frame rate went up by 3.7 FPS.

During our overclocking tests, we also monitored the core temperatures of both of the MSI NX7800GTX cards we used for testing. While in a single-card configuration, with an ambient room temperature of around 72oF (22.2oC), core temperatures hovered around 51oC when idle. Under load, core temperatures climbed to 82oC. Temperatures were similar with the cards in an SLI configuration, but due to the proximity of a second card generating an equal amount of heat, they were a bit higher. While in an SLI configuration we saw core temperatures that hovered around 56oC (idle) and 85oC (load).

Tags:  MSI, sli, GTX, retail, MS, GT, eta, 7800, 780, TAI, AI

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