In a move first pioneered by the long departed 3dfx,
parallel operating videocards are all the rage now. Both nVIDIA and ATi's latest
and greatest have the ability to run together with a second card of the same
class, which in theory increases 3D performance. In reality the performance gain
by running SLI or CrossFire is a lot more subdued.
While the Gigabyte GV-3D1-68GT unit we tested experienced some stability
issues, the card still has a lot of potential. At the moment, the Gigabyte
GV-3D1-68GT only works with Gigabyte branded SLI motherboards.
Gigabyte's GV-3D1-68GT videocard design is certainly
interesting. Considering how complex the GeForce 6800GT core is, and that there
will be two of them on the GV-3D1-68GT PCB, cooling is definitely handled well.
Though, if the GV-3D1-68GT could have used a quieter fan, or perhaps
some temperature control, the end user experience would be improved by
decreasing noise levels. The cooling solution on the GV-3D1-68GT does take up a
lot of space too, but that is hardly surprising from a product this
In terms of performance, the Gigabyte GV-3D1-68GT stacked
up quite well against the videocard competition. Despite being a generation
older than the GeForce 7800 GT/GTX series cards, the GV-3D1-68GT is able to keep
up in most of the gaming benchmarks.
The test sample did have some problems with SplinterCell:
Chaos Theory's SM3 Test, and for some reason could not run with AA enabled
when operating in SLI mode.
With a retail price of $712 CDN ($600 US), the Gigabyte
GV-3D1-68GT is certainly an interesting product. It costs less than two separate
GeForce 6800GT videocards will, but its appeal is limited because it only
functions at full SLI potential with Gigabyte nForce 4-SLI motherboards (in
non-compatible boards it operates as a single 6800GT videocard).
For users who are already running on a compatible
motherboard, the Gigabyte GV-3D1-68GT is unique power house of an option.
However, being that the GV-3D1-68GT is restricted in this way, it will
remain a niche product... though one with a lot of pixel kicking potential.
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