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Review: Gigabyte 3D1

by David Ross on 27 January 2005, 00:00

Tags: Gigabyte (TPE:2376), NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA)

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Introduction

'Two heads are better than one' - So the saying goes. It's common knowledge in real life that having two people around to work on a problem often pays dividends, but the same has rarely been said about video cards, particularly when it comes to putting two GPUs on a single PCB. Whereas both the original SLI seen with 3Dfx's Voodoo 2 chips and the new SLI technology used by NVIDIA found success, the history of putting two GPUs onto a single card is a veritable graveyard of failures - Think Rage Fury Maxx and Volari Duo V8. Only 3Dfx's VSA100 chip used for the Voodoo5 stands out as being a multi-chip design that actually worked in the retail market.

After those aforementioned failures, it seemed that the industry would never again set down that path, for the foreseeable future at least. But, NVIDIAs SLI technology has buoyed the hopes of producing competitive cards by using two GPU cores on a single board, as well as gotten the enthusiasts drooling, so it was only a matter of time before some forward-thinking AIB put their thinking caps on and came up with something innovative....

Step forward Gigabyte's 3D1 accelerator - Two NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT GPUs... On a single board! All of this sewn together with a '256-bit' memory bus (after a fashion) and 256Mb of GDDR3 RAM. On paper it sounds like a fantastic concept, but then so did the other 'Two cores on a single board' video cards of the past. So, can Gigabyte's offering succeed where the others have failed, or should we prepare a new space in the GPU graveyard? Let's take a look...