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The return of SLI


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The short version: Alienware has developed a subsystem that allows two PCI-Express video cards to process in parallel. Doom 3 can eat my shorts.

 

Alienware press release:

 

Alienware Announces Video Array? and X2?: An Exclusive Advancement in PC Graphics Technology

 

High-Performance PC Manufacturer promises significant performance improvements in gaming and graphics intensive applications.

 

MIAMI, FL May 12, 2004 - Alienware, the leading manufacturer of high-performance desktop computers, notebooks, and professional systems unveiled today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Video Array and X2 -- an exclusive, patent pending technology designed to significantly enhance the performance of graphics intensive applications including extreme gaming, professional design and engineering, real-time rendering and animation, and flight training and simulation modules.

 

Video Array is an accelerated graphics processing subsystem that will allow users to add multiple, off-the-shelf video cards to their Alienware computer systems and have both cards process graphic commands in parallel. Understanding the wide-ranging wants and needs of its customers, Alienware designed its solution so that it is not tied to any one specific video card. This design will allow users to take full advantage of the fastest video card on the market for a significant performance increase.

 

Alienwares exclusive Video Array combined with X2, an Alienware designed motherboard which is currently based on Intel Corporations next-generation chipset and will include dual PCI-Express high performance graphics card slots, will deliver significant performance gains over current graphic solutions. The new Video Array Technology and X2 motherboard will enable users to run graphics intensive applications flawlessly at maximized settings, render 3D visuals in record time, and much more.

 

?Innovation has always been one of our guiding principles,? said Nelson Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of Alienware Corporation. ?This new technology continues Alienwares commitment to innovation and is only one of the many exciting technologies and products from Alienware.?

 

?Alienware has dedicated significant resources into our research and development team, focused on technology and innovation. We are confident that this new solution will dramatically impact the enthusiast market and further establish Alienware as the definitive high-performance leader,? said Humberto Organvidez, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Alienware Corporation. ?Our goal is to set the standard for all other performance-based PC manufacturers to follow.?

 

The Alienware Video Array and X2 motherboard will debut in Q3/Q4, exclusively through Alienwares new ALX brand, a family of extreme performance systems catering to the demands of the most hardcore PC enthusiasts. ALX systems will be sold only in the United States, directly through http://www.alienware.com/alx'>http://www.alienware.com/alx or 1-800-ALIENWARE.

 

ABOUT ALIENWARE CORPORATION - Alienware Corporation manufactures high-performance computer desktop and mobile systems and leading-edge professional systems. Alienware offers unique and award-winning products that incorporate state-of-the-art components, innovative engineering and design, and unprecedented customer service. Alienware systems are available direct within the United States and Europe. For more information, please visit http://www.alienware.com or call 1-800-ALIENWARE (254-3692

 

Alienware, the alien head logo, ALX, Video Array and X2 are the registered trademarks or trademarks of Alienware Corporation. The Video Array and X2 products are subject to various pending patents.

 

 

Press Contact:

Alex Josef

Zeitgeist Communications

ajosef@zgla.com

(310) 586-0701

 

Company Contact:

Jaclyn Gonzalez

Public Relations Specialist

jaclyn_gonzalez@alienware.com

(305) 251-9797

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You guys are no fun!

Sure it's total overkill but it's cool. Prior to this there was no significant difference in gaming PCs. You could build your own or buy a Dell or Alienware and they'd all perform the same. Now Alienware can stand out with a dual vid card (and dual CPU) using their proprietary mobo & driver software. It's new life into a dull industry.

 

I wouldn't buy one, however, as Alienware's cases are hideous. BTW, they mention this sucker using an 800w power supply. Damn.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Originally posted by iainl@May 13 2004, 10:41 AM

SLI: When one $500 graphics card just isn't doing it for you.

 

This is utter madness. Besides, when was the last time you saw something that made any contemporary top-end card struggle?

You will by the end of this year... guaranteeed.

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It is honestly amazing what a Xbox can do.

 

We have a map for the PC port of Men of Valor where we render a half a million polys per frame. We are developing this on our biggest beefiest machines over here with PC optimized rendering code. Amazingly enough the Xbox is rendering only a few frames slower.

 

I've come to the conclusion that this is directly due to the unified memory architechture of the Xbox.

 

My only hope is that PCI express will help bridge the gap between the what a graphics card is actually capable of and what is actually possible with it. By increasing the bandwidth to and from the graphics card and with better drivers it will become more and more possible to push the graphics card to its real potential.

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Zelex, I take it from your second post that you've got stuff already pushing cards pretty hard, then. I don't doubt that you've got Men Of Valor putting the burn on those new nVidia and ATi cards that just came out, but on the other hand there will be new, even faster models along in a couple of months time.

 

Mind you, I've wondered about that in the past - do you, as devs, feel its worthwhile adding optional graphical features that no-one will actually be able to turn on as soon as the game is released? Its just that there are a large number of idiots out there on certain forums *cough*GameFAQs*cough* who turn everything up to maximum (even if the autoconfigure suggests its a bad idea), and then complain about every dropped frame as if its a direct insult to their manhood.

 

Still, I guess that the one area that this does make sense is that it would be nice to buy a fairly good card now, and then in a year's time when its no longer the bees knees drop a second one alongside, rather than just rip it out and start all over again with another spangly version.

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  • 6 months later...
Originally posted by Zelex+May 29 2004, 01:55 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Zelex @ May 29 2004, 01:55 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-iainl@May 13 2004, 10:41 AM

SLI: When one $500 graphics card just isn't doing it for you.

 

This is utter madness. Besides, when was the last time you saw something that made any contemporary top-end card struggle?

You will by the end of this year... guaranteeed. [/b]

Bumpage (for the hell of it)...

 

Three weeks left. Still waiting. ;)

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I wasn't too impressed with the SLI results for the Nvidia cards. Wonder if alienware's solution will be better.

 

Back in the Voodoo2 days it made sense (more power was needed).

 

2 $200 6600GTs generally lost out to a $400 6800GT

 

 

And the "upgrade by adding another matching card later" is kind of silly too. If you want to do that, you can normally just ebay the card, and get a new card that performs better than 2 older gen cards would anyway.

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Back in the Voodoo2 days it made sense (more power was needed).

 

Been there; done that. :)

 

I was one of those guys that had their Voodoo 2's in SLI mode. Although, back then it stood for "Scan Line Interleve". I had a 300mhz Dell Dimension with 2 Monster Diamond Voodoo II's running in sli mode.

 

Quake II maxxed out absolutely smoked!

 

It stands for something else now, if I'm not mistaken? Maybe it works differently now?

 

As for Alienware, I REALLY want one of their new monster laptops. Hell, Alienware even makes their laptop graphics cards modular so that you can pop in a new, better model, just like you desktop guys!

 

If you surf around and read about Alienware and their customer support, it seems to be pretty terrible.

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Originally posted by Covak

Doesn't SLI only help to boost fillrates? And aren't fillrates not really a problem anymore?

 

 

Thats exactlly what I was thinking. I dont know enough about the technical details to say one thing or the other though. I do know I have absolutely zero interest in puting 2 video cards in my pc.

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Originally posted by Cyberwoo+Dec 15 2004, 06:59 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Cyberwoo @ Dec 15 2004, 06:59 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteBegin-Covak

Doesn't SLI only help to boost fillrates? And aren't fillrates not really a problem anymore?

 

 

Thats exactlly what I was thinking. I dont know enough about the technical details to say one thing or the other though. I do know I have absolutely zero interest in puting 2 video cards in my pc.[/b]

 

I was thinking that because I knew how the old SLI worked and didn't realize that this new SLI stood for something else :) It all made sense when I read about it, way back...

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