Support for SLI on the X58 isn’t something new, since NVIDIA has proposed that motherboard makers using its nForce 200 chip on their boards. However, the company said today that they will enable SLI on X58 motherboards, not for a nForce 200 chip, but only a “cookie”.
According to NVIDIA, Motherboard makers who want to have their X58 boards certified for a SLI support, will have to submit their boards to NVIDIA’s Santa Clara certification lab. Those boards will be tested for functionality, slot placement, and others. Certification won’t be free and certified boards will be required to paste an “SLI Certified” logo on their packages and ads.
Once a board is certified, board makers will receive an approval key(called a “cookie”) embeded in the BIOS. If the ForceWare driver detects an approval key and the X58 chipsets coincided, then SLI support will be unlocked. NVIDIA claimed up front that there will be users who want to hack the BIOSes of non-certified X58 boards and add “cookie” to them, but the certification program is intended for manufacturers and that’s the only proper way for them to get SLI support on their X58 boards.
When asked why they change the strategy to enable SLI on X58? The company says the reason was quite simple. Without a QPI chipsets of its own, the support for SLI of Core i7 motherboards will be lost if NVIDIA doesn’t enable it on X58. And the nForce 200 solution will also limited SLI to a small number of enthusiasts, losing the mainstream market. NVIDIA spokesman Tom Petersen said that not all board makers will be offered the same set of licensing options at the same price.
When asked how they’re able to enable SLI by software solution, Peterson claimed SLI had previously relied on two functions specific to nForce chipsets, PW Shortcut and broadcast. Now, however, PCIe Gen 2 has made peer-to-peer writes a standard feature, eliminating the need for PW Shortcut. NVIDIA’s driver team, he said, is modifying its driver to handle the broadcast function in software.
That seems a good news for old Intel chipsets and AMD chipsets, but they’re still unavailable for SLI now.
Pics courtesy of HKEPC