Gigabyte X58A-UD9 and GTX480 Quad Sli Review
Once we'd finished our standard application side of the testing, it was time to really push this board to its limits. Given that the major bonus of this over the standard sized motherboards it would be foolish to not take advantage of its ability to run four cards at once. We saw recently in the Ares testing how Quadfire performs, so we were anxious to try out Quad-SLI.
nVidia seemed to be loath to assist despite repeated promises, and so we're hugely grateful to Zotac for stepping up to the plate and delivering four shiny GTX480s for us to put through their paces.
Rapidly becoming one of our favourite benchmarks, Unigine just looks so sumptuous. We're sick to death of seeing the 3D Mark Vantage tests, but everytime we see Unigine we something new.
Testing actually scaled well. For a long time, and even now, there is a law of diminishing returns with multiple cards. If 2 cards give 175%, then 3 cards give about 200% and 4... well we shall see.
A single 5870 just about bests the GTX480, but that's not really why we're here. If Unigine is anything to go by then scaling issues have definitely been sorted, because there is almost a linear increase between one, two, three and four cards. We tested with 0 and 2 x AA, but to be honest with 95.8 average using 4x AA there is no point in making you sit through the lower results.
3D Mark Vantage
Yes, just like you this is the result we were desperate to see too. Scaling within 3D Mark is clearly nowhere near as linear as it was in Unigine. Obviously the CPU score gets a boost from the use of Physx, but the 4th card isn't being used anywhere near well enough to justify it.
What we did see though, from our first GTX480 review, and again today, is the potential the 480 has for a high score. Having four GTX480s to hand, and a motherboard we know can use them, was just too tempting. Bringing out the portable air-con, waiting til late at night, and lots (and lots) of tweaking we managed to obtain an overclocked system that was just stable enough to enable a single Quad-SLI run, just to show the potential available. At this point we'd like to remind you that we're still on air here.
54246. Fifty-Four Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty-Six. Good enough for a HWBot top 10. If you have the time, this setup of Quad-SLI and UD9 can certainly deliver. Sure it's 3 grands worth of kit, but you can't put a price on performance.
As if to demonstrate the brutality this setup and how easily it smashes previous thoughts of what scores are achievable. Tri-SLI in Extreme (which is 1920x1200, heavy AA etc) scores higher than a single card at Performance settings. Again the fourth card isn't really giving us much of a boost, but still. Look at those scores and gasp.
Unlimited power indeed.