Nvidia Corporation not only plans to refresh its lineup of performance graphics accelerators this year, but also intends to introduce its 3-way SLI multi-GPU technology, which is apparently Nvidia's new "ultimate gaming platform". Initially Nvidia plans to enable triple SLI support for the top-of-the-range GeForce 8800 GTX and Ultra graphics cards, but eventually it may support 3-way configurations of other GPUs as well. Systems with three graphics cores will be powered by Nvidia nForce 680i as well as nForce 780i platforms with the former supporting PCI Express 1.1/1.0a, whereas the latter featuring PCI Express 2.0 along with a special "BR04" switch for more efficient multi-GPU operation.
The exact feature set of 3-way SLI platforms as well as performance boosts over single- or dual-GPU configurations will mostly depend on driver support. Back in 2006, when Nvidia unveiled its 4-way SLI technology, actual systems featuring four GPUs could not offer leading performance in all games due to poor drivers. Currently quad SLI technology is not supported for Windows Vista and customers who paid over $1000 for graphics cards alone have to take advantage of only two GPUs instead of four.
News source: Xbit Laboratories