Blogging since 2008 until 2010

Dear NVIDIA - sort your shit out

I'm a little fed up now. I built myself a new PC recently, and outfitted it with an NVIDIA 9800GTX+ at the cost of £150. After playing with it for a few weeks I got the hunger for a bit more polygon-pushing power. Rather than replace my graphics card: I decided to buy an identical one and run them in SLI.

At first it just wouldn't boot; my computer just continually restarted whenever it hit the Windows XP loading screen. It turned out to be a problem with the latest driver (180.48). I booted into safe mode and installed the drivers that came with the card (177.79) and it all worked fine. I played with it for a bit and decided I would try upgrading to the latest drivers again. No dice - same problem.

I tried installing Vista 64 - and had the same problem. As they came out: I tried the newer (and beta) drivers (180.84, 181.20) - and had the same problem. I tried a lot of things - and still had the same problem.

I stuck with the older drivers for a while, but couldn't help but whince about the claimed performance gains the newer drivers offered (and I got sick of bouncing support tickets back and fourth) - so I tried a single card with the latest drivers, taking a 3DMark05 score before and after.

177.79 drivers, SLI: 11317
181.20 drivers, single card: 11783

I know 3DMark isn't the be-all and end-all of GPU performance - but my average frame rates in games are just as good with a single card and the latest drivers as they were with SLI and the older drivers. Oh, and I can now use dual monitors again.

NVIDIA: please, sort your shit out. I appreciate there are a lot of configurations you have to test your drivers with; but you push SLI like it's the best thing since sliced bread - it's clearly not. I've wasted £150 buying another card to get the same performance I already had. For my £300 I could have got a 280.

First posted: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 21:11:10 +0000