Driver Installation

NVIDIA has attempted to make the software side of setting up SLI as easy as the hardware side by having it enabled by simply clicking a checkbox and rebooting. 

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Here you can also choose to turn on load balancing indicators if you are interested in exactly how much work your $500 video cards are doing. 

Looking further in the driver, we see the profiles I mentioned earlier that are responsible for detecting the game you are running and selecting your SLI mode appropriately. 

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By going into these menus, you’ll see that the ability to turn on or change the rendering mode has been locked on this driver release.  NVIDIA recently told us that in their future driver release, the 75 series I believe, the user will have more control over the aspects of SLI including the option to choose the rendering mode for games by enabling the same ‘Coolbits’ registry hack that has been in use for overclocking for some time.

For games that do not have profiles, either because they are too new or overlooked by NVIDIA, you can globally set to enable or disable SLI, but you can not decide which rendering mode to use, at least not yet.

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There have been a lot of questions regarding these profiles in regards to SLI, and at the recent NVIDIA meeting in San Jose, they gave the media some answers to some of them.  Many of our readers (and myself as well) may have questioned why SLI required profiles and what they did.  NVIDIA told us that SLI required these profiles because current generation software hadn’t been designed for multi-GPU technology and thus there were quite a few issues that had to be worked out on an individual basis with the developers and driver team.  The profiles are used to prevent game crashing and incompatibility with the SLI technology that may occur for various software reasons. 

The profiles have the ability to choose a rendering mode (AFR vs. SFR) as well as to enable or disable SLI completely.  If NVIDIA’s testing has shown that the software title you are playing isn’t compatible with multi-GPUs, or actually runs slower with SLI enabled, they can simply disable it and run the game normally on a single card.  This may seem a bit unnerving to many readers to find out that some games are forced to ignore the additional $500 video card you just bought (or $250 if you got a 6600GT).  Have no doubts that I agree with that, but we’ll wait for our testing and conclusions to draw up our final thoughts on it. 

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