Alienware:- TWO Graphics Cards - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 05-14-2004, 12:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Alienware:- TWO Graphics Cards

Alienware Corp. has designed a "video array" that places two PC graphics cards in parallel on a single motherboard, an innovation that could dramatically its PCs' graphics processing power.

According to an Alienware spokesman, the company believes Video Array will offer between 50 to 90 percent more performance than a single graphics card. A custom-designed "X2" motherboard using an Intel-based chipset will support graphics cards from either ATI Technologies Inc. or Nvidia Corp.

"We've completely moved the benchmark," an Alienware spokesman said.

The Alienware Video Array and X2 motherboard will debut either late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter, exclusively through Alienware's new ALX brand, catering to high-performance gamers, the company said.

The technology looks remarkably similar to the Parallel Graphics Configuration graphics card maker Metabyte Technology pioneered in 1999, when it took two Voodoo 2 SLI cards from 3Dfx Technology and ran them in parallel. The Voodoo 2 Scan-Line Interleave technology allowed the two graphics cards to draw alternating horizontal lines of resolution; Metabyte slightly altered the technology, allowing each card to draw one half of the screen. The Metabyte PGC technology was eventually purchased by Alienware, although the PC maker never shipped any products based on the technology.

Like the PGC, the two cards won't always divvy up processing tasks equally. If the 3D perspective looks toward a horizon with a relatively simple skyscape above, the second card may be pressed into duty to render the more complex portions of the scene, the spokesman said.

The Video Array technology will be built into the X2 motherboard, which will accept graphics cards from several manufacturers, the Alienware spokesman said -- although it is likely that both cards will have to be identical to synchronize the system. The custom-designed board will only accept PCI Express-based graphics cards. That means that the X2 motherboard will at least initially be designed exclusively for Intel-based systems, since AMD's chipset partners won't have PCI Express-capable chipsets in time to beat Intel, industry sources have said.

<u>Alienware will employ liquid cooling to pump heat away from the system,</u> which will also result in a reduction in fan noise, the spokesman said.

Previous attempts at dividing up graphics processing have abstracted the problem of keeping both portions of the scene in sync to the driver level.

Alienware owns multiple patents on the technology. While not ruling out the possibility that a competitor might reverse-engineer the technology, the spokesman said, "they'll probably be 8 to 9 months behind."

This sounds amazing, but at what price?

What ya need is what they sellin\'
Make ya think that buyin\' is rebellin\'
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Old 05-14-2004, 02:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A great idea if it works, but no one will be able to afford it for a long while


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Old 05-14-2004, 03:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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only professionals who need it for stuff like high def video editing will buy it. alienware is overpriced anyways
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Old 05-14-2004, 03:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Agreed. Although Alienware are targeting this at the hardcore gamer market...
What ya need is what they sellin\'
Make ya think that buyin\' is rebellin\'
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