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Nvidia SLI - Creating Driver Profiles

Discussion in 'Reviews & Articles Discussion' started by HardwareHeaven, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

    They say two is better than one, and who am I to argue? how many of you are old enough to remember blowing a few months wages on two Voodoo 2's then using them in SLI to play Tomb Raider?

    Ive been playing this week with an FX-55 powered Nvidia 6800 ultra SLI setup, and im sure some of our members are in the lucky position to have a similar setup. When Nvidia first released this remake of 3DFX technology it was very hampered by shoddy driver support, but thankfully with the release of the new 71.84 drivers we now have over 60 games offically supported with this technology.

    The gaming community asked Nvidia if they could make their own profiles and thankfully they have offered this option to the end user. some of you may already be aware of these "self made" profiles from editorials like this one at Hardocp, but for those who arent, ill talk you through setting up a profile for a new title not offically supported and recording any gains from doing so.

    Firstly, a great resource for up to date information is available at www.slizone.com - this site not only has breaking information regarding SLI but has a list of supported games with the latest drivers as well as information on the technology behind SLI.

    Firstly install forceware 71.84

    If you dont have coolbits installed, follow these instructions to setup profliing options.

    Start button and select Run. When the command box opens, type "regedit" (without the quotes) and press OK. With the registry open, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \NVIDIA \Corporation \Global \NVTweak. Once there, right-click inside the right window, and choose "New>DWORD value". Name the value "Coolbits" (without the quotes). Within the Registry Editor, right click on Coolbits and choose Modify. Change the Value data to "8" (without the quotes) and click OK. courtesy slizone

    [​IMG]

    We are going to associate a multi GPU rendering mode with Atari's excellent ACT OF WAR. From within the Nvidia control panel click on "Performance and Quality Settings"

    [​IMG]

    From this window browse to the EXE for Act of War, which would be c: program files/Atari/Act Of War - Direct Action/ACTOFWAR.exe

    [​IMG]

    There are various rendering modes now to choose:
    AUTO SELECT
    ALTERNATE FRAME RENDERING
    SPLIT FRAME RENDERING
    ALTERNATE FRAME RENDERING 2
    SINGLE GPU RENDERING

    As this game is not yet coded into the drivers with a specific mode, it will have defaulted to Single GPU rendering for maximum compatibility. So therefore we will try some modes. Enable the SLI load balancing option as this will show onscreen during testing.

    [​IMG]

    The first mode I tried was split frame rendering which gave no gains (measured with the new version of fraps - now compatible with SLI), and while watching the GPU LOAD balancing (a green translucent vertical and horizontal bar, depicting loads across both GPUS), the green bar moved to the bottom of the screen meaning the primary GPU was handling all the rendering.

    Next I moved to Alternate Frame rendering 1/2 and noticed that although there was minor screen corrupt as the game loaded, once in game everything ran perfectly smoothly with massive gains in game.

    [​IMG]


    1600x1200 all settings maxed - ACT OF WAR.
    AMD FX55
    XFX 6800 ultra x2 / 1 gig OCZ 3200DDR 5-2-2-2 1T
    OCZ 520w Powerstream
    ASUS A8N SLI DELUXE (1006 bios).
    NO OVERCLOCKING.

    So we can take from this that SLI is now starting to come of age and the fact Nvidia are putting the end user into the game with controllable rendering options via Forceware 71.84 can only be seen as a wise move on their behalf, this means even if the game is not yet offically supported with a prebuilt Nvidia Profile, you can sit and play with the various options and the newest version of FRAPS to see how the gains will work in your favour. With regards to the Act of War results above, the minimum frame rates are affected by the loading of video in game, this seems to hit both the 6800 ultra in single GPU mode and the X8xx series cards equally in game, but yet with two GFX powering the game this was barely noticeable.

    How about compatibility with your older collection? Well not everything works from the wide list ive tested, but ive had great results with a variety of games and primarily the "Alternate Frame rendering 2" mode. Id say 80-90% of the games ive tested with have had gains in some shape or form with one of the various rendering methods.

    It really is good times for Nvidia right now and it takes me right back to my youth when I was sitting in my computer room with two Voodoo 2's in SLI watching those oversized polygons of Lara's bouncing around onscreen.

    I can safely say, even though I do tend to favour ATI hardware that this really does take some beating when you get a game successfully running in SLI mode, after beating "Spinter Cell - Chaos Theory" on a BBA X850XTPE ive been enjoying replaying it at
    1600x1200
    HDR rendering on
    Tone Mapping on
    Parallax Mapping on
    High Quality soft shadows on
    SM3
    Aniso 16x

    with frame rates constantly in the 50-80 zone !

    So, how will ATI answer this? well they usually dont sit for long in second place........
  2. bake15

    bake15 New Member

    nice read Z.
    i'm so tempted to get sli now :D
  3. Sandok

    Sandok New Member

    ATI don't stay second for long eh? What are you hiding oh great Zardy!!! :lol:
  4. Danhill

    Danhill New Member

    Nice article, and I'm looking forward to ATI:s offering in the future.
  5. germanjulian

    germanjulian Back in London

    nice article, interesting... BUT WHY OH WHY is the whole thing on the front page? what happened to the read article link?

    just wondering cause thats a first :)

    I think zardon is just completly taken by sli :)

    (if I only had money and time :( 1 week of dissertation left ahhh)
  6. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

    its because some sites are linking to the short editorial on the front page and some people not used to our forum system might not understand "click more" to read the bulk of the text. always a method in my madness.
  7. germanjulian

    germanjulian Back in London

    hihi I know what you mean :)
  8. Shadow Lady

    Shadow Lady Avril Fan

    does the pics need to show on the frontpage too?

    it slows the navigation just to read the other news -.-

    also have u noticed the regular news are starting to show like just in the end of the frontpage? lol

    many news to see :)
  9. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

    thats why we have the hotlinks top of the screen so people can click them and immediately go to that news story. therefore if you wanted to read the ordinary news, click to the first newslink at the top of the screen to bypass site news. It will only be up there for a few days anyway.

    Now can we possibly get back on track with this thread please? thanks.
  10. swatX

    swatX ba|\|\|ed

    i am sure for this one ATI will sit in 2nd place... but who are we to judge you probably got the atis next gen already.. lol
  11. germanjulian

    germanjulian Back in London

    say can we have a screenshoot i am curious what it looks like at those settings
  12. studbagel9

    studbagel9 Rolling the Hard Six

    what kind of game is that that is brings that rig down that much?
  13. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

    Sorry im not sure I understand the question.
  14. swatX

    swatX ba|\|\|ed

    i think he was asking what game did u use that it brings down the performence .




    the game is Act of War
  15. tastyweat

    tastyweat Lurking

    Damn I'm wanting to get sli... lol... but i wanna know what's round the corner from ATi first :tears: guess i'm just gonna have to wait.

    What kind of frame rates does the x850 get in act of war?
  16. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

    Much the same as a single 6800 - maybe 1-2fps more.
  17. tastyweat

    tastyweat Lurking

    are those scores with any AA/AF? I don't like the looks of those FPS for single GPUs
  18. Mad-Man

    Mad-Man New Member

    :cool: Hi Zardon,
    Your info here is awsome bTw.
    If You know the settings for call of duty, I sure would like it :) as it seems like we have the same mach or close to it
    Keep up the good work..
  19. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

    Call of Duty wont work for me with any setting. probably because its opengl and needs a company game patch. not sure it needs a patch mind you, ive maxxed the settings out on one 6800 ultra and the game is in the high 90 fps most of the time.
  20. Mad-Man

    Mad-Man New Member

    Hi and thanks for the reply, what resolution is your game set at ?
    Mine are set at 1280 x 1024 I dont know what my settings are in nvidia but on the game everything is cranked up and I set my fps to 125 and it stays there.
    really would like to use the cards in sli for the game.
    I loaded far cry and it looked horrible and when I went to play multi player my mach locked up. I tryed pcmark 5 and that would'nt work right and it corrupted my system and I had to reformat. and reset the cmos
    it was weird I would go into my nvidia cnsle and half the screen would corrupt and a horz line would work its way to the bottom and stay there with weird stuff going on. plus a green line vert to the right.
    I went into reg and found that pcmark and deleted it after I loaded up with there restore disks.
    I kind of stink at this stuff, yet I can build a mach for the kids from parts.
    my sli rig is from velocity micro. they said they did a mark 5 and my score was just under 10,000.
    I know my gateway is around 5500, I dont know if thats a good score. but it loads fast
    cheers:)

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