BIOS switcheroo enables SLI on unsupported Gigabyte X58 mobo

As we noted in today’s affordable X58 motherboard round-up, manufacturers of Core i7 motherboards can submit models to Nvidia for SLI certification—but not all of them do. The folks at TweakTown have now found evidence of a surprisingly simple way to add SLI capabilities to one unsupported Gigabyte mobo.

Out of the box, the Gigabyte EX58-UD4 only supports CrossFire multi-GPU setups. However, the very similar EX58-UD4P has SLI support, and apparently, you can use a DOS flashing utility to install the UD4P BIOS on the UD4. Doing so enables SLI.

While the process might void your warranty and potentially cause your computer to catch fire, it’s still surprisingly straighfroward. All you need is the UD4P BIOS file from the Gigabyte website, a DOS boot disk (a USB thumb drive will presumably do, as well), and a utility called SPIFLASH to do the actual flashing. TweakTown says the flashing process is as simple as entering “SPIFLASH EX58UD4P.F6” at the command line.

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    • pogsnet
    • 11 years ago
    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 11 years ago

    Now please do it for the P45.

    • Krogoth
    • 11 years ago

    SLI and CF were never that special to begin with.

    They were always were ploys used by their respective companies to lock users into their platforms. The locks are purely software-based.

      • rgreen83
      • 11 years ago

      what locks are in crossfire? Ive always been under the impression that crossfire would work in any circumstance when two ati cards are installed?

        • KikassAssassin
        • 11 years ago

        Crossfire doesn’t work on nVidia motherboards, but I have a feeling that’s probably more nVidia’s doing than ATI’s.

          • Kurotetsu
          • 11 years ago

          Exactly.

          Crossfire is an open standard. Anyone can implement it. Nvidia locks out Crossfire.

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 11 years ago

            NVidia has either used sleazy predatory tactics or they have brilliantly leveraged their advantages in one area to further their overall brand, depending on how you view it.

            My NForce4 motherboard would not work with a Radeon HD3870X2 card. Presumably, the dual-GPU card looked like Crossfire, so my NVidia chipset refused to work with it.

      • designerfx
      • 11 years ago

      Plenty of motherboards aren’t crossfire/sli only.

    • moshpit
    • 11 years ago

    Good god, does this site not listen to it’s readers at all? I’ve been harping about this for the last week about the UD3R and then you post this? It’s almost insulting.

      • bthylafh
      • 11 years ago

      Are you gratuitous again?

      • kvndoom
      • 11 years ago

      did you say something? 😛

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 11 years ago

    So does this mean that SLI doesn’t really require anything besides 2 PCIe slots or does this mean that Gigabyte is selling a SLI capable motherboard without it disabled for product segmentation?

      • DrDillyBar
      • 11 years ago

      SLI support requires a “key” in the BIOS to function.

      • Helmore
      • 11 years ago

      SLI has always only required two PCIe slots to work, NVIDIA is just restricting it to their own liking. The same holds true for CFX. ATI is not restricting it in any kind of way, although NVIDIA is preventing you to enable CFX on their chipsets.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 11 years ago

    But, nVidia has perfectly legitimate reasons why they have to validate mobo’s in house to enable SLI support! This is Theft!
    I’m going to go laugh myself silly now.

      • cygnus1
      • 11 years ago

      Well, I’d assume the reason they certify is to make sure some cheap MB maker doesn’t make a MB claiming SLI support using a cheap chipset without enough PCIe lanes to fully support SLI.

      I sure as hell wouldn’t want the people dumb enough to buy such a MB and attempt an SLI setup to complain to me if I were nVidia. That would just be annoying. Plus they can make a little cash off the certification process.

      I see it as win/win/win. Nvidia protects the SLI branding, doesn’t have to support dumb people, and dumb people don’t get stuck trying SLI with cheap hardware.

        • KikassAssassin
        • 11 years ago

        In that case, all they’d have to do is SLI certify chipsets that are capable of supporting multiple video cards, so any motherboard that’s built with an SLI-certified chipset would automatically support SLI.

        And honestly, how many motherboards are being sold right now that use a chipset that isn’t capable of supporting multiple video cards? The P35, P45, X38, X48, and X58 are all clearly capable, because they all support Crossfire. AMD’s 780/790 chipsets do, as well.

        No, the only reason nVidia requires motherboard makers to get SLI certification for their boards is so nVidia can make money off of them. Intel isn’t letting nVidia build i7 chipsets, so in order to keep getting money from that market, they’re charging motherboard makers for SLI certification. I’m not going to say there’s necessarily anything wrong with that (they are a business, after all, and a business’s purpose is to make money), but there’s no sense in trying to argue that they have some more noble reason for what they’re doing.

        • grantmeaname
        • 11 years ago

        all modern chipsets have enough PCIe lanes to support SLI. It’s about money.

        • crabjokeman
        • 11 years ago

        I find it hilarious that you’re calling people dumb while supporting nvidia’s obvious scheme to squeeze more money out of its partners and/or customers. If that’s not dumb, it’s at least extreme gullibility.

        nvidia is one of the greediest, uncooperative corporations out there. They can’t get along with their partners (VIA, Intel) and their support for open standards is horrendous (e.g. their Linux drivers).

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