CES — What's this? We dropped by EVGA's suite here at CES today to see what they're up to, and among the various video cards on display was this rather intriguing number:
EVGA wouldn't give us many details about the card in question, but they did say it's a future dual-GPU product. Given that EVGA is an exclusive Nvidia partner, that essentially confirms something we've half expected for some time now: a dual-GPU, SLI-on-a-stick video card must be on the way, presumably as a member of the GeForce GTX 500 series.
As you can see, there are three DVI outputs on the card, made possible by the presence of two GPU display engines. This card should be capable of driving three monitors and allowing games to run across them all at once via Surround Gaming, Nvidia's answer to AMD's Eyefinity.
This is a decidedly high-end product. The card is relatively long and sports a pair of eight-pin auxiliary power connectors, suggesting that a beefy PSU will be needed in order just to run one of these babies.
Judging by our mystery card's apparent power and cooling requirements, we'd expect it to house a pair of GF110 GPUs, perhaps de-tuned a bit from the fastest single-GPU GF110 implementation, the GeForce GTX 580, simply so that two chips can be powered and cooled on a single card. The presence of eight Samsung K4G10325F one-gigabit GDDR5 DRAM chips on the back of the board, four per GPU, means there's at least 1GB of total memory on the card. One possibility is that there are eight matching DRAM chips on the other side of the board, or 1GB per GPU. If true, that would mean only four of each GF110's six memory controller/ROP partition units are enabled. It's also possible there are 12 DRAM chips on the other side of the card, with five memory/ROP units enabled per GPU, making this card more like a pair of GTX 570s. The latter configuration may be more likely.
The presence of an SLI connector also suggests the possibility of a four-way SLI configuration based on a pair of these video cards running in tandem.
That nifty triple-fan cooler is a custom job from EVGA. The company was showing off a couple of cards with coolers designed around this motif, including a smaller and rather handsome GeForce GTX 570.
We already know AMD has plans for a video card—code-named Antilles and expected to be sold as the Radeon HD 6990—based on a pair of the Cayman GPUs that power the Radeon HD 6950 and 6970. Now it would seem Nvidia has a rather direct answer to Antilles in the works, as does its close partner EVGA. We don't have any word yet on the timing of this monster's availability, but judging by its presence here with a custom cooler attached, it surely can't be too far from release.