It’s official: Nvidia will license SLI for next-gen AMD mobos

The rumors were true. Nvidia confirmed on its blog this morning that SLI support is finally coming to motherboards with AMD chipsets. That’s been a long time coming, since Intel users have been enjoying licensed SLI multi-GPU capabilities since the release of the first Core i7 processors and accompanying X58 chipsets back in late 2008.

According to Nvidia, SLI support will make its way into future motherboards with AMD 990FX, 990X, and 970 chipsets. The first board manufacturers to hop on that bandwagon will be Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte, and MSI, though more will purportedly follow. I don’t believe AMD has actually announced those three chipsets yet, but word from the rumor mill suggests they will accompany Bulldozer-based Zambezi processors—the chipmaker’s next flagship CPU family.

Nvidia’s blog post provides a rather interesting justification for its change of heart regarding SLI licensing for AMD chipsets. Listen to this:

Long term gamers probably remember that for a long time AMD offered great high-end CPUs, but in recent years, AMD’s stature as the preferred gaming CPU fell by the wayside and Intel CPUs have been the gamers’ choice. For this reason, we’ve only licensed SLI for motherboards with Intel chipsets. However, we’ve been recently hearing chants of “SLI for AMD CPUs”, and figured that now is a great time to do it. After all, we want to make sure gamers can benefit from the new CPU competitive landscape and ensure they have NVIDIA SLI.

This explanation might have made sense if SLI support had been strictly reserved to top-of-the-line Intel platforms without competition from AMD. Except that hasn’t been the case. Plenty of P55 motherboards shipped with SLI support, and matching LGA1156 Intel processors had worthy competitors from the Phenom II camp at most price points. Not only that, but PC games just don’t require much CPU horsepower these days, so artificially tying SLI to high-end CPU platforms wouldn’t much make sense.

There’s one thing Nvidia isn’t mentioning, and that’s the fact that AMD’s Phenom II processors could (and still can) be coupled with SLI-capable mobos powered by Nvidia’s own nForce chipsets. Some of those boards are still available today. That’s because, unlike Intel, AMD never used licensing trickery to block Nvidia from competing with its homebrewed chipsets.

More likely than not, I would guess Nvidia simply didn’t want to cannibalize sales from the last remnants of its nForce business. Perhaps that strategy will only change with Zambezi processors because Nvidia has no next-gen nForce chipsets in the pipeline, having halted chipset development in October 2009.

Comments closed
    • PRIME1
    • 9 years ago

    [url<]http://blogs.nvidia.com/2011/04/you-asked-for-it-you-got-it-sli-for-amd/[/url<] "According to Steam, 93% of all multi-GPU systems in use today use SLI." AMD must have paid for the SLI access then.

    • Buzzard44
    • 9 years ago

    On the front page picture, on the side of the GTX 570, it looks like a really tough version of C3PO. C3PO looks like he’s ready to kick some butt.

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    Wow, that Nvidia statement is a truck-load of BS.

    And does this mean AMD will pay Nvidia the license fee so users can plug an Nvidia graphics card in an AMD board instead of an AMD graphics card?

      • Veerappan
      • 9 years ago

      I believe that the Intel SLI certification is paid for by the motherboard manufacturers, and I wouldn’t expect that to change for AMD-based systems.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        it tis in fact licensed by the mobo companies.

    • bill94el
    • 9 years ago

    at least now there can be two good components on an AMD mobo

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      a low blow, but in line with what’s been going on lately

    • RtFusion
    • 9 years ago

    Recently read a review from HardOCP comparing Triple CrossFire and Triple SLi, with the CrossFire setup coming at par or better than SLi for much lower costs in money spent and power consumed:

    [url<]http://hardocp.com/article/2011/04/28/nvidia_geforce_3way_sli_radeon_trifire_review/3[/url<] "The Bottom Line AMD Radeon Tri-Fire is giving you the same or better performance than GTX 580 3-Way SLI for $500 and 200 watts less. You get both a money savings and a power savings using Radeon 6990/6970 Tri-Fire instead of GeForce GTX 580 3-Way SLI. It just makes no sense to build a GTX 580 3-Way SLI currently. AMD Radeon 6990/6970 Tri-Fire is better in terms of value, efficiency, and gaming performance than GTX 580 3-Way SLI. If you want to utilize that performance, the 2GB of RAM per GPU on the Radeon HD 6970 will allow you to do this and provide a noticeable gameplay experience and visual improvement over GTX 580 3-Way SLI. No other conclusion can be made at this point, AMD Radeon HD 6970 Tri-Fire is a tremendous value compared to GTX 580 3-Way SLI, and Tri-Fire is the better choice for multi-display gaming. Given NVDIA's history of excellent SLI scaling, we expected to see the GeForce GTX 580 3-Way SLI dominating AMD Radeon Tri-Fire. Instead, this review has only further reinforced what an incredible value AMD's current generation video cards really are." Why go with SLi when you can go with CrossFire for less money, similar performance, less power consumption? But I do welcome this announcement from nVidia, it gives AMD users room to choose between SLi and CrossFire.

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 9 years ago

      It’s funny to talk about Tri-Fires, triple SLI configs, and “value” in the same paragraph 😛

      Cool review, but it’s mostly academic since few have even 2-card SLI and way fewer have 3-way.

        • RtFusion
        • 9 years ago

        That is true. Since the rumoured FX series from AMD (supposedly an 8-core chips with frequencies above 3 GHz) and the 990FX chipsets being aimed at the enthusiast market, a Triple SLi setup would be attractive to those who want that kind of graphical performance as well as 8 cores on tap. But you are correct, the market for multi-card GPU setups is small compared to the ocean of single-card setups.

    • Dashak
    • 9 years ago

    Nvidia is just giving 3rd party motherboard manufacturers permission to produce SLi boards with AMD compatible sockets. Doesn’t sound like AMD’s CPU division itself is involved at all and AMD’s GPU people probably aren’t too pleased with this move.

    • tbone8ty
    • 9 years ago

    if that’s Nvidia’s official statement…wow…fail

    dont really care if SLI comes to AMD…but this more sounds like Nvidia needs them..

    Nvidia having poor sales I might ask? 6990 vs. gtx590 availability?….go see who’s the clear winner.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    Cashgrab ftw!

      • albundy
      • 9 years ago

      agreed. NV looks a bit desperate now.

        • paulWTAMU
        • 9 years ago

        or just rational? Pointlessly eliminating potential consumers is silly

    • paulWTAMU
    • 9 years ago

    Would it have been so hard for them to basically admit they wanted more marketshare and saw this as a good way to get it? People expect companies to want money…

      • SPOOFE
      • 9 years ago

      Companies do it this way so’s their fans can have a bunch of stuff to blather on about regarding their new toys. Talking points.

    • drenpot
    • 9 years ago

    For someone still on a intel 775 chipset I welcome this news this greatly.

    Now I just have to hope that when Asus releases their next c32 chipset board in conjunction with bulldozer they support sli on the board.

    This would make me switch back to amd….

    • PRIME1
    • 9 years ago

    Maybe this is a move by AMD to gracefully exit the high end video card market.

      • Krogoth
      • 9 years ago

      More like high-end video card market is being marginalized by console ports and the growing value of mid-range, budget and integrated GPUs.

      Nvidia has their own exit strategies (GPGPUs/HPC, ARM x86 licensing + Teiga).

      • Bauxite
      • 9 years ago

      Obvious troll is obvious

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        Obvious captain is obvious

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          sexy tiff is sexy

    • can-a-tuna
    • 9 years ago

    So they are basically dissing AMD CPUs but “out of mercy” offering the SLI-support for AMD platform (which nobody cares anyway).

    • ColeLT1
    • 9 years ago

    Woohoo, I have been anticipating bulldozer, but wanted to run my 2 460s. If bulldozer ends up beating/matching sandybridge in ipc or in overall gaming performance then I will be back with AMD (I miss my Toledo).

    • pot
    • 9 years ago

    That is good news, at least now it doesn’t matter if you prefer Intel or AMD, you’ll be able to SLI or Crossfire.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 9 years ago

    Intel had the CPU’s that most gamers bought. I think anyone willing to fork over the dough for two cards in SLI would be wanting a higher performance CPU than a Phenom II.

    However, Bulldozer is nearly upon us. The hope is that AMD will finally be back in the gamer’s box with that one. And given that, that’d be a LOT of gamers not to have any option for SLI in. Since nVidia gave up on chipsets, it makes sense to expand their options. SLI is, at its most basic level, a way to get people to buy more than one of their cards. It makes little sense then to force those gamers to go Intel if they want to buy more than one nVidia card. nVidia wants to sell as many cards as they can. This is the best way to do that.

    It’s not like the tech is top secret or even scales as well as Crossfire atm…

      • bcronce
      • 9 years ago

      BD is going to have competition against the 22nm IB, but I’m rooting for AMD. WTB competition.

    • PRIME1
    • 9 years ago

    I thought NVIDIA sold licenses for SLI, instead of giving the store away like Crossfire?

    Is AMD paying for this support or are the motherboard manufactures paying for it because they see a need for it?

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 9 years ago

      I suspect Nvidia is doing this for free. I can’t imagine AMD cares that much. From what I’d heard some mobo makers bought rights to do so in isolated cases.

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    Nvidia is eating crow.

      • anotherengineer
      • 9 years ago

      It’s not bad if it’s fresh 😉

      • hapyman
      • 9 years ago

      No they were unloading inventory. Unfortunately the consumer suffered by having to buy their outdated chipsets.

      • RickyTick
      • 9 years ago

      idk…maybe they just view it as an opportunity to sell more cards. How else could they spin this?

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    The language of the press release is so petty it must have come from JHH himself.

    [quote<]"..unlike Intel, AMD never used licensing trickery to block Nvidia from competing with its homebrewed chipsets"[/quote<] And this is why AMD comes out of this smelling like roses.

      • Martian
      • 9 years ago

      Maybe, or may not be, but at least they don’t smell like nVidia does.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    good news for the .5% using sli.

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      I THINK THIS IS MY HIGHEST RATED POST EVER!!!!

        • kvndoom
        • 9 years ago

        Don’t jinx yourself. 😉

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          good point!

        • khands
        • 9 years ago

        I think this is the second time I’ve given you a thumbs up SSK.

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          thanks khands! pretty soon we’ll be going steady!

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