Multi-monitor SLI, at long last
Cast your memory back and you'll recall that NVIDIA's first so-called "Big Bang" driver release signalled the arrival of its SLI technology.
Today, the graphics giant is following up with "Big Bang II" in the form of its GeForce 180.42 drivers, and there's a handful of very-useful additions - but is it enough to warrant the Big Bang alias?
Put simply, the GeForce 180 drivers offer three significant enhancements; improved performance, support for multi-display SLI, and the option for users to dedicate a specific GPU to PhysX calculations.
The improved performance - which we tend to see with most driver releases, be they Big Bangs or not - boasts gains of up to 40 per cent in titles such as Far Cry 2, but users should expect less than 10 per cent in most other games.
Multi-display SLI, which undoubtedly is the driver's key and long-overdue feature, finally allows users to configure two, four or six displays depending on their system hardware. There is, however, a caveat - should you have two or three SLI'd GPUs, only the first can be connected to monitors, theoretically limiting a user to two displays.
If more monitors are required, they can be connected to another GPU outside of the SLI configuration. Herein lies another problem, that extra GPU must be different to the GPUs found in the SLI setup. Confused? Here's the diagram:
It isn't quite perfect, but it's a welcome feature that NVIDIA assures us will be refined over time. So, let's move on to PhysX and a little something called X58...