It's been quite a while since we last saw a high-end chipset for AMD's platform from NVIDIA, but today that imbalance is destroyed with the launch of the nForce 780a. While this news alone is interesting enough, this launch also marks our first opportunity to see NVIDIA's Hybrid SLI functionality in action, with this chipset featuring an integrated NVIDIA graphics processor which can be paired with a discrete high-end GeForce 9 series board to allow for large power savings while running non-GPU intensive tasks. Does it live up to its potential? Elite Bastards find out, by way of reviewing ASUS' Crosshair II Formula motherboard, the latest in their Republic of Gamers series.
With Hybrid SLI enabled, any compatible discrete GPUs are disabled almost entirely when their graphics processing power isn't needed, allowing the integrated graphics to handle your normal everyday tasks while sat at the Windows desktop and the like. Fire up an application which makes use of the GPU however, and any discrete GPUs (be they individual parts or in SLI) will be powered up to make use of them as normal for gaming and so on. Thus far, only the GeForce 9800 GTX and GX2 support Hybrid SLI in conjunction with this IGP, but as time goes on it looks like all future high-end NVIDIA motherboard chipsets will feature integrated graphics to make use of this feature with any future discrete GPUs from the company. We'll be taking a look at the performance on both the IGP in isolation and Hybrid SLI later on in this review, so keep your eyes peeled. It'll be interesting to see how this feature is received by the community - Will they welcome the power saving and lower noise levels on offer with both arms, or will worries about performance or driver issues cause them to disable it and take the extra power usage penalty? Only time will tell, but we'd love to hear your initial thoughts on how much you feel Hybrid SLI will be of use to you.
Read the full review at Elite Bastards