For this article, Geeks.com was kind enough to send over a reference nVidia 8500GT video card to pair up with my previously reviewed Biostar TF8200+ motherboard. The processor is AMD's current top dog, the Phenom 9850 X4, with memory supplied by OCZ in the form of their 2Gb Titanium PC6400 dual channel kit. The full system details are as follows:
Vista 32bit Business
AMD Phenom X4 9850 @ 3.0Ghz
Biostar TF8200+ @ 230x13
2x1Gb OCZ Titanium @ 460Mhz 3-4-4-8
Onboard 8200 500/1200
Discrete 8500GT 449/918
Forceware 175.16 drivers
I'll be running the graphics chipsets through several benchmarks and game demos, starting with the onboard 8200.
Then I'll throw in the 8500GT by itself, and put it through its paces.
Finally we'll compare how GeForce Boost SLI performs next to both GPU's individually. As you can see from GPUZ, it identifies the Hybrid SLI mode as a GeForce 8600 (GF 8200 + GF 8500) chipset.
There were no problems encountered during the Hybrid SLI setup. After simply enabling the setting in the BIOS, Vista immediately recognized the configuration and the Hybrid SLI icon appeared on the desktop. The same Forceware 175.16 driver was used in all configurations. Where available, I chose three different resolutions to use, 1280x1024, 1680x1050 and 1920x1200, which should represent the most common ones in use by typical 19" standard and 22"/24" widescreen LCD monitors today. The 19" widescreen 1440x900 is another popular size, however test results at that resolution were so similar to those of 1280x1024 that the values were omitted for brevity.
Let's try running some benchmarks.