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How can the Multi-GPU Index be used?
The Index is basically a motherboard report card for those interested in using the board for more than casual gaming and migrate into the realm of high performance benchmarking or simply need more power to run their applications.
A good example of this would be the battle between the two P55 motherboards in this article, the Inferno Katana and the P55 Classified. The Classified scored a higher Multi-GPU index score and is also triple card optimized. Our Vantage and 3DMark 06 scores reflected this in a rather profound way.
Every wonder why motherboards feature slots that don't appear to be usable by graphics cards?
This is a classic question with a rather simple solution. In this article we have concentrated on the Multi-GPU aspect of PCI Express and while boards like the NFPIK8AA were designed specifically for nVidia SLI we have to realize that PCI Express is for more than just graphics cards. RAID cards, TV Tuners, Sound Cards and Network adaptors all can use PCI Express and unlike PCI or PCI-X these devices work just as well in a 16x slot as they do in a 4x or 1x.
One thing the Multi-GPU Index does is maps out the PCI Express layout across the available 16x slots. That way when you are deciding where to put your various expansion cards you can reserve the high bandwidth slots for devices that can use them. Case in point the EVGA SLI LE, by mapping out the PCI Express layout we discovered that slot five was actually hardwired for only 4x lanes making it perfect for any limited bandwidth device.
What is the future of the Multi GPU Index?
In an attempt to provide the best review of enthusiast level motherboards we will be adopting the Multi-GPU index as a standard scorecard for all motherboard reviews going forward. This article is designed to explain what the Index is and how it can be applied to boards past and present.
We do plan to create some fancy "award" style graphics for the Multi-GPU Index in the future, however given the many variables and variety of motherboard designs this may only be reserved for boards that score exceptionally well.