Looking over the results in the gaming and SPEC benchmarks, it is very evident that NVIDIA SLI had barely an advantage in the graphical power under Linux (Windows users shouldn't experience these same downfalls). In some instances where the real-world gaming benchmark was not able to presently utilize SLI, it was slower than a single-card configuration due to the reduced PCI Express lanes. However, it is not to say that the hardware is to blame as it is quite the contrary. As could be seen through the side-by-side Tyan Tomcat K8E-SLI results, and our previous SLI Linux primers and articles, that the quality under Linux at this time is quite rubbish. Scalable Link Interface support was initially presented in the 1.0-8174 drivers, and quickly replaced by the 1.0-8178 version, and to this point, we have yet to see any solid support when it comes to any additional configurable options for Alternate Frame Rendering, SLI AA, and Split Frame Rendering. In addition, there are a few other software-related issues with Linux SLI. Of course, over time, additional support will be appended and what will be an application/profile panel along with many other things that we are hopeful is on NVIDIA's internal Linux TODO list. Outside of the SLI performance for the K8E-SLI and K8SLI, its overall performance was neck-and-neck with no clear winner. When both motherboards were running at identical frequencies, the benchmark differences were barely noticeable. Of course, performance benchmarks are not able to share the complete story, as Tyan has engineered the nForce Professional 2200 S2866 product for Socket 939 users seeking to plunge into entry-level servers or workstations, thus the board boasts several features that are simply un-matched by the Albatron. But of course, the K8SLI is targeted for the budget hobbyists and enthusiasts rather than the professional users. Although the K8SLI utilizes the nForce4 SLI, and not the x16 variant, its possibilities are somewhat diminished, however, Albatron does pack on its wealth of motherboard innovations when it comes to the dual BIOS with ABS card, Watch Dog Timer, and digital SLI selector. As far as the Linux support goes, we had experienced no problems with the exception of LM_Sensors and its detection. With the motherboard layout, we had also noticed a few flaws with its design, which is likely due to the skinnier PCB design that it is based upon. Onto overclocking, this certainly was not the best nForce4-based solution we have come across but were moderately pleased being able to reach 260MHz with a 9x multiplier. At the time of publishing, the Albatron K8SLI is selling for just over $100 USD, making it priced conservatively for Socket 939 SLI options; however, it lacks such additions as dual Gigabit LAN and IEEE-1394 Firewire. For the budget user, the Albatron K8SLI continues to capture the spirit of Albatross but beyond that for power users, there is likely to be a better choice.
Phoronix Product Rating: 7 / 10
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