Nvidia enables SLI on four graphics cards

Nvidia’s already brought us two-way SLI, three-way SLI and a fudged flirtation with four-way SLI using four GPUs on two graphics cards. Now, however, the graphics chip firm has enabled a true graphics card foursome, by enabling four-way SLI with four individual graphics cards with its latest driver update.

The new GeForce 197.55 driver only supports the company’s latest Fermi-based GeForce GTX 470 and 480 cards, and an Nvidia spokesperson explained to THINQ that the driver will allow gamers to mix and match four cards from different vendors.

However, the cards will otherwise need to have exactly the same specifications with regards to memory and clock speeds. As such, you can’t mix and match between GeForce GTX 470 and 480 cards either.

The move comes after Nvidia partner EVGA released its own four-way SLI system last year, issuing a custom driver for use with its EVGA X58 Classified 4-Way SLI motherboard.

The setup worked with EVGA’s own GeForce GTX 285 Classified graphics cards, and the motherboard itself had seven PCI-E slots and measured a colossal 13.5in x 10.3in, compared with the average 12in x 9.6in dimensions of a standard ATX motherboard.

However, this is the first time that Nvidia has officially supported four-way SLI via four individual graphics cards, and the driver is WHQL-certified too.

Of course, it goes without saying that this is going to be a niche technology. Not only will you need a motherboard with four PCI-E graphics slots to take advantage of four-way SLI, but those slots will also need enough space between them to accommodate a dual-slot cooler. You’re also going to need a pretty beefy power supply, and a large case with plenty of airflow.

If you’ve somehow managed to snag yourself four GeForce GTX 470 or 480 graphics cards, then you can download the four-way SLI driver for the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista from here.

Also, if you’re completely insane, and think that a 32-bit operating system can somehow overcome its 4GB limit of addressable memory space to accommodate the 6.1GB of RAM of four GTX 480 cards, then you can download your own special four-way SLI driver from here.