Just as Futuremark's non-disclosure agreement expired, nVidia announced that its SLI setup has achieved the highest score yet using the, brand new 3DMark05 PC performance benchmark.
According to nVidia, in benchmark tests performed by the graphics giant itself, using 3dMark05, the GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI achieved an industry high-score of 7229. Although its cost may put it out of the reach of most gamers, nVidia has grabbed the opportunity to tout its SLI as the best option for gamers. The timing definitely works and as things stand now, that SLI score is not likely to be matched by a certain Canadian rival.
nVidia SLI is a patent-pending hardware and software solution that enables gamers to connect two PCI Express-based NVIDIA GeForce 6-Series graphics cards on their PCI Express-compatible motherboards to deliver blazing performance. That is the setup that achieved the 7229 score, although details of the rest of the record-breaking machine have not yet been revealed.
The timing is right for nVidia because the 4.9 Catalyst drivers are not suited for the new 3DMark and the X800XT just about achieves a 4500 score while its rival, the nVidia 6800 Ultra gets about 5000. It is expected that the new ATI drivers, expected to be called Catalyst 4.1, will improve things with some claiming the X800XT may jump up to 5800. In a world of dodgy optimizations and suspicious minds, a strong nVidia reaction can be expected if ATIs boards pole-vault its products when Catalyst 4.1 is unleashed.