LinkBoost...we hardly knew ye'
Subject: Chipsets | April 24, 2007 - 11:19 AM | Ryan Shrout
An interesting link came into my inbox this morning with the tag line "LinkBoost" and it pointed to the NVIDIA.com website. Here on the Tech Specs page for the nForce 600 series chipsets, if you scroll ALL the way to the bottom, you'll see this note:
**Note: NVIDIA LinkBoost™ technology has been removed as a feature from NVIDIA nForceÂ® 680i SLI
Well, that's a surprise. If you remember way back in the nForce 590 SLI launch, LinkBoost was introduced to the world as some automatic overclocking when using NVIDIA chipsets and NVIDIA graphics cards.
Here's the information we presented in that review in May of 2006:
Basically, when you team up the nForce 590 SLI chipset with one or two GeForce 7900 GTX GPUs, the system will automatically bump up the system clocks 25% to improve performance. Both PCIe lanes are increased from 1 GHz to 1.25 GHz and the connection between the north and south bridges is increased from 2.0 GHz to 2.5 GHz. This is done in the BIOS, as long as the settings are set to "Auto" and without the need for any user intervention. At first this would seem like a sweet addition to the 590 SLI feature list, but since this is currently limited to only the GeForce 7900 GTX GPU, the number of users who will get to utilize it is pretty low.
Admittedly, performance gains from this feature were rather limited and almost impossible to test effectively. However, even in the recent 600-series nForce chipset launch, LinkBoost was listed as a feature, at least in the high end 680i SLI product. When the 680i LT SLI chipset was launched, NVIDIA's lower priced version, LinkBoost was missing but nothing mentioned dropping the feature from the entire line.
Today though, it looks like we have seen the end of NVIDIA's LinkBoost technology; and maybe we are better off -- one less marketing term to try to explain to users even though it was never useful. It does bring the question up on why to get rid of the feature mid-life on the 600-series of chipsets; is the reason technical or simply PR related?
I am sure we'll hear from NVIDIA soon on this as the news percolates through the media. If we get any new information on the reasoning behind this feature being dropped, we'll definitely post it here.