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Nvidia video: No quad-core chip needed for extreme PC

Nvidia builds extreme gaming PC without Intel quad-core processor.

Nvidia has posted a video that involves the new GTX 280 chip, overclocking, lots of liquid nitrogen, and the Nvidia labs. Oh, and no quad-core processor. Get the point?

Nvidia NForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboard
Nvidia NForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboard Nvidia

"A lot of people believe you need an Intel quad-core or Intel quad-core Extreme to build an extreme PC," says the post by "Steffee" on the Nvidia Web site. "Today I'm going to build a gaming PC using the Intel Core 2 Duo. That's duo. Got that? Duo, two cores."

I think the point the blogger is trying to make is that the test system has only has two cores, though I could be mistaken.

Here's an excerpt from the blog: "Think you need a quad-core CPU for an extreme gaming PC with impressive 3DMark Vantage numbers and gaming performance?...I overclocked and hyper-cooled an SLI gaming rig using two of our latest and greatest GPUs--GeForce GTX 280...and a sub-$200 CPU."

Intel, of course, has a different take on this. "Most of what people do today with their computers requires powerful processors. Examples of processor-intensive applications include: creating content, viewing/editing high definition video, using social media sites, office tools, downloading music, and editing photos," Intel said in a statement.

In the test, the blogger uses an NForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboard, Intel core 2 duo E8400, in addition to the GTX 280 graphics card.

With the single GTX 280 board, the score is a 3DMark Vantage "X4796."

Then the blogger (an Nvidia employee) takes a hike to the Nvidia lab. "Now we're going to take a field trip to Nvidia labs to do some serious overclocking," she says. After adding what seems to be prodigious amounts of liquid nitrogen and adding another GTX 280 SLI board, the 3DMark score jumps to "X10,282."

Intel could respond (which it hasn't) by saying that the E8400 is not a slow processor: it runs at 3.0GHZ and has 6MB of cache. And overclocked with liquid nitrogen, it would probably get some pretty good scores too. And then, of course, it might be simpler to just get a quad-core Extreme CPU.

In the test, the Nvida GTX 280 core clock was overclocked to 727MHz and the shader to 1458MHz. The core clock is normally 602MHz and the shader clock 1296MHz.

System specifications:
--2× NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 graphics cards running in SLI nForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboard
--Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 CPU
--4 GB SLI-ready Corsair DDR3 memory
--PC Power and Cooling TurboCool 1200W power supply
--Windows Vista 32-bit operating system