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"Single GPU solution" = ?


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I read Guyver's extensive and informative post unfortunately after splurging on an Alienware m17x SLI setup. Though it came too late, I am thankful for the information.

I'm that awkward yet common hybrid of a dedicated gamer and poor college student -- I (perhaps ignorantly) used a good chunk of cash to supposedly buy a top-of-the-line mobile computer that I wouldn't have to upgrade for some time. However, after reading his post, I have several financial routes that warrant consideration. But before I do that, I must say I'm a little confused by his reference to "single GPU solutions" in buying notebooks.

I have decent desktop know-how -- I built my own desktop and some of my friends', so I'm very aware of the importance of video drivers. But I'm relatively clueless when it comes to notebooks in general.

I paid a visit to nVidia's Drivers Download site, and navigated the radio buttons for any given GeForce M/Go GPU and got the same months-old driver. Disregarding LaptopVideo2GO entirely, this, to me, implies that single-card and SLI-equipped machines are dependent on the same driver update regimen.

I'm not saying having SLI is better or even good in the first place by any means. I'm just puzzled as to how/where single-GPU laptop computers get better support than SLI-capable ones.

I live in Florida, but attend college in Wisconsin, so sending the desktop I've had for 4 years and its stuff across the country regularly costs $200-300 each way, which is becoming less and less feasible. So, at this point, I'm considering several options:

1) Returning my notebook and building another desktop, thereby saving lotsa money in terms of components, but once again bearing the burden of shipping costs

2) Returning my notebook and buying a cheaper single-GPU one

3) Keeping my notebook and doing everything I can to further its longevity.

I greatly appreciate insight and/or advice into this. Thank you in advance.

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build a shuttle and put a nice 9800GTX in there

you'll get portability your looking for plus top of the line desktop performance. plus it will be upgradable and will last you alot longer than any notebook.

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I'm still not clear on the driver issue. As far as I know, almost all official notebook graphics drivers are supplied through the computer's vendor. This means (to me) that owners of single-card mobiles are equally screwed. I don't know if a driver update for a single GPU is applied to both cards.

So is your argument that the extra money shoppers spend for dual-card setups is wasted because they're really simply getting shoddy support for just one card?

The Shuttle indeed seems very practical in terms of size and upgradability, but wouldn't really make a financial difference from standard mid-tower cases, since I would still have to ship the monitor, printer, mouse, keyboard, et al. It's still more frugal of me to have something I can carry around in my backpack when traveling to and from Wisconsin, as opposed to kissing $200 goodbye each trip for shipping.

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