NVIDIA SLI multi-GPU technology is going through a rough patch on the AMD platform, with very few NVIDIA nForce 900 series motherboards available/sold. With AMD looking to come back strong in the performance CPU market (which might cause high-end gaming PC users to switch platforms), it is wise on the part of NVIDIA to make SLI available to AMD platform users in some form. NVIDIA is making a cautious move: licensing SLI to motherboard vendors in the same protocol in which it licenses them to provide NVIDIA SLI support on Intel 5-series and 6-series chipset based motherboards.
This move is particularly wise because NVIDIA wouldn't need to invest on making a chipset (though it can) for AMD's upcoming "Bulldozer" CPUs, and still get licensing fees for NVIDIA SLI. That way, it wouldn't have to rely on the platform's overall market success. NVIDIA will offer SLI licenses to motherboards based on AMD's upcoming 9-series chipset, particularly to models that lack integrated Radeon graphics (that's AMD 990FX, and AMD 990X). It will offer 2-way SLI licenses to motherboards running AMD 990X, and 3-way/2-way licenses to boards based on AMD 990FX. It won't offer nForce 200 bridge chips. Further, only those motherboard manufacturers that are currently tied up with NVIDIA for SLI licenses on Intel platform, will be granted SLI licenses on AMD platform.
NVIDIA demands a fee of about $5 for each SLI-certified motherboard sold. Only licensed motherboards can run NVIDIA SLI. For licensed motherboards a special SLI-certification code is embedded into the motherboard BIOS. NVIDIA GeForce driver looks for this SBIOS code before offering SLI as a feature that can be enabled. AMD's next generation high-end desktop platform is on course for a June 2011 launch.