Introduction

Four months ago, ATI officially announced their first multi-GPU solution called CrossFire.

Two months ago, we previewed and benchmarked it.

And today, ATI lifted their NDA on CrossFire performance with the Radeon X850 XT.

Contrary to what we were all led to believe, CrossFire cards are still not available, so today, we have little more than what we had two months ago when we previewed the platform.

Obviously, drivers have improved tremendously since we first benchmarked CrossFire, but as you will soon see, the platform still isn't entirely perfect. You will also find that CrossFire performance is decent, however plagued by an unfortunate GPU limitation limiting current CrossFire setups to a 1600 x 1200 maximum resolution.

The timing of today's NDA lift is curious at best, given that ATI's next-generation GPUs are literally just around the corner. In fact, given things such as the current 1600 x 1200 resolution, we honestly wonder why this performance introduction wasn't delayed until ATI's R520 launch.

Meanwhile, NVIDIA has steadily been improving the quality and availability of their SLI platform, which was announced over a year ago. Across the vast majority of their product lines, ATI is playing a seemingly never-ending game of catch-up. From the delayed release of the R520 to CrossFire, things haven't been looking up for ATI. Let's see if the trend continues here today.

The Details of the Resolution Limit
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  • Dangher - Monday, September 26, 2005 - link

    Good point. Why are comparing previous gen ATI to current gen nVidia? Reply
  • Pythias - Monday, September 26, 2005 - link

    Good point. Why are comparing previous gen ATI to current gen nVidia?
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    Previous gen? I can buy something better than an x850 xt pe from ati? Where?
    Reply
  • Dangher - Monday, September 26, 2005 - link

    Forgot to add - when it even manages to beat GTX SLI in a benchie (something to think about, eh?) Reply
  • Live - Monday, September 26, 2005 - link

    Crossfire is compared to the 6800 Ultra SLI and more. More is better me thinks.
    If they hadn’t tested it against 7800GTX we would not have know that SLI got beat in HL2, now would we? I think the choice on which cards to test was great.

    It's not ATs fault ATI didn’t give them any newer cards to run. You will see those benches next week.
    Reply
  • melgross - Monday, September 26, 2005 - link

    With the first comparison images between the various levels of AA, I can see the straight picture to be badly stairstepped. The 4AA seems to correct pretty much all of the problems. I can't see a real improvement in any of the others.

    I wonder how many will notice any of it in an actual game situation.
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Monday, September 26, 2005 - link

    It would be easier to show the advantages if I could show motion. Higher AA not only helps the stair steps, but it also helps keep objects that are well antialised in a single frame consistent across multiple frames of motion. Reply
  • Jojo7 - Monday, September 26, 2005 - link

    Derek, I've noticed something odd in the last few articles regarding splinter cell:chaos theory and the 6800u benchmarks. If you compare the results of 1600x1200 no aa and 1600x1200 4x aa, the performance hit for the 6800u is .1 of a frame? How is this possible? In my own experience, when I enable 4xaa on my 6800u for sc:ct, I notice no difference in image quality. Is this perhaps a driver problem? Reply
  • Jojo7 - Monday, September 26, 2005 - link

    Err. I made a mistake. Actually the scores are identical (40.2) with and without 4xAA.
    Something has to be wrong here.
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Monday, September 26, 2005 - link

    Something is wrong there ... I'm removing the 6800 ultra numbers from sc3 -- thanks for pointing out the problem. Reply
  • erinlegault - Monday, September 26, 2005 - link

    Were you a little rush to get this article out of the door? Reply

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