ATI HD 2900XT CrossFire: Intel 975X versus Intel P35

by Gary Key on 5/16/2007 12:00 PM EST
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  • wjmbsd - Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - link

    Are there any benchmarks out there yet for the HD 2900 XT from Diamond (the $499 version w/ 1GB of DDR4)??? Anyone know when to expect to see some? Diamond says this is "The World's Fastest Graphics Card" and I was told by Maingear that the 1GB version of this card is much faster than even the Nvidia 8800 Ultra, at a fraction of the cost. Reply
  • lopri - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    quote:

    In our more strenuous graphics test utilizing 3DMark06 we find the P35 results once again leads the 975X chipset but the margin of difference is a negligible 1~2%. We decided to see why the results were so close in this particular test. We looked over the results and found in the SM2.0 tests the P35 solution was about 2% behind the 975X scores, the P35 CPU score was slightly better, and the HDR/SM3.0 tests showed a 4% advantage for the P35. Since the HDR/SM3.0 tests heavily stress both the CPU and graphics bus we figured the x4 PCI Express lane limitation would cause a bottleneck in this test.


    ?
    Reply
  • Verdant - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    Thanks for including the RTS scores; they are really the only games I play.


    This sentence doesn't seem to work grammatically:
    quote:

    There is a significant amount of smoke, explosions, and vehicle usage as this a very GPU intensive Battlefield 2 benchmark.
    (pg 4)
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 18, 2007 - link

    The choice of words is fine, it's just not divided in a clear way.

    Add a comma after "usage" and the meaning is a lot clearer. I agree with you that it could have been worded a little more clearly, just replacing "as" with "making" would have done it. Even without changing the words, by moving vehicle usage first, it would have added clarity since it is a phrase, and smoke and explosions both are words, making the seperation a little more distinct. But, that's kind of nit-picking, isn't it (not that I'm above nit-picking, I just try to act like I am)?
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 18, 2007 - link

    Ugggh, "as" would have to be replaced with "making it", not "making". Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 18, 2007 - link

    Nevermind, why isn't there an edit button or delete button so I can delete idiotic posts of mine like the previous one? Reply
  • BLHealthy4life - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    What has ATI been doing all of these months?? Sure as hell hasn't been taking Nvidia seriously.

    Nvidia has to be pointing its finger at ATI, calling it a loser, and laughing its ass off...

    Reply
  • crimson117 - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    Gary,

    "We are not here to single handily knock AMD"

    should be

    "We are not here to single-handedly knock AMD"

    Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/single-handedly">http://www.thefreedictionary.com/single-handedly
    Reply
  • vijay333 - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    completely OT, but it seems it is anal-retentive and not anal retentive.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/anal-retentive">http://www.thefreedictionary.com/anal-retentive
    Reply
  • nicolasb - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    When exactly are we expecting X38, anyway? Does "this summer" mean "July", or is it just another way of saying "Q3"? Reply
  • vailr - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    miss an outing of lifetime with friends
    [outing of a lifetime]
    We are not here to single handily knock AMD
    [single-handedly]

    System Platform Drivers Intel - 8.3.0.1013
    [Version 8.4.0.1010 Beta:
    http://www.station-drivers.com/telechargement/inte...">http://www.station-drivers.com/telechargement/inte...
    Note: running the .exe installer may NOT update existing installed drivers. Must be manually updated for each device in Device Manager. See the readme.txt file:
    "INF files are copied to the hard disk [Program Files/Intel/INFInst folder] after running the Intel(R) Chipset Device Software executable with an '-A'
    flag (i.e., "INFINST_AUTOL.EXE -A"]
    Reply
  • Paradox999 - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    Wow, who would have thought ATI might have *immature* drivers for the x2900 at this point ? Duh. Moreover, why even try Crossfire when the cards in single configuration have been little more than a major league flop (don't bother spamming me, I'm an ATI fanboy). Given the poor performance (vs a much cheaper 8800GTS) and insane power requirements of a single card, you might be able to count on one hand the people eager to rush out to get a Crossfire setup. This kind of article is more in the category of 'curiosity' (like those guys that tried overclocking an x2900 with liquid nitro). Anand should be publishing more articles of a practical nature. If you want to try Crossfire and the x2900....at least wait for a few driver revisions AND then a head-to-head against the 8800gts. That *might* provide more useful information, albeit, for a very small segment of the enthusiast market.

    I have to totally agree with some of the previous posters and say SLI and Crossfire is overkill and a waste of money. Buy the best card you can afford now. When it doesn't work for you any more replace it with the best NEW generation card you can buy.

    I'm still annoyed that the better motherboards (like my P5B Dlx Wi-Fi)come with 2 PCIE-16 slots. I use 1 x1900XTX and I'll replace it one day with one (1) much better card. The way I see it,ASUS robbed me of a PCI slot for my many expansion cards.
    Reply
  • lopri - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    quote:

    I'm still annoyed that the better motherboards (like my P5B Dlx Wi-Fi)come with 2 PCIE-16 slots. I use 1 x1900XTX and I'll replace it one day with one (1) much better card. The way I see it,ASUS robbed me of a PCI slot for my many expansion cards.

    You must be joking, I assume? I think all PCI-E slots should be full length (x16) even though they are not electrically so. The only PCI card worth buying (for who needs one, that is) at this time would be X-Fi and that's just because of Creative's incompetency and monopoly in the market. I've ditched my X-Fi and refuse to buy Creative products until they get their act straight.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    I ready stuff like this and I wonder what people are thinking. Why would Creative make such a mistake as you suggest?

    Let's see, every motherboard comes with PCI slots, and there are tons of motherboards that people use that don't have PCI-E slots. They are selling upgrade parts, and PCI-E does NOTHING for these parts that they can't get from PCI. It's not like if they were using PCI-E they would get better performance or it would work better in some way. So, naturally, they are making PCI cards. Duh.

    Maybe down the road when Intel stops supporting PCI, or when motherboards come out without PCI slots Creative will start making PCI-E, but until then, who needs them? They don't hurt in any way, not in performance, not in reliability. If they made them PCI-E so soon, they'd invest money in a product that currently makes no sense, and it would just jack up the costs.
    Reply
  • lopri - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    I somehow doubt that those 'tons of' folks with mobo without PCI-E wouldn't mind on-board sound. Heck. I have an SLI board and I rather make do with on-board sound than dealing with Creative garbage. X-F.. what? I also doubt X-Fi's target market is folks using 5 year old motherboards. Don't get me wrong. Their SB Live! is still decent and perfectly suited for older motherboards.

    And.. Mistake? Umm.. I wouldn't argue about PCI-E vs PCI here, but It's not exactly the case that Creative's PCI products and supports (which is non-existent, btw) are spectacular. They didn't even have a full driver download link until very recently. (They had no choice but to upload the drivers thanks to Vista)
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 18, 2007 - link

    I'm not sure we're on the same page here. I thought you were implying that Creative needed to get their act together and get on the PCI-E bandwagon since that was what you were talking about. Apparently, you just don't like Creative and that was just kind of thrown in without respect to PCI-E.

    If so, I agree, they blow. Their software is horrible, and their hardware is overpriced. I don't know I'd go as far as to say that they are a monopoly; there are a lot of choices in the low end, but at the high end you can get a card from any maker you want - as long as it's Creative. I am really, really particular with respect to sound too, I have no tolerance for bad speakers or noisy computers because I listen to music on my computer, so it's extremely quiet. Unfortunately, I have to buy Creative and I have a love/hate feeling towards them. They do make the best stuff, but it's expensive, difficult and buggy. So, I know where you're coming from. Maybe NVIDIA should move into that market too. I think they'd eat up a half-rate company like Creative. How about AMD? Hell, if they're going to get into Fusion, why not do it right and put the sound processor there too? It's probably a matter of time. Sound is very important to gaming, and of course to watching TV and listening to music. Makes you wonder why more attention hasn't been placed on it, and substandard companies like Creative are given free reign.
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    Although it was a nicely presented article on a product which is not exactly revolutionary, I must take issue with the game benchmarks which were included.

    Out of the seven games tested, only two of them had any results where the average was below 60fps; one where the lowest was 54fps and the other (which was the only one with meaningful framerates) being Supreme Commander where the P35 Crossfire configuration had driver issues.

    I know you might say that results of 80 vs 100 vs 120fps do still provide useful information regarding likely performance in future games, but the fact is that they don't as the demands made on the CPU, mobo, and graphics card of a much more demanding game running at 40fps tends to be quite different to that of a current game running at 120fps. I appreciate you must have spent an awful lot of time running them all (five times each for every setting, no less) but at the end of the day they didn't really provide any meaningful information other than that there are driver issues which need to be resolved (which is what we would expect).

    By the way, since you already went to the trouble of running every test five times, and discarded the two highest and lowest results to prevent them from unduly affecting an average; wouldn't it be a good idea to run the tests a sixth time so that the score you used is based on the average of two results rather than just the one in the middle? I imagine the 2nd-3rd-4th places were pretty close anyway (hopefully almost identical, with 1st place being very similar, and only 5th place somewhat slower because it was the first run), but for the sake of an extra 20% testing time a sixth run would involve, the statistical accuracy of using the mean of two results would be significantly improved.

    I will reiterate though that overall the review was informative and well written; it was only the benchmarks themselves which were a bit pointless.
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    This is yet another perfect example of why ATI needs to open up Crossfire support to NVidia chipset motherboards. In the Intel space, the only supported chipsets that actually give them the bandwidth they need are the 975X and X38. I would think they would want to sell as many cards as possible. Reply
  • OrSin - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    SLI and Crossfire as far asIi can see are not needed for almost anything. I have a 6800 and 7900 and when I was shopping around I could not find a single reason to get another 6800 and go SLI instead just of getting a 7900. Thats the same for crossfire. SLI and crossfire support in games are just not good enough. The 6800 would have been 30% less then the 7900, but the gains would have been 60% less on a good day and no gain at all for several games.

    With all that rambling it just means that the P35 is a great board, so unless you need crossifre (and most should not) get it. And dont wait for the next over-hyped product (X38). Hows thats :)
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    SLI/Crossfire is never needed a good upgrade path if the next-gen product is already out. You're almost always much better off selling your old card and buying a new one from the current generation as it works out no more expensive, but provides better performance, uses less power and makes less noise, and has none of the compatibility issues associated with twin graphics-card configurations.

    However, that does not make SLI and Crossfire useless. They are needed for bragging rights by people whose weekly shopping list includes having a large tub of liquid-nitrogen delivered, and by those who are worried about the size of their ePenis. The rest of us have no need of going the twin graphics-card route unless the money is burning a hole in our pocket anyway and we've nothing better to do with it.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    You're as bad as the people you criticize, in that you see only things from your limited perspective.

    There are some situations, albeit they are very limited, where the most expensive parts are worth it. I used to work in a jet engine designing company, and they did computations fluid dynamics. They would be the absolute best products availabe immediately, even though, let's say, you'd spend 100% more for 5% more performance. Because the cost of the parts is insignificant when you're paying people $60 an hour, and they save time over their lifetime.

    Having said that, I agree that for most people these weird power hungry configurations are overkill and just generate a lot of heat and use a lot of power. A lot of idiots will buy these things for exactly the reasons you state, but it's still nice for those that have legitimate reasons to have around. And there are some.
    Reply
  • Tilmitt - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    Seems like the bit about hype at the start of the article was a poorly veiled attempt to spread FUD about people who don't have NDA's posting up early benchmark results before anandtech, and consequently reducing the usefulness of the site. You'll never be able to keep up with the little guys, and badmouthing them only makes you look pathetic. Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    Actually, this site is often criticized for breaking NDAs, and I think your remark is off-base. They are probably sensitive to that criticism and want to make it clear why they are reviewing something they are under a NDA on.

    It's like when someone tells you a secret, you can't repeat it, unless you found it out from someone else. Because, the agreement is essentially NOT to use the information given to you by them, they have no jurisdiction over what you are able to find out on your own.

    So, I think their interpretation is correct. It's entirely unrealistic for Intel to expect sites that can buy these motherboards not to review them, since Intel is not providing the information they are using, they are getting on their own.
    Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    Wonderful writing in this Gary, made my (early) morning. I still have to wonder - why is this appearing at all? I don't ask that in sarcasm, but because I've missed what apparently must have been a lot of talk about supposed, what, huge gains with R600 under P35? Since the whole intro of this article is a reference to people over hyping things, would it be possible for you to come out and say exactly what was being overhyped, for those like me who feel out of the loop? Reply
  • xenon74 - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    So you are basicly saying that limited bandwidth & speed of the DMI between MCH and ICH9R on P35 is O.K. and the great difference between P35 and 975X in CrossFire is bad driver issue which is AMD/ATI fault?

    Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    I don't think he said that at all, I think he said that based on the P965, the difference will be mitigated somewhat as the BIOS matures.

    But, the P35 is not in the same market, it's the mainstream product and the 975 is their high end unit, so the advantages it has in CrossFire are unlikely to completely go away. Tweaking only can help so far, it can't change the fundamental hardware limitations, after all.
    Reply
  • 457R4LDR34DKN07 - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    I was planing on building a new rig using this exact setup and now your telling me to wait for x38. Well at least you saved me some heartache and by then there should be R650 and cheap fast Intel processors. Reply
  • KhoiFather - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    So who's buying a Crossfire setup? Is it worth it? Reply
  • eva2000 - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    Hey Gary been testing P5K Deluxe myself too... have you tried redoing P5K Deluxe tests with this bios setting enabled under 'JumperFree Configuration Settings' section of the bios ?


    Transaction Booster: Enabled
    Boost Level: 1
    Reply

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