Ever since the introduction of NVIDIA's SLI, the world has anticipated the release of ATI's competing solution. Many questions and rumors have circulated over the past few months. Could ATI release a multi GPU solution that can stand up to SLI? We remember ATI's previous dual GPU solution with the Rage Fury Maxx, and the fact that 3rd party developers built a quad 9800 solution a few years ago. Would ATI launch a single card multi GPU solution, or a two-card solution that paralleled NVIDIA's offering?

Well, we have all the answers here.

In many ways, ATI's CrossFire launch parallels NVIDIA's SLI launch. ATI is bringing together the launch of a graphics technology and a motherboard platform to support it. Motherboards will support 2 x16 PCI Express slots for two cards. These cards will be linked together, and one will send its data to the other for final compositing and display. Some of the same multi GPU rendering modes are implemented as well.

These similarities aside, CrossFire is a very different solution by necessity. ATI is in a position where they need to augment their GPUs in order to support this technology. At the same time, the solution that ATI produces needs to have a distinct edge over SLI in order to fight its way into the market. Coming out more than 6 months behind SLI (a virtual eternity in the graphics industry), CrossFire has some ground to make up.

Can they do it?

ATI’s Answer to SLI: CrossFire (The Motherboard)


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  • Calin - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    "ATI should be focused on the overall platform, not necessarily building up support for their South Bridge. Although we do think it is a bit embarrassing to have to turn to another chipset vendor to provide working South Bridges for your motherboard partners. It would be one thing if this were ATI's first chipset, but it most definitely is not. "
    AMD first chipset (AMD 760 for Slot A Athlon, or Irongate, I think) had also non working USB support (or very buggy). Most mainboard manufacturers offered USB thru an add in PCI card, in order not to use the one included in the southbridge
  • Googer - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    In theroy since It connets to the other card through DVI, I could use my old 9700pro in Crossfire mode with the newer card; even better is what if I could use an NVIDA card and ATI card in Crossfire! All I need is that moterhboard (if forgot the make and model) that supports PCI-e and Ture AGP! (not pci based agp) Reply
  • FakeName - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    This is bogus, remember accelerator cards, mid-90's... poor solution then, same poor solution again... don't waste your hard earned money on this cerebral shortfall, the next gen will soon be upon us... Reply
  • Shinei - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    Performance looks promising, sure, but I wonder what will be shown when AT gets hold of a sample for longer than a few benchmark runs--an 85% improvement at 1600x1200 seems a bit strange, particularly for hardware known for wheezing in the benchmarked game... Reply
  • CrystalBay - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    Very sophisticated approach ATI...Hopefully the Composter doesn't turn to sh!t later on... Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    Hmmm, isn't the current SB on existing Radeon Express 200 boards buggy too? Reply
  • overclockingoodness - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    #15: Regardless, what difference does it make? The performance would still be closer to what's presented in the article. Reply
  • overclockingoodness - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    #15: You need to read more carefully. Notice how they said that it was the vendor's PC and not their own. So, obviously they had no choice. They had to go by whatever the vendor was offering at the time. Reply
  • flatblastard - Monday, May 30, 2005 - link

    I was a little bummed after reading that the Crossfire + Xpress 200 would also have 2xPCI-e slots instead of just one like the current msi rs480m2-il. I was even more disappointed to here about the current state of the sb450. I thought the sb450 was supposed to fix the bugginess of sb400 which it is replacing? Oh well, no big suprise I guess considering their history in that department. So here's hoping for another save from uli. Reply
  • bob661 - Monday, May 30, 2005 - link

    They weren't listed so I would imagine that they won't be compatible.

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