A lot of you are just like we when it comes to new product. You cannot wait to get your hands on the latest and greatest technology when it's released. Early previews of the next great technology are shown and shortly afterwards performance numbers are leaked on various forums. These numbers almost always show the product in its best possible light and performance records are consistently being broken. User hysteria kicks in, credit card limits are extended, fastest shipping routes are checked and rechecked, you beg your significant other for purchase approval, and then a wave of anticipation builds until that fateful day the product finally arrives.

In the meantime, you sneak a peek at the latest forum posts about the product throughout the day instead of finishing that analysis, presentation, class assignment, or uATX article that was due by 8 am. The marketing pitches continue in waves with professional pictorial layouts, more earth shattering performance numbers are leaked, rumors spread about the product curing cancer and saving the earth - never mind if any of the information can be substantiated; for goodness sakes it's on the Internet so it must be true!

And then the day comes when previews or reviews of the product start showing up at various websites or user reviews start coming in from those lucky enough to live near the first reseller to have the product in stock. All of a sudden those early results from people already praising the next great product are not starting to look like reality. Doubt sets in if you made the right decision, but more importantly did you just exhaust your last kitchen pass with the significant other or miss an outing of a lifetime with friends to purchase what now appears to be a fairly ordinary product?

You shrug it off; after all, those product reviews cannot be correct as the reviewer missed something or the setup was incorrect (editor's note - believe me we are not always perfect but we do admit when we are wrong). Worse yet, they must be on the payroll of the competitor as there is no way those early forum results could have been so far from the truth. The thought process continues - those actual users with the product reporting less than stellar results are probably just newbies' who have no idea how to setup much less use a computer system.

It is at that point the doorbell rings and you hug your favorite delivery person as the anticipated package has arrived. It's time to set the world straight. The product is installed, everything is setup perfectly, and wham bam... the product fails to deliver on those early promises. You try everything, you desperately ask for technical assistance from those who posted the early glowing reports only to find out they are already singing the praises of the product that will replace the one you just bought.

Sound familiar? We have all been through it at one time or another. Some of us (clears throat) are even guilty of getting caught up in the hype machine at times. In fact, it happens more often than not it seems with major new product releases. While our example is usually the worst case scenario, we are starting to see more and more stories like this. The rapidly growing number of emails in our inboxes asking for additional information or test results is a testament to the current trend of early product previews in the forums. This is not necessarily a bad trend or practice as we at times find out about new products before the manufacturer has even notified us.

Our interest and curiosity is right up there with others when it comes to seeing how well a new product performs before release along with what new features will be available. In fact, we sometimes wish that we could post our first results in the forums to give our readers a first look at the product, only outlining the positive and negative aspects about our early experiences instead of just glowing marketing speak. Alas, the NDA gods will usually not allow it, although we are starting to see some wiggle room by the manufacturers in this area.

You might be wondering what any of this has to do with our article today but we find it to a be an excellent segue into our initial CrossFire test results with the new ATI HD 2900XT GPU and Intel P35 chipset. We are posting early results so you can have some additional information and/or alternate perspective before making a significant purchase decision. We also hope this answers questions we have received about CrossFire performance on the P35.

If you have decided like us to take a leap of faith in ordering a pair of ATI HD 2900XT cards for a CrossFire setup then the information that follows might be of interest to you. If not, it might still provide an example of what happens when a product is released to a different set of expectations. After going through our checklist which includes ensuring we had the proper OPEC friendly power supply and PCI Express 2.0 (8-pin) connectors, additional A/C cooling, noise canceling headphones, and a bevy of alpha and beta drivers, we decided it was time to see how these newly released cards perform in CrossFire for our upcoming P35 chipset article. Let's take a look at the early results and see who gets knocked out in the first round.

Test Setup
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • KhoiFather - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    So who's buying a Crossfire setup? Is it worth it?
  • 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 ?

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