Multi-GPU Performance


NVIDIA's own multi-GPU solution outperformed the GeForce GTX 280 when it launched, so it is not too surprising to see the Radeon HD 4870 in CrossFire mode doing the same. If AMD can put two of these things on a single card it will have a viable competitor for the GTX 280 as well as the GX2.

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Call of Duty 4

AMD's architecture did very well under Call of Duty 4 in the single-card tests, with a single Radeon HD 4870 performing better than a GeForce GTX 260. The scaling from one to two cards is beyond perfect in CoD4, the reason being that we test on two different platforms (Intel X48 for CrossFire, NVIDIA 790i for all single-cards), the end result is a rare case where two of AMD's $300 cards actually outperform two of NVIDIA's $650 cards. By no means is it the norm, but it is a testament to the strength of AMD's RV770 GPU.

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Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

CrossFire continues to scale poorly in Quake Wars, while NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 280 SLI completely dominates the charts here. The 4870 CF performance isn't terrible, it's actually in line with where it should be (2 x $300 cards are about as fast as 1 x $650 card).

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Oblivion Multi-GPU Performance in Assassin's Creed, Oblivion, The Witcher & Bioshock


View All Comments

  • Inkjammer - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - link

    I have a 9800 GX2 in my primary gaming rig, but I've been debating on what card to drop into my Photoshop/3DS Max art rig. I've been waffling over it for some time, and was going to settle on an 8800GT... but after seeing this, my mind's set on the 4850. It definitely appears to offer more than enough power to handle my art apps, and allow me to use my second PC a gaming rig if need be... all without breaking the bank.

    This'll mark my return to buying ATI hardware since the X800 was king.
  • weaksideblitz - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - link

    this is a welcome development although im only buying a 4850 :) Reply
  • Locutus465 - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - link

    Very much so, actually from where I sit I think all AMD really needs to do is get a SAM2+ CPU out there that can compete with intel at least similarly to how this card competes with nvida and they'd have one hell of a total platform solution right now. As for upgrading my vid card... I just finished upgrading to the Phenom 4x and Radeon 3870 so I'll be sticking with that for a while. Quite honestly that platform can pretty much run anything out there already as it is, so I'm feeling pretty confident my current setup will last a couple years at least. Reply
  • Lifted - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - link

    Ditto. If I can get a 4850 for ~$150 or so, that's what I'm doing as well. Reply
  • billywigga - Friday, August 29, 2008 - link

    where are you getting it from best buy or something Reply
  • Clauzii - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - link

    That leaves 50 for a better cooler ;) Reply
  • Lifted - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - link

    Is there any reason the first pages of benchmarks have SLI setups included in the charts, but you wait until the end of the article to add the CF? I'd think it would make the most sense to either include both from the start or hold both until the end. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - link

    The original idea was to format it like the 4850 preview, keep things simple early on but offer SLI/CF graphs later in the article for those who wanted them.

    It looks like in the mad rush to get things done it didn't work out that way, I'll see if it's possible to clean it all up but right now we've got a lot of other minor touchups to do first :)

    Take care,
  • TechLuster - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - link


    I really like your idea of "keeping things simple early on" by only including configurations that us mere mortals can afford at first (say, all single-GPU configs plus "reasonable" multi-GPU configs less than ~$400 total), and then including numbers for ultra high-end multi-GPU configs at the end (mainly just for completeness and also for us to drool over--I doubt too many people can afford more than one $650 card!).

    Anyway, great job on the review as always. I think you and Derek should get some well-deserved rest now!

  • wilkinb - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - link

    Then include SLI for the 280... let the consumer care about what the value is or isn't, we all value different things. Provide the costs and the performance (SLI) please.

    Its make this very incomplete to not have included SLI for the 280/260, I for one will more then likely get 2 x GTX280's not all of us worry about a few $$, but if the CF 4870's are that good, then I want to know as I don’t care about the brand and will go with the best performance.

    Can you please include them soon so we can make our own judgements on what's good or not?

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