ATI's Multi-GPU Solution: CrossFireby Anand Lal Shimpi & Derek Wilson on May 30, 2005 9:00 PM EST
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IntroductionEver 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?