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


    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.

  • 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:

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

    Ugggh, "as" would have to be replaced with "making it", not "making".
  • 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?
  • 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...

  • crimson117 - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link


    "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
  • vijay333 - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

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

  • 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"?

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