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Old 31st May 2005, 11:55 AM   #1
hal
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ATI Crossfire Takes On Nvidia SLI

ATI fires the next blow in the battle of video technology with their Crossfire solution. Unlike ATI's rival, Crossfire will not depend on game specific profiles will work with almost any Direct3D or OpenGL game, but it will require specific motherboard support. Anandtech has an in-depth look, complete with benchmarks. HardOCP and Tech Report have previews as well. (Thanks, Shack)

Looking at all the features, if performance ends up equal or in ATI's favor, we have to consider CrossFire the more interesting solution. The flexibility of easily using multiple displays along side multi-GPU performance combined with the option of enabling higher quality AA (including rotated grid SSAA) is impossible to ignore. Add to that the ability to upgrade existing hardware without needing an exact match and we are sold.

... The performance of the solution was equally impressive; at 1024x768 the dual GPU CrossFire setup improved performance by 49%. At 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 the performance went up by 72% and 86% respectively. We had our doubts that ATI would be able to offer performance scaling on par with what we've seen on NVIDIA's SLI but these initial numbers, despite being run on early hardware/drivers, are quite promising.
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Old 31st May 2005, 12:37 PM   #2
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Based on those pictures, I hope that ATI has a good legal department. Last time I checked, that kind of video card linking was patented by 3dfx, aka nVidia.
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Old 31st May 2005, 01:57 PM   #3
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No, afaik 3dfx only patented analog picture linking. ATI's technology is nothing like 3dfx anyway...
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Old 31st May 2005, 02:07 PM   #4
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ah.

Well the actual physical linkingof the cards is almost identical.
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Old 31st May 2005, 03:12 PM   #5
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Wasn't it internal on the voodoos?
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Old 31st May 2005, 06:25 PM   #6
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100% more price for less than 100% more performance. Why would anybody actually spend so much money on video cards? Just one of those should run any game just fine!
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Old 31st May 2005, 06:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royall
100% more price for less than 100% more performance. Why would anybody actually spend so much money on video cards? Just one of those should run any game just fine!
Some people (like me ofcourse) want to be able to run UE3 games at 1600x1200 14xAA (6xAA+6xAA+2xSS) at a very liquid smooth frame rate.

BTW, 2xSS is Supersampling which basically will render the game at 3200x2400 (1600*2 and 1200*2) and shrink it down to 1600x1200 to fit on your monitor and give you SUPERIOR quality (such as the sharp Malcolm wallpaper we saw).
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Old 31st May 2005, 07:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royall
100% more price for less than 100% more performance. Why would anybody actually spend so much money on video cards? Just one of those should run any game just fine!
Not necesarily.
One of the ideas is that you can buy 1 card now, and have good performance.
Once newer games become available, requiring better hardware, you can get another card which will have dropped in price by then, and add it.
Of course this won't mean twice the performance, but it won't be twice the price either, and it could end up being cheaper than getting a whole new card with similar performance (alone).

A friend of mine voiced a concern about availability of older cards, which is something that could screw this thing up of course...
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Old 31st May 2005, 07:27 PM   #9
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One thing to note... the ATI solution is compatible with a range of cards - not just an identical card.
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Old 31st May 2005, 07:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Retodon8
A friend of mine voiced a concern about availability of older cards, which is something that could screw this thing up of course...
No worries... Just buy the card when its just about to get extinct, even if you dont and its not available, just buy the cheapest video card out on the market and itll prolly be under $100 at that time.
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Old 31st May 2005, 10:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bazzi
Wasn't it internal on the voodoos?

The V5 5500 and the V5 6000 (for all 3 of them that every got out) had their SLI built into the PCB. The Voodoo1s and V2 had to use pass through cable very simular to ATIs method.

The thing that I like is the extra FSAA modes we get as I enjoy a nice AA image
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Old 31st May 2005, 10:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royall
100% more price for less than 100% more performance. Why would anybody actually spend so much money on video cards? Just one of those should run any game just fine!
Congrats. You have tunnel vision.

Once I get to redoing my computer, I'll probably be sticking with ATI and this Crossfire setup. Of course, that probably won't be until next summer... Wonder what kind of things they'll have come up with by then.

The super tiling or whatever they called it sounds very nice and makes perfect sense. Leave it to ATI to out-do nVidia as usual.
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Old 1st Jun 2005, 01:22 AM   #13
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They havent outdone anything yet, hehe.
And if you are looking at benchmarks keep in mind the crossfire is limited to x800's and x850's only. Throw in 2 6800's of equal caliber and they don't exactly outperform SLI.
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Old 1st Jun 2005, 04:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royall
100% more price for less than 100% more performance. Why would anybody actually spend so much money on video cards? Just one of those should run any game just fine!
Then why does anybody buy an Athlon 64 CPU bigger than 3000+?
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Old 1st Jun 2005, 04:58 AM   #15
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'cause everyone believes they want to have a bigger e-penis
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Crossfire appears to be the technical superior system compared to SLI, but time has proven that technical excellence doesn't have to be a succes ...
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Old 1st Jun 2005, 08:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hal
One thing to note... the ATI solution is compatible with a range of cards - not just an identical card.
THAT is kickass!

Having to have identical cards is the one drawback of SLI.

I'd imagine, though, that having two cards that were not the same "strength" would cripple the faster card, making it to run only as fast as the lesser card. Is this correct? or does Crossfire use the full resources of both cards? (I haven't been able to look further into this yet)

If the stronger of the two different cards was handicapped to the level of the weaker card, then there's really no advantage other than convenience.
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Old 1st Jun 2005, 08:40 AM   #17
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My understanding is that if a card has 16 pipelines and is mated with a card that has, say 12, then both will utilize 12. The thought is that one card would always just be waiting on the other. It's more of a convenience thing.
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Old 1st Jun 2005, 08:45 AM   #18
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So then there wouldn't be any reason to buy an ATI-Pretty_Good_Card today and then a few months couple it with an ATI-Much_Better_Card, when two ATI-Pretty_Good_Cards would do just the same.
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Old 1st Jun 2005, 09:34 AM   #19
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Depends on how good you define pretty good
But yeah most of the time it would depend on the slower card logically.
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Old 1st Jun 2005, 11:44 AM   #20
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I kind of like this in a way ... with this setup, I could buy a Radeon X800 now then when the next graphics cycle comes along, I could buy the next Radeon up, giving me two Radeons to play with, one better than the other. Then when the next cycle comes along, the next Radeon will replace the X800, while the X800 will be a budget card by then.
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