Introduction

Ever 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?

ATI’s Answer to SLI: CrossFire (The Motherboard)
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  • Panndor - Monday, June 13, 2005 - link

    Lets hope that this endevor by ATI doesn't end up in the same situation at the RAGE Fury Maxx they came up with. The last time they tried this they screwed it up and then cut support for the card like it never existed.

    Looks promising, but I could see problems if they allow different hardware to run in a combined mode as well.

    Competition is good so maybe this will bring down the price of the boards and the cards now.
    Reply
  • vision33r - Wednesday, June 01, 2005 - link

    Those 2 X850XT PE cards add up to $1000+ alone while price of 6800U are going down.

    I think the biggest prob is not if this works or not, is if the mainboard performance is sacrificed due to the ATI north-bridge. I don't gave 90% of the time on my system, I can't sacrifice losing system performance for gaming perf.
    Reply
  • xsilver - Wednesday, June 01, 2005 - link

    what's funny is that a few months after the xfire is released, nvidia will probably announce SLI v2.0 and then everyone will talk about how that's so cool Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, June 01, 2005 - link

    #49 & #50 - The Uli 1573 we've seen paired with Crossfire DOES suport NCQ. this was confirmed this afternoon with engineers here at Computex. The upcoming ULI 1575 southtridge supports both Sata 2 and NCQ.

    We also saw demos of Splinter Cell on Crossfire with the 2.0 Shader. The demos were at 1280x1024 with all eye candy enabled. Frame rates in the various demos were 118 to 120. Since we did not have reference benches for Splinter Cell, it didn't make much sense to publish these results in the launch article. What we have seen is very promising, but we need more "hands-on" benchmarking before we can say much more.

    Wesley Fink
    Reply
  • mkruer - Wednesday, June 01, 2005 - link

    #51 That is the real question to be answered. My guess is that ATI will work on a SLI board and visa versa unless there is something specifically in hard coded that prevents the second slot from being used by anything other the chipsets manufactures video card, which is highly unlikely. From the BIOS and driver standpoint the MB is either has 1x16 PCIex slot or 2x8 PCIex slots. Reply
  • elecrzy - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    its possible to have Crossfire work on the NF4/945/955. Its just that ATI won't support them through the drivers. Sigh... Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    Does the ULi southbridge have NCQ support? Reply
  • weblizard - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    No Sata II or NCQ support. That's all I need to know to NOT want a crossfire system. Reply
  • bob661 - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    #47
    I had the Abit board with the AMD chipset on it. Worked flawlessly. I gave it to a friend when I upgraded that box and it was running until last year when he upgraded his box.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - link

    26# That was the 760MPX or the dual processor chipset. Don't recall any irongate issues (that was 750, 760 was the DDR version, right?) Reply

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