The Final Word
We’ve never been greatly impressed with ATI’s Crossfire technology in the past, namely because it’s always followed well behind comparable Nvidia SLI offerings in launch times, while delivering solid, but un-impressive overall performance while being louder and more of a pain to install. In addition, you had to use selected Crossfire-enabled chipsets which were rarely the first choice of enthusiasts. In short, there were a lot of factors in the equation, but the end result is that Crossfire has never been up to par with what ATI was hyping it to be.
Today’s combination of the Intel 975X chipset, the Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and a pair of ATI Radeon X1950 XTX graphics cards certainly make us re-think our earlier issues with Crossfire. This combination gives nearly unbeatable performance while maintaining a surprisingly quiet running environment. Our tests consistently showed Radeon X1950 XTX cards in Crossfire besting similarly priced GeForce 7900 GTX cards in SLI, sometimes by a fairly large margin. Not only is overall performance great, but image quality looks superb with excellent output quality and buttery smooth 14x full-scene anti-aliasing support. We were able to play every high-end game on the market at smooth frame rates at high resolutions, along with image quality settings cranked up high.
Of course, we haven’t factored in the new GeForce 7950 GX2 graphics cards in SLI on the new nForce 590 SLI Intel Edition boards (which just hit the market in volume this week), but we will be looking at this combination soon. We also should note that while this combination is brand new hitting the market now, it may be a tough sell when one considers the price of these cards (around $1000-$1200 for dual X1950 XTX cards in a Crossfire configuration) in comparison to the time until Nvidia and ATI’s next generation DirectX 10 compatible graphics cards are launched (not too far off), X1950 XTX Crossfire is going to be a tough sell. It’s really quite a shame too, because the combination as it is now is amazingly powerful and remarkably quiet, yet due to pricing and timing, will most than likely not make a dent in Nvidia’s multi-GPU market-share numbers.
For now though, we have to say that we very much like ATI’s Radeon X1950 XTX Crossfire combination. The hardware is finally more powerful than Nvidia’s while maintaining very low noise levels. Sure, the cards consume lots of power and create lots of heat (and still have that annoying external cables), but the amazing performance of these cards helps us forget the fringe drawbacks which these cards currently have. If you want unbeatable DirectX 9 performance today, this is an excellent way to go. However, keep in mind that DX10 is just around the corner, and it’s unlikely that this combination will be on top of the benchmark charts for long.
Source:Dual R580+ Gaming : ATI’s Radeon X1950 XTX Crossfire Edition