While I was testing, I made the graphs as the results came through but I didn't really notice the performance numbers until I was writing about the scores. The Crossfire setup really kicks butt. But the best thing? It's consistent.
What helps Crossfire is the fact that the P35 is such a fantastic board and only currently supports Crossfire as a multi-card solution. So if you want an excellent motherboard that is going to give your CPU huge overclocks, along with the graphics performance to go with it, Crossfire is the only solution. When compared to Nvidia's SLI arrangement, Crossfire generally manages to scale better as well, everything saw a performance increase and at 2560 x 1600 there were some pretty significant ones.
All we need now is the ability to overclock the cards and we will be absolutely rocking along.
The pros are there, performance, performance and performance. What about the cons though? Well you're going to need a decent power supply, but then you're going to want a decent one for an 8800 Ultra as well.
The Catalyst drivers also seem to be having some problems at the moment. The 47096 driver runs like an absolute dream but the 6.6 and 6.5 Catalysts seem to have some trouble with initializing Crossfire.
The other thing to remember is that the new 6.7 drivers actually add OpenGL performance, so once the Crossfire issue is delt with in the latest drivers we should begin to see even more performance. The monthly updates that AMD offer really apply some major pressure to NVIDIA.
We're glad that AMD have been able to do something good with the HD 2900 XT. It's a pity that it took so long, but you know what they say, better late than never! The playing field could become a whole lot more competitive though. Come September, the release of the X38 and its Crossfire / SLI compatibility means that NVIDIA and AMD are going to be on an even playing field when it comes to chipsets. For the first time we will be able to really compare SLI vs Crossfire with the only difference being the graphics cards.
While the Ultra is not a heap of crap, to be brutally honest... it is not far from it! Huge price tags and a ridiculous price-to-performance ratio doesn't make the card that attractive. Throw in the fact that a large amount of people still feel more comfortable using their Intel CPU on an Intel chipset and you really see yourself looking at Crossfire as an enthusiast setup. I know we mentioned this the other week but the bottom line is that thanks to the ridiculous price tag of the 8800Ultra it makes the HD 2900 XT smell like roses.
If you have the money and the motherboard, check out the HD 2900 XT in Crossfire. It is safe to say you won't be disappointed, especially if you're the owner of a screen which is capable of outputting 2560 x 1600. And thanks to more and more of them being released lately, pricing has become more aggressive, making a screen of this calibre a more viable choice.