It's Day 1 of Computex 2005 and ATI's Crossfire solution alternative to nVidia's SLI is out in force. Naturally, we were on the ground bright and early and have managed to bring you world exclusive benchmarks from some of our ATI board partner friends.
The particular system we tested was based around an AMD Athlon 64 3800+ with two Radeon X850XT GPUs. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to score the rest of the system specs before we were sniffed out, but we did get to run 3DMark05. As shown in our screenshot below, the system managed a score of 9766. This score was achieved at the default resolution (1024x768) and graphics settings.
In order to provide a point of comparison, our review of the GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI where, coincidentally, we tested the setup using the same 3800+ CPU, the 6800 Ultra SLI system managed a score of 9829 in 3DMark05 - surprisingly slightly above that of the Crossfire results we've just witnessed. However, it's important to note that the system we saw wasn't finely tuned at all (it used early Catalyst 5.6 beta drivers) - in fact, they'd only just put it together when we walked through the door. Further, 3DMark05 is known to favour nVidia cards, so it'll be interesting to see some results using other benchmarks.
Interestingly, if you're going to be upgrading to a Crossfire setup you'll need to purchase the primary card directly from ATI, as we were told from numerous vendors that ATI will maintain full control over these. That said, secondary cards can be purchased from any third-party vendor of your choice. While we don't have time to re-iterated the technical details surrounding Crossfire, we advise that you take a look at our earlier preview, which should give you a fairly solid grounding.
UPDATE: After our initial testing this morning we managed to perform some further tests. Specifically, we were able to benchmark a Crossfire system using an AMD Athlon 64 4000+ processor and two Radeon X850XT Platinum Edition graphics cards. These results were particularly interesting, because our initial testing this morning was conducted using two X850XTs (non-PE version), which give us an opportunity to compare the two. Using this newer system we recorded a 3DMark05 result of 10662 - not exactly a huge increase over regular X850XTs but still around about a 1000 point increase although don't forget we used a quicker processor this afternoon testing the PE versions.
We also managed to run ultra-high quality benchmarks at 1280x1024 (the highest resolution that the monitor supported), with 6xAA and 4xAF enabled. Under these settings we recorded a 3DMark05 score of 7399 - quite a significant drop but nothing is set in stone until we're able to run further benchmarks.
If our plans go ahead, we'll have a complete set of benchmarks on Crossfire available tomorrow with comparisons to single and dual versions. Stay tuned.