The problem is we have what seems to be a nice bunch of components all let down by one common problem. The motherboard from DFI is fantastic, it offers an absolute bucket load of features, a number of tweaking options in the BIOS, was extremely easy to setup, has a great layout and is just overall a great board. The only problem that we can really find with it is the chipset it uses; it lacks items like SATA2 not because DFI didn't have access to it or want to implement it but because the ATI Southbridge doesn't support it.
The same goes for the HIS cards here, both cards are great, overclocking on the master card was extremely easy and we can see that it was extremely effective but the problem is that Crossfire just isn't really ready yet for everybody. It is obvious that the performance advantage is there as if we venture over to our last Catalyst Analysis article and compare the score we get on a standard X850XT in our nForce 4 system at times it is a lot lower then the Crossfire setup.
It is clear that some people no matter what you tell them thought are going to want the Crossfire motherboard be it because they are an ATI fan boy or girl or just don't want to use the nVidia offering. If you are in this category the DFI board is great but it is probably aimed at your intermediate user when it comes to BIOS. Not because its hard to overclock but because if you really want to get full potential out of it you do have to get in deep with it.
While our overclock wasn't the best we have seen when it was at this speed it was 100% rock solid. We have heard absolutely nothing in regards to what is happening with the X1800 master cards which makes us wonder if ATI realize that this technology just isn't right yet.
There isn't a lot of information on the net about Crossfire because it seems that samples really are quite thin and our general feel is that ATI (and some of their partners) don't want to make much noise about it. With the problems we had running a few games and some of the horror stories you hear on the internet it is understandable. We will say though that Crossfire for us was extremely easy to setup which is surprising considering the kind of nightmares we and other people went thought when setting up SLI for the first time. Crossfire needs another generation of graphics cards to come around before it really can take off - performance isn't bad but from a price/performance ratio people are going to be better of venturing down an X1800 or 7800GTX path for the time being.
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