It is clear that ATI is now following in the nVidia footsteps with the use of twin x16 lanes, and clearly has a architectural advantage of having both graphic lanes on the Northbridge. This is a better method rather than having one on the North and one on the Southbridge like nVidia does, which can cause slight latency issues with the interconnect, after all, noting is completely latency free, even Hyper Transport.
Sapphire's implementation of the Xpress 3200 chipset in our opinion is quite impressive. The colour scheme of the PCB, layout of the slots and connectors and even the onboard cooling features are all to be admired. The boards overclocking features are quite impressive and with further tweaking of the ATI drivers for the chipset and graphics systems as well as some tweaking to the BIOS, there is room for improvement in the score department.
For our first look, we are quite surprised at the performance ATI has managed to bring to the table and the Sapphire PURE CrossFire PC-A9RD580 is well worth considering if Crossfire is your thing.
Twin x16 PCI-E slots and both slots located on Northbridge
New Southbridge and features
Supports all Crossfire cards
Driver support already implemented from previous gen chipset
Southbridge SATA and IDE needs tweaking
Not as fast as the nVidia SLI32 chipset
Rating - 8.5 out of 10 and Tweak Town's "MUST HAVE" Best Value Award
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