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Crossfire Vs Single Videocard



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twinky64

I was wondering if anybody has a crossfire setup. Does the 2 x1300 crossfire video cards perform better than x1800?

Got one setup at work - pair of Radeon X1950 (reference boards for testing). Talk about some serious rendering speed with those cards - a pair of Crossfire ATI vs a NVIDIA QUAD SLi setup would be a good run (synthetic tests the pair of ATI will beat 4 NVIDIA cards, flip flops back and forth in other tests).

But for your question - a pair of X1300 vs a single X1800 - I personally would go with the X1800. Even paired up - you only have 4 pixel shaders and 2 vertex shaders in each (8/4) compared to the single X1800 with its 16 pixel units nad 8 vertex units (16/8). Add to that a ring bus memeroy architecture on the X1800 and ability to handle more simultaneous threads than the pair of X1300 - makes the single car look that much better (could get a pair of X1300 with 256MB each vs 256MB total on the base X1800 card - but sometimes it is more than just amount of memory).

Price would vary - I've seen the X1300 afor as low as $100 each, X1800 for around $250, the X1800 Crossfire ED (512MB ram) around $350, and about $400 for the X1950 (something I was thinking of picking up to play my other games with all the eye candy turned on - HL2, Oblivion, etc.).

That is a tough call - the X1800 is faster right out of the box vs two X1300 in Crossfire config - but it would probably cost less for the Crossfire setup than a single card with comparable speed/performance. Also the tech factor of having a Crossfire setup - most of the better board already have the two x16 PCIe slots there - might as well use them.

twinky64

Got one setup at work - pair of Radeon X1950 (reference boards for testing). Talk about some serious rendering speed with those cards - a pair of Crossfire ATI vs a NVIDIA QUAD SLi setup would be a good run (synthetic tests the pair of ATI will beat 4 NVIDIA cards, flip flops back and forth in other tests).

But for your question - a pair of X1300 vs a single X1800 - I personally would go with the X1800. Even paired up - you only have 4 pixel shaders and 2 vertex shaders in each (8/4) compared to the single X1800 with its 16 pixel units nad 8 vertex units (16/8). Add to that a ring bus memeroy architecture on the X1800 and ability to handle more simultaneous threads than the pair of X1300 - makes the single car look that much better (could get a pair of X1300 with 256MB each vs 256MB total on the base X1800 card - but sometimes it is more than just amount of memory).

Price would vary - I've seen the X1300 afor as low as $100 each, X1800 for around $250, the X1800 Crossfire ED (512MB ram) around $350, and about $400 for the X1950 (something I was thinking of picking up to play my other games with all the eye candy turned on - HL2, Oblivion, etc.).

That is a tough call - the X1800 is faster right out of the box vs two X1300 in Crossfire config - but it would probably cost less for the Crossfire setup than a single card with comparable speed/performance. Also the tech factor of having a Crossfire setup - most of the better board already have the two x16 PCIe slots there - might as well use them.

So what video card config would you suggest that I can get for $120 or less? Do you know any good online sites that sell video cards for much cheaper than retail stores? The only one I know of is newegg. Also, the partners that make the ATI chipsets, how do they perform (ie. sapphire, gecube, visiontek, gigabyte, HIS, etc.)

 

 

Looks like you are leaning towards the ATI chipsets already - in that case, I also would suggest Newegg.com or SuperGoodDeal.com or ZipZoomFly.com as possible sources. Use www.pricewatch.com to help you find the best deals - then use something like www.resellerratings.com to view customer opinions of those stores. You'll probably find that newegg usually comes out on top (I usually pick newegg as my source - never once got any problems with that company - RMAs are also very good).

As for the different flavors of ATI boards - I usually stick with reference boards, Sapphire, MSI, or ASUS variants - the others are probably good - but I haven't bought them before so I have no opinion of them. Of the ones that I have used before - I've had a problem with one VisionTek cards (when they used to be with NVIDIA - then went bellyup, then popped out the other side with ATI??), POWERCOLOR (couple of DOA cards), and Diamond (same deal as POWERCOLOR).

As for boards - for that price range - probably looking at the X1300 series card. I would also look at the X800 - as many are discounted at pretty good prices (X1300 series actually compares to an X600 card). X800 will blow the X1300 away GPU horsepower wise - but was fab'd on the older 130nm process vs the X1300 90nm process (X1300 is less power hungry and doesn't act like a small heater). Depends on how much graphics processing power you need.

For comparision - the X1300 series scores around 2000-2500 on 3DMark05 - the X800 scores around 5000-6000. X1300 is a entry level card, whereas the X800 is a strong midlevel card for about the same cost ~$120-$130.

twinky64

Yea, I've always been an ATI fan. I've had too many experiences (ie. my friend's stories) that nvidia would just crap out after a while. My friend's 6600 fried and so did another one of my friend's nvidia card. If I'm going to spend hella money, I don't want something that fries either because of faulty engineering or overheating issues.

hmmmm. Interesting, I didnt know that the x1300 compares to an x600. I would have figured that since the x1300 is in the x1k series, that it would outperform an x850xt PE. Mk...so a couple of x800s would do much much better. Then comes the next predicted question:

How would a couple of x850's compare to ONE x1600pro?

To tell you the truth, I don't understand somethings about videocard specs like memory core speed. I understand that more ram and more core MHz is better. But I still don't know if crossfire is worth it. I mean one good card is fine but 2....will the performance double or not? I don't know a whole lot about the performance of crossfire. Do you?

What does the 3D Mark mean and the score that goes along with it? I understand FPS when comparing games and what not but not 3D. I believe the last 2 digits is corresponding to the year the 3D mark test occured.

Lastly, what does "RMA" mean when you were writing about newegg?

Check this one x1600 out. 2nd one from the top. Sapphire, all blue.

http://castle.pricewatch.com/s/search.asp?s=x1600

I don't get it, it only shows the bottom, I'm not sure if its just heatsink or heatsink/fan. Also, I went to sapphire's site and they don't have a blue x1600.

muzak

I've used mostly ATI cards for many years now and never had a problem with them. One good thing about them (for me anyway) is that they are in Toronto and you can actually talk to a real person within a minute or so.

I phoned just a few days ago about my old TV tuner card and got answers right away. They tell you at the intro recording crap that they only support ATI products themselves and not those with other names using their chipset.

I'm also a big ATI fan - was a devote NVIDIA guy until I started running into issues with build quality (bad fans/heatsinks) and so-so memory on the card (wasn't able to overclock them as high as the ATI variants). Plus ATI has a much better picture quality IMO.

As for the newer ATI cards (the X1Ks series) - just think of them as a revamped verion of the previous series. X300 > X1300, X600 > X1600, etc. Not quite true in all cases, but gives you a quick way to relate the two versions. As for a X850 PR) vs a X1600 PRO - I'd go with the X850 for framerates and texture filling - the X1600 might handle larger textures because it is packed with more memory (512MB vs 256MB) but runs at a lower clock speed (390MHz vs 500MHz) and smaller width (128bit vs 256 bit). In this game - it is all about clock speed and memory bandwidth.

3DMark is a benchmarking program froma company called Futuremark. They also make PCMark and SPMark. 3DMark is just a program to help people get tangible scores to compare various videocards. Some of the tests they performance to generation a score include framerate, texel fill rate, pixel and vertex shader, and more using realworld 3D applications (read games) to stress the component. Lots of controversy here - since a savy video card manufacture can develop drivers that optimize 3DMark scores but suck in everyday work. But that aside - these scores at least can ballpark what a system can do.

RMA - Return Material Authorization. Before you return a piece of hardware at most places - you need to get a return number for exchange or refund. Without it - you will get no service at all. Usually to help them keep of track of defective components (because of the sheer volume most deal with).

twinky64

What is the highest score one can get on the 3DMark? Also, how well does a crossfire setup compare to just one card setup. Is it too much money for the output gained? How well does the pci-e compare to agp? 2wice as good due to more communication with mobo?

Depends on the version - I've seen scores around 27000 with a X1900 card, overclocked and watercooled with 3DMark2005. Scores drop to around 15000 with 3DMark2006 for the sane card - since they make the new benchmark more intense for stronger cards.

A crossfire setup can give you up to 100% more performance - but it also depends if the application takes advantage of the cards features. Programs do not have to explicitly written for CrossFire to work - as this is handled by the operating system. Generally speaking - you will spend more money with a dual card setup than with a single card. The multiGPU setup is starting to catch on - might be just a matter of time before we start seeing multiGPU cards as the norm.

PCIe has much more headroom avaialbe than AGP - but that does not mean that AGP sucks in comparison. Indeed an ATI X800XL card is available in AGP 8x and will spank most cards out there except some of the higher end ATIs.

Quick rundown between the two in two critical specs -

Bandwidth: PCIe can run up to 250 MB/s per lane or 4 GB/s on x16. AGP 8x can transfer 266 MB/s in PCI mode and a maximum of 2.1 GB/s isochronous operation mode.

Power: AGP spec allowed for a maximum of 41.8W. PCIe can deliver 75W. Additional power has to be supplied with a 4-pin molex on the AGP cards - a big problem if you do not have a powersupply that can handle the extra power needs (usually means most branded machines you can pick up in retail outlests).

twinky64

Can you run a crossfire edition video card alone or is it engineered to ONLY work with another card?

If you want to run crossfire, do you have to have TWO crossfire ed. cards or can you have a regular card and a crossfire edition card?

CrossFire capable cards run just fine by themselves - do not have to run them in CrossFire mode.

If you are wanting to run CrossFire mode - you need to have two cards that support CrossFire. Cannot do this with a CrossFire card and regular videocard. Also, the specs of the cards should be the same - otherwise, the CrossFire setup will default to run them no faster than the slowest of the two.

I also assume that you have a CrossFire compatible motherboard - the only ones certified by ATI are their own CrossFire Xpress 1600/3200 chipsets and Intel 975X Express chipsets.

Also there are issues with the card pairs - as far as I know, only the X1600 and X1300 can use off the shelf cards in CrossFire mode. The X1900, X1800, X850, and X800 series of cards - must have one of the cards a CrossFire Edition card - otherwise, they will not be able to be CrossFired (kind of a master card driving another card). This might all change when newer cards hit the market.

For current info - just hit the ATI website.

twinky64

Bought ECS Elitegroup Nforce4-939 for $40

Bought Sapphire X1600 CF Ed. for $85

Bought AMD 3500+ for $75

Keeping old pc 3200 ram 1gig

Bought Raidmax X-1 Case

New pc for about $200. Yay!

Needed this because my old asus a7n-8xe deluxe mobo died

Sucks because I just bought ATI X700 about 6 months ago for $160. Now its useless and I have no idea who to sell it to. Nobody is using AGP anymore.

eBay it - someone will buy that card. Or you can keep it - since you know it is good, can be used to diagnose someone's computer somewhere or if you build up a sapre computer with AGP. The AGP port is far from dead - but still has enough bandwidth for most 3d apps. I usually keep one old AGP and PCI videocard in my computer fix-it box - invaulable when it comes times to check out a new or exisiting system for problems.