Attempting Crossfire


A couple of months ago I bought Crysis for my PC. My PC has a reasonable spec, with a dual core processor, as much RAM as 32bit Windows can support without crashing and a mid-range graphics card (X1950 Pro). However, Crysis could barely run with this spec even on the lowest settings. Setting up Crossfire should approximately double performance.

When I last upgraded my computer, I spent quite a bit of time researching motherboards, looking for ones with Crossfire support in particular. Crossfire motherboards have 2 of the larger PCI-X slots, though they don’t necessarily both run at x16 speeds. The X1950 Pro card that I already had supports Crossfire mode without having to purchase a special master card – all that is needed are two identical cards.

The card I already owned had just 256MB RAM, but when I purchased it’s companion card there were only 512MB versions available. It was a bit of a gamble, since the configurations weren’t identical, but fortunately Crossfire mode worked beautifully. When in Crossfire mode, the cards appear as one single card to Windows with 256MB RAM, but with a significant performance gain.

I’m not going to bother with taking benchmarks, but I can confirm that Crossfire did help run Crysis on low settings. I think to run it on highest settings I’d probably have to spend quite a chunk of cash, which I can’t really justify at the moment.

This test of Crossfire was only a temporary setup because the new card is really noisy and I had to borrow a more powerful power supply from another computer – Crossfire mode requires a PSU that can supply at least 550W. So until I can afford to buy another power supply, the second card is sitting on the floor underneath my desk.

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