CrossFire-X, eXplored


Welcome to Part 3 of our Diamond HD4890-XOC complete examination. Karan did a great job with the preview and we continued on with the benchmarks in Part 2. We are now testing with Catalyst 9-5 which you can directly compare with Catalyst 9-4 from our last article for the Diamond HD4890-XOC, the HD4870 and the HD4870-X2. You can directly judge the progress ATi is making with their drivers.  However, since this review is completely about CrossFire and CrossFire-X scaling, we have not updated Nvidia’s drivers since last article’s 182.08 – in fact, we will not be comparing Nvidia hardware at all!  That is reserved for our next Big GPU Shootout, Revisited that we are benchmarking for you right now.

This CrossFire-X eXplored review features Diamond’s HD4890-XOC (925/1050) compared with a stock HIS HD4890 (850/975) and also in various CrossFire and CrossFire-X configurations.  By doing this, we compare HD4890 and HD4890 CrossFire against last generation’s HD4870 and HD4870-X2; the  4870-X2 representing HD4870 CrossFire.  We are also exploring TriFire, Diamond’s HD4890-XOC paired with AMD’s fastest card HD4870-X2 as compared to the more usual configuration, HD4870-X2 plus HD4870.

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We are continuing to test at two of the most popular demanding wide-screen resolutions, 1680×1050 and 1920×1200, 4xAA plus 16xAF and with maximum DX10 details whenever it is available and with our Q9550S overclocked to 4.0 GHz. We are particularly going to pay attention to our Diamond HD4890-XOC in CrossFire-X configurations compared to the older HD4870 in similar configurations; and we will even overclock the older card further (750/900 to 800/1050) to see how it scales in CrossFire-X compared with our HD4890′s scaling.

Our single GPU reference cards are:

  • HD4870 (750/900 & 800/1050) – stock and overclocked
  • HD4890 (750/900, 850/975 & 925/1050) – underclocked, stock and overclocked

CrossFire/CrossFire-X are represented by:

  • HD4870-X2 (750/900) stock speeds – very similar to 4870 CrossFire at stock speeds
  • HD4870 (750/900) + HD4890 (750/900) – stock 4870 plus 4890 underclocked to 4870 speeds
  • HD4890 (925/1050) + HD4870 (750/900) – stock 4890 plus stock 4870
  • HD4890 (925/1050) + HD4870 (800/1050) – overclocked 4890 plus overclocked 4870
  • HD4890-CrossFire (850/975) – 4890 stock clocked CrossFire
  • HD4890-CrossFire (925/1050) – overclocked 4890 CrossFire

Tri-Fire CrossFire-X3 is represented by:

  • HD4870-X2 + HD4870 (750/900) – stock 4870-X2 plus stock 4870
  • HD4870-X2 + HD4890 (925/1050) – stock 4870-X2 plus overclocked 4890

We are paying particular attention to HD4890 scaling in CrossFire and also paired with HD4870 and HD4870-X2 in CrossFire-X configurations.  We do want to note here that we observed some irregularities with Catalyst 9-5 drivers compared with last month’s 9-4.  Two games that we tested were noticeably faster with Catalyst 9-5 than with Catalyst 9-4 for HD4890, but slower for HD4870.  Overall, we would say that CrossFire results were overall positive but mixed for HD4870-X2 with Catalyst 9-5 as compared to the earlier drivers.

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apoppin

Founder and Senior Editor of ABT.