Well...I they're going to be closer than that review shows. That was using the Catalyst 7.7 driver. 7.8 improved performance 11% (or so everyone says), and 7.9 nearly matched that.
A closer comparison would be if you had a crossfire of X1950GTs, but they're nonexistent, so, let's take the XT (from Tomshardware dual card charts) and subtract about 20% of Oblivion framerate.
That's 24 frames per second.
I can personally attest that the HD2600XT DDR4 is faster (not a lot, but some) at 1280x1024 than the X1950GT, at least in Oblivion.
By the way, anybody want to tell me how to output a framerate test with FRAPS? I'd love to not just look at the number and try and guess what my min/max/avg are.
I can say that with everything turned on, I was getting around 17. AA turned off, it was a bit above twenty. Peak, who knows, the inventory throws it off, as do load screens. No idea about min, I saw it hit 7 frames, but hard drive was being accessed, and I don't have a stellar system.
Oh, and in synthetic benchmarks, the HD2600XT is about the level of the X1950PRO.
Thank you very much for all your answers. Lots of info in here in a very good forum with excellent members.
Its not an easy decision, more if we consider the price.
I can get the 2 HD2600 XT for about 80 € each so 160 € total vs the 250 € the 8800 GTS will cost.
Also It seems that SLi is a more mature technology that already had more time to correct errors vs Crossfire that is more recent and has been correcting errors and improving performance on each new driver release.
About compatibility with games I read in many places and the idea I had was that Crossfire was 100% compatible with all games from the box with no need of any special driver or profile for each game.
On the contrary SLi needs a special profile developed by Nvidia to each game they want SLi to support so each driver release gives support to new games but its driver dependant.
Is this wrong?
I think it's right, actually, because of the difference between the way each works. nVidia often has a philosophy (heard from their chief researcher when he visited my university) that if they can shortcut things, and accomplish the same result, then that's the way to do it. Things like not doing calculations for what it looks like behind that tree in the game you're playing. It gives a performance boost to do edge detection, because even though you're processing to find the edge, it's still less than shading everything behind the tree.
ATI may be doing that now, too, but they don't talk about it. Anybody know?
But anyway, it's the same kind of philosophy. nVidia probably isn't going to bother making SLI work on DIABLO, or Bookworm Deluxe, because people are never going to see those games in a context where they need SLI.
Crossfire is mature these days, IMHO. The X1950 series made that so, with the addition of the internal cables.
Finally, if you're going to crossfire HD2600XT's GET THE DDR4 VERSION!
I can't stress that enough. RAM is a major bottleneck for ATI cards atm.
Doing that, though, may push the price above the 8800GTS for a crossfire setup...and I'd say, get the 8800GTS if that's the case.
Sigh, why do people keep making threads about dual configs? No matter how many times we tell them ONLY run dual configs if you're using the highest end card out there and need more. There's no point in running dual midrange cards, you're just wasting money and increasing heat, power consumption, and slots on your board, risking possible game incompatibility/driver issues, all for lower performace.
If you're gonna get dual anything get x1950pro's, they're far better performing than the 2600's and about the same price, but once again it's pointless to crossfire in this situation.
There is something to be said for incremental payments, and I don't think that should be discouraged. Also, what's the point in crossfiring the fastest cards out there? It ONLY has merit on the LATEST games, at the HIGHEST resolutions at the HIGHEST settings. Compromise on any of those points, and you don't need SLI/Crossfire.
The HD2600XT crossfire is about a new option, financially, for getting the $250 level of performance which is absent from today's market.
Yep, I just claimed the HD2600XT CF is ATI's $250 graphics solution.