I'm looking to build a new computer this holiday season for myself and have a question about crossfire and what motherboard would be the best. I'm thinking about crossfiring two ati 4850 radeon graphic cards. I have read all the reviews and I'm thinking this might be the best bang for the buck. I'm using a 24'' widescreen monitor so I'll be gaming at 1920 x 1200. There are two motherboards I'm looking at.
The P5Q Pro Says 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, support ATI CrossFireX technology at x8 link. Is this going to hurt my frame rate? If not I'll go with the cheaper board. Also is crossfire really worth it, or should I stick with a more expensive single card? Finally if crossfire is really worth it I have heard that a quad core processor runs the best for a crossfire setup over a dual core processor is this true? So many questions I know but I'm a tad bit confused with all these options and maybe asking questions will ease my mind.
Just so you know I'm currently running a Pentium 4 3.0 with a ati X800Pro Video Card. My system will be 5 years old in March, so whatever I choose it will be lasting myself for a long time!
The problem, as I see it is not your current, but future needs. To work, Crossfire needs special 'profiles' to be added to the card drivers, one for each, and every, game supported. There in is the problem, in two years time, at most AMD will stop adding these profiles to the drivers for your cards so in a few years you`ll not get that support.
Right now, the crossfire option IS the best bang for buck, but if you intend to keep the system for a few years, a single more expensive single card would be the best way to go even though it`s currently more costly.
And no, I do n`t think the 4850 will be badly impaired with a X8 board.
What is your budget? xfire or SLI can bring to the table what a single GPU can't, that is pretty undisputed. The drawback is what coozie is getting at, the performance depends on the driver support a lot more than with a single GPU.
The best xfire or SLI setup to get is x58 mobo with the i7 but it is going to cost you a pretty penny. Next down the list is x48 in order to get the x16 mode with a quad core. Quads are better for xfire or SLI than dual cores. Read this Guru3D article to get a sense of how each setup handles xfire.
I could also wait a couple months to get my second graphic card if it's not in my budget right now. The thing is I want this computer to last at least 4 years before any major upgrades again. If ati stops supporting crossfire for my card after a couple years I can see this as being a big problem now. I have looked at the i7 setup, the only thing I don't like is having to spend 200+ for 6gigs of memory. It might be where I'm headed, but if a crossfire or sli setup will only last a couple years I might have to go for a dual core and a single graphics card to save some money.
You simply cannot build for the future. Get the best you can afford right now. People can speculate on what is coming up, but are you willing to be throwing a ton money to have the latest greatest thing? If you are on a budget, no way. There will ALWAYS be something better/cheaper/faster right around the corner.
With a Q6600 (only get this processor if you plan to overclock it) and a pair of 4850's is great gaming solution, and it will last you at least a couple of years.
Don't worry about the 8x speed too much, it won't have that much of an impact on the 4850's. If you are not going to overclock, and must stay with an inexpensive processor, buy an e8400 or e8500 dual core. They will be better for gaming than un-overclocked quad at 2.4ghz.
I will be overclocking a bit, I'll use the stock fan for now and maybe goto a different air cooler down the road if I want to get alittle more out of my processor, so I won't be doing any extreme overclocking. I'm not building for the future I'd just like my 300 dollar purchase on a video card last me as long as possible. To all those who have a wife know where I'm coming from because constant purchases of video cards will lead to..... well quite simply hell