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CrossfireX Confusion

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December 12, 2010 5:39:07 AM

OK, first off, I'm new here, since this is my first time building a PC, and this website popped up a lot for answers. My questions for the experts is about ATI's CrossfireX ability, in general:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is an Asus motherboard I'm looking at, and it fits the bill for what I'm looking for when it comes to ports, however, it says it has CrossfireX technology, and that it has 2 PCI 2.0 slots, however in detail, it says one is @ 16x and the other is @ 4x. I'm new to this kind of stuff, so I'm guessing that if I were to try and use any 2 graphics cards together, one would only be working at 4x the capacity. Strangely, though, it looks like both slots are exactly the same size, so I'm very confused by this.
Now, I just want to tell you that I'm mainly trying to make a video editing rig first, a gaming pc second, so I know graphics cards aren't the most important things for video editing despite popular belief, but what I'm trying to ask is this: Is CrossfireX really worth it? Would it work efficiently on this motherboard considering one slot is at 4x the capacity instead of 16x? If it would, what would you recommend as a good Radeon pairing of graphics cards? If it wouldn't, what Radeon card would be best as a standalone for my kind of PC?

I'm on a budget, so I'd say if you could recommend me a decent card, it'd have to be under 150$. I really hope you can help me out here, it's the first time I've ever built a PC, and it's very frustrating.

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a b U Graphics card
December 12, 2010 6:09:50 AM

Your best bet is to get the fastest single card for the money.
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a b U Graphics card
December 12, 2010 6:28:25 AM

Crossfire in a nutshell allows two video cards to work together to bring usually close to 160-199% of normal power. All PCIe 2.0 slots (x4/x8/x16) are all the same size. The difference is how much data can travel that slot. A x4 (Instead of a x8 or a x16) would make your crossfire run in x16/x4 instead of x16/x8 or x16/x16. The power of Crossfire would be reduced by about 5-10%. Which means if your Crossfire would yield 190%, then it would only yeild 180-185%.

Crossfire (ATI ONLY) and SLI (Nvidia ONLY) do increase gaming performnance by quite a bit. The problem is-Your spending twice as much money. Video editiing would not see the benefit of two cards. Your best bet is to spend that extra money on a single card.

mmmm Look at:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Its a ATI 5770. I believe it would fit your needs the best that you can with your budget. You could also look at the:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Either would suit your needs. Though if you want to crossfire later on you might want to get the 5770.
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a b U Graphics card
December 12, 2010 6:31:59 AM

Another thing i wanted to add was that Crossfire is more flexible:

A 5850 would work with:
5870
5850
5830

A 5770 would work with:
5770
5750

SLI you have to have the same model. The company who makes it such as Palit or Asus or MSI can be different. Another fact is the Crossfire/SLI will only run as fast as the slowest card...
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December 12, 2010 6:34:34 AM

Best answer selected by SmashBro722.
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a c 359 U Graphics card
December 12, 2010 6:35:41 AM

Not an expert, but...


You picked one of the inexpensive X-Fire capable motherboard. Generally PCI-e 16x + PCI-e 4x will not be much of an issue as long as both cards are only moderately fast Radeon video cards like the HD 5770. There will still be a minor bottleneck, but it should not be too much.

More expensive X-Fire capable motherboards will have PCI-e 8x + PCI-e 8x. This will be better for moderately fast Radeons since there won't be any bottleneck issues. But this will bottleneck highend Radeons like the HD 5970.

At the highend (most expensive) are X-Fire motherboards that have PCI-e 16x + PCI-e 16x. There should be no bottleneck whatsoever.

The fastest Radeon for under $150 is the HD 5830, the lowest price is $140 after a $30 mail-in rebate. They do run a bit hot and are rather power hungry; uses the same core as the more powerful HD 5850 / HD 5870.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Next up is the HD 5770 and a plain vanilla version can be bought for as low as $106 after a $15 MIR. However, I generally recommend one which exhaust hot air out the rear of the card like the one from HIS.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
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a b U Graphics card
December 12, 2010 6:35:42 AM

SmashBro722 said:
I'm on a budget, so I'd say if you could recommend me a decent card, it'd have to be under 150$. I really hope you can help me out here, it's the first time I've ever built a PC, and it's very frustrating.


Haha im in the same boat. Just finished putting the Video Card/Motherboard/Case together. The rest is coming on christmas... I'm really nervous about dead parts, and i have AWFUL luck... :lol:  So you can all cross your fingers for me and smash :) .
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a b U Graphics card
December 12, 2010 6:38:26 AM

I didn't see a 5830 for under 150... Was it the XFX? If thats the case, then definitely go for the 5830. It doesn't have THAT much more power over my recomendations, but its worth the few extra dollars...
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a b U Graphics card
December 12, 2010 6:42:00 AM

The x8 'bottleneck' is like 1%, maybe 3% if you have a really nice card in there...
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December 12, 2010 5:22:27 PM

I know this thread is marked as solved, but you know what? tomshardware did a PCI-e scaling article a while back and concluded that when you have a 16x 4x configuration then both cards will run at 4x, thus the performance impact may be more than most of the guys posted here expect.
My recommendation is to forget CF with this mobo and go for the best single GPU your money can buy. See tom's latest best GPU for your money article.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
December 12, 2010 6:43:45 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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