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Software Crossfire

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December 30, 2010 9:25:08 PM

I built myself what I thought would be a nice system over the break. Only problem is my pair of video cards does not Crossfire. I called Powercolor and they told me that my cards don't do hardware Crossfire (with the bridge cables) only software crossfire using the motherboards PCI bus. How do I find out if my Motherboard is capable of software Crossfire, and how do I enable it if it is? So far ASROCK has not returned my request for support.

CASE ROSEWILL BLACKBONE RT $39.99
CPU AMD|ATH II X4 640 3.0G AM3 RT $99.99
HD 500G|WD 7K 16M SATA2 WD5000AAKS - OEM $49.99
MEM 4Gx2|GSKILL F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL $119.99
MB ASROCK| 870 EXTREME3 R $89.99
(2) VGA PWRCLR| AX4850 512MD3-HV3 R $189.98
PSU ANTEC|EA650 RT $69.99
DVD BURNER SAMSUNG | SH-S223L $17.99

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December 30, 2010 9:37:13 PM
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Your motherboard does support crossfire, at 8x/8x.

I'm not sure how this is supposed to work, as ATI gives conflicting information:
December 30, 2010 9:49:10 PM

Shadow187,

Thank you very much for the quick response. I know that my motherboard supports Crossfire at 8x/8x, what I need to know is two things.

1) Does my motherboard support SOFTWARE Crossfire and,
2) If so, how do I enable it on the motherboard?

Here's a little more data to consider. Both video cards show up in Device Manage in Windows 7 64-bit, both are reported as problem free, but only the first card shows up in Catalyst Control Center, and the option to enable or configure Crossfire settings is greyed out. And when I say the cards don't support hardware Crossfire, what I mean is that they don't have connectors for plugging in the usual Crossfire Bridge cables.
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December 30, 2010 10:10:56 PM

What I'm saying is that ATI is saying that their HD4850 cards do not support software crossfire (they require "Internal Crossfire Interconnect"). I've spent a half hour searching and I can't find any way to enable software-crossfire. It should be in the drivers and if it can work it should.
December 30, 2010 10:44:03 PM

Shadow187,

Thank you again, but Powercolor has already told me that my cards support software crossfire only. There is no place to plug interconnect cables. Follow the link below for a good image of the card, where you can clearly see the lack of connectors.

<http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://img.bestdire...;

Sooooo, either these cards do support software crossfire (with a compatible motherboard) or Powercolor is lying about the crossfire capability of their cards.

BTW, here is the link to the actual card I bought from Newegg. Their pictures aren't as good.

<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...;
December 30, 2010 11:03:56 PM

I fully understand that and my post shows that I do understand that. What I'm saying is that ATI (the people making the cards) says the HD4850 does not support software crossfire. I would assume that this statement supersedes powercolour's.
January 1, 2011 4:39:36 PM

Thank you again, Shadow187,

I could not find anything from ATI stating that my cards chipsets don't support software crossfire. That would make Powercolor's claims dubious at best, and fraudelent at worst. Do you remember where you found that information? Can you send me a link? I would like to include it in my email to Powercolor and Newegg.
January 11, 2011 12:00:24 AM

Still hoping the community can answer this for me....

So, ASRock technical support tells me that my 870 Extreme3 motherboard does not support "bridgeless" CrossFire. I wrote both ATI and Powercolor technical support and requested a list of recommended or tested motherboards that do support "bridgeless" Crossfire (as described to my by the technical support team at Powercolor). So far neither company has responded to my request.

I returned the Powercolor HD 4850 cards to Newegg and purchased two Sapphire HD 4850 (model 100245HDMI) cards instead. Sapphire kindly includes a CrossFire cable in each retail box. I installed the cards with their bridge cables and...voila...instant CrossFire. My system is a thing of beauty, exactly what I was expecting when I put it together in the first place. My framerate almost doubles when running in CrossFire mode.

I have a sneaky suspicion that there is no such thing as "bridgeless" CrossFire--at least with respect to this chipset--and that Powercolor has simply left the CrossFire connectors off this model card to increase their profit margin. I would not complain about this strategy--clearly targeted at the budget crowd--except that Powercolor markets this card as supporting CrossFire--which it clearly does not.

If anyone here can correct my conclusion, please speak now. I will gladly withdraw my criticisms of Powercolor if anyone can show how to run these cards in CrossFire mode without the bridge cables.
January 11, 2011 4:11:17 AM

Thanks, Shadow187. Sorry it took me so long to figure out what you were trying to say. It's pretty clear that ATI doesn't consider the 4850 chipset capable of "software" or "bridgeless" CrossFire.
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