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Software Crossfire - Yay or Nay?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 5, 2011 4:51:45 PM

So I've been searching around for some hard data on Software Crossfire and I'm coming up short. I found a website with benchmarks from 2006 (http://xtreview.com/addcomment-id-1018-view-software-vs...) but I assume the drivers have gotten better since then. Thing is, even in 2006 the average drop from hardware to software was 12% and it seemed to vary wildly from 1% all the way up to 48%. I just accidentally bought a card from Micro Center that was software crossfire only (it's the HIS 4670 ICEQ with a gig of ddr3; I think it's basically this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) but my other card does support hardware crossfire, so should I just return it and get a hardware enabled one? My computer's pretty beastly, so if it just means my i7 has to do a little extra work, I don't think the 8 cores on it ever get close to 100% so I can't imagine it'll make a significant difference. Plus fan noises drive me INSANE so Iceq would be sweet.
In short, is software crossfire a rip-off? And if so, is there another 4670 with 1gb ddr3 that does do hardware crossfire? My old 4670 is AMD/ATI brand but I don't think it's sold anymore, so before I go ordering a Diamond or Visitek or whatnot off newegg, I'd need to be sure it's gonna work.
Thanks!
~doui
P.S. PLEASE don't just say "yes software crossfire is a rip-off." I'm looking for some sort of data or evidence, even if it's just your own experience.

My compy -
64-bit Windows 7
DX58SO
i7 920
4x2gb DDR3
AMD HD Radeon 4670
February 5, 2011 7:14:12 PM

I'm going to be honest here, upgrade your graphics card rather than set it up in a crossfire configuration. Get the GTX 460 or HD6850, since it's equivalent to the performance of the HD4670 in Crossfire. Also I would like to note, you would not use as much energy as you would with two graphics cards. It would also be nice to see the specs of your power supply.

HD4670 < 9800 GT
9800 GT SLI = GTX 280
GTX 280 = GTX 460 = HD6850
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February 5, 2011 7:22:32 PM

See that's the point, though; one brand new HD6850 for $170 gives me the same performance as my 4670 (which I already own) + a new one for $70. I wouldn't do it unless I already owned a 4670. Oh yeah, sorry, forgot about the power supply; it's 700 watts.
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February 6, 2011 6:03:20 AM

Are you referring to it as "software" cross fire because it doesn't have X-fire bridge pins on the card? The 4xxx cards don't use them.
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February 7, 2011 2:18:10 AM

The box of the HIS 4670 literally says "software crossfire" on it. And my other 4670 very clearly has bridge pins, unless I'm mistaken about what you mean by bridge pins. Plus the ubiquitous ATI crossfire chart (http://game.amd.com/us-en/content/images/crossfirex/CF_...) lists 4670's as "Internal ATI crossfireX Interconnect" in direct contrast to "No Connection Required."
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February 7, 2011 4:08:11 AM

That would require a crossfire ready mobo.
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February 7, 2011 12:19:03 PM

Quote:
That would require a crossfire ready mobo.


Do you mean that's what's meant by "Internal ATI crossfireX Interconnect" vs. "No Connection Required?" Or that software crossfire requires a crossfire ready motherboard? Either way, my DX58SO is crossfire ready, and, my original question was if software crossfire was significantly worse than hardware crossfire. I would really appreciate an answer to that, since it determines whether or not I return my current video card and buy a Diamond 4670 capable of hardware crossfire (this picture clearly shows the crossfire bridge pins http://www.provantage.com/diamond-multimedia-4670pe31gd... in contrast to the HIS 4670 which has no bridge pins.)
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February 7, 2011 3:32:12 PM

Since it has the bridge pins, than you should use a crossfire bridge. It should work without it without a significant performance decrease, especially if your motherboard runs the pcie slots 1 & 2 at x16, x16 in x-fire instead of x8, x8. That is the only 4670 card I have ever seen with an X-fire bridge connector, and all of the other specs. are the same. This tells me that the data transfer rate from card to card won't exceed the PCIe bus limits, so no need for the bridge.
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February 7, 2011 4:54:40 PM

Spectacular, thanks so much jockey. The DX58SO does run x16, x16 and so far, I'm seeing a huge increase in performance. I'll take some benchmarking stats, just for curiosities sake and post them, but unless I find a really good deal on a Direct X 11 enabled card, I'm probably going to stick with this. Huzzah!
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February 7, 2011 4:54:51 PM

Best answer selected by douipastor.
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February 7, 2011 6:43:13 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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