tldr: Microstutter is not a forgone conclusion w/ Radeon cards in crossfire. CCC 11.10 fixed a microstutter problem in my system and has eliminated the need for CAPs and RadeonPro, but has disabled Saphire Trixx.
I recently had an annoying hiccup on my gaming machine. One of the Sapphire 6850s developed some artifacts and strange behavior, so I RMAed for a replacement. I was initially running CCC 11.09 + CAP 4 / 8.902 drivers(10/12/11), with Radeon Pro for CAP management and Sapphire Trixx for overclocking. This worked very well, but sadly one of the cards went south before I had much time to enjoy Witcher 2 with higher fps.
Installed the replacement card, updated the drivers, lo and behold, MICROSTUTTER! This is the bane of crossfire setups that you read about. I was getting a stutter at an almost constant 1.5s. Game was smooth except for a minor jerk that could be seen mostly when running forward. The terrain would "lunge" forward every 1.5s or so. While the fps was on average 15-20fps higher than with single card, it felt about the same speed.
Started debugging, disabled Crossfire in CCC, and STILL had MS with just one card. Hmm...
Here is where it gets interesting: Apparently CCC 11.10 attempts to disable or uninstall Sappire Trix, because I was no longer able to run it! Getting an error message saying Trixx had been disabled (?) (It seems that CCC, Radeon Pro, and Sapphire Trixx do no coexist peacefully.)
So I started over, removed the second card, and with only one card in system, was working fine. (Apparently, having both cards in the system, even with crossfire disabled was causing the problem, leading me to believe it had something to do with PCIE bus speeds or mobo setting...)
Installed second card and crossfire brigde, but did not enable crossfire right away. Tested and no MS. (hmm... did physically uninstalling and reinstalling the card change drivers?)
Enabled Crossfire, and checked to see what version of drivers were running in device manager. Noticed that onboard radeon 3300 video adapter was enabled. Disabled it.
Launched Witcher 2 (not using Radeon Pro or any CAP afaik), and W2 is running great again! No MS. Very fluid on ultra.
A couple interesting things here. It appears that installing CCC 11.10 may negate the need for a cap. I didn't explictly run RadeonPro or specify a CAP after re-installing the second card. Prior to CCC 11.10 (when I was using the original card w/ 11.09 and CAP4), I had to to specify a custom profile to get the expected fps improvement.
It also appears that installing 11.10 activated the onboard Radeon display, or it was enabled without my knowledge, and 11.10 now required it to be disabled.
Sapphire Trixx seems to have been disabled by CCC 11.10. I don't know if this was intentional or a side effect of installing CCC 11.10. When I run it now, its clock readings are fubared and no longer appear to influence the card. So I am not currently overclocking. I was able to easily OC core and memorey with Trixx, beyond what CCC allows. I am not currently overclocking.
So to summarize, CCC 11.10 is working flawlessly. It *appears* that having the onboard video adapter enabled was causing the microstutter that was not an issue with prior versions. Also, 11.10 does not appear to need a custom crossfire profile or RadeonPro, although it appears to disable Sapphire Trix.
I post this because lots of people have problems with Microstutter, this thread might help one other person from grief. My opinion on the issue of Microstutter in general is that it is prevalent, AMD is aware of it, and they provides driver updates and CCC/CAP updates in attempts to minimize or eliminate it. CAPs are applied by CCC or RadeonPro and interact with the display drivers and may be required for certain games that dont work with stock driver settings. In this particular instance, CCC 11.10 either notices that W2 is being run and automatically applies the best profile for it, or the stock profile happens to work great with W2. Microstutter is not a foregone conclusion, AMD seems to be responding with updated drivers that fix the problem (at least for my system and the games I play.)
CCC 11.10 is working great with my system (2x Sapphire 6850) on Witcher 2. I needed to disable the built in Radeon video to eliminate microstutter. I dont seem to need RadeonPro anymore, and Sapphire Trixx has been crippled by 11.10, so I am not overclocking. There you have it.
Very interesting discription of your problem and discoveries. I too have a pair of Xfire'd Saphire HD 6850s, but they are on a (x16, x16) Gigabyte 990XFA-UD3 board with no integrated graphics. I'm using CCC 11.10 as you, and running a Phenom II X4 980. I have lots of games and only experienced stuttering in one game; Deus Ex: HR. And then, only with the Missing Link DLC. The main game itself played stutter-free.
Are you saying your 2-way xfire micro stuttering has since been eliminated? Now, I'm wondering how many of those folks experiencing microstutter are using boards with onboard graphics or CPU-integrated graphics.
For those interested: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/radeon-geforce-stutter-cr...
I recently built this system with the intention of using crossfired 6850s. I do not believe there were any MS problems with the first crossfire card, but it did require installation of RadeonPro, CAP4, and creation of a custom cap to get the current game I am playing, Witcher 2, to give me the expected fps improvement. I was impressed with the performance I was getting, but unhappy with the need to create a custom cap. Then the new card died before I had a chance to try out crossfire on all the games.
I only had a microstutter problem with the replacement card (and the new 11.10CCC that I installed at the same time.) I noticed that the onboard adapter was enabled. Disabling that seems to have completely eliminated stutter, but i was not having that problem with the previous driver. My board is a Gigabyte 16x/8x, but runs crossfire at 8x/8x.
I believe that Tom's hardware proclaiming that Microstutter is a foregone conclusion with crossfire cards is a bit irresponsible. There are too many uncontrolled variables. They certainly were seeing it in their test config, but I can confirm that with correct drivers and system config you can eliminate it. I do not think there is a problem with the underlying technology, just that its nearly impossible to control all configurations of mobo, gpus, and drivers. Also, I believe that AMD has the ability to correct the problem with improved drivers, so it is worthwhile pursuit to at least try updated drivers (maybe even backdated ones) and play with system configuration.
My system is working perfectly with identical sapphire 6850s, and a gigabyte mobo at 8/8. This required installing 11.10 and disabling onboard graphics. System is very user friendly now and does not require any custom profiles (for games I have played). ymmv.
thanks. i was just reading "Micro-Stuttering And GPU Scaling In CrossFire And SLI" and decided to do a google to see if amd has fixed this, saw your post, now i will continue with future plans of world domination... i mean xfireing my 6850.