ATI announces Crossfire Multi-GPU platform

Taipei - ATI catches up with Nvidia and offers gamers a platform to combine two graphics cards within one PC. "Crossfire" is on display at Computex and will be shipping in July.

ATI’s multi graphics processor technology is late to the party considering the fact that Nvidia has shipped well over a million Scalable Link Interface (SLI) capable nForce chipsets within the past six months and dominates the high-end gaming scene. However, ATI says that its Crossfire technology delivers "the best performance, image quality and game compatibility in the industry."

While these claims still have to verified, the announcement confirmed earlier reports about the general characteristics of the technology. Most importantly, a Crossfire system only needs one Crossfire capable card - which can be coupled with a non-Crossfire enabled card of the same family.

In contrast to Nvidia’s SLI, calla for special software support in order to take advantage of the increased graphics horsepower, ATI said Crossfire "automatically works with every game, new or old, without requiring special game profiles or driver updates."

The Radeon X850 Crossfire Edition cards, with 256 MB of graphics memory can be paired with any standard Radeon X850 based graphics card. The Radeon X800 Crossfire Edition graphics cards, which come with either 128 MB or 256 MB of graphics memory, can be paired with any Radeon X800 series graphics card.

ATI did not say which chipsets will be Crossfire-capable, but advertised its Radeon Xpress 200 Crossfire Edition as "optimal" platform. Boards carrying the chipset will be offered by Asus, DFI, ECS, Gigabyte, MSI, PC Partner, Sapphire and TUL. Crossfire Edition cards will be available for example from ATI as well as Abit, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, Sapphire, TUL, and Visiontek.

ATI did not comment on advanced capabilities of Crossfire - such as the rumored support of up to 32 graphics processors - and held back pricing information. Tier 1 graphics card builders however indicated that Crossfire cards as well as boards will cost about 2 to 5 percent less than comparable SLI solutions.