Dual Graphics Platforms, Part II

The ATI & NVIDIA South Bridge Royal Rumble

This time we overclocked the ATI and NVIDIA chipsets, checked their storage performance, and added VIA's new K8T900 chipset. Again, we cross-benchmarked it using both ATI and NVIDIA graphics cards.

Recently we began the quest for the best dual graphics platform. As a matter of course, ATI's Radeon Xpress 200 Crossfire Edition challenged NVIDIA's nForce4 SLI X16 chipset, since these two are the platform choices for anybody who wants serious 3D power. Other options could easily become problems, since neither ATI nor NVIDIA are particularly crazy about releasing technology licenses.

Intel's 975X dual graphics chipset is a promising option for those who favor the Intel platform, but boards won't begin to hit retail before January. VIA is ready for K8T900 shipments, but again, it will take some time until we see final products. While ATI Crossfire runs on Intel's new platform - and should also be available on some nice Yonah based desktop motherboards - VIA support neither technology yet. Summarized, ATI supports AMD/Crossfire platforms, Intel supplies an Intel/Crossfire solution and NVIDIA ships SLI platform products for both processor vendors. VIA and SiS technically could do so, maybe later.

Thus far, ATI Crossfire tends to be the slightly more flexible solution when it comes to dual graphics configurations, while it is beaten by NVIDIA's SLI chipset in the areas of features and maturity of the overall product. The latter becomes obvious when looking at NVIDIA's comprehensive software suite, which ATI is still lacking.

This article is the second part of our dual graphics chipsets evaluation for the current AMD platform, and deals with overclocking and the storage subsystems of both chipset solutions. While we were doing our testing, VIA's K8T900 reference motherboard arrived at our test lab. Although there is no dual graphics support from either ATI or NVIDIA available today, we included the platform in our general benchmarking lineup.