Last November, NVIDIA reincarnated the idea of dual graphics cards in a single system; since the launch of its SLI technology, the company has ruled the performance roost without competition in the dual graphics space. But in the single card segment, ATI has held the crown, and in June they revealed their answer for multi-GPU platforms as well: a new platform called CrossFire.
ATI's rebuttal was short lived, because only a few weeks later, NVIDIA launched their 7800GTX graphics cards, taking away the single card crown. Since that time, the elite segment of the high performance gaming market has been consumed by NVIDIA sales. Over 2 million SLI chipsets have been sold, and countless high end cards as well.
CrossFire brings a breath of fresh air to the market along with its rather attractive features. The question is whether getting into the game this late is going to be an insurmountable obstacle for ATI. Did "promising the goods without delivering them" put ATI behind the 8-ball in the community? The concern is how many people will go for CrossFire now that they have become accustomed to SLI.
Still, anyone who is a fan of bleeding edge performance and stellar image quality will probably think that CrossFire is the shot in the arm the industry has been looking for. Even though ATI has been at a disadvantage for so long, as you will see in the performance figures, NVIDIA's lead has all but disappeared. This new competition should heat everything up to give consumers the best bang for our collective buck.