Catalyst: The Last Piece Of The Puzzle
The last piece of this puzzle is the software. ATI's unified driver architecture, Catalyst, is exactly what the word implies: a tool for making the hardware operate seamlessly. The drivers and user interface are all incorporated into a neat package, much like they have been in the past. From what we have heard, the control panel will stop being supported some time in the future, however - much to the chagrin of enthusiasts.
Hardware tweakers will also be disappointed in another respect: they will not have control over the various CrossFire calculation modes, because Catalyst's AI chooses which mode is used for each game. If the driver does not recognize a particular game, the AI will automatically select SuperTiling for Direct 3D and Scissor Mode for OpenGL.
However, the level of Anisotropic Filtering, Anti-Aliasing, and the SuperAA mode will be freely configurable.
Finally, CrossFire and Catalyst have one major ease-of-use advantage over SLI: NO MORE REBOOTING! I remember back at the launch of Windows XP, and the hope we all had of fewer reboots. Unlike most other functions with XP and even SLI, if you wish to enable or disable CrossFire, you no longer have to reboot the system. It is enabled or disabled with the click of the mouse!