Two's company, three's a crowd -- that is a saying around
these parts. ATI is looking to make "three" the magic number when it
comes to physics on desktop PCs. ATI today announced at Computex an asymmetric
CrossFire configuration that allows gamers to pair two graphics cards in a
traditional CrossFire mult-GPU setup with a third graphics card dedicated
solely to handling physics. This would also explain why ATI has been winking
and nodding for manufacturers to include three physical 16x slots on their
new motherboards according to our well-placed sources.
This opens up a whole new level of possibilities when it
comes not only to physics in current and future games, but also has the
potential to shape how a gamer chooses to upgrade his or her rig. Take for
example a gamer that is using a single Radeon X1600 Pro graphics card right now
and decides that they want to kick it up few notches and go with dual Radeon X1900 class graphics cards in CrossFire mode for maximum performance. Instead of simply
tossing the Radeon X1600 Pro aside to collect dust in a corner somewhere or selling it
for much less than you paid for it, you can now (if you motherboard supports
it) use that “odd man out” to do some actual work.
ATI is of course thrilled with the possibilities that this
opens up for gamers (along with the possibility of gamers going out to buy yet
another ATI-based graphics card) and is throwing more resources into its
CrossFire certification program. This latest move in CrossFire physics is an
intriguing solution and one that could be quite
a bit cheaper than a dedicated physics solution for gamers who already are
packing dual ATI graphics cards. Here's a statement from ATI's press release:
"The addition of
physics to the CrossFire platform, and the continuing evolution of CrossFire is
based directly on the feedback of hardcore gamers - CrossFire is not ATI's
platform, it's gamers' platform," said Godfrey Cheng, Director of
Marketing, Platform Technologies, ATI Technologies Inc., responsible for ATI's
CrossFire strategy. "Asymmetrical physics support, broader certification,
and untouchable overclockability are a direct result of gamers' input.
CrossFire will continue to evolve to be more open, flexible and easy to use
without sacrificing performance, and it starts with boundless gaming."