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ATI's announces the latest perk of CrossFire

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."

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RE: Two problems I see...
By phatboye on 6/6/2006 8:34:02 AM , Rating: 3
The 3 slot configuration is for people who upgrade their computers down the line like he said in the summery above. Yes putting two GPUs on a single card would be great but not everyone could afford such a card. Instead what ATI is suggesting is that customers could buy one card at a time until they have 3 cards in total, two dedicated for GFX processing and one dedicated for physics processing.

Your solution would be better though if GPUs weren't so expensive.

as far as your second point is concerned, this is AGEIA's first product so don't expect it to be great. As time goes by and the AGEIA engineers get more time to perfect their product I'm sure their PPUs will get substantially better.

RE: Two problems I see...
By goku on 6/6/2006 1:36:53 PM , Rating: 2
Actually no, his idea really DOES make sense. If you've got the money for two X1900XTX etc.. then they should just allow the consumer to just stick with dual slot motherboards, turn that old X1600 into a phyiscs card, and then purchase a dual X1900XTX card instead of buying two cards so that you need three slots and a redesigned motherboard. Sticking with two slots is a better idea, just use the second slot for the physics card and the first slot for a dual video card. If they do get three slots boards, it would be for quad card crossfire+physics. Eitherway I'd still rather have a company like ageia become successful with their physics card as it's not easy to pioneer in a technology like this, plus I don't have to buy another motherboard just to get physics which I would have to if I were to go with the ATI idea. Physics card+PCI/1X/2XPCIe slot IMO makes more sense, you don't really need all that bandwidth, it's not like they're textures or anything..

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