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Catalyst 10.4 CrossFire: It Keeps Getting Better
George Ross, May 14, 2010

It is that time again when we check and see what if any CrossFire performance enhancements you can expect to see from the latest release of ATI's Catalyst drivers. April's Catalyst release will be the first time I have tested this using Windows 7. So let's dive right into it.

Test Hardware
The usual 3.4GHz Core i7 setup was used to test for any CrossFire performance enhancements. Here are the particulars.

Processor Intel Core i7-920 @ 3.4GHz
Motherboard EVGA E758-TR
Memory G.SKILL Trident 6GB DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) @ 813 MHz (DDR 1626) 11-11-11-28 Triple Channel Mode
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST3250310NS 250GB 7200 RPM 32MB cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
Video Card Radeon HD 4890 @ 900 MHz core 1,000 MHz (4,000 Gb/s) memory
Catalyst 10.4
Radeon HD 4890 @ 900 MHz core 1,000 MHz (4,000 Gb/s) memory
Radeon HD 4890 @ 900 MHz core 1,000 MHz (4,000 Gb/s) memory
Catalyst 10.4
Optical Disk Drive Pioneer DVR-115DBK
Power Supply Seventeam ST-850PAF 850W
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1

Gaming Benchmarks

Using CrossFire to chase better benchmarketing numbers in 3D Mark 06 gives you a 23% performance hike.

CrossFire gives you a 65% performance boost in 3D Mark Vantage.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat gets a great boost from the added HD 4890 giving you 85% more overall averages per second.

Going the CrossFire route for playing Crysis gives you a 37% increase in overall average frames per second.

The World in Conflict Demo makes good use of CrossFire by giving you a 46% boost in overall average frames per second.

Devil May Cry 4 continues its trend of CrossFire love resulting in a 83% jump in overall average frames per second.

Even Resident Evil 5 puts CrossFire to good use by bumping up the overall average frames per second by 28%.

Looking across all the gaming benchmarks CrossFire improves the overall average frames per second by 56%. These numbers are quite good and reflect the usefulness of ATI's current multi-GPU technology.

Power Consumption
Power consumption goes up 53% in order to achieve this 56% improvement in overall average frames per second. This is defiantly nice to see. The only downside to using CrossFire is that it raises the power envelope 30% when the computer is at an idle state.

If you are considering upgrading your current ATI graphics solution and don't want to spend a fortune CrossFire is worth considering. Or if you are planning on entirely redoing your current gaming system and are and ATI fan make sure you pick a motherboard that allows for CrossFire as you may want to use it for an added graphics boost in the future. No matter what your situation is CrossFire is an ever increasingly attractive graphics upgrade option that allows you to deplete your funds across a span of time. Plus if you let enough time pass in between video card purchases your second card will most likely cost less than it did when you bought the first one. Food for thought.

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