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Catalyst 9.11 CrossFire: Performance is Down
George Ross, November 22, 2009

It is time once again to look at CrossFire performance and see if this months Catalyst release packs in any CrossFire performance enhancements. Let's find out.

Test Hardware
All tests were conducted on the old 3.8GHz Deneb rig here are the particulars.

Processor AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition @ 3.8GHz
Motherboard FOXCONN A79A-S
Memory G.SKILL 4GB DDR2 1100 (PC2 8800) @ 533MHz (DDR 1066) 5-5-5-15 Dual Channel Mode
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST3250310NS 250GB 7200 RPM 32MB cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
Video Cards MSI Radeon HD 4890 @ 880 MHz core 999 MHz (3996 Gb/s) memory
Catalyst 9.11
MSI Radeon HD 4890 @ 880 MHz core 999 MHz (3996 Gb/s) memory
MSI Radeon HD 4890 @ 880 MHz core 999 MHz (3996 Gb/s) memory
Catalyst 9.11
Optical Disk Drive Pioneer DVR-215DBK
Power Supply Rosewill Xtreme RX750-S-B 750W
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1

Gaming Benchmarks

Using CrossFire gives you a 17% increase in 3D Marks in 3D Mark 06.

CrossFire yields an 8% increase in overall average frames per second in the Unreal Tournament III.

In Crysis the CrossFire setup only manages to outpace the single card setup by only 2%. However it is clear that using CrossFire to play Crysis does pay off with the higher resolutions and higher quality settings.

In World in Conflict the CrossFire setup only outpaces the the single GPU setup by less than 1% in overall average frames per second in these tests, but notice how the CrossFire setup starts to outpace the single GPU setup under the higher resolutions and quality settings.

Devil May Cry 4 shows us how CrossFire should perform across all games by giving you an 82% increase in overall average frames per second when compared to the single GPU setup.

Resident Evil 5 continues to prefer a single GPU over CrossFire.

Taking all game tests into consideration the CrossFire setup bests the single GPU setup by 30%.

Power Consumption
More chips equals more power consumed.

It appears that CrossFire is moving backwards as CrossFire performance was better with the Catalyst 9.9. This does not mean that CrossFire is a complete dud as it does allow you to play certain games at higher quality settings and higher resolutions. Just be sure that the game you want to have more eye candy plays well with CrossFire if you already have an ATI based graphics card and are thinking of adding another.

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