by Rob Williams on December 27, 2010 in Graphics & Displays
By most definitions, AMD’s Radeon HD 6900 graphics cards are powerful, but for those who are looking to push huge resolutions, a little more oomph might be desired. That’s where multi-GPU configurations come in, and to see what AMD’s latest are capable of, we’ve tested out both the HD 6950 and HD 6970 in CrossFireX.
AMD’s Radeon HD 6900 cards might just have been released, but it’s clear that the CrossFireX component is working just fine. Sometimes, it takes a little while for drivers to be refined to the point that CrossFireX is a real option, but that’s not the case here. The performance we saw throughout the article is incredible, and hard to beat.
One thing I regret not having is more comparisons to NVIDIA’s cards in the same dual-GPU configuration, but that’s something I’m working on remedying in the near-future. It’s only fair, as it’s rather difficult to compare dual-GPUs from one company to single-GPUs from another.
There are a couple of ways we can look at this, though. Both AMD and NVIDIA will offer a near 100% theoretical performance boost when combining two identical cards, and as the GeForce GTX 580 is faster than AMD’s HD 5970 by about 7~10%, putting two together in SLI mode would no doubt beat two HD 6970s in CrossFireX mode. At the same time, though, two GTX 580s retail for around $1,000, compared to $740 for dual HD 5970s.
For those seeking out killer performance, but don’t want to “break the bank”, picking up two Radeon HD 6950s seems like a no-brainer. Simply put, the performance is incredible. It’s not a great example, but compared to NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 580, dual HD 6950s cost a mere 20% more, but can deliver 40~80% more performance – depending on the game title or benchmark.
That’s the kind of performance increase that’s difficult to ignore. The HD 6970 is of course AMD’s highest-end offering, but the required ~$140 to upgrade from HD 6950s isn’t going to give near the same gains as upgrading to dual HD 6950s over a single GeForce GTX 580.
But as I mentioned, comparing AMD’s dual-GPU setups to NVIDIA’s single-GPUs is not at all fair. Toss dual GTX 570s into the same rig, and the price will be around $700, and the performance we’d see should be right under the HD 6970s in CrossFireX. We hope to have performance for such a configuration in the near-future, to help give an even fuller picture of where things stand.
As it is, though, AMD has done well with the CrossFireX implementation of its latest cards. In some cases, the performance we saw hit or even exceeded 200% with two cards, and that’s just what we like to see.
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