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Review: CrossFire makes sense in mainstream
While reviewing XFX's HD 5670, we decided to run some CrossFire tests and compare them to Nvidia's GTX 460, the latest DirectX 11 graphics card to appear on the market. Obviously, this is a rather strange comparison, but as the GTX 460 768MB costs twice as much as a single HD 5670, we thought it would be a nice idea to see how the addition of a second card in CrossFire could improve performance. So far the results have been rather good and it's obvious that upgrading your rig with a second entry level card can boost performance quite a bit. Obviously, you won’t have to spend a fortune on such an upgrade, but most users still stick to single card setups. We can only guess that CrossFire and SLI are associated with high-end cards and enthusiasts who like to squeeze everything they can from their gaming rigs. Our review clearly proves that CrossFire makes quite a bit of sense in the value market as well, provided you have a CrossFire capable motherboard, of course. Most motherboards nowadays are CrossFire capable, so this should not be a major issue.
However, several of our readers believe that the comparison was not very realistic, as few consumers would choose to use two HD 5670 cards in CrossFire. Well, that was the point, few will actually do so, but why? The first part of the review clearly proved that two dirt cheap cards can easily match a card that costs twice as much, so it’s obvious CrossFire should not be reserved for high-end cards. It makes perfect sense in the mainstream segment, as it offers a viable upgrade option and quite a bit more flexibility.
Therefore we chose to do another review, but this time we pitted two HD 5750 cards with 512MB of memory against a single GTX 460 1GB card. In this case we used Gainward’s non-reference GTX 460 GS-GHL card, but the cost breakdown remains similar to our previous test. It costs about more than twice as much as a reference HD 5750 512MB. There is also a somewhat controversial issue with the Gainward card. We’re not sure whether all retail models will feature a heatsink on their power components, which could limit overclocking, but that is irrelevant in today’s test.
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