ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset
Asus' A8R32-MVP Deluxe mobo probed
The PCMark 05 scores are also very good, if not as impressive as the SYSMark 2004SE scores. Due to time constraints and equipment limitations the 3D benchmark scores are slightly limited, but as soon as I get some faster graphics cards in, more numbers will be run - watch this space. However, the numbers produced are promising, although there still seem to be some CrossFire issues with dual X1600XT cards. At times the game benchmarks would lock up and stutter, or the results would be completely random, something you wouldn’t expect from a retail-ready platform. Some of the numbers don’t quite add up either, but again this looks like a driver-related issue.
ATI claims that the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset is fast enough to handle two of these cards without a master/slave arrangement, so hopefully this will be resolved with some newer drivers and/or a BIOS upgrade. It's worth noting that the board from Asus was using an early BIOS, which could possibly be part of the reason for the glitches experienced.
Still, the CrossFire Xpress 3200 is a huge step in the right direct for ATI and a huge improvement upon the Xpress 200 CrossFire chipset. At £135, the Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe isn’t coming cheap, but then again, the top-of-the-range products from Asus rarely come cheap.
The ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset is looking very promising, although it’s only halfway here as yet. However, Asus has done an impressive job of incorporating the ATI North Bridge into the A8R32-MVP Deluxe, and it shows that ATI is serious about its performance-oriented chipsets. I’ll reserve my judgement until I’ve conducted some more tests with some faster, more leading-edge graphics cards, but the platform benchmarks are very impressive. ®
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