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AMD ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 dual-GPU graphics card

Do two GPUs equal double the value?

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When we tested the graphics cards in Crysis, the most noticeable point is that CrossFire works. When we first played Crysis it didn’t support CrossFire, so a second AMD graphics card actually slowed things down. Thankfully, the 1.1 patch sorts out this glaring flaw. The problem is that the HD 2900 XT cards in CrossFire danced all over the X2 in a way that they simply couldn’t manage in 3DMark06. Our conclusion is that the X2 performance should be the same as the two 2900s in CrossFire and the fact that it is not is down to the beta drivers. Let’s face it, there’s no reason for the 2900s to be faster than the X2 and the figures show clearly that this is the case.

Crysis Results
Very High Quality Setting at 1280 x 1024

Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 - Crysis

Longer bars are better

Medium Quality Setting at 1280 x 1024

Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 - Crysis

Longer bars are better

Medium Quality Setting at 1920 x 1200

Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 - Crysis

Longer bars are better

Provided that we're correct and AMD sorts the X2 graphics drivers in the next few weeks then it looks like AMD finally has an answer for the GeForce 8800 steamroller, provided that you’re prepared to install a monster graphics card and probable a new PSU too instead of the more elegant 8800 GTX.

Verdict

If – and it’s a big if – you’re thinking of using a pair of Radeon HD 3870 cards in CrossFire then the X2 is a better prospect and costs the same amount of money. The problem is that CrossFire can be erratic whereas an Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX is a cast-iron certainty for delivering the gaming goodies.

The essential guide to IT transformation

75%

AMD ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 dual-GPU graphics card

Why install two boards when one will do? Especially when they're the same price...
Price: £299 RRP

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