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H1 ’08 Multi-GPU Battle: ASUS EAH3850 Trinity, EAH3870X2 and XFX GeForce 9800 GX2

Quad CrossFire, Quad SLI and Triple SLI are some of the terms that we are hearing these days about graphics technology. What about Triple CrossFire? Today, we will be checking out the ASUS Trinity, a tri-CrossFire solution featuring three Radeon HD 3850 MXM on a big-ass watercooled piece of silicon. How will this unique piece of technology match up to the competition?

Of course, we’ve all heard about the latest technologies raging in town, including the AMD Phenom X3 and X4 processors and Tri- and Quad SLI configurations from NVIDIA. In this article, we will be touching on the performance figures of the latest multi-GPU solutions available from both AMD and NVIDIA, namely the HD 3870 X2 from the red camp, the 9800 GX2 from the green camp, and a pretty unique solution that we saw a month back but without concrete figures, the ASUS Trinity!

Made up of three MXM with a single Radeon HD 3850 core on each, ASUS went to the drawing boards and came up with this special product . You would probably assume that the end-result is a really long card, but this triple Radeon HD 3850 card is just a wee bit longer than a NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 and uses only one main PCB and a single 8-pin connector.

Let’s take a look at the specifications of the three cards, presented to you in table form.

  ASUS Trinity ‘Radeon HD 3850 X3’ ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB
Core Clock 668MHz 825MHz 600MHz
Stream Processors 320 per core 320 per core 128 per core
Stream Processor Clock 668MHz 825MHz 1.5GHz
Texture Units 16 per core 16 per core 64 per core
Raster Units 16 per core 16 per core 24 per core
Memory Clock 1.66GHz 1.8GHz 2GHz
Memory Capacity 512MB GDDR3 per core 512MB GDDR3 per core 512MB GDDR3 per core
PCI-E Power Connectors 1 8-pin 1 8-pin, 1 6-pin 1 8-pin, 1 6-pin


On the Trinity, the GPU cores are cooled by a heatpipe system, while the memory chips used by each core are cooled by simple aluminium heatsinks. The best part is, this card is designed to be watercooled only.


The ASUS Trinity with triple ATI Radeon 3850 cores.


Two other two ATI Radeon 3850 cores are on the back of the ASUS Trinity.


Mobile PCI Express Module, or MXM in short, is the result of a joint effort between NVIDIA and several leading notebook manufacturers. MXM was created for a consistent graphics interface designed for notebook systems.

However, ASUS has taken one step further by using MXM on its desktop graphics card, and with it comes the birth of the ASUS Trinity.

ASUS decided to drop much of the bells and whistles and went with a simple four port DVI output at the rear of the card.


Four dual-link DVI ports at the back for a wide range of display possibilities.


One of the three MXM found on the ASUS Trinity. Each contains one Radeon 3850 core.


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