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ATI Crossfire @ Computex Taipei 2005

ATi has an impressive showcase at Grand Hyatt Taipei with Crossfire live demo as well as a R520 internal demo inside. We talked to Jay Marsden, the man behind Crossfire and he gave us some interesting insights on this new platform.

Jay Marsden, the man behind Crossfire talked to us about
technology behind it. He gave some insights on how the cards work together using
a dongle without a need to use SLI selector card and SLI bridge. One will be a
master card and the other will be a slave card. The master card will be based on
X800 and X850 series, produced by ATI itself and the slave cards will be the
X800/850 cards out there in the market. The availability of the master card is
projected to be end of June. The Crossfire offering could be extended to the
X700 series as well.

Jay also mentioned about a new Catalyst driver that will improve
gaming performance noticeably. A more detailed explanation can be found
regarding the Catalyst 5.6 drivers. The future Catalyst drivers could include
performance tweaking functions for their chipsets like the NVIDIA nTune utility.
He is also considering to include an Advanced option to allow user to set their
preferred rendering mode (Alternate frame rendering (AFR), Scissor or
Supertiling). By default, the Catalysts drivers will determine the best
rendering mode automatically.

Interestingly, he mentioned that the 3DMark05 world records for
single and dual cards have been broken by none other than macci. He also
mentioned about a 5 digits score on a single card which is certainly incredible
and a score much higher than 14472 set by Shamino using NVIDIA 6800U SLI on the
Crossfire platform. Of course, Catalyst 5.6 was used which improve 3DMark05
performance by some 10% according to ATI.

ATI Showcase at Grand Hyatt Taipei. There is a Crossfire live
demo system inside as well as a R520 demo only available for viewing for their
business partners.

ATI Crossfire demo rig with water cooling setup built in.

Dual X850XT PE cards

Demo systems to show Supertiling, a new rendering mode by ATi to
split the screen into 32×32 pixel tiles on a checkerboard pattern to each GPU
for processing. The workload can be shared out between 2 cards. The advantage of
Supertiling is that it is compatible with most games out there but of course
Supertiling is not the fastest mode among the 3 modes so the Catalyst drivers
will determine the best rendering mode. ATi has also employed new super AA modes
for their Crossfire; 8x / 12x / 10xAA (4x + 4x + 2xSS) /
14xAA (6x + 6x + 2xSS) to add additional smoothness to the games.

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