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RD580, Crossfire Xpress 3200 to launch pre Cebit

Samples by mid February
Tue Feb 07 2006, 08:07
CROSSFIRE needs stronger motherboard support. Two X1900XTX based cards in a RD480 board can beat anything that Nvidia has to offer. That includes Nforce 4 SLI with 32 PCIe graphic lanes with two Geforce 7800 GTX 512, but Nforce 4 is still a better chipset. And we need more high end motherboards with ATI chipsets. Taiwanese firm Diamond Flower International (DFI) tried to do it but it encountered some difficulties in the beginning.

Your best bet now is the Radeon Xpress Crossfire board, based on RD480 chipset and ATI still recommends Asus A8R MVP as the best. The next chipset to support two ATI cards working together is the RD580, Crossfire Xpress 3200. It will sample in the next ten days and ATI will have to make the strategic decision whether to launch this card at CeBIT.

ATI's Crossfire chipset has 32 PCIe lanes dedicated for two graphic cards plus a few additional lanes for additional PCIe slots and ports. ATI has a socket M2 version of it as well, but that can wait now.

We know that at least some of these will use ULI chipset again. Still, ATI needs to sell more south bridges but it really needs SB600 as that is the promising one. We don't think you will see this south bridge until Computex in June, but we know it should be significantly better than the oft criticised SB450. Some people don't like its USB and IDE performance, but hopefully the new SB 600 will fix it and make it better.

This is what you indeed need if you want to be a high end chipset player but remember ATI is selling its chipsets to Intel like crazy, and is finally making some nice chunk of money out of the deal. Nvidia inhaled most of the super duper market as it is Nforce 4 generation of chipset is still numero uno for the enthusiasts but it is week at main stream and OEM low end while the ATI chipset unit is the other way around. µ


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