ASUS Radeon HD 7970 CrossFire

ASUS Radeon HD 7970 CrossFire

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Value and Conclusion

Running two Radeon HD 7970 in multi-GPU CrossFire is certainly not a cheap thing to do. At $550 a pop, the individual cards are already beyond the budget of most gamers. With $1100 for a dual-GPU config only the wealthiest of gamers will be willing to invest such a pile of money for their gaming pleasure. Remember, this money can buy you an Xbox 360, plus Kinect, plus 46" TV, plus a handful of games to keep you busy; or a nice vacation in a warm place of your choosing to get rid of the winter cold. But let's get back to the HD 7970.

We see plenty of performance for the latest and greatest titles at maximum resolution and maximum settings. Unfortunately AMD's reviewer driver did not ship with working CrossFire profiles for Batman Arkham City and Elder Scrolls Skyrim. Battlefield 3 at 2560x1600 also fell back to single GPU performance, even though lower resolutions scale just fine. While I am confident AMD that will provide working CrossFire profiles for these major titles soon, they really need to work on getting their driver support to work right at launch day, when loads of people want to play these games.

With this generation of cards AMD introduced their new ZeroCore power saving technology which really can shine in CrossFire. In a CrossFire setup only a single card will be active when not gaming; the other cards will be essentially switched off, consuming only 1W of power and producing no heat or noise. Once a gaming session starts, the additional card(s) will instantly wake up and be ready to provide their full power without any manual switching or software configuration required. It seems AMD has found the holy grail for multi-GPU power consumption reduction.

With so much power at your fingertips and reasonable configurations for a dual-GPU HD 7970 setup starting at 2560x1440 or 2560x1600 it is only logical to consider multi-monitor EyeFinity gaming. AMD has been playing a leading role here with good software support and constant innovation. Prices of full HD 1080p displays have been coming down a lot and are very affordable now. Maybe I'll just grab three of them for an updated VGA benchmarking rig.
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