A few days well spent…
What do you do when you have a set of three Radeon HD 5870s sitting in your office and a Core i7 gaming computer waiting there with a blank 30-in monitor? Obviously you plug it all in and see how it perform! Today we are looking at GPU scaling of not just two Radeon HD 5870s, but three of them in a CrossFireX configuration. Overkill? Maybe.So you have a few Radeon HD 5870s sitting around
What do you do? Well the most obvious answer is to plug them all in and see what happens. AMD is the only GPU manufacturer that has supported, and continues to support, running more than two cards in a single multi-GPU configuration. That means you can connect as many as four same-generation GPUs together to form one really, really massive graphics system in your PC; that could be a pair of dual-GPU cards or four single GPUs cards, etc, all dependent on your system space, power supply and more. NVIDIA does support three cards as well as four GPUs on two cards, but doesn’t push it further to support four GPUs on four different cards. In either case, I think using three GPUs in a single gaming PC is about as hardcore as you can get for a gamer.
To be fair, the audience using ANY kind of multi-GPU configuration is pretty small and the audience that wants to use three or four cards in a CrossFireX configuration is even smaller. That doesn’t mean we all shouldn’t have goals in life though, right? So after getting in our third Radeon HD 5870 card (thanks to ASUS, review coming soon), I knew immediately that I wanted to build this test rig and throw our assorted games and benchmarks at it to see how it performed.
The System Setup
The configuration for our triple card CrossFireX testing is identical to the one used in our initial Radeon HD 5870 review:
- Testing Configuration
- ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution X58 + nForce 200
- Intel Core i7-965 @ 3.33 GHz
- 3 x 2GB Corsair DDR3-1333 MHz
- Intel X25-M G2 160GB SSD
- PC Power and Cooling 1200 watt PSU
Yes, that is pretty sweet looking, I can’t lie
Now, what we are looking for here with three of these puppies installed is how well the system scales going from 1 to 2 cards and then 2 to 3 cards. We have some pretty high expectations going forward today because of how impressed I was by the standard two card CrossFire scaling I saw in our initial testing last month. If all goes well, AMD’s hardware and drivers will be able to keep up and push this configuration to the same scaling curve.