A great start for AMD’s CrossFire
With today's release of both this article that analyzes a new prototype driver for CrossFire improvements AND the launch of the reviews for the AMD Radeon HD 7990 dual-Tahiti graphics card, it's a mixed bag for the company. On one hand, this new prototype driver has really impressed me and the amount of effort the company has put into completely reworking the Catalyst pipeline to address this issue is impressive! On the other hand, we are still weeks or months from the public availability of this software, and until then, the Radeon HD 7990 continues to look overpriced and overmatched.
When I was first briefed by AMD on the Radeon HD 7990 I strongly recommended that they delay the launch until they had a driver ready that would address the significant issues CrossFire was facing. They didn't though, so we are left to analyze the product as it stands today. I did so in my review – not mincing words.
With its performance completely dependent on CrossFire technology, the HD 7990 as a $1000 graphics card has a very hard time justifying its price. With our early testing of the Catalyst prototype driver showing positive results though, there is yet hope for CrossFire to be fixed in this generation, at least for single monitor users! But until that driver is perfected, is bug free and is presented to buyers as a made-for-primetime solution, I just cannot recommend an investment this large on the Radeon HD 7990.
If AMD is able to get a passable, beta version of this driver out to consumers in the mid-summer time frame as I am expecting, it will make the HD 7990 a much more appealing option for those people that want to spend $1000 on graphics cards. Not only that, but it will improve the performance of CrossFire users across the board and THAT is the reason we are writing our Frame Rating series and why we wanted to be sure to have this article ready for you as well. Pushing AMD to make these changes will help the community at large, and that was our goal.
There is still the issue of Eyefinity and that problem will not be addressed by this first version of the driver. I have more analysis of that complicated discussion planned in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
AMD is making moves in the smoothness arena once again as they attempt to clean up the mess that they left for themselves after years of (likely unintentional) neglect. My short time with the prototype driver as detailed here has been very promising and I am looking forward to more updates to follow.