Two Vegas…ha ha ha

We got two Vegas…so why not CrossFire them?

When the preorders for the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition went up last week, I made the decision to place orders in a few different locations to make sure we got it in as early as possible. Well, as it turned out, we actually had the cards show up very quickly…from two different locations.

So, what is a person to do if TWO of the newest, most coveted GPUs show up on their doorstep? After you do the first, full review of the single GPU iteration, you plug those both into your system and do some multi-GPU CrossFire testing!

There of course needs to be some discussion up front about this testing and our write up. If you read my first review of the Vega Frontier Edition you will clearly note my stance on the idea that “this is not a gaming card” and that “the drivers aren’t ready. Essentially, I said these potential excuses for performance were distraction and unwarranted based on the current state of Vega development and the proximity of the consumer iteration, Radeon RX.

But for multi-GPU, it’s a different story. Both competitors in the GPU space will tell you that developing drivers for CrossFire and SLI is incredibly difficult. Much more than simply splitting the work across different processors, multi-GPU requires extra attention to specific games, game engines, and effects rendering that are not required in single GPU environments. Add to that the fact that the market size for CrossFire and SLI has been shrinking, from an already small state, and you can see why multi-GPU is going to get less attention from AMD here.

Even more, when CrossFire and SLI support gets a focus from the driver teams, it is often late in the process, nearly last in the list of technologies to address before launch.

With that in mind, we all should understand the results we are going to show you might be indicative of the CrossFire scaling when Radeon RX Vega launches, but it very well could not. I would look at the data we are presenting today as a “current state” of CrossFire for Vega.

Setup: Just as easy as expected

Installing and enabling CrossFire with our Radeon Vega Frontier Edition hardware was a simple as would expect. The current driver from AMD’s website was used, and in both the Game Mode and the Professional Mode, the CrossFire option exists under the Global Settings.

We only had one hiccup in our testing in terms of stability with Rise of the Tomb Raider – but the issue seemed related to our Frame Rating overlay application. While the application was running fine without this overlay in CrossFire mode, we require the overlay to measure performance accurately using our capture methodology. Because the capture methods of our performance analysis are even more important when evaluating multi-GPU performance (where anomalies are more common), I decided to leave out RoTR results than report potentially inaccurate scores.

Our test setup remains unchanged, in both hardware and software, from our initial Radeon Vega Frontier Edition review. If you need another refresh on how we test gaming performance, which is still quite different than the norm, you can find that page of our previous review right here.

Let’s dive in to the results!

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