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Old Dec 13, 2007, 03:05 PM   #1
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ATI Technologies AMD Hybrid CrossFire Preview: Making Two Slow GPUs, Not So Slow

Very interesting!

There are two types of graphics that do a horrible job at running the latest 3D games: integrated graphics, and low end discrete GPUs. The problem is that a gamer who actually wants to play something like Unreal Tournament 3 or Crysis can't on either of the aforementioned solutions, and if he/she only has $70 to spend on a GPU, that's unfortunately not going to be enough to solve their problem. ATI and NVIDIA have always argued that users of such low end graphics aren't really hardcore gamers and thus don't mind not being able to play the latest games.

Much of the very low end discrete graphics market exists because of Intel, believe it or not. Since Intel ships the vast majority of integrated GPUs, and since its integrated GPUs don't perform all that well, the market is ripe for both ATI and NVIDIA to step in and offer something slightly better, for minimal cost. However, Intel recently committed to accelerating its integrated graphics roadmap, resulting in much faster integrated GPUs over the coming years. This puts additional pressure on AMD/ATI and NVIDIA to increase the value of their low end GPUs.

AMD's solution to adding value to both integrated and low end discrete graphics is through what it is calling Hybrid CrossFire. During today's Analyst Day, AMD will be unveiling a very limited amount of information about Hybrid CrossFire and thus we're able to talk about some of the high level details today.

Hybrid CrossFire works by allowing you to run run integrated graphics and low end discrete graphics in CrossFire (multi-GPU) mode, thus improving the overall performance. You're basically taking two horribly slow GPUs and making one not-so-slow GPU. Obviously this will only work with AMD graphics and AMD chipsets, but the idea is an interesting one - it could very well improve the value seen in both integrated graphics and low end discrete graphics, should the performance gains be significant enough. It also gives AMD a reason to sell you an AMD chipset and an AMD graphics card.

Source: AnandTech
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