Product: HIS HD3870X2 Crossfire X
Company: ATI Technologies
Authour: Alex 'Morgoth Bauglir' Voicu
Editor: Charles 'Lupine' Oliver
Date: June 3rd, 2008

With TimeShift our dissection of the 3870X2 is concluded. We enjoyed the trip and we ended up liking the cards (cue in the cohorts that call us biased), but there are quite a few areas in need of improvement: ATi needs to give users more flexibility when it comes to Crossfire, as going through executable names in order to find one that matches whatever game doesn't play nice is not very efficient and a bit on the "ghetto" side of things.

Considering the new releases that are looming on the horizon, the 3870X2 might seem less than appealing, with Quad CrossfireX being outright uninteresting. Keep in mind though that prices are bound to drop, and the X2(s) might end up being an affordable enough to regain tastiness. Their performance is quite good in general, unless something goes awry with CF support in one game or another.

The drivers have moved forward since release quite significantly (check out our Vantage Hotfix investigation to see a part of these improvements), and they'll probably keep on doing so ... which brings us to the NWN2 phenomenon - the one with QuadCF running OK-ish while a single X2 fumbled to 1 FPS. After investigating, we have reason to believe that this behavior is tied to games that end up needing more than 512MB of VRAM. NWN2 with all shadows set to high is one such game, just like Jericho seems to be. DiRT with shadows on Ultra was another such case, but devs disabled that setting on 512MB cards with the 1.2 patch ... which is why we grabbed the demo and tested it, and, what do you know? The same thing happened: QuadCF was able to run the game OKish, while the single X2 wouldn't even finish loading with the Ultra setting enabled.

If you're hearing Twilight Zone music just now, you're not that far off really: there's no logical reason for this. We've talked to ATi about it and they're chipping away at finding an explanation.

Take home notes after the whole 3870X2 enchilada? Actually, none from us: check out our data, check out other sites' data, and arrive at your own conclusions!

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