Enthusiasts all know that in order to run Crossfire, one needs at least two Crossfire-compatible Radeon Cards…right? Wrong. What if I tell you can run Crossfire with just one card? That’s right – Uno. Its true, but don’t cheer yet. Hybrid Crossfire is the name of the technology that can make it happen, but the question remains: would you want to?
Getting to the Best Graphics for Less
Hybrid Crossfire tackles the dilemma of choosing to run only a computer’s onboard graphics, or a low-end video card for playing games. Either setup proves to be insufficient for any kind of real gaming performance. AMD’s solution: the implementation of Hybrid CrossFire. Instead of pairing two similar Radeon cards, (thus enabling higher resolution and image quality in 3D games) Hybrid Crossfire removes the need for a second card. It utilizes one compatible video card placed into a PCI-Express slot, but joins forces with the GPU built into the motherboard chipset.
So basically, Hybrid CrossFire takes the video card and onboard graphics chip and allows them to work together CrossFire in a crossfire array. No longer do you have to lose the ability to utilize the onboard graphics when you install a video card. You can now use both to improve the overall graphics performance, and play that once unplayable game you’ve been dying to play.
Hybrid CrossFire isn’t just about performance though. Another feature (which may not be seen in its first release) is the ability to power down the video card in non-gaming situations. Lowering power consumption on one end of the system will help other components running any number of applications to run more efficiently. When the onboard video memory is used to power the display and a 3D application isn’t running, the graphics card can be set to sleep, which will reduce power consumption. And the chipset itself is said to consume a maximum of only around 20W. The power savings potential for Hybrid CrossFire is tremendous.
ATI Hybrid Graphics encompasses the following technologies:
- ATI Hybrid CrossFireX(tm)
- ATI SurroundView(tm)
ATI Hybrid Graphics technology enables ATI SurroundView(tm) that allows support for up to four independent monitors when an AMD integrated graphics system is combined with an ATI Radeon(tm) graphics card. Each additional discrete graphics card allows support for up to 2 independent monitors.
- ATI PowerPlay(tm) is a power management technology enabling power saving profiles to help reduce electricity consumption when the graphics processor is idle or in minimal use. This dynamic power management technology enables the GPU to automatically adjust power between low, medium and high states for a tremendous power efficiency advantage producing low heat, low system temperatures and reduced fan noise.
Based on ATI CrossFireX(tm) multi-GPU technology, ATI Hybrid Graphics enables integrated and discrete graphics processors to simultaneously work together boosting your gaming experience to the next level. ATI CrossFireX encompasses the awe-inspiring capabilities of multiple ATI Radeon(tm) graphics cards that render simultaneously to deliver incredible scalability, performance, and compatibility.
Hybrid CrossFire is achieved by utilizing one of AMD’s new integrated 7-Series chipset GPUs (IGP) and one of their new video cards (ie Radeon HD 3400 series). Look for these components to be released in early 2008. Tiger will most definitely have each for a low price, or bundled for even more savings. Keep an eye out – I know I will.