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Is crossfire worth it?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Was looking to add another 6950 to my rig along with my current sapphire 6950, though the microstutter really has me worried about getting another one! Can you tell it easily? Im looking to do this for bf3 and future games but dont want stutter in my games!

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post #2 of 29
Microstutter is always there for multi-gpu setups. What does make a difference is how bad it is, its the nature of the beast. Its all about frame rate synchronization. There is nothing more native with little overhead than utilizing a single GPU. To be honest though, I think you are over worrying about it.

Dealing With Microstutter:
There are multiple things you can do such as overclock, increase inter-system communication of QPI of i7 (gen 1), or northbridge frequencies of a 1090T to about 3000 MHz. Alternatively you can try disabling HPET (High Precision Event Timer), a lot of CrossfireX users have reported this turns their system silky smooth.

Personal Experience:
I just left 6990 + 6970 trifirex, and of all the problems I had, microstutter was not one of them. It was fairly bad at times with the 5870s for me though. My advice is stick with identical brands and models when crossfire/trifiring.

Risk:
Just in general though, its a bit of a toss up on how bad you get microstutter, but there are things you can do reduce its noticeability. Vsync is one of them.

Reward:
The performance gain you would get would be night and day of a difference, especially in Battlefield 3. Scaling is usually 80~100% for AMD video cards, so you would essentially double your performance. As drivers improve, the performance should only get better if not smoother/more reliable. I personally (even with 7970) think there is no way to max all games with a single card, so at a minimum will always have 2 video cards.

I think that you might be slightly worried about an issue that is not as common as other issues. Of all the CrossfireX issues you may have to deal with, microstutter is not the most common but it is often remediable through new drivers or system tweaks as mentioned above.

Things you should worry about instead of Microstutter:
PSU ratings, can your PSU run two cards?
Does your CPU overclocking skills allow you to fully reap the benefits of two cards, supply enough data for the GPUs to work to their maximum potential.
Do you have enough ROOM both physically in the case, and the ability to remove the extra heat, and trust me, there will be a lot of extra heat.
Do you actually need two cards? <- This one is always debatable, except to me. The answer to this question is always yes.

Final Comments:
Its been said over and over, that AMD drivers are fine, or at least equal to nVidia's in terms of quality. This blatant hogwash. Usually 50% of the time, on new titles, you get no benefit of CrossfireX. Nvidia is the same way as this. What nobody tells you that AMD Drivers have a tendency to BSOD a lot more in CrossfireX, so you do have some stability concerns to deal with. Even my 7970s BSOD at various times for no apparent reason other than having CrossfireX Enabled. I would say that 90~95% of all issues stem from Catalyst Drivers and their Associated CAP (Catalyst Application Profiles) and for the most part, do get fixed over time. Some games or bugs never seem to get fixed, others feel like they get fixed in their sweet time. However, that being said, I still think the rewards far out weigh the risks. When you start having any trouble you can always revert back to using one card, and it is completely painless. Having only one card on the other hand won't ever give you double performance when you need it.

I wish you the best of luck in your choice!
Edited by RagingCain - 2/22/12 at 1:39pm
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post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by RagingCain View Post

Reward:
The performance gain you would get would be night and day of a difference, especially in Battlefield 3. Scaling is usually 80~100% for AMD video cards, so you would essentially double your performance. As drivers improve, the performance should only get better if not smoother/more reliable. I personally (even with 7970) think there is no way to max all games with a single card, so at a minimum will always have 2 video cards.
I

^What he said^

I was sceptical about crossfire for my 6850 but decided to try it and I will not go back, at least until they produce a single card that can destroy every game to date.
My 3dmark06 scores on slightly overclocked 6850s almost match that of the 7970 as well and both cards cost less together then a single 7970

I have only had 1 maybe 2 (poorly console ported) games not play well on crossfire but a quick click on "disable Xfire" in CCC allows me still to play away.

Also two cards in a windowed case looks much better IMO

go ahead and get one.... you know you wanna biggrin.gif
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post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkstar585 View Post

^What he said^
I was sceptical about crossfire for my 6850 but decided to try it and I will not go back, at least until they produce a single card that can destroy every game to date.
My 3dmark06 scores on slightly overclocked 6850s almost match that of the 7970 as well and both cards cost less together then a single 7970
I have only had 1 maybe 2 (poorly console ported) games not play well on crossfire but a quick click on "disable Xfire" in CCC allows me still to play away.
Also two cards in a windowed case looks much better IMO
go ahead and get one.... you know you wanna biggrin.gif

^What he said^ biggrin.gif. Even with my Phenom II its worth it, no question on an i5. Double framerates in most games, maximum settings, all eye candy up all the way. The only game ive had xfire problems with is GTA4, but we all know its a crappy console port thumb.gif Playing dirt 3, Human Revolution, Darkness II, Just Cause II, and Metro 2033, I can max out everything all the time. (some framerate drops in Human revolution, but thats only when going outside from indoors and that is a CPU bottleneck. Go for it, if you have the cash, you will not regret it! Plus they OC like mad tongue.gif

EDIT: also, never had microstutter problems, I think thats way overhyped though.
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post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by RagingCain View Post

Microstutter is always there for multi-gpu setups. What does make a difference is how bad it is, its the nature of the beast.

Speak for yourself. Never had an instance of "microstutter" with SLI 460s. Had them for well over a year now.....
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post #6 of 29
Crossfire is definitely worth it. I can max out all games now (battlefield 3, crysis 2 etc) with great framerates.
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post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by pursuinginsanity View Post

Speak for yourself. Never had an instance of "microstutter" with SLI 460s. Had them for well over a year now.....

This isn't a "Speak for yourself" situation, microstutter IS there, you either notice it or you don't.

And at OP, yes, Crossfire is very much worth it.
    
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post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Sounds good!! Would you all recommend i get another dirt 3 edition or an msi twin frozr?

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post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by xxslay3rxx View Post

Sounds good!! Would you all recommend i get another dirt 3 edition or an msi twin frozr?
Sent from my PG86100 using Tapatalk

Aren't the Twin Frozr the the highly regarded cooled ones? Honestly, I'd get whatevers cheapest tongue.gif It's your money though, buy which you wish! thumb.gif
    
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post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by xxslay3rxx View Post

Sounds good!! Would you all recommend i get another dirt 3 edition or an msi twin frozr?
Sent from my PG86100 using Tapatalk

They are highly regarded cards, however, as I mentioned above do your best to stick with identical cards (its not mandatory) however when people do have some of the more serious issues I have noticed a good percentage (not all) had mix brand cards OR reference with non-reference cards CrossfiredX.

Again its my personal experience, AMD fans are very happy/proud that you can mix and match 6970s with 6950s or 6990s with 6970s etc, but I prefer not to, and it has served me well.

My 5870s that were really bad at microstutter, at primary reason was one XFX reference, one MSI twin frozr, and one XFX non-reference. I had the most issues when using all 3 as you can imagine.

The two non-reference Crossfired okay, but when throwing the reference in the mix it was bad.
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