Would CrossfireX give me a noticeable boost?

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DeadlyWhispers
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Joined: 10/29/2010
Posts: 6

Hey everyone. I'm new here, and as such, I'm not sure if this is in the right forum or not. I'm also fairly new to PC gaming and building. Being a console gamer (fits my budget better), and also having been a Mac user since my last pc literally blew up 6 years ago, i'm starting over.

I recently built a pc that I plan on using for gaming (mostly FPS, and RTS) as well as a dedicated HTPC to use with my high end home theatre.

My specs are.
AMD Phenom 2 X6 1990 Black Edition (not overclocked, noob here.)
Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 motherboard.
16 GB (4X4GB) Patriot Sector 5 G series memory, PC3-10666, 1333MHZ.
1TB Western Digital HD (Can't remember the exact model, 32Mb Cache)
HIS Radeon HD 5850 (1GB 256-bit GDDR5)
LG blu-ray drive
Auzentech X-FI Hometheater HD sound card
Logitech Z-5500 Digital or 7.1 Pioneer Elite/Mirage home theatre system)

A decent system for my pricerange and limited experience, I think. So far I'm happy apart from one hiccup Once in a while while playing certain games, the screen goes blank and then comes back after 5-10 seconds. Possible software problem? It's not ALL my games (Doom 3, modern Warfare 2, and Starcraft 2 seem to work fine.) but with a couple others it does it (Sims 3 and wow trial).

My second question is from the heading. If I add a second card and run it in a crossfireX coniguration, will there be any noticeable difference in performance? Will it take more processing duties away from the processor? Any benefit besides a smoother framerate?

hnkftalnot
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Joined: 10/14/2010
Posts: 262

Well, crossfire will not take any work away from the CPU. It will however give you a graphical processing power boost since the graphical workload is shared over multiple GPUs.

It will not resolve any strange errors you are having like the blank screen. That is most likely a driver or power issue, and in crossfire such problems are only more common.

Then there is the question if you would benefit from an extra GPU. The games you mention are not that heavy, and if your framerates are already quite high (most likely), you will probably not see any difference if it goes even faster.

Also, note that not all games work too well with crossfire. Some games prefer SLI, some Crossfire, and some games don't benefit from multiple GPUs at all.

So bottom line, two GPUs will give you much more graphical power, but it's not always needed and in some cases not even used.

It would suit your hexacore CPU and enormous RAM well though ;). But I would first make sure that the system is running problem free with up to date drivers, then check the framerates and also find out if the game supports crossfire.

DeadlyWhispers
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Joined: 10/29/2010
Posts: 6

Thanks for the response. I'll research to see if my favorite an most played games are Crossfire compatible.

I thought of one more question. I'm currently running a 1TB 7500RPM SATA drive. I was thinking of using that as a secondary drive for regular files, and purchasing either an SSD or a Velociraptor for my OS and games. My plan was to partition the drive and have about 16GB for the OS, and around 80-100Gb for the game partition.

Would this be an ideal setup? I could get a 600GB Velociraptor for around $299, or a 120-128GB SSD for a little less. If I got the Velociraptor I would use that as my main drive and turn my other drive into a media server/storage solution, rip my cd's and dvd's to it.

hnkftalnot
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Joined: 10/14/2010
Posts: 262

Yes, very good idea on the harddrive setup.

I have just one doubt about partitioning the SSD, I thought SSDs don't benefit from short stroking anymore. With harddrives you could short stroke it by creating a small partition at the outer region of the drive for faster access times, but SSDs don't have spinning platters so I thought it doesn't matter, and every place on the SSD is just as fast as the others.
But if you buy a Velociraptor this still works of course.

Personally I think SSDs are still too expensive for the capacity they offer, and I'd rather setup a RAID array with harddrives, but if you have the budget for it SSDs are just great.

DeadlyWhispers
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Joined: 10/29/2010
Posts: 6

Still being a bit of a noob, I dont' know how to setup a RAID array. Is that done in the BIOS? I'll look it up online, hopefully I don't screw things up.

hnkftalnot
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Joined: 10/14/2010
Posts: 262

I've never done it myself but I've seen the option for it in my BIOS. I think you just have to connect two or more harddrives (preferably the same model) and enable RAID in BIOS, then reboot and it should give you an option to configure the RAID array. But yeah I'm sure there's lots of information about RAID on your specific motherboard out there.

If you screw up you can always just reset the BIOS :)

DeadlyWhispers
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Joined: 10/29/2010
Posts: 6

I ended up buying an OCZ SSD. It's a Revo drive, PCIe card. I love it. Everything loads up quickly.

DeadlyWhispers
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Joined: 10/29/2010
Posts: 6

Hey everyone!

I just had another question about CrossfireX. I know It isn't going to be much of a boost or anything, but I am still looking at the possibility of having it, and Christmas is coming up.

So, I have an HIS Radeon HD5850 card, but since it's being phased out and replaced with the newer HD6850 and 6870, it'll be tougher to get this card. Anyway, what I want to know is can I run a crossfire config with two different cards? I hear it's possible, but they recommend staying within the same product line. Could I get a 6870 and run it with my 5850? The specs aren't all that much different, and I hear it will run at the same speed as my original card, but the cost is nearly identical. Also I hear the 6800 series uses less power which is a bonus.

Fodir
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Joined: 10/23/2010
Posts: 19

first of all, the new 6800 cards are not a replacement for the 5800 series. the 6800 are replacing the 5700 cards.
second i don't think your motherboard can crossfire a 6870 with a 5850.

so i'd say you're better off with a second 5850.