You know what, we've been testing CrossfireX setups for a long time now and this actually the second article with R5770 cards, yet now covering up-to four cards setup in quad-CrossfireX. Overall we are not disappointed, scaling is quite okay but after utlizing two or three cards that scaling goes down dramatically in the vast majority of games.
What bothered me a little was that some titles are still not properly working in a multi-GPU environment. Though things have improved quite a bit, that still literally and directly remains the Achilles heel of ATI's Catalyst drivers. For years now we have been requesting user-based multi-GPU profiles. See when a new game comes out, multi-GPU support will not be supported by the Catalyst driver. ATI will always need to update this through drivers or downloadable profiles. What ATI needs to do is to allow the end user to make custom profiles per game. A small tip, renaming your game-executable towards a game title that is supported can, not always but often, help out.
Now then, overall performance scaling with the games that were supported properly was quite nice, we can play games in high resolutions and notice a real difference.
The Powercolor HD5770 1GB GDDR5 Single Slot graphics card itself is a really fun product. It's nice and small and the cooling solution is sufficient. We do have warn you about the fact that these single slot coolers make a whole lot more noise than dual-slot cooler. Next to that single slot cooler dumps the heat inside your PC, dual-slot coolers dump them outside your PC (for the most part). These are choices you have to make and consider, but yeah a setup with multiple graphics cards is noisy.
Performance wise we see really nice stuff, with three cards you'll get 25.000 points in 3DMark Vantage ( GPU P-score) and with four cards 30k on the GPUS score, with three cards Dirt in DX11 scored 131 FPS at 19x12 8xaa/16xAF.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 scores 100 FPS at 1920x1200 and 8xAA, that's just brilliant as that is a HUGE framerate. Fact is, you'll beat any single-GPU solution to date in terms of performance, and where the title really is multi-GPU savvy it'll kick in even harder.
Power consumption wise we don't see anything shocking, three cards peaked towards 420 Watt which is roughly similar to say one GeForce GTX 480 and four got us just over 500 Watt (CPU load excluded), these are 'okay' values considering what we are doing.
So the overall experience was good but on ATI's driver software side things still can improve quite a bit if you reach the extent of 4 GPUs. The big question remains; would I personally purchase a fast single GPU graphics card at 450 EUR, or say three of these puppies at 450 EUR? Well, whatever you like better depends on your preference, but personally I'd stick to one or maybe two high-end cards as there is so much less driver fuzz to worry about. It's like this with ATI, once you pass 2 GPUs you'll often find yourself compromising a lot with new game titles. ATI really needs to step it up a little more on better game profile support AND user based and created profiles, period. But sure, we also have to acknowledge here, ATI these days has very solid driver releases and release hotfixes and Crossfire support profiles to address to this concern. Credit where credit is due, the overall experience definitely is very interesting.
With the Radeon HD5770 1GB GDDR5 Single Slot graphics card Powercolor introduces a really fun product. You can easily fit multiple of these cards into one system and keep your power consumption under control while you are at it. The cards are not silent, but if that is not a concern for you, then these puppies might be ideal to built yourself a 3200 shader processor counting freak of a system :)
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