Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe: ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 Chipset Launched

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Hi-Res Gaming: FarCry & Splinter Cell

For out next batch of in-game testing, we ran some high-resolution benchmarks with a few of today's popular applications to see if the extra bandwidth offered by the CrossFire Xpress 3200 improved framerates. We tested the CrossFire Xpress 3200 and Radeon Xpress 200 with a pair of Radeon X1900 XT cards, and tested the nForce 4 SLIX16 based A8N32-SLI with a pair of 512MB GeForce 7800 GTXs.

Performance Comparisons with FarCry v1.33

If you've been on top of the gaming scene for some time, you probably know that FarCry was one of the most visually impressive games to be released on the PC last year. Courtesy of its proprietary engine, dubbed "CryEngine" by its developers, FarCry's game-play is enhanced by Polybump mapping, advanced environment physics, destructible terrain, dynamic lighting, motion-captured animation, and surround sound. Before titles such as Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 hit the scene, FarCry gave us a taste of what was to come in next-generation 3D gaming on the PC. We benchmarked the systems in this article with a custom-recorded demo run taken in the "Catacombs" area checkpoint at a resolution of 1600x1200 with 4X AA and 16X aniso enabled concurrently.

CrossFire Xpress 3200 Radeon Xpress 200 nForce 4 SLIX16
% Increase with CrossFire / SLI 22.9% 18.7% 45.8%

The CrossFire Xpress 3200 equipped Asus A8R32-MVP outpaced both competing platforms here. The extra bandwidth offered by the chipset seemed to give it a slight edge over the Radeon Xpress 200, and where the Radeon Xpress 200 lagged behind the nForce 4 SLIX16 in multi-GPU test, the CrossFire Xpress 3200 came out on top. In the single card tests, the CrossFire Xpress 3200 was also faster than the Radeon Xpress 200, and the new chipset scaled slightly higher when a second graphics card was added to the system.

Performance Comparisons with Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory v1.05

SC: Chaos Theory
Based on a heavily modified version of the Unreal Engine, enhanced with a slew of DX9 shaders, lighting and mapping effects, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is gorgeous with its very immersive, albeit dark, environment. The game engine has a shader model 3.0 code path that allows the GeForce 6 & 7 Series of cards, and the X1000 family of cards, to really shine. For these tests we enabled the SM 3.0 path on all of the cards we tested. However, High Dynamic Range rendering was disabled so that we could test the game with anti-aliasing enabled (a future patch should enable AA with HDR on the X1K family). We benchmarked the game at a resolution of 1600 x 1200 with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled.

CrossFire Xpress 3200 Radeon Xpress 200 nForce 4 SLIX16
% Increase with CrossFire / SLI 82.5% 81.1% 84.7%

We saw basically the same thing with the Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory benchmark. The Radeon X1900 XT CrossFire configuration pulled ahead of the 512MB GeForce 7800 GTXs running in SLI mode, and the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset was slightly faster than the Radeon Xpress 200. However, the performance deltas were quite small, at less than one frame per second.

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