AMD is announcing their upcoming Hybrid CrossFire technology today in New York during their financial analyst day, which is aimed at improving gaming graphics at lower price points. What makes this announcement even more exciting is the fact that they are showing off upcoming chipsets and graphics cards in the process. Legit Reviews was able to get a sneak peak at one of these systems just hours before they were shown to the public, so read on and take a look at what we got to see.
AMD had a demo system setup that was running their latest and greatest chipset, the 780G. The AMD 780G chipset (codenamed RS780D) is one of three new chipsets that is going to be replacing the now year old AMD 690G chipset and by doing so will add support for new features like hybrid CrossFire. The logic behind doing hybrid CrossFire is simple. The majority of desktop computers sold today feature integrated graphics, which have a history of having a hard time playing the latest game titles. What if a consumer was able to install an entry level graphics card and be able to link the integrated and discrete GPU’s together for improved performance? Since AMD makes chipsets and video cards this wasn’t too hard and with the 780G chipset and the Radeon 3400 series of graphics cards they were able to pull it off. To make things even easier, when a Radeon HD 3450 or Radeon HD 3470 is installed into a 780G motherboard ATI CrossFire technology is automatically enabled. This makes for a simple user expierence and a breeze for system builders that are looking to save time and money.
Inside the test system AMD was running the ATI Radeon HD 3450 graphics card, which will be released early next year for right around $49. The clock speeds for this card are not set in stone yet, but we were told to expect a core clock of 600MHz and a memory clock of 500MHz for the GDDR2 ICs. Those looking for a little more muscle will be happy to know that AMD will also release an ATI Radeon HD 3470 graphics card for $59. When running one of these discrete cards on a 780G motherboard you will be able to run two monitors off the discrete video card and two off the integrated graphics. This is great for those that want to run Surround View, but keep in mind that when running Surround View Hybrid Crossfire has to be disabled.
When it comes to performance the Radeon HD 3450 isn’t going to dominate any games, but it does score a respectable ~1650 points in 3DMark 2006 on the test system powered by a 2.2GHz AMD Phenom processor. If you enable Hybrid CrossFire the score in 3DMark 2006 jumps up to ~2660 points, which is a boost of over 60%. We didn’t get a chance to see the ATI Radeon HD 3470 graphics card in action, but AMD said it should score over 3000 points when run in Hybrid CrossFire on 3DMark 2006. AMD let us try out Call of Duty 4 at 1024×768 with decent quality settings on the system pictured here and we were seeing 20-50 frames per second Hybrid CrossFire enabled. The game was playable for sure. Another game we played on the test system was Unreal Tournament 3 at 1280×1024. The Radeon HD 3450 averaged 33.67 FPS with 65% of the frames being over 30FPS. When Hybrid CrossFire was enabled the average jumped up to 43.68 FPS, but this time 83% of the frames being rendered were over 30 frames per second. To sum Hybrid CrossFire up, we saw a 30% gain in Unreal Tournament 3 and 60% in 3DMark 2006. Not bad for adding a $49 graphics card to a board with integrated graphics. Crysis, Call of Duty 4 and Unreal Tournament were all playable at resolutions of 1024×768 to 1280×1024, which is important as they are some of the hottest game titles out right now. It should be noted that the test system we used had sideport. What is sideport you ask?