ATI Radeon HD 3870 + 3850 CrossFire – Mixing Video Cards

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Mixing ATI Radeon HD Graphics Cards in CrossFire

When it comes mixing and matching different types of graphics card and running them in either SLI or CrossFire mode, you are bound to have a number of problems. You will not find too many people advising in trying this, but the video card companies are working hard at making this work. Today, we are looking at ATI’s budget friendly Radeon HD 3850 and Radeon HD 3870 graphics cards to seeing how they work together in CrossFire. We’ve previously reviewed both of these series in CrossFire before, but never dared to look at them mixed together and running CrossFire.  ATI has done a ton of driver improvements since we first looked at those cards with the CATALYST 7.11 beta drivers, and the CATALYST 8.1 and CATALYST 8.2 drivers have proven to be very solid. While the ATI CATALYST 8.2 drivers will be out by the time this is posted, this article still will be useful as the only major performance enhancement in CATALYST 8.2 drivers is on Company of Heroes.

ATI Radeon HD 3870 and Radeon HD 3850 in Mixed CrossFire

It doesn’t look right, but you can connect the ATI Radeon HD 3850 and ATI Radeon HD 3870 together and enable CrossFire. ATI says you only need to use one interconnect, but since our cards came with two interconnects we used both.  We have tried benchmarking with just one interconnect and then again with two and didn’t notice any differences. 

ATI Radeon HD 3870 and Radeon HD 3850 in Device Manager

With Device Manager open in Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit we can see that after installing CATALYST 8.1 drivers that both video cards were showing up and the drivers are good to go.

ATI Radeon HD 3870 and Radeon HD 3850 in CCC

Opening CATALYST Control Center (CCC), we can once again see both video cards in the drop down menu and that CrossFire has been automatically enabled.  Setting up CrossFire on mixed and matched cards like these is just like regular CrossFire, so there isn’t too much else to show or talk about.

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