We have always claimed and continue to do so that contemporary multi-GPU concept has a number of fundamental issues, some of which cannot be solved, at least not with where the corresponding technologies are today. Nevertheless, if homogeneous multi-GPU systems haven’t yet reached ultimate perfection, then they are at least extremely close to it already. Most newly emerged compatibility issues with the new gaming titles are being solved very quickly and the drawbacks that could be eliminated completed are long gone.
In the times of economic crisis when many gamers can’t afford to spend a lot of money on graphics cards, the value of compromise solutions increases dramatically. Multi-GPU systems built out of inexpensive mainstream graphics accelerators also belong to these solutions. We have already discussed several systems like that including Nvidia GeForce GTS 250 SLI, Radeon HD 4830 CrossFireX and Radeon HD 4670 CrossFireX. The first two demonstrated pretty decent potential, while the latter turned out too slow and didn’t prove up to our expectations: it failed to compete successfully against single-processor Radeon HD 4870 and GeForce GTX 260 Core 216.
But this industry continues to evolve and Radeon HD 4830 was eventually replaced with the new Radeon HD 4770. This new solution is based on the industry’s first graphics processor manufactured with 40nm process and became a real revolution in the budget sub-$100 graphics card segment, because it outperformed Radeon HD 4830 and yielded just a tiny bit to Radeon HD 4850. In fact, it not just turned out a gravestone for the former, but also announced the upcoming retirement of the latter, because the newcomer offered similar performance combined with excellent energy-efficiency and considerably lower production costs.
Taking into account all advantages this new solution has to offer, it is extremely interesting to see how well a CrossFireX configuration built of two graphics cards like that may perform. Theoretically, it should perform similarly to today’s best single-GPU graphics solution, like GeForce GTX 285 or Radeon HD 4890, or maybe even better than that. Together with relatively low price of this solution, all these advantages make it very attractive, especially for those who have already got one Radeon HD 4770 and are looking to improve the performance of their gaming platform at comparatively low cost. Things look really good in theory: by investing a little over $200 you can get graphics performance approaching the level of GeForce GTX 285, which is currently selling for $320-$350. But what do things look like in reality? We decided to investigate the performance of ATI Radeon HD 4770 CrossFireX tandem in order to answer this question. But before, let’s compare its technical specifications against those of its potential competitors.