An advanced graphics card or a couple of such cards in a CrossFireX or SLI configuration is at the heart of each gaming computer. However, when they upgrade or buy new hardware, users often wonder what CPU they might need to match such a graphics subsystem. It is when new top-end products from AMD or Nvidia come out that such questions arise in abundance and arguments at computer forums may grow really hot. But perhaps the issue is not really worth the argument?
I will try to clear things out today by benchmarking the performance of the fastest single-chip graphics card available today, the ATI Radeon HD 5870, and a CrossFireX configuration built out of two such cards. The task is not difficult but takes a lot of time. I needed to perform tests on three platforms at two display resolutions in three synthetic benchmarks and 15 games, focusing on the performance benefits brought about by overclocking the CPUs and platforms. Anyway, the three week’s work has produced really interesting results I’m ready to share them with you. First, I’ll tell you about the testing methods and hardware I used.