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Advanced Micro Devices’ graphics product group ATI may allow all third-party chipsets to support the CrossFire multi-GPU technology, according to a report from an Asian web-site. While this may push sales of graphics cards with support for the multi-GPU capability, this would blur the CrossFire trademark as the brand-name for multi-GPU platform by ATI/AMD.

ATI’s CrossFire and Nvidia’s multi-GPU technologies dubbed CrossFire and Scalable Link Interface (SLI) respectively require a mainboard and a chipset that support two physical PCI Express x16 slots for graphics cards (PEG x16). However, the companies have implemented special restrictions into their drivers that did not allow two graphics cards to work in tandem on systems that used “not-authorized” core-logic sets.

Nevertheless, ATI allows two of its graphics cards to operate on several Intel chipset-based mainboards and it is widely known that Nvidia’s SLI can operate on mainboards running chipsets from Intel, Uli, etc., with special drivers installed. Therefore, there are no technical limitations to run two graphics cards on any chipset that has two PCI Express controllers in the north bridge, but both ATI and Nvidia wanted to sell their own enthusiast-class core-logic to those seeking for multi-GPU technology.

According to short news-story filed by HKEPC web-site, AMD is mulling to enable CrossFire for all core-logic sets available, not only for those developed by AMD/ATI or Intel.

Given that ATI CrossFire technology is not as widely adopted as Nvidia’s SLI, it makes some sense for AMD to open the platform and allow users to choose a mainboard themselves. Still, the CrossFire has been promoted as an enthusiast-class platform from the very beginning and it would be strange to re-focus it on the multi-GPU technology alone. On the other hand, it would be consistent with AMD’s strategy of open standards and will allow the firm to concentrate on the promotion of the 4x4 and Athlon 64 FX platforms.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.


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