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08 November 2008

Radeon HD3850 X2 + GeForce 8600GT

Working hand-in-hand:
Radeon HD3850 X2 + GeForce 8600GT

PhysX, the "in" thing in 3D PC gaming these days. Nvidia injected a boost of PhysX support to all GeForce 8 series & above cards. On the other hand, ATI has trouble coming up with similar features in the same field. So what can ATI fans do for now? One way is to add a mid-range GeForce card to the existing CrossFire platform, which will be covered here today. The following is an extract from the original article.

The test will be based on the Colorful C.A790GX X3. As the product name suggests, the board has 3 PCI-E 16x slots.

The PCI Express slots.

The blue one is a fully compatible PCI-E 2.0 16x slot. Under closer observation, you can see that the blacks' slots are missing half the pins, that is because they are in x8 configuration, providing x8 and x4 speed respectively.

The jumpers need to be changed to 2-3 configuration in order to enable a dual-card CrossFire mode. In CrossFire mode, the first two PCI-E slots (blue and black) will be run at x8 + x8 configuration.

Test System Specifications

CPU: AMD Phenom X4 9600 2.3Ghz
Mainboard: Colorful C.A790GX X3 (AMD 790GX + SB750)
Memory: OCZ DDR2-1150 2x1GB
Storage: Seagate 7200.10 160GB
Colorful Radeon HD3850-GD3 (x2)
Colorful GeForce 8600GT-GD3
Power: Thermaltake Toughpower 1200W

O/S: Windows XP Pro SP3
DirectX 9.0c 2008-3
AMD Chipset 8.9
ATI Catalyst 8.10
ForceWare 178.24 WHQL

Baseline Benchmark:

8660 for 3DMark06.

No miracle of a CrossFire-SLI here, the score matches the result for a pair of HD3850 X2 in x8 + x8. As the score suggests, the benchmark program gained no advantage from the additional 8600GT.

MKZ without PhysX acceleration

MKZ with PhysX acceleration from the 8600GT. The average framerate shows significant improvement of around 67%.

Nurien, without PhysX acceleration.

Nurien, with PhysX acceleration, received a big boost from the help of 8600GT.

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