Cross Fire X (hybrid) question

I recently put together a new machine for myself. It has an ATI integrated video (780G chipset) which is adequate for the time being, but I expect that I will want to move up to a dedicated card at some point.
There’s a handful of cards that will work in a cross fire configuration with the onboard chipset, but they top out with the 34xx series. Even the mid range 36xx’s make the 34xx’s look pretty wimpy and 38xx can be had now for $130 or so.
Looking at this, the path that makes the most sense to me is to go for the 3850 and either disable the onboard adapter or use it to drive my secondary display (most likely disable). I just wondered if there is some huge Cross Fire thing that I will miss out on if I take that approach.

When using a higher-end card the potential performance improvement of CrossFire with the comparatively puny HD 3200 would be quite negligible and when taking into consideration whatever overheads are necessary to get the GPUs working together I think there’s a good possibility that it would end up slower than higher-end card on its own.

You also may want to consider waiting till after the HD 4850 comes out on the 23rd either to get that or to take advantage of the inevitable price drop of the previous generation of cards.

I’m in much the same situation as you (780G mobo) and that’s what I’m planning to do.

If you have to save your money anyway, I suggest staying away from ATI all together, and just get 2 nvidia cards (if your mother board has 2 graphics slots in it).

If you ever want to try linux, you will not have a very good experience with ATI. There are also known issues with ATI and blender.

I think I saw a log somewhere that said the new blender had ATI fixed and working.

Thanks for the replies.

ATi = Crossfire motherboard. Nvidea = SLI motherboard. The two formats aren’t interchangeable. I’ve always fell the whole dual graphics card thing is a marketing scheme. Except for a few rare high demanding games you usually won’t see much of a performance boost, typically about 30%.

You’re probably right about the marketing thing. I just didn’t know if there were some nice features for folks with two displays or not. Certainly, the 780G GPU isn’t going to be of much use to an 3850 (or the NVidea equivalent).