We sat down and had a chat with ATI to find out what's going on. Yesterday, they released a new part in the £160-170 price range known as the Radeon X1800GTO.
We grabbed some shots of a system running two Radeon X1800GTO cards in CrossFire. However, there was one thing missing from the system: there was no CrossFire dongle connecting the two cards together.
The cards were using a CrossFire implementation in the Catalyst Driver. We tested a couple of games and saw it running with performance higher than what we'd expect from a single card, so we can say that it's working.
The card will be available towards the end of the month, with connector-less CrossFire coming when the drivers are ready in a month or so's time. We're expecting this to be implemented by the time Catalyst 6.5 comes out at the start of May.
Radeon X1800GTO comes clocked at the same 500/1000MHz clock speeds that the Radeon X1800XL comes at. The board design is virtually the same as the Radeon X1800's, but with only 12 pixel pipelines enabled. There is 256MB of GDDR3 onboard and the card requires additional power from a 6-pin PCI-Express power adapter.
We've not had the chance to do a full set of benchmarks on the Radeon X1800GTO yet in single card mode, but we'll have our review online by the time they're available for purchase. We did get the chance to see 3DMark05 running in both single card and software CrossFire too. In single card mode, the Radeon X1800GTO scores about 6600 and the CrossFire setup scores around 12000 to give an idea of the scaling that's possible with the dongle-less CrossFire implementation.
Aside from the paper launch at CEBIT, our one concern is that the card is rather large for a mid-range video card, so it may not be suitable for every system out there.
We tried two Radeon X1900XTX's in connector-less CrossFire the other week with no success, but we wonder whether it'll be possible for that to happen in the future too. Do you think this will happen in the with the current generation of high end ATI products?
Give us your initial impressions in the forums