Posts Tagged ‘ati’

You’d figure me coming out of the woodwork after a while of not blogging I’d having something positive to say. Sorry to disappoint.  I felt compelled to post about how ridiculous and irritating running a “top of the line” setup actually is. I’m running a quad crossfire setup with 4x 5870’s the 2gb versions. Installation as far as the hardware is concerned is pretty straight forward, plug them in, and give them plenty of juice 1 kilowatt, although I prefer 1.2 kilowatts or more. I am also running three Dell 30″ the 3007fwp models. That means that they are hooked up via the DVI mini display port adaptor (which also plugs into a USB port).

Setting up a “group” is quirky at best via the Catalyst control center. It just plain sucks and If I were one of those people to get seizures from flickering, I’d surely be dead or swallowing my tongue on the floor. The thing is, in order to run an app or game across all three, you need to set up a “group”. Windows 7 desktop composition settings can often throw a wrench, no a fucking lightpole sized chunk of steel, into your whole process. So if your reading this and have a ton of problems playing games, or running apps such as CS4 or CS5, DISABLE windows desktop composition. Yes it makes it very “un-pretty”, and yes you can’t flip through your 3d windows by Win-Tab anymore with it disabled, but at least your shit will work right? Well sorta.

So let’s say you actually have made it to get three monitors setup but you don’t plan on gaming, you just want three displays spanning, each its own display. This should be simple right? Nope. No matter how you configure the stupid display properties you’ll be extremely fortunate to actually have your lcd’s in the supposed correct order of display 1, display 2, and display 3. Mine are currently 3-1-2, enabling and disabling them to swap them around makes me feel like I am playing a difficult puzzle game. Swapping the DVI mini ports doesn’t help either. The most annoying part of this is that CCC reports LCD 1 as being LCD 3 or 2, I’ll upload an image later to elaborate this, but you’ll see that when I click IDENTIFY, that they are in fact not the corresponding number to LCD, which again, makes setting them up a royal pain in the ass.

Let’s say you do have it all working nicely, you have your monitors all grand a perfect. Now a ATI / AMD driver update comes out. Should be as simple as downloading, double clicking and updating right? WRONG. In my scenario with quad cards, and triple monitors, if I do not disable all but one LCD, then when updating it will flicker all three of the LCDs until I get a blue screen. Niiiiiiiiiice.

ATI / AMD one other thing. Why the hell do you still have shitty low resolutions like 640 x 480 as the DEFAULT resolution after a driver update. On my 30″ lcd, I can’t see the “Apply” button or the “OK” button, I’m just tabbing through and clicking shit randomly until it accepts my 2560×1600 setting.

So how about performance?

Well this is a 50/50 call here. In intensive apps like CS5 where in After Effects, you can designate it to render off your GPU’s, this really does scream through “on the fly” rendering. However when performing your final render (render que), using the multiple cards to render always causes major glitches in the final .mov or .avi .

Gaming, eeeeerrrrghh. I game on a sinlge LCD, the middle one, because getting triple LCD support to work nicely with games was no easy task. Honestly I don’t notice a difference between 2x 5870’s and 4x 5870’s. Seriously. Even with all settings maxed at 2560×1600. Games like Metro 2033 with Direct X 11 on, forget about it, not happening this generation.

So after way to many blue screens, and random reboots, and resolution problems, I got it to work as long as each LCD is it’s own independant lcd, without the “group”.

Calling ATI was the biggest joke, some call center indian guy gave me the third degree about how my Asus Rampage Extreme III was a sub par motherboard. I asked him to suggest a better one, which he never answered. He said ATI would contact me in a couple weeks, right…that never happened.

If I was a curious buyer, and was thinking about getting quad crossfire, I’d tell, no I’d beg you to not do it. It’s not worth the headache or the money. It’s so frustrating, I even am thinking of going quad FERMI…

Ill upload some pics of some of the fiasco going on after lunch…

Cheers

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Find yourself here because there are no reviews pitting the old “King of the hill cards” vs ATI’s new King of the hill card? Wondering why you can’t find a single review that has 4890’s crossfired vs a 5970? That’s because you most likely won’t find a review that does this. (If you do I would love to see it). I wondered the same exact thing being an (previous) owner of 2x 4890s running in Crossfire. I couldn’t decide whether or not I should get a single 5970. So I wrote ATI and email asking why I couldn’t find a comparison. My email went like this:

I've been pondering whether to buy the Thermaltake Level 10
case, or buy a 5970. Being ATI, I think you might pitch me on buying your 5970 (obviously)
but I am hoping for a solid response rather then a computer generated sales pitch
 I am currently running 4890's in crossfire and
can't find one single review that pitches the 4890s (IN CROSSFIRE) vs a
single 5970. I take it because it is there last flagship card, and they
don't want it to be compared to it's current flagship for selling and
marketing purposes. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would like to know before I
make the purchase. 

My system specs are as follows, thanks for your time.

Intel Intel i7 975 EE @ 4.4ghz cooled by a modded
(regassed and highly tuned mach
II gt unit with a Baker block head)
12gb ddr3 (OCZ)
EVGA Classified mobo
ATI 4890 x2 crossfire
2x's 1.5tb WD in RAID 0
2x's Velociraptors in RAID 0
Xfi Fatality sound card
Dell 30" LCD

I like the 4890's they do an "decent" job at most games, I mean like
at 2560x1600 with everything on (except bloom and no AA and
no AS) runs pretty decent, however Fallout 3 at that resolution is a
moderate Fail once things start getting busy, Crysis is worse. However I
would like to "kill it" so to speak, I was wondering if I should buy one (or two)
-David

My response came the following day:

Hi David;

Most reviewers don't have 2x 4890s. It launched at an
odd time; it seems like anyone who was serious enough about multi-GPU
already had a "pair of something" or a GTX295/4870X2. You're one of the few people
I've heard of that has the 4890 in CF. At any rate, a 4890CF is about
10-15% faster than a 4870X2 setup, so use that guidance.

I can't make any recommendations. However given what you
already have, there doesn't seem to be a great incentive for you to upgrade
right now. It wouldn't hurt to at least wait. By the way, nice machine you have
there, it's fast enough as is!

-Regards,
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sooooo, yah…

I ended up buying two 5970’s running them in crossfire, and yes it’s visual bliss, and yes it’s about 20-30% faster than two 4890’s in crossfire.