4670 Crossfire - The secret to budget gaming?

Introduction

Introduction

CrossfireXWhen the HD 4670 arrived on the scene several months ago everybody knew that it wasn't going to be about raw gaming power and high resolutions. Priced at less than a meal for two at your favourite restaurant (providing that's not McDonalds) and kitted out with a HDMI port (at least in the case of our Gigabyte model), the card was undoubtedly an ideal candidate for the HTPC scene. However, in the battle between NVIDIA and AMD to bring us graphics cards with the most features at the lowest price points, one intriguing feature was added to the HD 4670 - a Crossfire connector.

In many ways this seems little more than a gimmick, after all Multi-GPU setup's are often considered the next step up for enthusiasts who already own the fastest graphics card on the market and want to run games at ludicrously high resolutions or maybe even simply extend their e-peens. Placing two low-end cards in Crossfire would surely just be a waste of money much better invested in a single mid-range card, wouldn't it?

With the HD 4670 priced at around £55-65 in most places, snapping two up for a Crossfire configuration brings you into the £120 territory of the HD 4850. As we already know the HD 4850 is certainly no slouch when it comes to gaming, and with 1GB models readily available, any potential advantage a pair of 512MB HD 4670 cards may have had in on the additional memory front is certainly negated.

Specs Comparison

Things start to look even more bleak for the HD 4670 when we put it alongside some if its closest relatives. As we can see from the charts above, the 4670 has less than half the stream processors of the 4850, a crippled 128-bit memory interface and a lower number of texture units. All of this results in less than half the pixel pushing power of the HD 4850 (480GFlops vs 1000GFlops) suggesting that even if Crossfire was to be 100% efficient (which it's certainly not), a pair of 4670's would still fall short of the performance of a single 4850.

But of course, we're not going to let any of this deter us from having some fun with potentially one of the cheapest Crossfire configurations the world has ever seen. So join us over on the next page where we lay down the test configuration followed by a healthy selection of benchmarks.

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