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We tapped another Asus motherboard for our new nForce4-powered test bed: the A8N32-SLI Deluxe. But let’s pick up our coverage of XFX’s side of the fight where we left off with Sapphire’s: In a surprising turn of events, nVidia’s terrible twins got their asses handed to them when we pitted SLI against CrossFire in Quake 4 at Ultra Quality. If that’s the only game you ever intend to play, and you’ve got the bucks for a pair of Sapphire’s best, go for it. But wouldn’t that be akin to attending a lavish banquet and limiting yourself to the Beef Wellington?
As the tale of the tape tells, you’d be missing plenty: We tested XFX’s overclocked GeForce 7900 GTX implementation (model PV-T71F-YDD9), which has a 700MHz core and 512MB of memory blazing along at 900MHz. This monster rolled over and flattened its X1900 XTX-powered competitor in both single- and dual-GPU modes.
In single-card mode, XFX beat Sapphire by 18 percent playing FEAR, by 9 percent in Call of Duty 2, and by 14 percent in Quake at High Quality (it was a tie at Ultra Quality).
True, ATI’s chip delivers prettier graphics and video, but you must disable CrossFire to watch a movie. SLI has no such limitation; besides, our tests revealed SLI to be generally faster—by wide margins: a 26 percent edge in FEAR, 24 percent faster in Call of Duty 2, and 10 percent quicker in Quake 4 at High Quality.
If you really don’t care about games, ATI has the better solution. But non-gamers don’t need to spring for the top-drawer GPU to get Avivo functionality—any card in the X1000 line will likely suit your needs.
Month Reviewed: June 2006
+ GREGORIAN CHANT: Rules the benchmark charts; relatively quiet, even when running in SLI.
- GREGORIAN CALENDAR: Expensive; looks drab next to Avivo; lose to Crossfire in Quake 4/Ultra Quality.