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ATI demonstrates hybrid-chip CrossFire graphics tech

Nilay Patel
12.13.07
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We've already seen laptops like Sony's Vaio SZ include integrated graphics alongside much more powerful (and power-hungry) dedicated chips, but AMD's looking to make such setups all the more commonplace with new chips capable of hybrid CrossFire. AMD recently demoed the tech to PC Perspective, showing off a 2.2GHz Phenom machine with both unreleased RS780 integrated graphics and a RV620-based card labeled HD Radeon 3450. Running games like Call of Duty 4 and Unreal Tournament 3, frame rates jumped from 30-35fps to around 55fps when hybrid mode was enabled. That's pretty respectable, although the system is limited to speedups of the slowest chip times two, so bigger gains are probably not in the offing. However, there can still be benefits to using chips of drastically different horsepower: the integrated chips can power down the heavy hitter to save power when not needed, and totally switch over when required. That's a pretty solid compromise, we think -- and with AMD aiming for the initial batch of hybrid CrossFire-capable cards to be priced around $50, it looks like we'll be seeing these setups a lot when AMD starts shipping these early next year.

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