The first AMD dual-GPU, the HD3870X2 arrives

USUALLY, ON launch day, most if not all graphics cards of a new type are just rebadged reference units made either Nvidia or AMD. This time, with the HD3870X2 series, Asus went ahead of the pack with a custom ‘improved’ flavour right at the start.

Here you see two Asus dual-GPU EAH3870X2 cards, linked by a Crossfire cable. Look at some unique points:

First, they sit on a now-bared, supercooling-ready, Asus Z7S-WS board, which we exclusively unveiled to the world earlier this month. The dual-CPU, 8-core overclockable Xeon board is in its newest BIOS rev capable of supporting dual FSB2000 and therefore 4+ GHz twin quad-core Xeons.

The dual PCI-E x16 v2 ports are Crossfire-ready – in this case, it is CrossfireX on 4 GPUs. Add to it up to 24 GB quad-channel RAM and, we suppose, CPU and memory will never be a bottleneck to feed the four GPUs.

Bared board? Yeah, we’re experimenting with far more powerful cooling stuff on it now: multi-head cryocooling sounds attractive for both CPUs and the North Bridge. Whether it will work, or something else will be on it – we’re keeping all options open…

Secondly, count the DVI connectors. Four on each card this time, for a total of eight. That gives a quad-monitor CrossFire or eight-monitor multiview setup – each of these at up to 2560×1600. The first we know of at high-end 3-D cards.

Then, take a look at the custom graphic card cooling. Asus package has two fans compared to one on AMD reference cooler, as well as copper heatpipes going all the way across both GPUs, memory and VRMs. The cooling should allow a bit more overclock, especially since the card uses faster 0.8 ns GDDR3 parts – how about at least 850 MHz for GPU(s) and 2300 for memory?

We’d still prefer single-slot micro-channelled waterblock taking care of this to save slot space – maybe Vadim Computers up north in London has some soon…

Graphics aside, this is 2 TFLOPs of single-precision FP power on top of 100+ GFLOPs of double-precision FP from those two quad-core CPUs. Makes for some interesting GPGPU applications – how fast would the Russians crack those Vista passwords now?

Back to the reality: we’re testing the duo on a variety of more ‘down to earth “mobos, including the recently checked-out MSI X48 Platinum, as the drivers progress. Check out the results this week!

News source: THEINQUIRER


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