What Is CrossFire & List Of CrossFire Compatible Cards

The idea of a multi-GPU setup was all the rage in the 2000s and AMD wasn’t going to be left out, so they released CrossFire.

The list of CrossFire compatible cards has since grown exponentially but the technology itself hit a wall. Keep reading to find out what CrossFire is and what exactly went wrong.

The dream of having more than one graphics card hooked into one PC and having the performance on the level of those two cards at once still seemed like a crazy idea. In 2004, Nvidia was the first to market this idea with their SLI (Scalable Link Interface) technology and AMD followed suit in 2005.

Related:What Is SLI? List Of SLI Compatible Cards

However, the biggest drawback of either technology persisted and eventually led to their demise. This chain of events was caused by two things: the fact that the two graphics cards needed to be specifically optimized by the game developers and, more importantly, the fact that these technologies never delivered anything close to double the performance.

But before getting into what happened later, let’s start at the beginning.

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What Is AMD CrossFire?

amd crossfire nvidia sli

The CrossFire technology operates in the same way as Nvidia’s SLI: it pairs up two (or more) graphics cards in order to produce a single output. This means you’ll see an image on your screen that’s made using multiple GPUs.

The cards are typically set up in a master-slave configuration, which means that one card will have the position of a “master” while every other will have the position of “slave”. The master card will be in charge of receiving the output from the slave card(s) and mesh it together for a coherent output.

There are two general modus operandi for dual graphics card setup: Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR) and Split Frame Rendering (SFR).

As the name suggests, AFR will assign one card to produce one frame and the other card to produce the next frame, and so on. In the two GPU configuration, the master card will, for example, work every odd frame while the slave will work every even frame.

Alternate Frame Rendering

In theory, this would make rendering the image go faster and smoother, but due to connectivity and lag issues, we’re often met with micro-stuttering and, paradoxically, a worse performance than that of a single graphics card.

SFR, on the other hand, works similarly in that it splits the workload between the cards, but it does so differently. It will assign each card a part of the screen to render and then rely on the master card to mix the images together and show the correct output. Most often, the master card will work on the upmost part of the screen while the slave card(s) will work on the rest.

Split Frame Rendering

The biggest advantage Crossfire has over SLI is that it can run cards that aren’t the exact same model or from the same manufacturer. However, the cards need to be from the same series so, for example, an HD 5750 card could be successfully configured to run with an HD 5770,

AMD Hybrid CrossFireX

With this cool-sounding name, this has to be something good, right? Well, it’s about as cool as the rest of the CrossFire technology, which isn’t saying too much.

In essence, Hybrid CrossFireX enables multi-GPU support for different type graphics cards. So, for example, it allows a motherboard-integrated graphics card to link up with a discrete GPU.

In 2012, AMD apparently decided to step away from this great name and change it to something simpler – AMD Dual Graphics. This technology allowed its APUs to be linked with its GPUs.

What Happened And What’s Next For AMD CrossFire?

crossfire radeon

Despite the original promise of doubling the performance, it was clear right from the start that the technology just wasn’t up to par to fulfil that promise. As gamers, with each generation of new graphics cards, we eagerly anticipated that this time it will be different and that we’ll finally be able to double the performance.

As we all know, AMD’s GPUs slumped hard in the mid-2010s and lost steam in their battle with Nvidia. It’s fair to say that, had CrossFire been able to go through with its promise, things might’ve gone a different way, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

In the spirit of honesty, we can’t say that CrossFire is the only reason for AMD’s decline nor that its chief competitor’s SLI technology was doing any better.

However, Nvidia still gave its tech a boost and came up with NVLink, which didn’t exactly deliver doubled performance but was still vastly superior to both SLI and CrossFire.

On the other hand, AMD pretty much gave up its dream of creating a viable multi-GPU technology and quietly retired CrossFire in 2017. Although its support via DirectX11 is still going on, AMD moved on to the ‘Multi GPU’ name or mGPU.

List Of CrossFire Compatible Cards

amd crossfire

Below is a full list of all CrossFire-compatible AMD cards. Keep in mind that you can combine two cards from the same series.

  • Radeon RX Vega 64
  • Radeon RX Vega 56
  • Radeon RX 590
  • Radeon RX 580
  • Radeon RX 570
  • Radeon RX 560
  • Radeon RX 480
  • Radeon RX 470
  • Radeon RX 460
  • Radeon R9 380X
  • Radeon R9 295X2
  • Radeon R9 290
  • Radeon R9 280X
  • Radeon R9 280
  • Radeon R9 270X
  • Radeon R9 270
  • Radeon R7 265
  • Radeon R7 260X
  • Radeon R7 260
  • Radeon R7 250X
  • Radeon R7 250
  • Radeon R7 240
  • Radeon HD 7970
  • Radeon HD 7950
  • Radeon HD 7870
  • Radeon HD 7850
  • Radeon HD 7770
  • Radeon HD 7750
  • Radeon HD 6990
  • Radeon HD 6970
  • Radeon HD 6950
  • Radeon HD 6870
  • Radeon HD 6850
  • Radeon HD 6790
  • Radeon HD 6770
  • Radeon HD 6750
  • Radeon HD 5970
  • Radeon HD 5870
  • Radeon HD 5850
  • Radeon HD 5830
  • Radeon HD 5770
  • Radeon HD 5750
  • Radeon HD 4870 X2
  • Radeon HD 4850 X2
  • Radeon HD 4890
  • Radeon HD 4870
  • Radeon HD 4850
  • Radeon HD 4830
  • Radeon HD 4770
  • Radeon HD 4670
  • Radeon HD 4650
  • Radeon HD 4550
  • Radeon HD 4350
  • Radeon HD 3870 X2
  • Radeon HD 3870
  • Radeon HD 3850 X2
  • Radeon HD 3850
  • Radeon HD 3650
  • Radeon HD 3470
  • Radeon HD 3450

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Branko Gapo
Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is impossible. That is why Branko will be using his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements.