What Is CrossFire & List Of CrossFire Compatible Cards

If you want a multi-GPU setup, you should know what AMD CrossFire is. Here is the ultimate guide to AMD CrossFire, including all CrossFire compatible GPUs.

The concept of a multi-GPU setup was all the rage in the 2000s. AMD wasn’t willing to be left behind, so they released CrossFire.

Since then, the list of CrossFire compatible cards has grown exponentially, but the technology ultimately hit a wall. Read on to find out what CrossFire is and what exactly went wrong.

The dream of having multiple graphics cards hooked into one PC and utilizing the power of those cards at the same time seemed like a crazy idea.

In 2004, NVIDIA was the first company to market this idea with its SLI (Scalable Link Interface) technology. AMD soon followed suit in 2005.

Related:What Is SLI? List Of SLI Compatible Cards

However, the drawbacks of both technologies persisted and ultimately led to their demise. Two main factors caused this sequence of events: the two graphics cards needed to be specifically optimized by the game developers, and, more importantly, these technologies never delivered anywhere near double the performance.

Before looking at 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 the same way as NVIDIA’s SLI: it pairs up two (or more) graphics cards in order to produce a single output. This means the image you see on your screen is created using multiple GPUs.

The cards are typically set up in a master-slave configuration, which means one card will have the position of a “master” while the others will have the position of “slave.” The master card is in charge of receiving the output from the slave card(s) and meshing it together into a coherent output.

There are two main operational modes for dual graphics card setups: Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR) and Split Frame Rendering (SFR).

As its name suggests, AFR assigns 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, process every odd frame while the slave processes every even frame.

Alternate Frame Rendering

In theory, this should make rendering the image happen more quickly and smoothly. However, due to connectivity and lag issues, users were often faced with micro-stuttering and, unfortunately, worse performances than those of a single graphics card.

SFR operates similarly in that it divides the workload between the cards, but it does so differently.

It assigns each card a part of the screen to render and then relies on the master card to combine the images and display the correct output. Usually, the master card will work on the upmost part of the screen while the slave card works on the rest.

Split Frame Rendering

The biggest advantage Crossfire has over SLI is that it can use cards that aren’t the 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 such a cool name, you might think this technology has to be something good. It’s about as cool as the rest of the CrossFire technology, which, unfortunately, isn’t saying much.

In effect, Hybrid CrossFireX enables multi-GPU support for different types of graphics cards. 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 changed it to something simpler: AMD Dual Graphics. This technology allowed the company’s APUs to be linked with its GPUs.

What Happened And What’s Next For AMD CrossFire?

crossfire radeon

Despite the original promise of doubling graphical performance, it quickly became clear that the technology simply wouldn’t be able to fulfill that ambition. With each new generation of graphics cards, gamers hoped that those promises would finally be realized and they would be able to double their PC’s performance.

AMD’s GPUs slumped hard in the mid-2010s and fell behind in their battle with NVIDIA. It’s likely that, had CrossFire been able to fulfill its promise, things might have gone differently, but we will never truly know.

In all honesty, we can’t say that CrossFire was the only reason for AMD’s decline. After all, its chief competitor’s SLI technology didn’t fare significantly better.

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

In contrast, AMD pretty much abandoned its dream of creating a viable multi-GPU technology and quietly retired CrossFire in 2017. Although its support via DirectX11 continued, 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

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.