How to Set Up CrossFire

Written by james crider
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How to Set Up CrossFire
Setting up CrossFire can boost gaming performance. (Technology - Graphics Card image by Rob Hill from Fotolia.com)

AMD's ATI CrossFire is a multi-GPU computational system that uses two or more Radeon graphics cards in a single desktop computer to boost graphics performance. With two cards of the same make, you can see an increase of 35 per cent to 50 per cent in the frame rate in games that fully support ATI CrossFire acceleration. You'll need a motherboard with two free PCI-E card slots and a CrossFire-compatible northbridge to take advantage of CrossFire; the most popular CrossFire motherboards use the Intel X38, X48 and X58 standards.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Windows desktop computer
  • CrossFire-compatible motherboard with two free PCI-slots
  • Two CrossFire-compatible graphics cards
  • CrossFire bridge
  • Phillips screwdriver

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn off your computer. Remove all power and data cables and place the computer on a clean, sturdy table. Set the computer down with the access panel (usually the left side) facing up.

  2. 2

    Use your Phillips screwdriver to remove the two or three screws holding the access panel in place on the back of the computer. Remove any power or data cables obscuring your view of the PCI-E motherboard slots. Remember their location for reinsertion later.

  3. 3

    Unscrew two of the expansion slots next to the PCI-E slots. Remove the expansion panels from the back of the computer case. Gently slide the graphics cards into the PCI-E slots, pushing down on the back, then the front. Screw the cards into place. Remember which card is which; you'll use the more powerful card for primary video output.

  4. 4

    Install the six-pin or eight-pin power connector from your power supply if either card requires it. If both cards require additional power, you will need at least a 500-watt power supply. Place the CrossFire bridge that came with your graphics card on the CrossFire slot on both cards.

  5. 5

    Replace any power or data cables you removed in Step 2. Replace the access panel and screw it into place. Place your computer in its usual spot and reattach all power and data cables. Plug the monitor DVI or VGA cable into one of the DVI or VGA ports in either graphics card.

  1. 1

    Turn on your computer and log in. Press the "Eject" button on your CD drive and insert the AMD/ATI graphics driver CD. If you don't have the CD, you can download the latest drivers from the AMD website. Follow the instructions to install the software.

  2. 2

    Restart your computer and log in. Start the Catalyst Control Center software in the Programs folder of the Start menu. Click the "Advanced" tab or menu.

  3. 3

    Click the check box next to "Enable CrossFire" or "Enable CrossFireX." Click "OK." Your computer is now running in CrossFire mode.

Tips and warnings

  • Always disconnect your computer from its power source before working inside the computer. Before touching any components, ground yourself to discharge static build-up.

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