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Games and multi-GPU scaling
With the X58 offering two full-bandwidth x16 slots to multi-GPU configurations via a proper north-bridge chip, and the P55 offloading that responsibility to Lynnfield's dual-x8 onboard PCIe, I was curious to see whether game performance differs between the two. And so I fired up a few recent titles to find out. These games were run at 1080p with 4X antialiasing, 16X anisotropic filtering, and all their eye candy options cranked. I used in-game timedemos with Left 4 Dead and Far Cry 2 before moving onto FRAPS to log my time with Call of Duty and GRID. When using FRAPS, I recorded five 60-second gameplay sessions to ensure consistent, repeatable results.

Each platform was tested with a single GeForce GTX 260 896MB and Radeon HD 4870 1GB, and then with two of each in CrossFire and SLI, respectively. Our purpose here isn't to pass judgment on which single- or multi-GPU solution is superior, though. Instead, we're concentrating on how these graphics teaming schemes scale on each platform.

This one's just about a wash. With just one of either graphics card installed, the X58 and P55 are locked in a dead heat. The X58 does prove faster in Call of Duty and GRID with CrossFire and SLI, but only by slim margins.