Thoughts on R9 280X/ 7970 Crossfire

I currently own one Sapphire Toxic r9 280x and am considering adding another one to my system to gain some performance. I am currently running only at 1080p (But it is 144hz), however if I add a second card I would do some 5760x1080 gaming.

Anyways I just wanted to hear your guys thoughts on crossfire. I know that many people are bothered by the micro studdering, but others say it has almost completely gone away with recent drivers. And yes, I am aware that this question has been asked many times before, but most of those threads are old and some people claim recent advances by amd have gotten rid of most of the old negatives of crossfire.

Anything you guys have to say will be appreciated, and if you are currently running a r9 280x crossfire or 7970 crossfire, or even a 7990 it would be great to hear how it is going for you.

Finally, if you have any good benchmarks that you have found for the r9 280x in corssfire it would be great, expecially if there is a graph showing frame times (or is it frame pacing, idk). Don't worry about my psu, I will upgrade it if needed (Currently Rosewill Hive 750 watt). As far as cpu, I have an i5 4670k that I have overclocked to 4.3 ghz before. I am almost certain this cpu won't bottleneck two r9 280xs, however if you have evidence that it does it would be nice to see.

BTW, I already posted this on Tom's Hardware and linustechtips.

Tek Syndicate did an overview and benchmarks video on this a while back:

I thought the bandwidth limitations on the crossfire bridge were supposed to cripple gaming above 1440p on these cards?

I swear I remember reading that on quite a few tech sites.

Thanks for the reply, but I have already seen these results. These results looked promising, but I still hear a lot of horror stories from people that have two r9 280x/7970 in crossfire, I just wanted to hear everyone's opinions.

I haven't heard this before, but that could be true. If you happen to find the sites that said this, I would love to read it.

I'm running 2 7950s in crossfire on 1440p and the seem to work well with the current drivers. The micro stuttering (frametime variance) got fixed a like a year ago. I think crossfire in its current form works as well as SLI.

If it were me I'd just wait for the 390x though.

I was a former crossfire user, and i will add my two pence. [get it pence? instead of cents loljk]

I owned an R9-270x crossfire setup. when it came to crossfire, there was i would say minor issues. these frame-time issues/latency issues you see in Logan's R9-280x/7970 Crossfire video are mostly been addressed already. but when it came to crossfire, the only issue i had realistically was,

  • Screen Tearing: if you don't know what this is, when two cards are in crossfire/SLI each card will render a fraction of the frame. the screen tearing appears when one frame is being rendered faster than the other, thus creating this tear effect, similar to how when you tear a piece of loose-leaf paper in half. you hold on to one peace of paper, to tear it [replicating the late frame] and the teared off part is the [fast frame that is already rendered] but the screen tearing issue is due to having such a high frame-rate. my dumbass back then thought that crossfire 270X's on a single 1080p monitor would of been great. boy was i horribly wrong. but now i know alittle bit more about issues like these to make mistakes but this is one particular issue.

  • Some Games just don't benefit with Crossfire or just don't work: for example, the crossfire tests with Skyrim that logan showed in his review. for the most part Crossfire works. you'll gain a massive boost going from one card to another. the issue that arises with skyrim is that with the ENB mods, it's built to work on one card. and it's never been addressed ever to fix it with two cards, and I KNOW this is the case, because if you try to run, Skyrim in Crossfire with an ENB, you'll notice that the gameplay is EXTRA blurry. this is due to the D.O.F [Depth of Field] being rendered twice. (reiterating my point that crossfire renders one fractions of a frame in games and this is why screen tearing is very noticeable in dual / triple / quad GPU setups.] and in some ways you can argue that Skyrim is Optimized for Nvidia even though it's says its not is because all these issues particularly with skyrim aren't much of an issue in SLI.

Overall these are the main reasons why crossfire is an issue, and some of these also apply to SLI as well.. however, if you plan on going with a triple monitor setup, AMD is the way to go, for the most part the general consensus is that AMD knows what the hell they are doing when it comes to multi-monitor setups unlike Nvidia. and sidenote Crossfired R9-280x/7970 will NOT bottleneck the 4670k. i used my 4670K with two R9-270x cards and it did perfectly fine besides the issues i mentioned. and my CPU is overclocked to 4.5ghz.

Thanks for the reply. It really helps to hear from someone with crossfire experience from recent years. I am leaning towards doing the crossfire as the downsides seem negligible any more. One card should be enough to run games like skyrim so the fact that crossfire won't work doesn't bother me too much, as more demanding games tend to be newer but get better results with crossfire. With screen tearing, that is a problem I have had to endure on a single r9 280x and I overcame with v sync and triple buffering and now with a 144hz monitor. It is extremely comforting to know that frame-time issues have been fixed, as I haven't seen any crossfire benchmarks with frame-time data, other than Logan's, that isn't over a year old. Plus, it is good to see that crossfire may have finally caught up with sli, which has been much more reliable for a longer period of time.

Once again, good to see micro stuttering has been fixed, the primary issue that I was concerned with. I probably won't wait for the r9 3xx series because there will always be new parts to wait on, at some point you just have to make a move and have no regrets :).

If I may ask, why did you switch from crossfire r9 270x to r9 290? Was it for the vram, and how many fps did you gain?

It's true that there's always something new coming out. The problem with the 280x for me is that it doesn't support Freesync for gaming, so if this is something you want to do in the future you will need to upgrade gpus.


I actually changed my GPU twice. I went from Crossfired ASUS Direct CU II R9-270x's to a EVGA GTX 770 Classified, and Then to a Sapphire R9-290 Tri-X. when i was on my crossfire setup, i originally wanted to sell my two ASUS Direct CU II cards FOR an R9-290, but i couldn't do it, cause at the time the bitcoin mining was on an all time high, and R9-290s were going for $600 at the time. so i just sold both cards and got a 770. i just recently bought a R9-290 like 4 months ago. i sold the 770 for $300 bucks and grabbed the 290 tri-X for $250 lol.

realistically though, i sold my 770 cause i wanted more performance and cause i was sick of Nvidia's BS as a company, and i didn't feel like supporting them till they got their act together, so that was the main purpose of switching to a 290. but overall the reason i got rid of my crossfire setup, was just cause of the issues with skyrim to be honest. at the time i was constantly playing skyrim almost everyday. and the ENB issues with crossfire bothered me. [you can technically fix it by disabling D.O.F in the ENB Settings but i didn't want to and it was at the time an annoying experience] and games that had screen-tearing were just a pain in the ass. and plus i was gaming on one monitor. in fact i still am, but crossfire for 1080p is dumb and you shouldn't do it, but overall that was the main reason i got rid of it, at the time AMD drivers were just plain ass. now they are better. but back then they were horrible, and at the time i was on a budget, well if you can consider $1200 a budget for a high end gaming PC lol, and i didn't know all the technical stuff that i know now.

Thanks, was just curious. :)