Mixed GPU Opens Up a World of Possibility

The concept of mixing and matching GPUs seems like a dream come true for enthusiasts even if for the simple fact that it works and can get you a boost. We can't wait to see more, not just from Ashes but from other upcoming DX12 titles as well.

Before we discuss the multi-GPU results let's just touch on single card results, as the performance landscape is considerably different to what we saw back a few months ago.

Back then the GeForce GTX 980 Ti was faster than the R9 Fury X in both the DX11 and DX12 modes. Under DX11 the 980 Ti was 15% faster and about 2% faster in DX12. The same scenario was seen when comparing the GTX 980 and R9 390X.

Yet now the Fury X is worlds faster than the GTX 980 Ti. Some 25% faster at 1080p and even with async compute turned off, which might suppose a current driver advantage for the Radeon, the Fury X still lead the 980 Ti by an 8% margin.

These findings are in line with results previously provided to us by AMD. Granted, they had tested with lower quality settings, but the margins are about the same. AMD's own results suggest that the R9 380X is on par with the GTX 970 under virtually every condition in Ashes of the Singularity which is stunning given the vast difference between these two graphics cards in any DX11 title.

Plucking a quote from our previous article: "Putting the blinders on and looking specifically at Ashes of the Singularity, is Nvidia as doomed as AMD fanboys would have you believe? No, we wouldn't say so."

If today's results are anything to go by then we may have to recant, Nvidia's current gen graphics cards could be in for a rough ride with DX12. However gamers should bear in mind that this is still just a single game and is unlikely to represent DX12 performance as a whole -- no single game could.

As is the case with DX11 gaming, it's likely that some DX12 games will favor AMD while others side with Nvidia. Not just that, but Ashes of the Singularity is still a beta, so a lot might change between now and the game's official release.

The idea of having a GTX 980 and a R9 390X seems amazing, as you can take full advantage of any and all games. If a game favors Nvidia use the 980 as the primary card or vice-versa. In the case of Ashes of the Singularity the game so heavily favors AMD that having a GeForce graphics card working for you is almost a disadvantage.

Yes, the 390X/980 combo was 48% faster than a single 390X, but two 390Xs were 68% faster. Still, the ability to mix and match graphics cards opens up a world of possibility.

Realizing we've only tested a small number of the possible GPU combinations and the games that will follow in the coming year, there's more to be seen but for now Ashes has given us a nice peak of what's to come. You can expect more weird and wonderful GPU combinations when this and other DX12 games roll out in 2016.