Should you run Crossfire with integrated graphics?
When most people think of multiple graphics cards in the same system, they often think of two of the exact same card in Crossfire or SLI. While that is mostly true, especially in the case of SLI, AMD Crossfire is a little more lenient when it comes to what cards you can run together.
Prefer b-roll over written text? Watch my video here:
AMD crossfire has allowed two GPUs from the same GPU design to run together for a long time. For example, you can run a HD 6970 (Cayman XT) and a HD 6950 (Cayman PRO) in crossfire without too much trouble; the 6970 disables a few components to essentially become a HD 6950, and it’s off to the races. However, crossfire also allows for even weirder configurations.
AMD Radeon HD 2400 XT
AMD first did crossfire with integrated graphics in 2008 with HD 2400 and HD 3400 series cards being able to work in tandem with the integrated graphics in AMD 700 and 800 series chipsets. This was done again with AMDs APUs, but this time with the iGPU integrated in the CPU package instead of being on the motherboard. AMD calls this technology Hybrid Crossfire or Dual Graphics. AMD recommends a specific GPU for each APU that roughly matches the specifications of the APUs iGPU. In the case of my A10 6800K, this GPU is the HD 6670. However, you don’t have to oblige to these recommendations, which allows us to run the iGPU of an A10 6800K, a TeraScale 3 based GPU in crossfire with a HD 7750, a GCN 1.0 based GPU.
AMD A10 6800K surrounded by a HD 5770, HD 7750 and a HD 6950
The setup process is fairly simple; install the dGPU and enable Dual Graphics in the UEFI and in Catalyst Control Center. Unsurprisingly though, this obscure crossfire configuration refused to work in any of the games I tried. It only worked in 3D Mark, showing decent scaling, but this isn’t exactly very useful if you want to play actual games instead of watching a benchmark all day. Furthermore, the Piledriver based CPU in the AMD A10 is truly terrible, being easily beaten by Conroe based Core 2 Quad at roughly the same clockspeed due to the poor multi thread scaling of the module based Piledriver architecture. So the AMD A10 6800K cant redeem itself as a powerful CPU either, and when it’s one of the fastest FM2(+) CPU available, the FM2(+) platform seems rather obsolete in 2018.
So how do these parts perform?
Benchmarks can also be found at at 2:00 in my video above.
Benchmarks (image heavy):
So should you put an iGPU and a dGPU in crossfire? Definitely not. There is practically nothing that supports such a configuration, and AMDs FM2(+) platform lacks any modern fast CPUs to back it up. In the end, AMDs Dual Graphics was an interesting concept. If it had worked properly in games, it would have allowed for cheap GPU upgrades, perfect for the gamer on a budget (that hasn’t discovered the used market).