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Crossfire Video card

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gumbotron

Crossfire means that you can use two video cards at the same time (in the same computer) to put out a better picture. However, the only real gains you get from using this technology is a better picture at very high resolution. It doesn't make much sense to invest in this unless you have a monitor pumping out 1920x1200 or above, and invest you will - you need a motherboard that supports it, 2 video cards and a PSU that will put out enough power to run it all.

There are two major video card manufacturers, ATI and Nvidia. Crossfire is for ATI cards, SLI is for Nvidia cards and they are not compatible. You have to have a motherboard made for either of the technologies - it must be SLI or Crossfire ready and have two PCI-E slots for each card. If you want to use two ATI cards and you have a motherboard with SLI technology, you have to get another motherboard.

ATI cards are less expensive and as of this posting, the general consensus is that ATI is the better bang for your buck. They are very close when it comes to benchmarking so for a budget upgrade, ATI is the way to go. Generally, choose the highest number that you can and then look for benchmark and comparisons to others of similar lineage.

I would suggest upgrading to Windows 7 if possible, the graphics are much better and XP is essentially dead, it just doesn't know it yet.