When AMD announced the ability to run two Radeon RX Vega cards simultaneously, they conspicuously called it mGPU (short for multiple GPU) instead of the far more familiar CrossFire. That’s because they are retiring the CrossFire brand in favour of the generic mGPU moniker. They also limited the mGPU capability. Find out why!
End of the road for AMD CrossFire
The first AMD Polaris-based graphics card, the AMD Radeon RX 480, was showcased in Computex 2016 with Raja Koduri showing off its CrossFire performance in Ashes of the Singularity. But when AMD released the Radeon RX Vega family, they did not mention any CrossFire support.
In fact, the AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics cards was only capable of running as single cards until the release of Radeon Software 17.9.2. It also represented the end of the road for AMD CrossFire. With this release, AMD officially abandoned it for mGPU.
Why? Here is AMD’s response when they were asked that very question by Brad Chacos of PCWorld :
CrossFire isn’t mentioned because it technically refers to DX11 applications.
In DirectX 12, we reference multi-GPU as applications must support mGPU, whereas AMD has to create the profiles for DX11.
We’ve accordingly moved away from using the CrossFire tag for multi-GPU gaming.
This is a surprising turn of event because the CrossFire brand goes all the way back to 2005. Almost 12 years to the day, as a matter of fact. That’s a lot of marketing history for AMD to throw away. But throw it all away, they did.
Nothing has changed though. They just decided to call the ability to use multiple graphics cards as mGPU, instead of CrossFire. In other words – this is a branding decision.
AMD will continue to use CrossFire for current and future DirectX 11 profiles, but refer to mGPU for DirectX 12 titles.
Limited mGPU Capability
AMD is also limiting the mGPU support to just two graphics cards. The 4-way mGPU capabilities that top-of-the-line Radeon cards used to support have been dropped. The AMD Radeon RX Vega family are therefore limited to two cards in mGPU mode :
Gamers can pair two Radeon RX Vega 56 GPUs or two Radeon RX Vega 64 GPUs
This move was not surprising. Even NVIDIA abandoned three or four card configurations with the GeForce GTX 10 series last year. With fewer games supporting multi GPUs and interest in power efficiency burgeoning, the days of 3-way or 4-way multi GPUs are over.