Huh really... I remember ATi/ AMD being the very first to introduce new DX features and even DDR/ GDDR memory on their cards even nodes tooo... That was a trend with ATi for many time... I think with DX8, DX9, DX10, DX11 (not sure) and DX12 later on.... Nodes and memory Radeon cards was the first to introduce DDR2, GDDR3, GDDR4 (lol that was short lived), then GDDR5...
Their main problem was for me at least, the lack of brand recognition, mind share and marketing, that was the MAIN problem.. And some times buggy drivers... ATi chipsets was not a big deal, since they did release how much 1 or 2 chipsets, while nVIDIA did had alot of nForce chipsets... Main thing was GPUs, and that they got OUTsold by nVIDIA 3 to 4 times...
About the crossfire early cables sure.. BUT 3Dfx did the SAME, LONG before any of them, and yet they was famous and known, and everyone wanted an Voodoo card... So is that really a problem ...
Mah systems retro, old, newer (Radical stuff)
W3680 4.5/ GA-x58 UD7/ R9 280x
K7 2.6/ NF7-S/ HD3850
IBM x2 P3 933/ GA-6VXD7/ Voodoo V 5.5K
Cmq P2 450/ GA-BX2000/ V2 SLI
Cmq DeskPRO 486/33
IBM PS/2 Model 56
SPS IntelleXT 8088