RV570 and the Demise of the X1900 GT

The silicon used in the X1950 Pro is based on an 8-vertex 36-pixel shader configuration. While the X1900 GT has the same pipeline configuration as the X1950 Pro, the X1900 GT is based on R580 cores with disabled or non-functional pipelines. The RV570 core is built with the X1950 Pro in mind. With the introduction of the X1950 Pro, the X1900 GT will be phased out. It is unclear whether or not ATI has a use planned for R580+ GPUs that don't make the cut on the high end, but it looks like they won't just fall neatly into the X1900 GT. We would like to say that the X1950 Pro has the same core clock speed as the X1900 GT, but the issue is a little more complicated.

The X1900 GT will be going through a slight revision before its disappearance. Due to a shortage of original R580 cores that can clock to 575MHz, ATI is dropping the specs on the X1900 GT to 512MHz while attempting to make up for this by boosting memory speed to 1320MHz from 1200MHz. This is being done to keep the supply of X1900 GT parts steady until the X1950 Pro is able to take over. It is difficult to describe just how inappropriate it is to retard the specs on a long shipping product in this manner.

It is hard enough for us to sort things out when parts hit the shelves at different speeds than originally promised, but to do something like this after a part has been on the market for months is quite astounding. Be very careful when looking at buying an X1900 GT over the next couple months. The safest route is to avoid the X1900 GT altogether and simply let the X1950 Pro act as an immediate replacement for the X1900 GT. Leaving 512MHz product sitting on shelves is the best way to send the message that this type of action is not to be taken again. For our part, we have to express our extreme disappointment in ATI for taking this route. We certainly understand that it is difficult to make decisions about what to do when faced with product shortages, but we would like to strongly urge everyone in the computing industry to avoid doing anything like this to stretch the life of a product.

For now, let's get back to the X1950 Pro. Weighing in at about 330 million transistors and about 230 mm2, the RV570 is no small GPU. In addition to the features listed below, RV570 includes an integrated compositing engine for what ATI calls "native" CrossFire support which we'll explain shortly. The heatsink has a different look to match the rest of the X1950 family in a single slot solution. There are also the new CrossFire connectors in nearly the same position as the NVIDIA SLI bridge position. Here are some pictures and tables to help illustrate.


NVIDIA Graphics Card Specifications
Vert Pipes
Pixel Pipes
Raster Pipes
Core Clock
Mem Clock
Mem Size (MB)
Mem Bus (bits)
Price
GeForce 7950 GX2
8x2
24x2
16x2
500x2
600x2
512x2
256x2
$600
GeForce 7900 GTX
8
24
16
650
800
512
256
$450
GeForce 7950 GT
8
24
16
550
700
512
256
$300-$350
GeForce 7900 GT
8
24
16
450
660
256
256
$280
GeForce 7900 GS
7
20
16
450
660
256
256
$200-$250
GeForce 7600 GT
5
12
8
560
700
256
128
$160
GeForce 7600 GS
5
12
8
400
400
256
128
$120
GeForce 7300 GT
4
8
2
350
667
128
128
$100
GeForce 7300 GS
3
4
2
550
400
128
64
$65


ATI Graphics Card Specifications
Vert Pipes
Pixel Pipes
Raster Pipes
Core Clock
Mem Clock
Mem Size (MB)
Mem Bus (bits)
Price
Radeon X1950 XTX
8
48
16
650
1000
512
256
$450
Radeon X1900 XTX
8
48
16
650
775
512
256
$375
Radeon X1900 XT
8
48
16
625
725
256/512
256
$280/$350
Radeon X1950 Pro

8

36

12

575

690

256

256

$200

Radeon X1900 GT
8
36
12
575
600
256
256
$220
Radeon X1650 Pro
5
12
4
600
700
256
128
$99
Radeon X1600 XT
5
12
4
590
690
256
128
$150
Radeon X1600 Pro
5
12
4
500
400
256
128
$100
Radeon X1300 XT
5
12
4
500
400
256
128
$89
Radeon X1300 Pro
2
4
4
450
250
256
128
$79

Index The New Face of CrossFire
POST A COMMENT

45 Comments

View All Comments

  • Spoelie - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    They're total system power, we're not gonna see 180W gpu's till november :) Reply
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Those cards are going to be so hot.

    Sorry, that was my one and only bad pun of the day :P.
    Reply
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    First off, it was an intersting article and it's nice to see that ATi is making changes to "fix" the poor dual-card implementation :).

    But now akin to my subject line, I was wondering if you [Anandtech] would be keen on adding in a "Performance / Price" sort of chart at the end. The idea would be to keep different quality modes separate (i.e. No-AA/No-AF and #x-AA/#x-AF would need separate charts or only one chart but using one set of data) while ordering cards by their average FPS or "average ranking". Such as, if Video Card A is seen in spot #1 the most, it stays there in the chart regardless of the figure listed. I'd say this is more of a user-friendly idea than anything required to be practical. But here's what I think a typical bar would represent:

    [ Video_Card_Name - (Average_FPS/Price) - Average_FPS ]

    The idea is that some video cards may be return the same value (i.e. 120/$400 and 60/$200), but listing cards in their typical performance standing allows someone to say "well, hey... I like the performance ratio of this card, and I don't need 120 FPS!"

    I think it may provide a way for people who read the benchmarks to get a real world idea of these cards rather than an "in box" idea, because as nice as it is to see a card produce 120 FPS... how much will we have to produce to purchase it ;).

    Just something I thought up while looking at pages and pages of charts and not knowing how "worthwhile" the cards really were for the performance.

    P.S. I'd love to hear comments!
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    I don't think it'll be very practical for most people. When a graphic card purchase is being considered, most people just have a hard cash target in mind (for example, 200$) and just look for the fastest card at that price point. The only exception to this is when those people notice that a small rise in their budget allows a much more powerful graphic card purchase, e.g. 6600gt for 100$ but 7600gt for 130$

    So as long as anandtech keeps comparing on pricepoints and of course mentioning any caveats/featuredifferences/possible better deals higher up, there's no real need for such a chart.

    but that's just my opinion
    Reply
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    That's really a view of someone who's looking to spend x amount of dollars trying to find the best item for that price, which is one thing that's kept in focus. My proposed chat method helps to show two things really, what's the best "bang for your buck" and allows you to see if that performance pricing is the level of performance that you want.

    To go into detail a bit about that, if the best performance ratio was .3 (120fps/$400 or 60fps/$200, etc), someone might go, "Well, hey... I like the performance rating on these two cards, but I don't need something that fast." So, the user would shoot for the 60fps card.

    But in your case, you most likely benefit from what's currently done. For me, I could really care less how much a new video card costs me. I got tired of spending smaller amounts on mediocre performance years ago and I've tried to keep my dollars spent in the high-end sector (the range of high-end cards, not necessarily referring to the ultra-high-end-uber cards only) as much as possible to avoid having to perform constant upgrades to keep that level of detail that I like (I can't stand "jaggies" ... I'm just too anal about things like that).

    For example, my current 6800GT was the 2nd top performing graphics card when I bought it, but it simply doesn't suit my needs anymore as below 30FPS (in more render-heavy areas) in WoW at 1280x1024 with high graphics settings is just subpar. Now, my card is old and about to be replaced by another generation (the G80). Or maybe I just need one of them Killer NICs (just kidding :P).

    I think a good thing to mention is that the bar system that I mentioned may be better for a bulk review more than a single card review. Especially since a lot of people may come into the review of a single card knowing all the information about the other cards, so they're only performing minor mental comparisons. But in a bulk review, there's a lot more information to keep in check, so an overall comparison that takes a couple of the specifics about a card ( average performance and price mainly ) could be beneficial.

    Thanks for the comments!
    Reply
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    "The idea is that some video cards may be return the same value"

    should be...

    "The idea is that some video cards may return the same value"

    Stupid me deleting and rewriting so much that I'll leave in a word from a prior revision XD. Oh yeah, and I had to make sure to post this fix before someone sought it upon themselves to ignore the entire post, but to make a comment on my little accident :P.
    Reply
  • bupkus - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    With other CrossFire configurations as a guide, we can easily expect X1950 Pro to nearly double its single card performance and put it on par with the 7950 GX2 and 7900 GT SLI configurations. As for single card performance, we see the trend of X1950 Pro domination continuing. Performance greater than that of the 7900 GS and GT for $200 is quite a plus. Reply
  • takumsawsherman - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Now all ATI has to do is get rid of that Catalyst Control Center. I have been using a Radeon 9700 Pro for two years now, and I have been almost perfectly happy with it except for two problems: It sometimes loses TV mode with no explanation, and I have to remove and re-add the TV in CCC. The other is that CCC takes anywhere from 10-20 seconds to load up on an Athlon XP 2500+. The old control panel set opened within 2 or three seconds (the advanced screens). I've set up a quick profile, but even right-clicking the taskbar icon has a huge delay (often ten seconds or more) before the menu appears, and then sometimes activating the profile doesn't work, and I have to set it manually (sometimes it does work). After initial launch, it does open more quickly (cached, I assume). I assume that this is because of the use of .NET.

    Also, ZoneAlarm reports that CLI.EXE (listed as various ATI apps) is listening to TCP ports 1052, 1057, and 1058. There are currently three CLI.exe processes running on my system, taking 6,132K, 5,800K, and 3,572K of memory respectively. That is about 15MB of memory, and I don't have CCC open. My old Matrox G400Max had tons of options in the advanced screens, had a better TV output quality, and didn't require all of this garbage. The old ATI control panel even seemed easier to use.

    I would love to get a nice new x1950, as Oblivion gets pretty choppy even at fairly low settings. But I really want to get away from these bulky system tray apps. And look at the update process here: https://support.ati.com/ics/support/default.asp?de...">https://support.ati.com/ics/support/def...mp;task=...

    That is ridiculous. Can they not make an installer that removes their own cruft before installing the new version? It's a chore to put a new driver in, and it shouldn't be.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Thursday, October 19, 2006 - link

    I think this is partly microsoft's fault. .Net framework is a POS.

    ATi should shoulder some of the blame too, for choosing a crappy base to program on. I would think even java based apps are not this bad.
    Reply
  • mesyn191 - Friday, October 20, 2006 - link

    I dunno...

    I personally don't like the whole CCC/CP approach to config. the graphics card either, but nV's implementation aint' half bad.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now