Introduction

It seems that ATI has been releasing a constant stream of new or rebadged graphics cards lately, and it looks like this month won't be any different. Today is quite a special treat: ATI has integrated new CrossFire specific features onto the GPU itself. The release of another part at the $200 price point after ATI's recent price drops and re-badging would otherwise seem redundant, but the advantages of the changes ATI has made to CrossFire really bolster its ability to compete with NVIDIA's SLI.

The new Radeon X1950 Pro is a pretty heavy hitter at $200, bringing slightly faster than the current X1900 GT performance to a slightly lower price point. With the X1900 GT currently being phased out, we would expect nothing less. This will certainly help strengthen ATI's ability to compete with the 7900 GS at the $200 price point, and might even make the X1950 Pro a viable option over some more expensive overclocked 7900 GS parts.

In spite of the fact that ATI is using TSMC's 80nm process, we don't expect to see very many overclocked versions of the X1950 Pro, as the high transistor count, large die size and high speeds tend to get in the way of stable overclocking. We will certainly be testing out the overclocking capabilities of the X1950 Pro when we get our hands on some retail versions of the cards (overclocking with reference cards doesn't always give an accurate picture of the products capabilities). For now, we'll just have to wait and see. In the mean time, we've got plenty of other things to explore.

For this look at ATI's newest graphics card, we'll take a peek at the details of the RV570 hardware, what differences have been introduced into CrossFire with the new silicon, and performance of single and multi-GPU configurations from the midrange through the high end. We will find out if the X1950 Pro is really a viable replacement for the X1900 GT, and whether or not the enhancements to CrossFire are enough to bring ATI on to the same playing field as NVIDIA.

 

RV570 and the Demise of the X1900 GT
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  • Spoelie - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    It might be a good idea to use omega's drivers, they do not include catalyst control center but instead use ati tray tools OR the old control panel slightly updated. The only downside to this is that omega's are sometimes one or two releases behind the official ones.

    if you're not comfortable with omega's drivers (even though they're rock solid :)) you can always download just the driver from ati and install ati tray tools seperatly. it includes every option you need to change driver settings etc but is a sleek minimalist fast 1mb tool :)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Unfortunately, CCC is required to enable CrossFire. I don't know if Omega gets around this requirement somehow, but the standard ATI control panel drivers do not have the CrossFire checkbox anywhere. Reply
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    The awkward drivers is actually the main reason I steer clear of ATi still. Also, I get a bit annoyed at the company as they only seem to care about their graphics sector and ignore all of their other products. My ATi TV Wonder Pro Remote Control Edition had so many problems over the years that it was barely worth owning. The Remote Control software just crashes randomly still.

    Although, I have yet to try the newest version of the software, because I removed the card from my system and it won't let you install the main software without it.

    So... with my experience, it leaves me a bit wary.

    But I do also have to admit how much I also don't like the newer nVidia control panel, but at least I can go back to the original one with one mouse click :).
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Right on. Reply
  • Zaitsev - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Typo on page 2, third paragraph.

    "It is hard enough for us to sort things out when parts hit the selves at different speeds..."
    Reply
  • RamarC - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    suggestion: replace Q4 and B&W2 with Prey and Company of Heroes Reply
  • DerekWilson - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    We are planning on doing exactly that starting in early November. Reply
  • spe1491 - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Possible typo?

    -
    quote:

    All in all, the X1950 Pro is the performance leader at the $200 mark. We hardily recommend it...
    Reply
  • Basilisk - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Further clue: try "heartily"; "hardily" means "ruggedly", etc.. Reply
  • Spoelie - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    After browsing through some other reviews, all which seem to use the Catalyst 6.9 drivers, it occured to me that they all have significantly lower performance for the ATi camp then what anandtech is reporting.

    Most reviews place 7900gs performance well above that of the x1950pro in quake 4. Can anyone explain to me why that is, and the supposed opengl/doom3 optimisations are only being seen by AT and not by sites such as bit-tech, hardocp, the tech report, firing squad, etc. ??
    Reply

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