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

    Bit disappointed, was hoping for 600/700 clocks. I'm curious about the temperatures under load and if it would easily overclock to at least those speeds. And what about HDCP? But I guess we'll have to wait for retail cards.

    If the price is €200 or less I just might be getting one to replace my x800xt :)
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Apparantly, powercolor clocks all its x1950pro cards up to 600/700 and have a 512mb sku. Plus silent cooling :)

    http://www.powercolor.com/global/main_product_seri...">http://www.powercolor.com/global/main_product_seri...

    No word on hdcp and price tho :/
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    HDCP support is optional for vendors, but it seems like ATI is heavily encouraging them to include HDCP on all 1950 PRO cards. Since it's not guaranteed, be sure to check the specifications before you purchase.

    The power color 1950 PRO is not passively cooled but it includes a low dB fan. It does look like an interesting product, and we intend to acquire one for further investigation.
    Reply
  • Goty - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Go read the review over at bit-tech. They've got prices up and the Saphire card they reviewed has HDCP. Reply
  • MadBadger - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the review :beer;

    An observation:

    -the pricefinder at the top of the article seems a bit out of whack. It shows as x1950 512 mb (PCI), but it links to the 1950 pro 256 mb for amazon and to the x1950 xt for the others.
    Reply

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