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
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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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