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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  • Zoomer - Thursday, October 19, 2006 - link

    Is this a optical shrink to 80nm?

    Answering this question will put overclocking expectations in line. Generally, optically shrunk cores from TSMC overclock to the about the same as the original or perhaps slightly worse.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Friday, October 20, 2006 - link

    Well no as this piepline configuration doesn't exist natively before on the 90nm node. It's a 3 Quad Part, so it's basedon R580 but has 1 Quad Physical removed as well as being shrunk to 80nm. Not to mention Native Crossfire support was added onto the die. Reply
  • Spoelie - Friday, October 20, 2006 - link

    Optical shrink, this is 80nm and the original was 90nm. You're normally correct because the first optical shrink usually does not have the same technologies as the proces higher up (low-k and SOI for example, this was the case with 130nm -> 110nm), but I don't think it's the case for this generation. Regardless, haven't seen any overclocking articles on it yet so I'm quite curious. Reply
  • Spoelie - Friday, October 20, 2006 - link

    oie, maybe I should add that it's reworked as well, so both actually. Since this core didn't exist before (rv570 and that pipeline configuration), I don't think that they just sliced a part of the core... Reply
  • Zstream - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Beyond3D reported the spec change a month before anyone received the card. I think you need to do some FAQ checking on your opinions mate.

    All in all decent review but poor unknowledgeable opinions…
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - link

    Just because ATI made the spec change public does not mean it is alright to change the specs of a product that has been shipping for 4 months.

    X1900 GT has been available since May 9 as a 575/1200 part.

    The message we want to send isn't that ATI is trying to hide something, its that they shouldn't do the thing in the first place.

    No matter how many times a company says it changed the specs of a product, when people search for reviews they're going to see plenty that have been written since May talking about the original X1900 GT.

    Naming is already ambiguous enough. I stand by my opinion that having multiple versions of a product with the exact same name is a bad thing.

    I'm sorry if I wasn't clear on this in the article. Please let me know if there's anything I can reword to help get my point across.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Thursday, October 19, 2006 - link

    This is very common. Many vendors in the past have passed off 8500s that run at 250/250 instead of the stock 275/275, and don't label them as such.

    There are some Asus SKUs that have this same handicap, but I can't recall what models that were.
    Reply
  • xsilver - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    any word on what the new price for the x1900gt's will be now that the x1950pros are out?
    or are they being phased out and no price drop is being considered?
    Reply
  • Wellsoul2 - Monday, November 06, 2006 - link

    You guys are such cheerleaders..

    For a single card buy why would you get this?
    Why would you buy the 1900GT even after the
    1900XT 256MB came out?

    I got my 1900XT 256MB for $240 shipped..

    Except for power consumption it's a much better card.
    You get to run Oblivion great with one card.

    Two cards is such a scam. More expensive motherboard..power consumption etc.
    This is progress? CPU's have evolved..
    It's hard to even find a motherboard with 3 PCI slots..
    What a scam! Where's my ultra-fast HDTV board for PCI Express?
    Seriously..Why buy into SLI/Crossfire? Why not 2 GPU's on one card?
    Too late..You all bought into it.

    Sorry I am just so sick of the praise for this money-grab of SLI/Crossfire.

    Reply
  • jcromano - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Are the power consumption numbers (98W idle, 181W load) for just the graphics card or are they total system power?

    Thanks in advance,
    Jim
    Reply

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