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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  • 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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