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Benchmarks provided to vendors for the Radeon X1950XTX CrossFire versus GeForce 7950GX2 Quad SLI - Click to enlarge
Radeon X1950 CrossFire puts Quad SLI in its place

DailyTech has received early benchmarks of ATI’s upcoming Radeon X1950XTX and X1950 CrossFire graphics cards. ATI’s upcoming Radeon X1950XTX and X1950 CrossFire is expected to make its debut on August 23rd. Specifications for the Radeon X1950XTX and X1950 CrossFire are finalized with a 650 MHz core clock and 2 GHz effective memory clock. The core clock is unchanged from the previous Radeon X1900XTX while memory clock receives a hefty 450 MHz boost. This time around the Radeon X1950XTX and X1950 CrossFire are equipped with 90nm Samsung GDDR4 memory.

The benchmarks compare ATI’s Radeon X1950XT in CrossFire against NVIDIA’s Quad SLI. The test setup used for NVIDIA’s Quad SLI is a Dell XPS 700 system equipped with an Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800, 1GB of DDR2-800 memory and two GeForce 7950GX2 graphics cards for four total GPUs. The ATI CrossFire test system is identical with the Quad SLI system except the nForce 590 SLI Intel Edition motherboard was swapped out for an early Radeon Xpress 3200 (RD600) motherboard and two ATI Radeon X1950XTX/CrossFire graphics cards.

These early benchmarks are favorable to ATI. Call of Duty 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 1 and Serious Sam II heavily favor ATI, most likely due to better multi-GPU scaling on ATI’s side. FarCry, Quake 4 and Doom 3 performance shows the Quad SLI system creeping up to the performance of ATI’s X1950XTX/CrossFire system. However, the Quad SLI system still falls behind, close but no cigar. F.E.A.R. is the only game that can take advantage of Quad SLI and shows the Quad SLI system beating out the similarly configured X1950XTX/CrossFire system; though at 2560x1600 with 4xAA and 8xAF the X1950XTX/CrossFire takes the lead once again. With Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion the X1950XTX/CrossFire system manages to take a nice lead over Quad SLI at 1600x1200 with 8xAF. The lead narrows when the resolution is raised to 2560x1600 with 8xAF.

While these early benchmarks show ATI’s X1950XTX/CrossFire beating out NVIDIA’s Quad SLI there’s more to the story. Since the benchmarks are only comparing performance with 4x anti-aliasing and 8x anisotropic filtering at most, it doesn’t show the true performance of NVIDIA’s Quad SLI. The true performance of Quad SLI being its capability to render high levels of anti-aliasing without taking a heavy performance hit. Ryan Shrout at PC Perspective has written an excellent article covering early Quad SLI performance.

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The 7950 GX2 numbers seem a little odd
By s12033722 on 8/9/2006 1:37:30 PM , Rating: 2
For instance, Anandtech's number for a single 7950GX2 in Half Life 2 Ep 1 at 1600x1200 no AA/AF is 135.8 FPS.

It seems unlikely that two 7950GX2's in SLI would have only 92.4 FPS as shown in this graph. Also, where does it state that this is Quad SLI vs Crossfire? The image title seems to indicate single card vs. single card.

In any case, the x1950 looks like a very nice card!

RE: The 7950 GX2 numbers seem a little odd
By TheDoc9 on 8/9/2006 1:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
exactly. It seems strange how 4 gpu's can't beat 2.

RE: The 7950 GX2 numbers seem a little odd
By Anh Huynh on 8/9/2006 2:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
Quad SLI has very poor scaling. The only game that takes advantage of the four GPUs is F.E.A.R. PC Perspective outlines the performance. Most of the time Quad SLI has troubles keeping up with SLI. Quad SLI only shows its true performance with SLI8XAA and SLI16XAA where it takes no performance hit.

RE: The 7950 GX2 numbers seem a little odd
By Some1ne on 8/9/2006 4:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
Are you sure that that is accurate? The 7950GX2 appears to the system as a single graphics card, hence its ability to work even on platforms that do not support SLI of any sort. Given that, although running two of these cards in SLI has been branded "Quad-SLI" to indicate that there are really 4 GPU's, to the rest of the system it should appear to be just a plain SLI setup, and should scale at least as well as a plain SLI setup would. I don't see why a game would have to do anything special to support quad SLI beyond what is done to support plain SLI...all the algorithm does is divide the data in two either by frame or by individual parts of a single frame, and then ship each half off to the GPU's, and if the data can be split in half, each half can be split again without doing anything special.

I agree with the general skepticism being expressed by others here. I think that the graph shows either a single X1950 against a single 7950GX2, or possibly even two X1950's in crossfire against a single 7950GX2. Keep in mind that a single X1900XTX is demonstrably slower than a 7590GX2, and that the X1950's are really just X1900's with GDDR4 instead of GDDR4, so it really seems like a stretch to believe that a simple memory upgrade has boosted the card's performance to the point where it absolutely rrounces the 7950 as that chart suggests. In fact, when you think about it, the results on that chart look suspiciously like what one would expect if you were to bench two X1900's in crossfire against a single 7950GX2.

By Anh Huynh on 8/9/2006 8:44:05 PM , Rating: 2
7950GX2 shows up as two GPUs and will run SLI. You can disable one GPU and just run single GPU mode.

The X1950XTX has a major memory bandwidth advancement. With those limited AA and AF modes Quad SLI isn't able to shine. Quad SLI is designed for higher AA/AF without taking a performance hit. Check the Pcperspective article linked towards the end of this news post.

I double checked to make sure that it is indeed CF and Quad SLI.

By OrSin on 8/10/2006 9:49:43 AM , Rating: 2
7950 Gx2 will not work in a non-SLI systems unless you disable one of the cores. Also the QUad rives sucks and and many sites should that that 2 cars in sli is getting these quad systems. I dont thing the numbers are that far off.

By hstewarth on 8/9/2006 2:44:12 PM , Rating: 2
Its very likely that it was tested with early. I think until recently quad sli supports was not available completely in the drives. In this case the driver would treat the configuration as 2 boards.

By Loc13 on 8/10/2006 10:57:13 AM , Rating: 2

At the time this article was written, this Monday in fact, the quad sli driver was still in beta. Quite frankly, the results suck looking at those benchmarks. But as of today, it's not beta anymore, so the performance might be better. Who knows.

By gazzhazz on 8/23/2006 9:27:54 PM , Rating: 2
Just to set things straigt, In that benchmark things have been setup so the ATI automaticaly gets the advantage.

For example the new X1950 is designed with all that insane ram to take advantage of crossfire, in a single card setup that isnt there. Also the quad sli drivers are pritty awful at the moment and thats a fact, this benchmark simply draws off the x1950 strength in crossfire and the gx2 weakness in quadsli.

So in all, I'd ignore the benchmark, its unfair like most manufactures benchmarks.

As an upgrade that takes up 2 slots on your motherboad id have the gx2 anyday, its only £20-50 more, it uses less power, u dont need an sli motherboard or compliant psu to run it and it will last alot longer than the x1950.

And ive seen the single card benchmarks, in Prey at various resolutions with 4AA and 16x aniso the fps is;

x1950 1600x1200 62.2, 1280x1024 80.6
gx2 1600x1200 86.2, 1280x1024 108.1

I rest my case lol

RE: The 7950 GX2 numbers seem a little odd
By mb on 8/9/2006 1:52:07 PM , Rating: 2
Good catch, that does seem to be quite a difference (135.8 FPS from the AT article vs 92.4 FPS from the graph above) especially considering the above tests were done with a much faster CPU (X6800 vs FX-57).

Something isn't right.. someone is cooking the numbers somewhere.. and my bet is the source for the graph above as I trust AT a little more than some random graph.

By theprodigalrebel on 8/9/2006 2:06:24 PM , Rating: 2
The reported FPS means nothing unless you know EXACTLY what map/timedemo was tested. Most games these days have levels where you can run 100+ FPS one moment and drop to half later.

By therealnickdanger on 8/9/2006 2:50:08 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't Anandtech do their demos without sound? That can make a big difference, but I would agree that 40fps is a HUGE difference. That AT review also compared a X1900XT to the GX2, not an XTX - which I found strange.

In the end, I think we can all agree that the X1950XT are impressive and that AT will give the final word on performance very soon. There's no denying that faster memory, smaller die size, and other enhancements should make an impact against the typically unimpressive Quad-SLI, but I'll wait for AT to make the call...

By PLaYaHaTeD on 8/10/2006 3:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
Apples to oranges, no aa & af compared to 4xaa 8xaf. Isn't that a perfectly acceptable reason for the drop in framerates? How come everyone is generating their own conspiracy theory?

By ElFenix on 8/16/2006 12:35:48 AM , Rating: 2
anandtech (and almost all other review sites, for that matter) test with the default graphics driver settings. for nvidia that is only 'quality' and not 'high quality'. ATi's default graphics driver settings are 'high quality'. if the vendor, when benching, turned the nvidia settings to where they should be, the nvidia scores would drop in comparison to anandtech's misleading scores.

plus, nvidia takes a bigger hit than ati when enabling AA and AF, and have for the past several years.

How much interest will X1950XTX generate?
By RussianSensation on 8/9/2006 12:46:58 PM , Rating: 3
1. X1900XT/X should fall in price as X1950XT/X is introduced. That would make those cards a far better value, while not losing much in performance (15-20% at best?)

2. With G80 and R600 soon to be released, it is probably not a good "investment" (videocards never are) to buy $399 (assumed) X1950XTX card to begin with, even with 2ghz memory speed.

This poses the question, how important is X1950XTX (unless of course ATI will be late again with R600 just like it was late with X1800 series)?

Imo, it would be illogical to get a non-DX10, non-HDMI compliant 15-month old architecture (essentially a souped up X1800XT card that should have come out June, 2005) for the price of a next-gen card.

RE: How much interest will X1950XTX generate?
By atwood7fan on 8/9/2006 12:51:51 PM , Rating: 5
well if you want the best that there is now, the x1950 looks good. You can always play the waiting game that there will be something better and newer BUT realize that between the time that this card is introduced, DX10 is officially released AND there are at least a few good games that support DX10, it would be time to upgrade again anyway.

RE: How much interest will X1950XTX generate?
By fierydemise on 8/9/2006 12:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, thats what alot of people seem to miss, DX10 only games won't be out for a while (3 years following Dx9 adoption). The first gen DX10 cards are probably going to be like the 9xxx series in today too slow to deal with full dx9 games (oblivion). A feature is nothing without support and if all Dx10 gives me is a few extra visuals in Crysis at the expense of massive power consumption count me out.

RE: How much interest will X1950XTX generate?
By kilkennycat on 8/9/2006 5:04:20 PM , Rating: 2
Er, Crysis MAY have some added visual bells 'n whistles for DX10 users, or may have them added as a later patch, just as Far Cry added SM3.0 (and 64-bit) support, but the game will be entirely compatible with DX9c/SM3.0 and other lesser DX/SM incarnations. After all, when Crysis comes out, Vista is still unlikely to be available for non-business customers. And which non-business customers are going to rush out to buy Vista, unless it already comes (sorta) free, pre-loaded on a new computer? Everyone who has been tracking Vista's progress is expecting a few months of heavy duty bugs and mediocre gaming performance after initial release. Anyway, EA is sure not going to wait on M$$/Vista to launch a probably blockbuster game; the EA stockholders would not tolerate it, considering EA's current sales slump.

RE: How much interest will X1950XTX generate?
By fierydemise on 8/9/2006 12:53:15 PM , Rating: 1
The X1950XTX is ATI's stopgap for G80 which is due out september (according to rumors) while R600 is not due out till december. ATI needs something fast to compete with G80 for a couple months until R600 is out.

RE: How much interest will X1950XTX generate?
By Tsuwamono on 8/9/2006 4:43:46 PM , Rating: 1
The x1950 isnt going to be able to compete with the G80 IMO. From the leaked specs of the g80 and the R600.. i doubt it will be much of a problem for the G80 to beat the X1950. Or for the R600 to beat the G80

By Soccerman06 on 8/10/2006 3:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
What leaked specs? Its all speculation from the Inq, and we all know how accurate the Inq.

By tuteja1986 on 8/9/2006 9:59:20 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know why people are saying G80 are coming out in September since all i have been hearing is that Nvidia wants to launch it in late Q4 2006 since they have no pressure and want to milk all they can with G7X architecture.

Also Nvidia has been working really hard to fix its Quad SLI driver which still sucks and don't really give crap all peformance increase unless you play fear which is boring game anyways. To the editor of the article , nice job linking to Quad SLI review to not the 1st page put to FEAR which happens to be best bechmark where Quad SLI really works.

By ElFenix on 8/16/2006 12:38:18 AM , Rating: 2
it's not very important, other than keeping up with G80. probably didn't cost ati very much, either. board probably didn't need redesigned, the memory controller already supported GDDR4, and they needed a new fan anyway (for R600). and now they have a part that they can continue to sell for a premium, and possibly keep a good part of the mindshare by having something that competes with the 7950 and potentially the G80.

Which is better for me??
By othercents on 8/9/2006 1:52:17 PM , Rating: 2
My prospective is a little different because of my system. Basically I can't fit dual slot cards into my computer case because of the way the BTX case was designed. So this means I can only use single slot cards (GF7900GT, X1900GT). There is a significant performance hit between these too cards and Nvidia is the better choice.

Now lets say I could run one video card that was dual slot (Non SLI or Crossfire). The obvious top of the line cards are GF7950GX2 and X1950XTX. However based on previous card designs I would lean toward the Nvidia card. This is because the X1900XT and X1900XTX are noisier and run hotter than the GF7900GTX or GF7900GT cards. Granted personally I wouldn't purchase a $500 card anyways. Even when I played games all the time, I have only spent as much as $300 for a video card.

But really to each his own. Either of the cards are going to be great performers and provide the experience everyone is looking for. Once we get some real reviews out on the cards we will be able to see which card is the best. Does that mean you are going to upgrade your X1900XTX Crossfire system to the X1950XTX Crossfire cards? I don't think so.

I'm happy with my GF7900GT-256 that I purchased yesterday for $202.00. It will work with my system, unlike the higher performing cards available, and the price was right.

Oh side note... do you think ATI has a new driver that makes the X1950XTX perform better over their current set of cards? Maybe if you downloaded the new driver your old X1900XTX will perform just the same. This is definitly one of those slight of hand type of anouncements I have seen before from other manufacturers.


RE: Which is better for me??
By Master Kenobi on 8/9/2006 1:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I think the real winner for ATI's crossfire configuration is the fact that its running X3200 crossfire chipset, which last I read, would significantly boost crossfire performance in the current crossfire cards, no real surprise that it would lend a helping hand to the latest crossfire cards as well.

RE: Which is better for me??
By othercents on 8/9/2006 5:38:01 PM , Rating: 2
Which might mean that a new motherboard will boost your performance more than purchasing the latest X1950XTX Crossfire cards.


RE: Which is better for me??
By MonkeyPaw on 8/9/2006 2:34:06 PM , Rating: 2
Now lets say I could run one video card that was dual slot (Non SLI or Crossfire). The obvious top of the line cards are GF7950GX2 and X1950XTX

Actually, I think you need an SLI motherboard to run the GX2, even though you're only running one "card." That eliminates that choice for you.

RE: Which is better for me??
By EarthsDM on 8/9/2006 2:48:59 PM , Rating: 1
The 7950 GTX runs with any chipset, SLI or not. It will happily run with Intel, Via, Sis, even ATI chipsets. What makes the 7950 GTX so popular is that it DOESN’T need an SLI chipset unless you want to run it in quad.

RE: Which is better for me??
By MonkeyPaw on 8/9/2006 3:56:59 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, I thought I remember reading that it did need an SLI board. I'm pretty sure the old 2 GPUs on one PCB required an SLI board, but I guess the GX2 handles the SLI stuff on card. I guess that would help the GX2's popularity then, wouldn't it?

RE: Which is better for me??
By Jakall on 8/11/2006 6:30:43 AM , Rating: 2
It will run on any chipset, that`s true, but in single card mode! .

"Q: Are these available for Intel or AMD-based system?
A: Yes. The NVIDIA® GeForce® 7950 GX2 will work on both Intel and AMD-based systems in single card mode. For SLI support, NVIDIA® GeForce® 7950 GX2 will work on any NVIDIA nForce® SLI MCP-based motherboard."

I guess no one buys 7950 for single card mode on an intel, VIA, SIS or ATI chpset...

Too early to tell...
By jarman on 8/9/2006 9:09:42 PM , Rating: 2
Without comprehensive benchmarks from a hardware site, it's difficult to see how well the X1950 really performs. We'll see...

Now if ATI could just axe that external dongle...

RE: Too early to tell...
By bob4432 on 8/9/2006 10:58:28 PM , Rating: 2
who in their right mind would game with this type of gpu power and at 2560x1600 with only 1GB of ram???

RE: Too early to tell...
By Anh Huynh on 8/10/2006 12:21:29 AM , Rating: 5
The same type of person that buys a BMW M3 to drive in traffic.

RE: Too early to tell...
By FITCamaro on 8/10/2006 9:26:09 AM , Rating: 2
Awesome reply.

I for one though plan to get the X1950. Then in about 6 months, I'll get R600 and use the X1950 as a physics card.

By koomo on 8/9/2006 2:05:30 PM , Rating: 4
Maybe I'm not a real PC gamer, but I would gladly sacrifice marginally improved graphics and unnoticable frame-rate increases in order to avoid turning my PC into a screaming space heater.

These G80/R600 stopgaps may allow us to play games well a year from now, but I think a new 7900GT will do fine until then, when an upgrade will make these 1950/7950s look old.

Anandtech used to be a rare voice of sanity in such things, even advising against SLI/Crossfire setups until not long ago. I wonder what's caused the change?

By epsilonparadox on 8/9/2006 3:19:50 PM , Rating: 4
Nothing changed. You're reading Dailytech not Anandtech . Dailytech is a news/press release/rumor site. This isn't a real review of a released hardware.

Quad SLI Draws Less Power Than Crossfire
By Assimilator87 on 8/10/2006 11:55:29 PM , Rating: 2
I'm almost positive about seeing the 7950 GX2 consuming less power than a single X1900XTX. With that in mind, I think the GX2s in Quad SLI should consume about the same amount of power as the X1950 in Crossfire, assumimg that the X1950 is built on the 80nm process and that GDDR4 uses less voltage than GDDR3. I'm not sure if the 80nm process was just an unclarified guess.

ATI vs. nVidia and DX10
By beepandbop on 8/14/2006 11:18:12 AM , Rating: 2
Right now ATI has better image quality, can have AA + HDR on in games like Oblivion and Far Cry. nVidia cards can't.
Also, the DX10 cards of the G80 series first hand will be horrible. First off, you need a powerplant to run a single card. Either buying a 1200w PSU or an external PSU. So much for saving on Power consumption.
So these cards would be an excellent investment til next year when both companies start getting their act together and pump out decent power consumuing cards.

RE: Quad SLI Draws Less Power Than Crossfire
By JimFear on 8/14/2006 12:37:29 PM , Rating: 2
Don't wuote me ont hsi but I think this card is based on 80nm rather than the 90nm of the previous card, I know it has a much better heatsink this time round though, its much like you can buy from Arctic Cooling (or the ones that come fitted on the HIS cards) so it'll run cooler and more quiet than the 1900XTX, if the die shrink is correct then it also means it should suck less juice.

By JimFear on 8/14/2006 12:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
Spelling issues aside, it might also be worth noting that the nVidia SLI chipset for Intel is pretty damn poor performance wise.

Peace out

Who cares?
By L33tMasta on 8/16/2006 2:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
It's not like many people are stupid enough to buy this before the 8000 series from nVidia hits.

RE: Who cares?
By rushfan2006 on 8/17/2006 8:55:44 AM , Rating: 2
It's not like many people are stupid enough to buy this before the 8000 series from nVidia hits.

Yeah because everyone has to be bleeding edge, everyone wants to spend $600 on a video card to be cool. Oh I have a dx10 video card.....yeah, widespread game releases for DX10 won't be out for about a year or more, at which time this $600 card I bought will go for $250 and much better cards will be out by then with even more optimizations for DX10 games....that should "just about" be coming out.....

So yeah...only "smart" people would rush out and drop a wad of cash for a 8000 series card upon release...;)

</end sarcasm>

RE: Who cares?
By L33tMasta on 8/18/2006 1:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
I know man. Why buy this for $500 when for another $100 you can get a dx10 card in like 2 months!

RE: Who cares?
By rushfan2006 on 8/21/2006 12:55:17 PM , Rating: 2
I know man. Why buy this for $500 when for another $100 you can get a dx10 card in like 2 months!

Did you understand any of what my post was about? LOL

Its pointless to worry about getting a DX10 card when they first come out. Unless you have money to throw around; which most people don't have money to just throw around like that - if you do, good for you but you are the minority in that area I am quite sure.

Secondly no--not at all did I mean to imply spending $500 on *this* first post must of flown right over your head.

Anyway...its your want to drop $500 or $600 for a DX10 card now -- go for'll be a complete waste I guarantee you....but at least you'll have precious bragging rights.

As for dropping $500 on this card in this article...first off I wouldn't pay that for this card...its called patience.

Let me get this straight
By OCedHrt on 8/9/2006 1:48:09 PM , Rating: 2
The ATI is Crossfire with 2 GPUs and the nVidia is Quad SLI with 4 GPUs. Even though the anti-aliasing isn't all the way up, the 2 GPU ATI is winning?

RE: Let me get this straight
By Sharky974 on 8/9/2006 6:15:54 PM , Rating: 4
It's possible because you really start to get diminishing returns the more cards you run. You get more and more overhead, etc.

4 cards is generally not going to be twice as fast as 2 cards, just as an SLI rig is not usually twice as fast as a single card.

Plus the real issue is probably drivers. Syncing 4 cards is a huge pain so drivers probably dont get near full performance for a lot of game. Finally, dont forget the 7950 GX2 is underclocked vs a regular 7900 GTX.

Plus these are ATI benches. They may be a little biased.

I really hate Nvidia for pushing all this unwieldy crap on us. SLI is one thing, but now qaud SLI is just stupid. Fuck Nvidia. The EPA should ban the qaud SLI for not being friendly to the enviroment with all the juice it uses, it's absurd.

Real Results
By SixFour on 8/9/2006 1:41:49 PM , Rating: 2
At least they aren't bias and claim the the 1950XTX wins in everything versus the 7950GX2

RE: Real Results
By epsilonparadox on 8/9/2006 1:47:38 PM , Rating: 2
How do you know they are unbiased? The benches are from an ATI vendor. I'd take it with a grain of salt since final hardware isn't available yet.

By Howard on 8/9/2006 11:01:45 PM , Rating: 2
One has to wonder why they didn't use red for ATI and green for NVIDIA.

RE: Subject
By Kalessian on 8/10/2006 7:37:50 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. At first I though wow, quad sli rules.

If this is true...
By meyerds on 8/9/2006 12:56:33 PM , Rating: 2
I think ATI may have a winner here. I don't know about any of you guys, but I'm not really excited about needing a powerplant inside my computer just to play DirectX 10 games. I'm holding off on DX10 cards until the next generation when the cards don't suck 300W apiece. This card looks to be a monster, beating the GX2 by amazing levels in some games, and competing against it closely in others. And since it's built on the same process, just with different RAM (GDDR4 v. GDDR3), it shouldn't be any hotter or power-hungry (quite the opposite, in fact).

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