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ATI Radeon X1950XTX, X1900XT 256MB, X1950 Pro


Radeon X1950 Pro with Internal CrossFire connector
ATI's new mainstream product gets a first look

DailyTech has managed to obtain an early sample of ATI’s upcoming Radeon X1950 Pro graphics card. The Radeon X1950 Pro was expected to arrive next week, however ATI has pushed the launch date back to the last week of October. Nevertheless, the Radeon X1950 Pro is based on ATI’s RV570 graphics core that is one of ATI’s first products manufactured on an 80nm fabrication process, and is completely separate in almost every way imaginable from the existing Radeon X1950 video cards released earlier this year.

ATI has equipped the Radeon X1950 Pro with 36 pixel shaders and 12 pipelines on a new core that is essentially a stripped down R580. Our early sample is clocked at 575 MHz core and 686 MHz GDDR3 memory, which is a tad shy of the previously reported 580 MHz core and 700 MHz memory of ATI reference boards. However, this is a retail vendor sample, and each vendor will clock according to its own specifications.

The Radeon X1950 Pro in our possession is a basic model with 256MB of graphics memory. It lacks HDCP support, unfortunately. Dual-DVI outputs are available, though neither output is dual-link capable. An ATI Rage Theater is integrated for VIVO capabilities similar to the higher end Radeon X1900XT/XTX and X1950XTX cards. As this is only a reference board, graphics card manufacturers are free to integrate dual-link DVI and HDCP support. The card  still requires a 6-pin PCI Express power connector.

*Update* The Radeon X1950 Pro has internal dual-link TMDS transmitters for both DVI outputs. HDCP is also supported on the reference board.

New to the Radeon X1950 Pro is the inclusion of an internal CrossFire connector. Gone is the need for a master and slave card configuration of higher end Radeon X1900XT/CrossFire and Radeon X1950XTX/CrossFire graphics cards. This time around ATI has integrated the CrossFire compositing engine into the graphics core itself. Communication between two graphics cards in CrossFire is performed via internal CrossFire connector. The internal CrossFire connector is expected to ship with the graphics card and be a ribbon type cable, similar to some SLI bridge connectors. Also new with the Radeon X1950 Pro is a new single-slot cooler. The new cooler is similar to the unit used on Radeon X1950XTX graphics cards, albeit half the width.

ATI Radeon X1000 Series

X1950XTX X1900XT 256MB X1950 Pro
Core Clock
650 MHz
625 MHz
575 MHz
Memory Clock
1000 MHz 725 MHz 686 MHz
Pixel Shaders
48 48 36
Texture Units
16 16 12

In addition to snapping a couple images of the upcoming Radeon X1950 Pro, DailyTech was able to run a few quick benchmarks. For reference purposes the Radeon X1950 Pro is compared to ATI’s current flagship Radeon X1950XTX and mid-range Powercolor Radeon X1900XT 256MB. The Radeon X1950 Pro is expected to slot right below the Radeon X1900XT 256MB where the Radeon X1900GT is currently positioned.

The test system was configured as follows:
  • Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800
  • Asus P5W DH Deluxe
  • Kingston HyperX DDR2-800
  • Silverstone ST60F

  • Windows XP Professional SP2
  • Futuremark 3DMark06
  • FarCry 1.33
  • Half Life 2:Lost Coast
  • Quake 4 1.2
  • Serious Sam II

Futuremark 3DMark06

X1950XTX X1900XT 256MB X1950 Pro

Synthetic performance in Futuremark’s 3DMark06 shows the Radeon X1950 Pro and X1900XT 256MB are very close; though there’s a slight favor towards the Radeon X1950 Pro.
FarCry 4xAA/16xAF Max Details - 1280x1024

X1950XTX X1900XT 256MB X1950 Pro

Half Life 2:Lost Coast 4xAA/16xAF 1280x1024

X1950XTX X1900XT 256MB X1950 Pro

Quake 4 4xAA 1280x1024

X1950XTX X1900XT 256MB X1950 Pro

Serious Sam II HighAA/16xAF 1280x1024

X1950XTX X1900XT 256MB X1950 Pro

Overall gaming performance with the Radeon X1950 Pro and Radeon X1900XT 256MB is very close. Although the Radeon X1900XT 256MB has a slight performance advantage in most games, it’s not as big of a jump as the Radeon X1950XTX over the Radeon X1950 Pro. A couple of factors can contribute to the close performance numbers of the Radeon X1950 Pro and Radeon X1900XT 256MB. Two possible reasons include the Radeon X1900XT’s 256MB of video memory isn’t enough or the 48 pixel-shaders are excessive for the selected games. Nevertheless the Radeon X1950 Pro performance is quite promising.

Power Consumption
X1950XTX X1900XT 256MB X1950 Pro

Power consumption with the 80nm die shrink is quite impressive. Under load the Radeon X1950 Pro manages to consume a mere 225 watts—54 watts less than the Radeon X1900XT 256MB. While the Radeon X1900XT 256MB delivers more pixel shading power, the Radeon X1950 Pro offers slightly better performance-per-watt in gaming.

ATI’s upcoming Radeon X1950 Pro looks quite promising considering the lower power consumption and near Radeon X1900XT 256MB levels of performance. The use of a single-slot cooler also makes the Radeon X1950 Pro more attractive for users with limited slot expansion capabilities. There’s also the internal CrossFire connector that allows future upgrade to CrossFire slightly easier and less wasteful since it only needs another Radeon X1950 Pro instead of hunting down a Radeon X1900 CrossFire Edition.

Pricing for the upcoming Radeon X1950 Pro is unknown at the moment, unfortunately. Nevertheless with the Radeon X1900XT 256MB carrying a $279 MSRP, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Radeon X1950 Pro slotted below in the $229 or $249 price bracket.

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RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By lemonadesoda on 10/9/2006 3:02:38 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think that's a good analysis for anyone on a socket 478 system. Maybe for a 775'er who already has DDR2, but for a 478 system:

To upgrade to PCIe, you need a total platform upgrade. Mainboard, CPU, memory as well as the GPU. You also need quite a few hours to reinstall OS and all apps.

Let's look at the numbers (note these estimates are approx, and I'll base it on a high end not top end GPU, and a high end not top end CPU, etc. I'll also cost time at $10 per hr):

Upgrade existing AGP system
GPU: Cost circa $250
Upgrade time: 30 mins MAX MAX = $5

Upgrade to NEW PCIe system
MB: $120
Memory: $100-$200 depending on current RAM
GPU: $250
CPU: $200
Upgrade time: 8 hrs, system build and complete reinstall of OS and all apps = $80

Cost to upgrade AGP = $255
Cost to build new platform = $750-850

Net difference $495-595. , which is 200% to 250% more than just a standalone GPU upgrade.

This issue becomes even more pronounced if there are more than one machine to upgrade. It's not uncommon for there to be 2 machines in a "household", 3 machines+ in a "SOHO" office, and 5+ machines in a SMALL business. It all adds up. Even for the small guys.

RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By xsilver on 10/9/2006 8:32:04 PM , Rating: 2
totall agree except for the labour time/cost
no way it takes 8 hours to do all that - I would put a high end estimate at 4 hours

also you forget to account for the residual cost of the old system if you're going to pci-e
your old mobo +ram +cpu +gpu could add up to $250, making the net difference to a less sensationalised $200-300 cost to upgrade to pci-e

RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By JeffDM on 10/9/2006 9:22:59 PM , Rating: 2
Residual cost of the old system? In economics, I think you call that "sunk cost" and don't even count it at all in the analysis.

Or are you meaning residual value? It's been a long time since I've sold parts when they were reasonably new, so I don't know if there's $250 value in the removed parts. You still have the cost of the graphics board itself, that's $250-$300 vs. $500-$600. Generally, if I had to do that massive of an upgrade, I'd just sell off the system complete and get a new one, there's no point in hobbling the upgraded system with older drives and while you are at it, might as well swap out the case too.

RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By lemonadesoda on 10/10/2006 3:50:44 AM , Rating: 3
I would put a high end estimate at 4 hours
Please do a complete reinstall of your system and use a clock. Rerport back. You will be surprised. 1) OS, 2) All drivers, incl video cards, 3) Antivirus, 4) Online windows update, 5) Office apps, 6) Acrobat, 7) 5 x games, maybe more, 8) All other apps and utilities, 9) multiple reboots in the process, 10) LAN and multiple User Logins, 11) Backup and restore of data...

I think doing it all in 8hrs is already pretty optimistic.

RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By NT78stonewobble on 10/10/2006 7:24:17 AM , Rating: 2
You keep an up to date unattended install on a harddrive.

So its harddrive to harddrive. Then it takes a max. of an hour.

I did do that but I was too lazy to keep it up2date soooo *ggg*. Seriously though 4 hours is enough to get a fully working system.

RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By lemonadesoda on 10/10/2006 5:33:07 PM , Rating: 2
Care to tell us how much time you spend keeping that unattended install up to date? Or how long it takes to create a new OS install CD with all updates already slipstreamed?

Maybe you've done this. Good for you. So have I. (Or at least a slipstream SP1 into my Windows2003 install CD). But most people who are in the "upgrade" situation don't have such a disk. And creating a new install disk fully up-to-date is a very time consuming exercise. Add it to my numbers and you've blown the 8hrs already!

RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By Korvon on 10/10/2006 1:29:05 PM , Rating: 2
I work in a tech shop and I can do up to 4 systems in an 8 hour day back to back. If you have a good high speed connection and autopatcher for your XP updates you can get a system done in 2 hours easy.

RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By lemonadesoda on 10/10/2006 5:29:33 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yer!? And exactly what data did you backup and reinstall? And what apps did you load?

It's easy to put an OS on an empty machine. It's much more time-consuming to upgrade your one and only system, including backing up and reinstalling all apps and data.

A System Admin working for a multinationalmegacorporation can probably stream-ghost install 100 machines simultaneously, and do a 1000 machines in a working day with a standardised corporate build. But THAT IS NOT THE ANALYSIS. We are looking at the situation for ONE person upgrading their machine. There aren't any slipstreamed CDs for the person to work from. They aren't system builders.

RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By andrep74 on 10/10/2006 6:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
Sheesh, assuming you had a previously-built system to Ghost from, you could do one system in under an hour. A properly-maintained RIS server could do dozens of systems at the same time or even staggered, with a very low per-system average.

RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By rushfan2006 on 10/12/2006 11:10:21 AM , Rating: 2

You guys arguing that you can do a system at "your shop" in whatever time are completely missing the point of the original poster.

There is no "analysis" or "clocks" needed to be taken here its just good old fashion common friggin sense.....

A HOME PC, no less a GAMING PC, is a WORLD apart from your cookier cuter office PCs.

Unless you work in a very very unique environment, based on my years in IT and working at a few companies....95% of all the PCs in office are just basic clones of one another...which the exception of some positions might need an app or two that "normal" users don't. Using pre-configured images you knock out the office PC in 35 minutes.

But unless your "shop" is weird -- what corporation (outside of your business being a computer manufacturer of course)...has their IT staff order parts and build their PCs by "hand" on site, configure them, etc. etc. That's just not smart business efficiency and its expensive use of a trained IT professional's time.

Meanwhile at home, on your personal gaming box -- you ARE assembling everything yourself, normally taking special care to make a nice and neat cable job along the way, then since most people don't have sms/or ghost servers in their manually install your software. Finally the guy said he is including the time to install GAMES.....a single game these days alone can easily take 25-30 minutes to install. Heck I just did a re-install of WoW like a month ago and it took 40 minutes...granted my PC is only a 3000+ XP, 1 gig Ram...but still...

All I'm saying is it DEFINITELY can take some serious time to build a PC from start to finish.

Of course the assumption is you are doing it RIGHT and not doing a messing cabling job, cutting corners, etc.

RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By Paratus on 10/12/2006 11:18:54 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention running memtest/P95 for at least 12 hours to guarentee stability

RE: Coming to AGP possibly
By Ub3rn00b on 10/20/2006 12:37:26 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot the cost of possibly a new PSU.
I did actually go from 478 to 939 and PCI-E.
I did alot of research and I actually found a couple motherboards out there that are socket 478 and are PCI-E. They are rare, but they do exist however the only ones I could find for sale were around 200 shipped from New Zealand so I said F-Dat.
Here's what I did:
ASUS A8n Sli Premium OEM from newegg = 75 bux
OCZ GameXStream 600W from newegg = 90 bux
AMD 3500+ Newcastle core from a friend = 50 bux
Coolermaster HSF from newegg = 10 bux
I was able to use my pc 3200 ram from my 478 system
but I added another GIG for 40 bux for 1gb of
Corsair XMS pc3200 from a friend = 40 bux
Video card is a 7900 GTO from zipzoomfly = 250 bux
Made a slipstreamed XP SP2 disk so time to make hardware changes and install was around 2 hours mostly time to figure out how to get the case LED lights and everything set up right and get the cables organized.
Total Cost = $515 Bux

515 bux and that's with a decent motherboard. The Asus A8n SLI Premium and a great video card, the 7900 GTO.
Only 515 Bux. I think I did a great job bargain shopping on this. Hoorah to me. hehe

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