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ATI Radeon X1950XTX, X1900XT 256MB, X1950 Pro

"RV570"

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
Score
6633
  5062
  5078

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
FPS
169.99
  114.27
  109.90

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

X1950XTX X1900XT 256MB X1950 Pro
FPS
80.72
58.6
53.64

Quake 4 4xAA 1280x1024

X1950XTX X1900XT 256MB X1950 Pro
FPS
57.6
39.67
37.87

Serious Sam II HighAA/16xAF 1280x1024

X1950XTX X1900XT 256MB X1950 Pro
FPS
52.33
24.03
26.63

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
Watts
X1950XTX X1900XT 256MB X1950 Pro
Idle
152
151
144
Load
285
279
225

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.


Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Butt Ugly
By JeffDM on 10/9/2006 9:28:44 PM , Rating: 2
Aren't nVidia's cards large now too? The Pro is now a one-slot unit, which is nice. I don't think there are many passively cooled cards anymore, I do miss those.

I'm puzzled why the card has to look good. I mean, it's just circuit boards, ICs and a few other parts, nothing that ever really looks good. What you should be buying it for is what it pushes out to the screen.


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