ATI "RV570" Radeon X1950 Pro Performance Unveiled
Anh Tuan Huynh
October 9, 2006 2:45 AM
ATI Radeon X1950XTX, X1900XT 256MB, X1950 Pro
Radeon X1950 Pro with Internal CrossFire connector
ATI's new mainstream product gets a first look
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
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
In addition to snapping a couple images of the upcoming Radeon X1950 Pro,
was able to run a few quick benchmarks. For reference purposes the Radeon X1950 Pro is compared to ATI’s current flagship
and mid-range Powercolor Radeon X1900XT 256MB
. The Radeon X1950 Pro is expected to slot right below the Radeon X1900XT 256MB where the
is currently positioned.
The test system was configured as follows:
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800
Asus P5W DH Deluxe
Kingston HyperX DDR2-800
Windows XP Professional SP2
Half Life 2:Lost Coast
Quake 4 1.2
Serious Sam II
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
Half Life 2:Lost Coast 4xAA/16xAF 1280x1024
Quake 4 4xAA 1280x1024
Serious Sam II HighAA/16xAF 1280x1024
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 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.
"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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