when the X1900XT was released I remember thinking
how soon it was after the launch of the X1800XT
(3 months between both products) and only a month
between the X1800XTPE and X1900XT. To anyone who
had invested in an X1800XT that launch must have
been a kick in the teeth as the X1900XT was a
far superior product. Thankfully (for the consumer)
ATI has left 7 months between the launch of the
X1900XT and the announcement of their latest refresh.
we would take a look at both the single card and
dual card solutions at the same time for a new
product if they are both available at launch however
in the case of the X1950 XTX we are going to approach
things a little differently and leave dual card
performance for a later date. In our first article
we will look at single card performance when gaming
and playing back video as well a bit of over clocking.
We will also take a step away from the norm and
look at some interesting tests such as compatibility
with X1900 series crossfire cards and gaming with
the Core2 X6800 @ 4Ghz to see how the X1950 XTX
compares to the latest and greatest from Nvidia
when we remove any potential CPU bottleneck.
started circulating a couple of months ago that
ATI were going to significantly change the cooling
solution on their cards for the launch of the
X1950. The reason for the change would seem to
be a response to Nvidia's almost silent solution
on the 7900GTX which makes the X1900XT series
cards sound horrendously loud in comparison. Thankfully
these rumors have proved to be true and
as the image below shows, the cooler on the X1950
XTX is significantly different to that of the
X1900 series. We will look at the cooler in more
detail shortly, for now, lets look at the card
itself a little more closely.
X1950XTX has a code name of R580Plus, and as this
suggests it uses the R580 core (0.09micron chip
with 48 pixel Shader Processors – 8 vertex
shaders, 16 rendering pixel pipelines, 16 ROP's
and 16TMU's) however there are changes to the
specification of the card. The first is the core
speed. On the majority of X1900XT's the core speed
is 625Mhz, the X1950XTX uses 650mhz at stock.
The second, and most major change for this product
is the use of GDDR4 memory.
basic idea behind the switch to GDDR4 is that
GDDR4's design allows memory chips to be added
to the Radeon's 256bit memory bus (512bit for
reads) which operate at a lower voltage than GDDR3,
as well as running at higher speeds. This is reflected
in the memory speed of the X1950XTX which sits
at 1000mhz compared to the X1900XT's 725Mhz. For
those reading who are interested in more technical
information on GDDR4 and its advantages/differences
here is an ATI produced PDF on the technology.
Download or read it HERE(pdf).
us take a look at one of these GDDR4 chips without
the cooler attached. As shown below the GDDR4
chips on the X1950XTX are manufactured by Samsung.
When clocked at 1000Mhz these chips give the X1950
XT a theoretical bandwidth of 64Gb/s which compares
favourably to the X1900XT (46.4Gb/s) and 7900GTX
(51Gb/s). Looking closer at the memory we can
see that these chips are branded K4U52324QE-BC09.
Chips with that particular marking are rated up
to 1.1Ghz so could well be promising when we come
to over clocking later.
can also see that the design of the card is very
similar to the X1900XT. There really are no major
new components and the only really noticeable
change in design is the movement of the fan connector
to the bottom right of the card.
we have the cooler removed it gives us a chance
to take a look at ATI's new design up close and
personal. The cooler is a copper unit which has
a large GPU block connected to a copper heat pipe.
The fan is located at the right of the card and
sucks air in from the front and back before blowing
it across the copper heat sink and out of the
case. As well as keeping the card cool this design
also means that the case temperatures should be
lowered as hot air from within the case is being
is also a second part to the cooling solution
and that is the heat sink which sits on the memory
chips. This is a passive heat sink and again is
the cooler an improvement? Absolutely, the noise
is much lower than a system with a X1900 or X1800
back of the card is again very similar to the
X1900XT and we could only see minor differences.
There is an old saying “if it ain't broke,
don’t fix it”, and that theory applies
X1950XT has three outputs on our reference sample,
two Dual Link DVI's and a VIVO out which is capable
of outputting a HD signal to a compatible display.
The card is also compatible with HDCP.
that's the X1950XTX, in essence an evolutionary
step on the R580 design which retains all of the
features from the X1900XT such as HDR and AA support,
ATI's Avivo technology and High Quality Anisotropic
filtering and adds to it some potential improvements
in performance via the use of GDDR4.
TechHeaven design based on BlackTeal
adapted by craig5320 & Zardon.
Review coding Zardon.
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