Published: 7th September 2006 | Source: Powercolor | Price: |Introduction
ATI have again stepped up the heat in the graphics card market. It has had an awesome top-end line with it's X1900 series and now ATI have felt that the time has come to give that performance sector a nice speed injection.
Step up the X1950XTX. The basics have been kept the same. The R580 chip is still based on TMC's 90nm low-k technology and the basic parts that make up the R580 are still present. ATI have kept 48 pixel shaders, 16 texture units, 8 vertex pipes and 16 pixel engines. There has been a few minor improvements in the revision, along with a speed bump (of course), but the basics are all there.
The efficient ringbus memory architecture is still there, but here's where we get tot the major change for the X1900's big brother - the X1950XTX is using GDDR4. ATI have been the first to bring this new memory technology to the market and it bring with it a smooth speed hike up to 2000MHz. Not too shabby.
Why haven't they done more?
In my opinion the X1950 is a showcase for GDDR4 using ATI's top end technology at this time. GDDR4 is fast: that we can see just looking at the clock speeds - but what else does it do for your money?
GDDR4 is a lot about power consumption. With a nominal power rating of 1.5v ramping up to 1.9v when the card is fully loaded, the memory on the card means power savings. Not only this, but the reduced amount of pins means even more power savings. This allows for higher bandwidth, albeit with looser latencies. I don't believe this is much of a loss as the higher bandwidth is the thing that really helps GPU's.
Is this "showcase" a good card?? We'll see...
I received a review sample of this card in a plain white box. Powercolor have kindly sent me images of the retail box and package so I can give you an ideas of what to expect when you open this up.
The card comes in a attractive box, mainly featuring Avivo technology on it. Powercolor's cards always come well packaged and compartmentalised, so there won't be any worry for your expensive GPU in the post.
Powercolor has a reputation for making it's products "no nonsense". This card is no exception. The package satisfies those who want to use the Avivo features of the card without adding the non AAA title games that a lot of manufacturers add in that adds to the cost. It comes with:
* Instruction Manual
* ATI Driver CD
* S-Video Cable
* HDTV Cable
* Avivo Cable
* 2 x DVI-VGA Cables
* Cyberlink DVD Software
All in all it's just what you need when you get a new card. You don't have to worry about buying a card that comes with a game you don't need or don't want to play. I'm a fan of packages that give you what you want without too much extra rubbish you don't need and Powercolor caters to people like me who want no fuss. The card is good value for money - as is usual with Powercolor.