So what are the details of the Radeon X1950 XTX which is meant to beat the GeForce 7900 GTX and be competitive with the GeForce 7950 GX2? Here is its specification.
The new model doesn’t differ from the older one in anything except the graphics memory bandwidth, but the growth of the latter parameter by 14.4GB/s is not to be underestimated. For comparison, the memory bandwidth of the GeForce 7600 GS is a mere 12.8GB/s! Today, the bandwidth of 64GB/s is a record for 3D graphics hardware and is 9.4GB/s higher than the previous record set by the GeForce 7800 GTX 512 which clocked its memory at 850 (1700) MHz.
It’s clear that such a high memory bandwidth is not called for in low resolutions, so the Radeon X1950 XTX is unlikely to have any advantage over the GeForce 7900 GTX in such modes. But top-end graphics cards are usually bought to play in high resolutions and at highest graphics quality settings, usually with enabled 4x or even 6x/8x full-screen antialiasing. It’s under such conditions that the Radeon X1950 XTX will have an opportunity to show the advantages of the new memory type and be victorious over its rivals. The rest of the characteristics of the new graphics card from ATI Technologies are fully identical to the previous model’s. It has the same capabilities, including the ability to work with FSAA and HDR (FP16) simultaneously, support for adaptive antialiasing and for high-quality anisotropic filtering that doesn’t depend on the angle of view. Taking the baton from the R580, the R580+ features the highest functionality among consumer-class graphics processors and will probably remain such until the new generation of GPUs arrives.
The Radeon X1950 series consists of two models with identical technical characteristics: Radeon X1950 XTX and Radeon X1950 CrossFire. The latter has a Compositing Engine that is responsible for sewing together parts of the frame in CrossFire mode. For details about this engine and about CrossFire technology at large, refer to our review of the Radeon X1800 XT CrossFire called Caught in the Cross-Fire: ATI RADEON X1800 XT CrossFire Edition Review .
The new cards aren’t very expensive. The MSRP of both models is only $449. This is a serious blow at the GeForce 7900 GTX which has the same suggested price.
With prices like that, ATI says a highest-performance CrossFire tandem will only cost you $898 (without the cost of an appropriate mainboard). For comparison: an Nvidia quad-SLI complex consisting of two GeForce 7950 GX2 cards would cost you almost $1300 (without a mainboard). As soon as we have a chance to build a Radeon X1950 CrossFire platform in our labs, we’ll tell you how competitive the mentioned multi-GPU platforms are.
Unfortunately, the new graphics card won’t be available for purchase on the announcement day (August 23, 2006). It will begin shipping in mass quantities at the beginning of September. We don’t know exactly why the shipments of the new Radeon are delayed, but this is probably due to a shortage of GDDR4 memory chips.