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Conclusion

ATI’s new Radeon X1900 XTX is definitely among the fastest graphics products these days, according to our test results. Furthermore, it is promised to be available from the first day and the designer of the VPU claimed that the new part will be available from then on, not episodically, as some other products launched recently. In case the Radeon X1900 XTX and the slightly slower Radeon X1900 XT are really available widely from the first day and going forward, ATI will break the chain of formal announcements when the hardware existed at the hands of journalists, but not in computers of end-users.

Best for the games, best for the media playback, best for the future games – that’s what the Radeon X1900 XTX is, based on the numbers we have obtained. The newcomer wins in massive amount of benchmarks and loses in some other because certain game engines, mostly OpenGL,  are better optimized for Nvidia GeForce 7 hardware, but once there is intense arithmetic instructions load in pixel shaders, the Radeon X1900 XT is ahead and its lead over the currently available hardware is only going to increase as time goes by. We also would like to stress that ATI's hardware is times faster compared to the rivals in cases of branches in pixel shaders. It, however, remains to be seen whether game developers will really heavily use branching in their next-generation titles.

Another advantage ATI’s Radeon X1900-series have over the GeForce 7800 is somewhat better anisotropic filtering as well as higher performance when anisotropic filtering are enabled. Gamers who buy a graphics card for $649 probably have every reason to believe that it is not only future-proof, but also produces the best image quality possible and that best image quality comes at a decent framerate.

In order to demonstrate serious advantage over the GeForce 7800 GTX 512, ATI had to increase its die size by 20% as well as push the clock-speeds up slightly compared to the Radeon X1800 XT. Given that the size of the R580 core is still smaller compared to the GeForce 7800 GTX 512, such an increase cannot be considered as the act of desperation from ATI. Hence, the cost to make the Radeon X1900 chips will not be too high.

To put it short, ATI has recaptured performance leadership for now and graphics cards based on the Radeon X1900 XTX are the boards of choice at a rather excessive price-points of $649.

ATI Radeon X1900 XTX 512MB

Highs:

  • Unmatched performance in loads of applications, primarily Direct3D;
  • Supreme performance under “high load” with FSAA and anisotropic filtering;
  • Alpha-textures antialiasing;
  • Avivo video engine and hardware decoding of H.264 and other HD formats;
  • Future proof – 512MB of onboard memory, the most efficient Shader Model 3.0 implementation to date, 48 pixel shader processors;
  • Support for FSAA with HDR.

Lows:

  • Excessive power consumption;
  • Dual-slot cooling system;
  • Outperformed by competitors in OpenGL and some other titles;
  • $649 price-point.
 
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