Asustek Computer, the world’s largest producer of mainboards and graphics cards, is working on a dual-chip Radeon X1950 Pro board that would offer roughly the same performance as the recently announced Sapphire X1950 Pro Dual. Details of the product are vague, but if the graphics board is set to emerge on the market, it would be better to do it shortly.
Asustek will use dual print-circuit board design to construct its dual-chip graphics card, pictures of the EAX1950 Pro Dual board published by OC.com.tw web-site reveal. The product itself is pretty long and resembles Nvidia’s GeForce 7950 GX2, the former flagship offering from Nvidia Corp. Asustek’s dual-chip EAX1950 Pro, however, does not feature additional CrossFire connectors, which means that it will be impossible to make two of such graphics cards efficiently in order to get a quad graphics processor system.
The EAX1950 Pro Dual clocks the Radeon X1950 Pro graphics processing units (GPUs) at 581MHz and 256MB of GDDR3 memory at 1404MHz in full accordance with recommendations by ATI, Advanced Micro Devices’ graphics division. It is yet unclear whether dual-GPU boards with PLX PEX8522 PCI Express bridge are compatible with mainboards that fundamentally do not support ATI CrossFire multi-GPU technology and whether special certification will be required to ensure broad compatibility of Asus EAX1950 Pro Dual.
ATI Radeon X1950 Pro (code-named RV570) graphics chip has 36 pixel shader processors, 8 vertex shader processors 12 texture units, 256-bit memory bus and so on.
Recommended pricing for single-chip Radeon X1950 Pro graphics card with 256MB of memory is $199, thus, a dual-GPU board is unlikely to be really affordable. This is not the first time when Asus is developing a dual-processor graphics card using its own research and development teams. Back in 2005 the company designed dual-GeForce 6800 graphics accelerator, but when it was ready to mass produce the product, Nvidia introduced its GeForce 7800 GTX and the company had to scrap its dual-chip card.
It is uncertain whether end-users really demand dual-chip DirectX 9-supporting graphics cards today in the light of the fact that ATI is gearing up to introduce DirectX 10-compatible chips, while Nvidia Corp. is shipping its DirectX 10 supporting GeForce 8800-series products now. However, by working on boards like Asus EAX1950 Pro Dual, manufacturers learn how to more efficiently produce dual-chip graphics cards as well as adopt new design methodologies required to make dual-GPU graphics accelerators.