On October 5th ATI launched their all new product; the X1000 series. The first cards available were the X1300 and X1800XL, with the X1600 and X1800XT following around 30 days later. On December 20th ATI announced the availability of X1800 CrossFire. Here we are three and half months later, some of us still trying to get used to writing about the full X1800 series, and ATI is launching their new high-end part. This might leave some of you scratching your heads wondering why so soon? The truth be told, ATI didn’t have the performance lead over nVidia that they wanted with the launch of the X1000 series, how much is only known to ATI. Being that GPU?s are extremely complex you can?t just whip up a new one in a couple of months, these things take a couple of years to develop. So while one team was working on R520 (X1800) a second team was in development of R580. While R520 had some setbacks the R580 did not have any major issues (only clock frequency changes) and is right on schedule, hence the reason we have the X1900 here today.
ATI?s new flagship video card is the X1900XTX. Thankfully the performance of the card matches the length of its name. It comes with a core clock of 650MHz and 512MB of RAM clocked at 1.55GHz. For those wondering X1800XT was clocked at 625MHz core, and 1.5GHz memory. It?s difficult to tell the differences between the new card and the old card on the outside, with the only noticeable differences being the number of mosfets next to the long red heat sink toward the end of the board. The card comes equipped with two Dual Link DVI connectors and an S-Video connector. This level of performance doesn?t come cheap at $649 MSRP and is available at the time of writing for $694 at MonarchPC. The fact that companies have any stock of the PRIOR to launch is amazing and something unusual in the video card industry. We would like to thank ATI for getting their cards shipped to retailers on time, but the leaks prior to launch were worse than ever due to the cards being shipped like this.
The next step in the performance ladder is the X1900XT. The only difference between the XTX and XT is the clock speed. The X1900XT is clocked at 625MHz core speed and 512MB RAM at 1.45GHz. X1900XT also comes with Dual Link DVI and an S-Video connector. Pricing for the XT is lower at $549.
Do not adjust your screen, yes you are looking at the X1900 CrossFire edition! Not only do we have new cards launching today with full availability, CrossFire Master cards are available today at $599. While it does feature the same core of the X1900XT clocked at 625MHz core and 1.45GHz memory it does not eliminate the dongle needed for CrossFire to work.
Simply looking at pictures of the cards and the frequency differences might lead you to believe that this is a refresh part, and at 25MHz is it really worth launching a new lineup? Let?s look at what the differences are and tell you why a X1900 is the new card to have.