The ATI Radeon X1950XTX Video Card Review

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Power Consumption & Conclusion

Power Consumption

For testing power consumption we took our test system and plugged it into a Seasonic Power Angel. For idle numbers we allowed the system to idle on the desktop for 5 minutes and took the reading. For load numbers we measured the peak wattage used by the sytem while running through 3DMark 2006.

Idle power consumption

It looks like ATI was able to reduce the idle power usage of the X1950XTX by using GDDR4 which requires less power. The redesigned heatsink also contributes to this since it does a better job cooling the card less heat is held in the GPU core. With less heat the system uses less power to run.

Idle power consumption

Again we see some improved numbers from the X1950XTX. It’s still not down to the level of the 7900GTX but it is a nice improvement.

Conclusion

The X1950XTX is without a doubt the fastest card ever to wear the ATI badge. The extra memory helps it shine running AA or HDR games at higher resolutions. This is important for the longevity of the card and should give it a longer lifespan as more and more titles debut with HDR and advanced shaders. It hauls ass and keeps quiet which is exactly what ATI was lacking on their last few flagship video cards.

Now obviously if you’ve got an X1900XT or XTX the gain in performance is not going to make enough of a difference to justify the cost. With the MSRP at $450 it’s hard to suggest anyone with an X1800XT or higher to upgrade unless you’re planning to run the latest games at 1600×1200 or higher.The X1950XTX has a clear advantage over the 7900GTX in almost every situation so unless you’re a die hard NVIDIA fan the X1950XTX is the undisputed champ of single GPU cards.

Although it’s not included in today’s testing the 7950GX2 makes a case for itself in the latest pricing. It can now be found near $510, after mail-in rebates, which leaves just a $50 difference between the two. We haven’t shown performance of the GX2 in today’s review but tomorrow we’ll take a second look at the X1950XTX in CrossFire versus SLI and the 7950GX2.

We talked with ATI over a year ago and the informed us that this core would be able to run GDDR4 and the ring bus memory controller would shine when that happened.  I’d have to say that ATI was correct on these comments and completed their roadmap as timely as possible.  Now it’s back to the test bench for LR as we will be bringing you Crossfire X1950 performance numbers tomorrow, so we will see you then!

Brian’s thoughts:

The X1950XTX did not fail to impress. From the moment I fired it up until I had to take the card out I was impressed and pleased that ATI finally had something that could keep quiet and at the same time pump out some serious frame rates. Couple that with the image quality enhancements that ATI’s High Quality AF adds and you have the best all around single GPU. For those not interested in possible compatibility problems with the 7950GX2 or multi-GPU configurations, the X1950XTX is the ultimate card.

This will likely be ATI’s last high-end GPU launch before Windows Vista and DirectX 10 come along in the first quarter of 2007(so long as Microsoft doesn’t delay it again), and who knows how long it will be before we see more than a handful of titles utilizing DirectX 10. The X1950XTX is in a great position to give you the best gaming performance until DirectX 10 becomes mainstream.

Legit Bottom Line: ATI has added super fast 2GHz GDDR4 memory to the R580 core, reduced noise levels and slahsed prices with the launch of the Radeon X1950XTX. Without a doubt the ATI Radeon X1950XTX is the fastest single video card and there is no reason why this card shouldn’t be in your next high end gaming system.

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