ATI Radeon x1950 Pro Preview

by Greg King on October 17, 2006 in Graphics & Displays

Dongle-free Crossfire anyone? ATI has just announced their x1950 Pro cards which fall directly behind the XTX versions. Some benefits include a digital voltage regulator and a single slot cooler! Learn more inside..

Page 1 – Introduction

It’s been a rather interesting time in the GPU market these past couple months. The guys in green released the monster 7950GX2 and thus brought quad SLI to the market and ATI came out with their R580 core x1950XTX and it suddenly became the world’s most powerful single GPU card on the planet. This is all with DirectX 10 cards on the horizon. Good times indeed.

With this in mind, Kyle Felstein with All American Computers has allowed me to take a look at ATI’s latest and greatest mid-range GPU. The before mentioned card has been lovingly dubbed the RV570 by ATI but to the rest of us, it will go by the x1950 Pro. At All American Computers, I have access to hardware that I otherwise would not be able to work with and this GPU is no different at all. With the blessing of ATI, let’s get into the review.

As we get into the card itself, there are many details that should excite many of you. For starters, the x1950 Pro has a single slot cooling solution.

From there, we move on to the rest of the card and its details. The x1950 Pro is powered by a single 6 pin PCI-E power connector. While this should not come to any surprise to you, the placement seems rather odd to me. Right smack dab in the middle of the card. Not bad, just unusual.

While we are taking a look at the back of the card, take notice that there is no large heatsinks for the voltage regulator. This is because ATI decided to go with a digital voltage regulator. This is significant as it puts out far less heat and less heat is always a good thing. Always. This approach is similar to the one taken by DFI in Rob’s DFI LanParty NF590 SLI-M2R/G that was reviewed 2 weeks ago.

Going back to the single slot cooling design, ATI has retained the fan in the back design to blow over the copper fins, taking the heat away from the GPU.

Aside from the single slot cooling and the digital voltage regulator, the most impressive feature of the x1950 Pro is the dongle-less CrossFire capability. Doing away with the cumbersome dongle, the boys and girls in red have decided to allow CrossFire to be enabled with a pair of bridges, much like SLI has been using for quite some time.

The bridges are made by Molex and are designed to be used in pairs. In the lower right corner of the card, you can see the two male connectors that the bridges fit over, connecting the two x1950 Pros in CrossFire.

Pretty sharp if you as me. Now that we have seen the card, let’s take a look at its specs and get to the results.

The RV570 comes with 256MB of GDDR3 memory and operates on a 256 bus. With its 36 pixel shaders and 12 texture units, the x1950 Pro is not as robust as its bigger brother, the x1950 XTX, but the specs are impressive none the less. The core of the x1950 Pro is clocked at 575 MHz and the memory clock comes in at 690 MHz. This all looks good on paper but how does it game.

A recap:

  • 575 MHz core speeds
  • 690 MHz memory clock speeds
  • 36 Pixel Shaders
  • 12 Texture Units

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