On July 21, ATI announced its newest addition to the x1000 series, the Radeon X1950XTX(R580+). The X1950XTX comes in two versions, XTX and Crossfire, and features GDDR4 memory, as opposed to the current GDDR3 used in the X1900s. The new core and memory clocks for the X1950s is 650 MHz and 2 GHz, respectively, compared to the X1900XT which has 625/1450 and the XTX with 650/1550. The X1950XTX was presented on August 23, 2006. It has been available since mid-September and retails at around US$449.
The Radeon X1950 Series includes three versions with different core/memory clocks and pixel shader processors:
Radeon X1950 XTX
|Radeon X1950 CrossFire Edition
|Radeon X1950 PRO
The fastest X1950 Radeon card is the X1950XTX. Its core speed is 650MHz, while GDDR4 memory runs at 2000MHz on a 256-bit memory bus.
- Radeon® X1950 Graphics Technology - Features
A game powered by the Radeon X1950 is a beautiful thing to behold. Its sophisticated architecture employs Shader Model 3.0, enables simultaneous high dynamic range lighting effects and full screen anti-aliasing, and supports up to 512 MB GDDR4 memory for incredibly fast frame buffering.
Unite the power of two graphics cards to accelerate your games even further with CrossFire – the new reference for hardcore gaming. Add a Radeon® X1950 Crossfire™ Edition graphics card for ultra fast performance that works with all games, all the time.
Experience stunning 3D graphics in today’s most advanced games courtesy of the latest memory support (up to GDDR4) and Shader Model 3.0 The Radeon X1950 delivers unparalleled shader performance thanks to it ultra-fast implementation of Shader Model 3.0. It also supports GDDR4 memory to enable extraordinarily fast frame buffering. Watch your characters and their surroundings come to life with adaptive anti-aliasing and high dynamic range lighting effects.
The Radeon® X1K family are the only graphics boards on the market to combine Full Screen Anti-aliasing (FSAA)—the most advanced anti-aliasing technique in the world—with high dynamic range (HDR) technology. HDR mimics the human eye by displaying a broader range of colors within a scene. This allows for a wider spectrum of lighting effects, providing realistic shadows around buildings and landscape.
Make the most of your PC
The Radeon X1950 is the ultimate upgrade for your multimedia system. It sets an industry standard for image quality in photos and DVD movies and provides full support for HDCP content.
Rediscover your photos and video with the Avivo™ video and display engine and experience a billion more colors than ever before. Avivo’s 10-bit-per-color display engine renders one billion more colors, resulting in images that are clean, sharp, and brilliant. It also uses ATI’s Xillion™ and Theater™ technologies, which are found inside many of today ’s best digital high-definition TVs.
Ready your multimedia system for HDCP and watch high-definition content. The X1950 supports High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), a method of digital rights management that protects content. With a graphics card and a monitor that supports HDCP you can view this copy protected high-definition content.
A flexible, fully loaded, and future-looking graphics solution
The Radeon X1950 is designed to turn your system into the ultimate gaming platform. It will prepare your system for Windows Vista™, ensure that you get the most out of your high definition display, and prime your PC for future video technologies.
Take advantage of Windows Vista™ user interface and multimedia features The Radeon X1950 is a recommended graphics board for Windows Vista, Microsoft’s soon-to-be-released operating system. It provides full support for Vista’s image-intensive features, including Aeroglass, and enhances gaming, digital photo, and multimedia applications.
Take control with a high-performing upgradeable gaming PC, powered by the most explosive multi-GPU platform Gaming PCs give users a greater selection of games, can be tweaked and configured for optimal performance, have more available accessories and can be upgraded or expanded when more performance is needed. Put ATI’s fastest multi-GPU platform at the heart of your system to experience games in full detail and prepare for the future of gaming.
Display your graphics however you like, on a large screen flat panel, a projector, or in a multiple-monitor environment ATI’s Avivo technology provides flexible connectivity, delivers high-performance support for high resolution DVI displays, supports multiple-monitor environments and enables simultaneous S-video and composite video output at independent resolutions.
2. Radeon X1950 GPU Specifications
- 384 million transistors on 90nm fabrication process
- Up to 48 pixel shader processors
- 8 vertex shader processors
- Up to 256-bit 8-channel GDDR4 memory interface
- Native PCI Express x16 bus interface
- Ring Bus Memory Controller
- Up to 512-bit internal ring bus for memory reads
- Fully associative texture, color, and Z/stencil cache designs
- Hierarchical Z-buffer with Early Z test
- Lossless Z Compression (up to 48:1)
- Fast Z-Buffer Clear
- Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
- Ultra-Threaded Shader Engine
- Support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
- Full speed 128-bit floating point processing for all shader operations
- Up to 512 simultaneous pixel threads
- Dedicated branch execution units for high performance dynamic branching and flow control
- Dedicated texture address units for improved efficiency
- 3Dc+ texture compression o High quality 4:1 compression for normal maps and two-channel data formats
- High quality 2:1 compression for luminance maps and single-channel data formats
- Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL® 2.0
- Advanced Image Quality Features
- 64-bit floating point HDR rendering supported throughout the pipeline
- Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
- 32-bit integer HDR (10:10:10:2) format supported throughout the pipeline
- Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
- 2x/4x/6x Anti-Aliasing modes
- Multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sparse sample patterns, and centroid sampling
- New Adaptive Anti-Aliasing feature with Performance and Quality modes
- Temporal Anti-Aliasing mode
- Lossless Color Compression (up to 6:1) at all resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
- 2x/4x/8x/16x Anisotropic Filtering modes
- Up to 128-tap texture filtering
- Adaptive algorithm with Performance and Quality options
- High resolution texture support (up to 4k x 4k)
- Avivo™ Video and Display Platform
- High performance programmable video processor
- Accelerated MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264 decoding and transcoding
- DXVA support
- De-blocking and noise reduction filtering
- Motion compensation, IDCT, DCT and color space conversion
- Vector adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing
- 3:2 pulldown (frame rate conversion)
- Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
- HDR tone mapping acceleration
- Maps any input format to 10 bit per channel output
- Flexible display support
- Dual integrated dual-link DVI transmitters
- DVI 1.0 compliant / HDMI interoperable and HDCP ready*
- Dual integrated 10 bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
- 16 bit per channel floating point HDR and 10 bit per channel DVI output
- Programmable piecewise linear gamma correction, color correction, and color space conversion (10 bits per color)
- Complete, independent color controls and video overlays for each display
- High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all outputs
- Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
- Xilleon™ TV encoder for high quality analog output
- YPrPb component output for direct drive of HDTV displays
- Spatial/temporal dithering enables 10-bit color quality on 8-bit and 6-bit displays
- Fast, glitch-free mode switching
- VGA mode support on all outputs
- Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions and refresh rates
- Compatible with ATI TV/Video encoder products, including Theater 550
* Playing HDCP content may require additional HDCP ready components, including but not limited to an HDCP ready monitor, disc drive and computer system.
- Multi-GPU technology
- Four modes of operation:
- Alternate Frame Rendering (maximum performance)
- Supertiling (optimal load-balancing)
- Scissor (compatibility)
- Super AA 8x/10x/12x/14x (maximum image quality)
3. Asus EAX1950XTX
Asus presents the "...new king of the fastest graphics cards in the world...". The ASUS EAX1950XTX/HTVDP/512M is equipped with exclusive ASUS innovations and the ATI RADEON® X1950XTX GPU. With the powerful ATI RADEON® X1950XTX GPU, the ASUS EAX1950XTX supports the finest in graphics technology, including Avivo Video and Display Engine, CrossFire™Ready multi-GPU technology, Ultra-Threaded and Shader Engine.
The ASUS EAX1950XTX graphics card is also HDCP ready to support future HDCP protected audio/video contents, provide worry-free upgrade to the coming high-definition contents and many other premium graphics features. Combined with unique ASUS innovations such as SPLENDID for intelligent video enhancement and interactive gaming features, the all-new ASUS card delivers the ultimate in computer visual enjoyment.
- HDCP Ready:
Allow playback of HD DVD, Blu-Ray Disc and other protected content at full HD resolutions
- Built for Microsoft® Windows Vista
- The hottest 3D game:
GHOST RECON & SNOWBLIND inside
- ASUS Splendid:
Watching movies on PC is as good as on Top-of-the-line consumer television
- ASUS Video Security Online:
Keep an eye on your home at all times no matter where you are
- ASUS Game LiveShow:
Stream live gaming action onto the internet and share with other gaming enthusiast
- ASUS Game Replay:
Recording gaming action and strategy into MPEG4 files to share with other gaming enthusiast
- ASUS Game FaceMessenger:
Easy IM and live game conference in any PC games
- ASUS OnScreenDisplay:
Adjust the fame settings and enhance gaming experience without leaving the game
For our review, Asus provided the retail version of EAX1950XTX. The card costs around ~480€ inside Europe and ~$466 at US , as found at several online stores.
The retail package is complete with printed manual, drivers and of course cables:
The retail package includes:
- The Asus EAX1950XTX card
- 2x DVI to VGA adapters
- 1x Component-out cable adapter
- 1x 9 Pin S-Video to composite VIVO adapter
- 1x S-Video cable
- 1x Composite cable
- 1x printed manual
- 1x CD-ROM with SNOWBLIND Retail Game
- 1x CD-ROM with GHOST RECON Advanced WarFighter Retail Game
- 1x CD-ROM with ASUS Utilities & Driver
Looking at the card, it is full size (around 23.5cm in length), mounted with a quite large, active cooling system. If you look carefully, you will see that the copper profile also covers the memory chips which improves overclocking capabilities:
The card has two (x2) DVI-D outputs and one TV-out output:
The card requires a PCI-E power supply in order to operate, which means you need at least a 600W PSU, especially if you decide to go CrossFire:
On the rear of the PCB we can see the cooling system mounting frame and the card's serial and part number:
4. Tests and setup
All tests were conducted with the same PC setup:
- Asus M2N32 WS Pro Bios 601 (Nvidia 590SLI) + AMD Athlon X2 4600+
- Thermaltake Soprano Case
- OCZ GameXStream GXS600 SLI-Ready
- 2x1GB Crucial PC2-8000 @ 4-4-4-8-2T
- WD 800JB 7200RPM
- Viewsonic 19" LCD VP930b (1280x1024 resolution)
- Windows XP SP2 with all latest updates installed
- ATI Catalyst v6.11 with the following settings
More information about the card can be obtained within ATI Catalyst:
ATI Catalyst by default drops the core/memory clocks in order to keep the GPU cooler. For example, in idle mode, the core runs at 506MHz, while memory at 595MHz. When it's needed, the card will automatically raise frequencies to match the 650/1000MHz rated speeds.
We used a number of games and applications to evaluate the card's performance:
- FRAPS v2.8.0
- 3D Mark 05 v1.2.0
- 3D Mark 06 v1.2.0
- F.E.A.R v1.08
- Prey v1.2.0
- Half Life 2 Episode 1 June Edition
- Splinter Cell - Chaos Theory v1.05
- Battlefield 2142 v1.00
- Company Of Heroes v1.3.0
- Neverwinter Nights 2 v1.00
- NFS Carbon v1.2.0
For comparison, we include results from the following VGA cards:
- Foxconn 7900GS
- PowerColor X1950Pro
- eVGA 7950GT KO
- Asus EAX1950XTX
- 7900GS SLI
- 7950GT SLI
All Nvidia based cards results were obtained with Nvidia Forceware v93.71 drivers.
5. 3D Mark 05 v1.2.0
3DMark®05 is best suited for the latest generation of DirectX®9.0 graphics cards. It is the first benchmark to require a DirectX9.0 compliant hardware with support for Pixel Shaders 2.0 or higher! By combining high quality 3D tests, CPU tests, feature tests, image quality tools, and much more, 3DMark05 is a premium benchmark for evaluating the latest generation of gaming hardware. 3DMark05 is the answer to the continuously growing challenge in benchmarking!
For all test results, we used the default settings in 3DMark05 as follows:
3D Mark 05 is a well know benchmark utility that represents the combination of CPU+VGA strength. The Asus EAX1950XTX is clearly the fastest single card, almost reaching the 7900GS SLI. Of course, the 7950GT SLI is the fastest since it uses two 7950GT cards.
- 3D Mark 06 v1.0.2
3DMark®06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking and the latest version in the popular 3DMark series! 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, advanced SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. Futuremark's exclusive Online ResultBrowser web service tracks and compares 3DMark06 scores. Again we left all settings as default:
In 3D Mark 06, the performance of the Asus EAX1950XTX continues to shine, amassing 6082 points.
The story begins as an unidentified paramilitary force infiltrates a multi-billion dollar aerospace compound. The government responds by sending in Special Forces, but loses contact as an eerie signal interrupts radio communications. When the interference subsides moments later, the team has been literally torn apart. As part of a classified strike team created to deal with threats no one else can handle, your mission is simple: Eliminate the intruders at any cost. Determine the origin of the signal. And contain this crisis before it spirals out of control.
For all tests, we used the latest available patch that updates the game's engine to v1.08. The game offers 1280x1024 resolution, which was used in all tests. We maxed all details for the CPU and VGA card, except for Soft Shadows and AA/AF. We used the card's 3D Control panel to enable AA/AF, as shown in each graph.
Below are the results after using the built-in benchmark test:
The Asus EAX1950XTX and eVGA 7950GT KO had very similar performance under F.E.A.R., without AA/AF enabled. Let's see how the cards perform with the various AA/AF modes:
Enabling AA/AF impacts on the performance of all tested cards. The Asus EAX1950XTX is clearly the fastest single card when AA/AF is enabled. Notice how with no AA/AF, the EVGA 7950GT KO and the Asus EAX1950XTX both start off at 90 FPS average, but when AA/AF are enabled, the EAX1950XTX has more in reserve and can offer higher framerates.
Prey tells the story of Tommy, a Cherokee garage mechanic stuck on a reservation going nowhere. His life changes when an otherworldly crisis forces him to awaken spiritual powers from his long-forgotten birthright. Abducted along with his people to a menacing mothership orbiting Earth, he sets out to save himself and his girlfriend and eventually his planet.
Prey is a serious, dark story, based on authentic Cherokee mythology. Themes of sacrifice, love and responsibility are explored and the story dives into emotional territory not yet explored by similar games. Prey is based on Quake 3 engine and for sure will keep you awake many nights...
We used the latest available patch which updated the game's engine to v1.2.0. For all tests, we used hocbench which offers all benchmarking options through a GUI. We used the built-in Guru3D timedemo and all results are posted below:
Without enabling AA/AF, the Asus EAX1950XTX out-performs the eVGA 7950GT KO and is only 6FPS behind the 7900GS SLI cards.
Enabling the various AA/AF rendering modes, we saw very good performance from the Asus EAX1950XTX. At 16xAF/6x AA, the card offers the same framerate as the 7900GS SLI. The 7950GT SLI remains the fastest performer.
8. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory
A Japanese Information Defense Force is formed to help face modern threats. Deemed a violation of international law and of the Japanese Post-War Constitution, Korea and China become outraged.
Secretly, the head of the IDF begins launching information-warfare attacks against Japan and blaming the attacks on North Korea. When the U.S. intervenes, as they are obligated to under Article 9 of the Japanese Post-War Constitution, the U.S. is attacked as well, forcing North Korea to escalate the situation with a pre-emptive invasion of South Korea. As war erupts on the Korean Peninsula, Sam Fisher must thwart the alliance between the Japanese Admiral, a neurotic computer hacker, and the head of an international paramilitary company in order to prevent the rekindling of a massive world war in the Pacific.
The graphics engine supports Pixel Shader 1 and 3, HDR along with other new effects. We used hocbench which offers all benchmarking options from an easy to use GUI. We used the built-in "Guru3D 2" timedemo and all results are posted below, using SM1.1
The Asus EAX1950XTX is still the fastest performing single card with 83FPS. That's 12FPS more than the eVGA 7950GT KO! The 7950GT SLI card still holds first place with 113 FPS. Splinter Cell - Chaos Theory also supports Shader Model 3.0 that can be enabled easily with the hocbench software:
SM3.0 offers much better visual details but with a performance hit. Interestingly, the Asus EAX1950XTX seems less affected and outperforms the 7900GS SLI setup.
Splinter Cell Chaos Theory doesn't offer AA/AF modes, so we had to enable them from each card's 3D Control panel.
Enabling AA/AF drops the performance of all cards, to some degree. Both ATI based cards showed good stability with AA/AF enabled, maintaining a constant framerate regardless of AA/AF combination.
9. Half Life 2 Episode 1
The world of Half-Life 2 has amazed everyone with its great story, graphics and Valve's great support. Half-Life 2: Episode One is the first in a series of new adventures created by Valve that extend the Half-Life 2 single player experience. It details the aftermath of Half Life 2 and launches a journey beyond City 17.
Stepping into the hazard suit of Dr. Gordon Freeman, you face the immediate repercussions of your actions in City 17 and the Citadel. Rejoin Alyx Vance and her robot, Dog, to once again aid the human resistance in their desperate battle against the totalitarian alien menace of the Combine.
Episode One exposes Alyx's combat skills and knowledge of City 17. Battle side-by-side with her through Valve's first episodic game, a four-to-six hour adventure of greater density and detail than non-episodic releases.
We recorded a timedemo and used the built-in console to run a timedemo with each card. All tests were carried out at 1280x1024 resolution and HDR shadows fully enabled. Antialiasing and Filtering modes were enabled through Nvidia's 3D control panel:
The HL2 Engine has always been a favorite for ATI based cards. The Asus EAX1950XTX produces the best framerate with 133FPS, while the 7950GT SLI is close behind with 129FPS. Outstanding performance.
HDR Effects and AA/AF do take their toll however. The Asus EAX1950XTX could not maintain its supremacy and with 16xAF/4xAA, drops below the performance of the 7950GT SLI, but is still faster than the 7900GS SLI.
10. Company Of Heroes
In Company of Heroes, gamers will experience the journey of the brave men of Able Company in a deep single-player campaign that begins with the invasion of Normandy through their fight across Europe, all set against the most dynamic battlefield ever seen in a game.
Company of Heroes' completely destructable environment means no two battles ever play out in the same way. Advanced squad AI delivers startling new realism and responsiveness, bringing soldiers to life as they interact with the environment and execute advanced squad tactics to eliminate the opposition forces.
The game offers impressive graphics, especially when all visual quality settings are set to the maximum.
We used the built-in benchmark for all tests with 1280x1024 resolution. Since AA/AF cannot be set from within the game, we used Nvidia's 3D control panel for each mode. The built-in Antialiasing settings within Company Of Heroes has been disabled. Let's now see how each card performed in the Company Of Heroes Benchmark with High Quality settings.
The Asus EAX1950XTX and 7900GS SLI had exactly the same average framerate. The 7900GT SLI however, had a better "lowest" FPS, indicating that it can better sustain a more constant framerate with this type of game and without AA/AF enabled.
The Asus EAX1950XTX again seems to be less affected by AA/AF and maintains an almost constant framerate regardless of AF/AA setting. The big loser here is the 7950GT SLI which drops dramatically once AA/AF are enabled.
11. BattleField 2142
The year is 2142, and the dawn of a new Ice age has thrown the world into a panic. The math is simple and brutal: The soil not covered by ice can only feed a fraction of the Earth's population. Some will live, most will die. In Battlefield 2142, players will choose to fight for one of two military superpowers in an epic battle for survival, the European Union or the newly formed Pan Asian Coalition.
Armed with a devastating arsenal of hi-tech assault rifles, cloaking devices and sentry guns, players will also do battle using some of the most imposing vehicles known to man. Massive battle Mechs wage fierce combat on the ground, while futuristic aircraft rule the skies. When facing one of these new behemoths, players will need to use their wits and an arsenal of new countermeasures like EMP grenades to level the playing field.
Team play features, allow up to 64 players to enter the action on the front lines as part of a formal squad, or work behind the scenes in Commander Mode to direct the strategic assaults of their teammates. With in-game success, players increase their rank and unlock awards, including new weapons, medals and more, delivering the most comprehensive and flexible persistence in the Battlefield universe to date.
In order to benchmark the graphic cards, we recorded our own timedemo using the built-in command (demo.recordDemo). We then used the Guru3D BF2 benchmark, modified, in order to support BF 2142. We used the following quality settings. Anti-aliasing is disabled in the game, so we use Nvidia's 3D Control Panel to enable/disable AA/AF rendering modes:
Note, that the 1280x1024 resolution is not supported in the game. However, it can be enabled from the command line. All tests were performed at that resolution (1280x1024). Since the game counts all frames, including loading screens, we removed them so that all values represent pure gaming experience. Note, that all tests used the default camera view. Let's now proceed to the first test results.
At 1280x1024, the Asus EAX1950XTX and eVGA 7950GT KO had the same performance.
Enabling AA/AF in Battlefield 2142, enhances visual quality and gaming experience. The Asus EAX1950XTX with 16xAF and 6xAA, managed to stay above 70FPS, surpassing the 7900GS SLI.
12. NFS Carbon
Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of adrenaline-filled street racing and will challenge players to face the ultimate test of driving skill on treacherous canyon roads.
What starts in the city is settled in the canyons as Need for Speed Carbon immerses you into the world's most dangerous and adrenaline-filled form of street racing. You and your crew must race in an all-out war for the city, risking everything to take over your rivals' neighbourhoods one block at a time. As the police turn up the heat, the battle ultimately shifts to Carbon Canyon, where territories and reputations can be lost on every perilous curve.
Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of customization giving you the power to design and tweak your crew's cars in every way using the ground-breaking new Autosculpt technology. Represent your car class, your crew, and your turf in Need for Speed Carbon, the next revolution in racing games.
In order to benchmark the graphics cards, we ran the same two rounds on the same track with the same car. By using FRAPS, we recorded the entire 2 minutes of driving.
Black and beautiful...
Keep in mind that all tests results were done with "Blur Effect" and "Rain" disabled, since enabling them gives a huge performance hit on all cards. In any case, all other detail settings are maxed out. As usual, AA/AF modes are set from each card's 3D control panel. Without enabling AA/AF, we can see the performance of each card at 1280x1024.
NFS Carbon is a no-go for Nvidia based cards. It would seem either the nVidia drivers need a good tune up. Both ATI based cards offered superb performance and the Asus EAX1950XTX leads the race with 69FPS.
The game doesn't include any way to set AA/AF. Enabling AA/AF from the control panel for each VGA card, results in a major drop in performance. The Asus EAX1950XTX however, still offers the best performance.
13. NeverWinter Nights 2
Bards sing tales of heroes from ages past, but never have the Forgotten Realms so desperately needed a champion. Years have passed since the war between Luskan and Neverwinter, almost enough time for the wounds of war to heal. But the brief peace the Realms have known may be at an end. Tension growing between the mighty city-states means the Sword Coast again teeters on the edge of open war.
Unnoticed, a greater danger stalks the City of Skilled Hands. Unbeknownst to the denizens of the North, deep in the Mere of Dead Men, dark forces from across the Realms have been rallied under the banner of a legendary evil. If left unchallenged, all of the North is doomed to fall under its power.
Even in this darkest hour, hope remains. A mysterious relic is borne to Neverwinter in the hands of a lone hero so that its secrets may be unlocked - secrets that carry the fate of all the North. So begins an epic tale of shattered alliances, noble acts and dark deeds to be told across the Realms for generations to come.
Under Game options, we maxed all available visual settings.
Anisotropic filtering was enabled in the "Advanced Graphics" tab, while Anti-aliasing modes were set by using Nvidia's 3D control panel.
We saved a game and walked through exactly the same route (more or less), moving the camera around the player. This is the worst case scenario while playing. Using FRAPS, we recorded two minutes of game and recorded the lowest and average values.
NeverWinter Nights2 is a "difficult" game with all visual improvements enabled, even for SLI setups. The Asus EAX1950XTX was only bettered by the 7900GS SLI and 7950GT SLI cards. The lowest value of 14FPS shouldn't worry you though, as we are not playing a 3D action shooter game.
Antialiasing is not offered from within the game's options. Using each card's 3D control panel, we enabled up to 6x AA. The Asus EAX1950XTX at 6xAA offers 28FPS, an average performance, compared with the SLI setup cards.
The Asus EAX1950XTX can be overclocked, either with ATI Catalyst or with Overdrive:
Or, even better, with ATI Tool. Most users tend to agree that ATI's overdrive function doesn't work properly and suggest using only ATI Tool. Even with the latest beta, precise overclocking is not easy, since the auto find function doesn't work, at least as we would like it to. After numerous attempts and various trials, we came up with 715MHz for the core and 1098MHz for the memory. In performance, there was only a slight increase, so we don't think users will gain much from overclocking this card. At these speeds, we got around 12.000 points in 3DMark05 and 6400points in 3DMark06.
Users can also tune the Memory timings and Voltages for better and more stable operation of the VGA card:
The card has a very big cooler that is supposed to work only when 3D acceleration is needed. This was indeed the case, and the card runs very smoothly with little noise in 2D applications. However, with 3D profiles, the noise and heat are produced. We found that we couldn't hold our hand at the exhaust outlet since the air blowing out was very very hot. In small cases, this could be an issue, especially if the case doesn't have adequate air cooling to begin with. In short, you pay the price for the best performance in heat and noise...
Asus has a winner in the EAX1950XTX series. From our tests, the card outperformed most Nvidia based cards, in single card mode. Even the latest 7950GT series seemed flat compared with the EAX1950XTX. In a few tests, the EAX1950XTX even outperformed the 7900GT SLI and reached very close to the 7950GT SLI. These were specific cases however, and in general, SLI setups proved to be faster than single cards.
The EAX1950XTX has all the features and advantages of ATI's 1950 series. The core runs at 650MHz and the memory at 1000MHz. Overclocking potential does exist but is limited. You will also need to go through many attempts before getting a stable system, and in my personal opinion, it's not worth it. We have seen other reviews with extreme cooling (nitro liquid) reaching remarkable figures, but that can make your card into a frisby cake afterwards. You don't want to spend €480 for a frisby cake, do you?
The two DVI-D ports come with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), meaning you can playback your High Definition content without any worries. Moreover, the card is rated as "Windows Vista ready". The retail package can be characterized as complete, all cables are included as well as two retail games. The active cooling system works well and in 2D operations runs quiet, but with 3D applications produces noise and the card becomes very hot. Keep that in mind, if you have a small case or are already experiencing air flow problems.
Concluding our review, we were happy to see that the Asus EAX1950XTX performed according to its specs and according to ASUS' reputation. The biggest contender for this card comes in the name of "Nvidia 8800". The Asus EAX1950XTX doesn't support Dirext10 natively, and futureproof buyers may be tempted to look towards the latest Nvidia 8800 series. On the other hand, gamers who want absolute performance now, should pair two 1950XTX cards and see incredible performance. Too bad we didn't have a second EAX1950XTX Crossfire Edition for a quick test drive :-)
|Value for money