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Appeared on: Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Powercolour X1950Pro

1. Introduction

The RV570 is the first desktop GPU to be manufactured using the 80 nanometre process, and this core is designed specifically as a replacement for ATI's previous, R580 based, Radeon X1900 GT. It features eight vertex shaders and twelve pixel pipelines, each of which contains a single texturing unit and three pixel shader units, giving it a total of thirty-six. Alongside this, the core features twelve ROPs, and its Ultra Threaded Despatch Processor can handle 384 threads in flight at any one time, compared to 512 on high-end R580-based boards.

The X1950 Pro was released on 17th October 2006, with a MSRP of US$200 and is intended to replace the X1900GT in the competitive ~US$200 market segment. The X1950 Pro is the first ATI card that supports native Crossfire implementation by a pair of internal Crossfire connectors, which eliminates the need for external dongles as found in previous Crossfire systems. In terms of performance, the X1950 Pro trails slightly behind an X1900XT 256MB, due to a deficit of 4 texture units and 12 pixel shaders, as well as lesser GPU and memory clocks. The Radeon X1950 Series includes three versions with different core/memory clocks and pixel shader processors:

Pixel Shader

Radeon X1950 XTX

650 MHz
1.55 GHz
Radeon X1950 CrossFire Edition
625 MHz
1.45 GHz
Radeon X1950 PRO
575 MHz
1.38 GHz

The fastest X1950 Radeon card is the X1950XTX. Its core speed is 650MHz, while the GDDR3 memory runs at 690MHz on a 256-bit memory bus.

- Radeon® X1950 Graphics Technology - Features

A game powered by the Radeon X1950 is a beautiful thing to behold. It's 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. New “plug-and-play” CrossFire™ configuration enables quick and easy upgrade to professional-grade gaming performance.

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 Antialiasing (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 landscapes.

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 upgradable 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


  • 36 pixel shader processors
  • 8 vertex shader processors
  • Up to 256-bit 8 channel GDDR3 memory interface
  • Native PCI Express® x16 bus interface
  • Plug-and-play (native) CrossFire™
Shader Technology
  • Support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware.
  • Shader Model 3.0 vertex and pixel shader support:
    • Full speed 32-bit floating point processing
    • High dynamic range rendering with floating point blending and anti-aliasing support
    • High performance dynamic branching and flow control
  • Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL® 2.0
Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering
  • 2x/4x/6x Anti-Aliasing modes:
    • Sparse multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sample patterns, and centroid sampling
    • New Adaptive Anti-Aliasing mode
    • Temporal Anti-Aliasing
  • Lossless Color Compression (up to 6:1) at all resolutions, up to and including widescreen HDTV
  • 2x/4x/8x/16x Anisotropic Filtering modes:
    • Up to 128-tap texture filtering
    • Adaptive algorithm with performance and quality options
  • Improved rendering with higher subpixel precision and LOD computation levels
    • New rotational high quality rendering mode
3Dc+™ — Advanced Texture Compression
  • High quality 4:1 compression for normal maps and luminance maps
  • Works with any single-channel or two-channel data format
Ring Bus Memory Controller
  • Programmable arbitration logic maximizes memory efficiency, software upgradeable
  • New fully associative texture, color, and Z cache design
  • Hierarchical Z-Buffer with Early Z Test
  • Lossless Z-Buffer Compression (up to 48:1)
  • Fast Z-Buffer Clear
  • Z Cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering
  • Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, up to and including widescreen HDTV
Avivo™ Video and Display Engine
  • New advanced video capabilities, including high fidelity gamma, color correction and scaling
  • Dual independent display controllers that support true 30 bits per pixel throughout the display pipe
  • Full symmetry on both heads
  • Each display interface supports display resolutions beyond 2560x1600
  • Advanced DVI capabilities, including 10-bit, 16-bit HDR output
  • YPrPb component output for direct drive of HDTV displays
  • Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
  • MPEG1/2/4 decode and encode acceleration:
  • DXVA support
    • Hardware motion compensation, iDCT, DCT and color space conversion
  • All-format DTV/HDTV decoding
  • Adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing and frame rate conversion (temporal filtering)
  • Multi-GPU technology

  • Four modes of operation:
    • Alternate frame rendering for maximum performance
    • Supertiling for optimal load-balancing
    • Scissoring for compatibility
    • Super AA for maximum image quality

  • Native CrossFire support simplifies setup by requiring no dedicated slave or master hardware
  • 24-bit CrossFire connection enables high resolutions and refresh rates
  • Supports the broadest range of platforms for both Intel and AMD

3. PowerColor X1950Pro

PowerColor, recently announced the PowerColor X1950 PRO 256/512MB with ARCTIC COOLING. The X1950 PRO features the first-ever GPU manufactured with the 80nm fabrication process and the new CrossFire Bridge Interconnect. PowerColor has also included the ARCTIC COOLING Accelero X2 solution for its X1950 Pro platform.

CrossFire Bridge Interconnect

The new CrossFire TM connection provides improved performance and scalability with a 24 bit (2 x 12 bit) connection for speeds of up to 350 MHz. A master card is no longer required and the new set-up will work on all CrossFire TM ready motherboards.

Silent Cooling with Huge Overclocking Potential

The ARCTIC COOLING Accelero X2 compliments the X1950 PRO exceptionally well by simultaneously cooling the GPU and memory. The ARCTIC COOLING has 6 heat pipes that allow superb cooling. Even when the board is overclocked, the Accelero X2 minimizes noise level with a high airflow, a unique cooling performance with extra heat pipes and patented vibration absorption.

HDCP Ready

The PowerColor X1950 PRO supports dual-link DVI with High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). HDCP, a digital right content protection technology for transmitting and receiving digital entertainment, allows users to future-proof their hardware, providing compatibility with the likes of Blu-ray and HD-DVD applications at 1080p for HDTV resolution.

Key features of PowerColor X1950 PRO

For our review, PowerColor provided us with the retail version of their X1950Pro. The card costs around ~€250 in Europe and ~US$280 in the 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 card is full size (23.5cm long vs 17.5cm for the X1600XT and 21cm for the Nvidia 7950GT), with the presence of Arctic cooling big fan. If you look carefully, you will see that the cooler also covers the memory chips and improves overclocking abilities:

The card has two DVI-D and one TV-out outputs:

The card requires a PCI-E power supply in order to operate. You need at least 600W with these current VGA cards, especially if you decide to go CrossFire:

The rear of the PCB:

The memory is clocked at 695MHz, while the GPU at 594MHz.

4. Tests and setup

All tests were conducted with the same PC setup:

More information about the card can be obtained within ATI Catalyst:

We used a number of games and applications to evaluate the VGA card's performance:

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 tests, we used the default settings for 3DMark05 as follows:

3D Mark 05 is a well known benchmark utility that represents the combination of CPU+VGA strength. The PowerColor X1950Pro showed excellent performance, surpassing even the eVGA 7950GT KO.

- 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 PowerColor X1950Pro was not as impressive as in 3D Mark 05, with the Nvidia 7950GT based cards dominating.

6. F.E.A.R

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 engine to v1.08. The game offers 1280x1024 resolution, which was used for all tests. We maxed all details for CPU and VGA card, except for Soft Shadows and AA/AF. We used the card's 3D Control panel to enable AA/AF as indicated in each graph.

Below are the results after using the built-in benchmark test:

The PowerColor X1950Pro performed very well, surpassing Foxconn's 7900GS but is still behind the Nvidia 7950GT cards. It will be interesting to see which card suffers the least performance impact after enabling AA/AF:

Enabling AA/AF naturally hits on the performance of all tested cards. The PowerColor X1950Pro showed a linear drop in framerate after enabling AA/AF. At 16xAF/4xAA, its performance is almost equal to that of the XFX 7950GT Silent and eVGA 7950GT KO, which remains the fastest card. At 16xAF/6xAA, the X1950Pro card produced 17/37 (lowest/average), which can be considered as very good.

7. Prey

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 an 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 that updated the game engine to v1.2.0. For all tests, we used hocbench that offers all benchmarking options through a GUI. We used the built-in Guru3D timedemo and all results are posted below:

Without AA/AF enabled, the PowerColor X1950Pro had the third best performance behind the eVGA 7950GT KO and XFX 7950GT Silent.

Enabling the various AA/AF rendering modes, we got very good performance from the three cards. The PowerColor X1950Pro again at 16xAF/4xAA, reached the XFX 7950GT Silent and at 16xAF/6xAA had 46FPS, a very good performance.

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 that offers all benchmarking options through an easy GUI. We used the built-in "Guru3D 2" timedemo and all results are posted below, using SM1.1

The EVGA 7950GT remains on top with 81FPS, the XFX 7950GT second with 77FPS and the PowerColor X1950Pro third with 55 FPS. Splinter Cell - Chaos Theory also supports Shader Model 3.0 that can be enabled easily from within the hocbench software:

SM3.0 offers much better visual details but with a performance hit. Interestingly, the PowerColour X1950Pro shows improved performance is a close, third with 57FPS with no AA/AF. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory doesn't offer AA/AF modes, so we had to enable them from each VGA card's 3D Control panel.

Enabling AA/AF drops performance for all cards, almost... The PowerColor X1950Pro showed good scalability and at 16xAF/4xAA outpaced the XFX 7950GT Silent. At 16xAF/6xAA we had 50FPS, a very good framerate...

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 the timedemo with each card. All tests were carried out at 1280x1024 with HDR shadows fully enabled. Antialiasing and Filtering modes were enabled from Nvidia's 3D control panel:

The HL2 Engine always has been a favorite for ATI based cards. The PowerColor X1950Pro is no exception, managing to reach the XFX 7950GT. The eEVGA 7950GT KO remains fastest with 122FPS.

With HDR Effects and AA/AF enabled providing the highest possible visual quality settings, the EVGA 7950GT KO is still the fastest card but the PowerColor X1950Pro is no more than a couple of frames behind.

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 destructible 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 maximum.

We used the built-in benchmark for all tests at 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 setting for Company Of Heroes has been disabled. Let's see how each card performed in the Company Of Heroes Benchmark with High Quality settings.

The EVGA 7950GT KO still holds first place with 66FPS. The PowerColor X1950Pro managed 49FPS.

In this benchmark, we noticed a surprising behaviour from the PowerColor X1950Pro. When 16xAF/4xAA was enabled from within ATI Catalyst, its performance made a dramatic drop down to 20FPS. This was confirmed again and again as we repeated the whole procedure. Changing AA from 4x to 6x provided a performance increase up to 49FPS(!). This could be a possible bug in the game or in ATI's drivers.

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 graphics cards, we recorded our own timedemo using the built-in command (demo.recordDemo). We then used Guru3D BF2 benchmark modified in order to support BF 2142. We used the following quality settings. Anti-aliasing is disabled inside 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 numbers represent pure gaming experience. Note that all tests performed at 1280x1024 were with the default camera view. Let's now proceed to the first test results.

At 1280x1024, EVGA 7950GT KO was the fastest card with 88FPS. XFX 7950GT gets the second place with 81FPS, while PowerColor X1950Pro was third with 70FPS, very close to Foxconn 7900GS.

Enabling AA/AF at Battlefield 2142 enhances visual quality and of course gaming experience. The PowerColor X1950Pro showed good scalability, and at 16xAF/4xAA was as fast as XFX 7950GT Silent. At 16xAF/6xAA had 48FPS, so you might use this as the default for your online battles.

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.

Lets race...

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 created the same two rounds on the same track with the same car. By using FRAPS, we recorded all 2 minutes of driving.

Black and beautiful...

Keep in mind that all test results were done with "Blur Effect" and "Rain" disabled, since enabling them produces a huge performance hit with all cards. In any case, all other detail settings are maxed out. As usual, the 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 resolution.

NFS Carbon is a no-go for Nvidia based cards. It seems as if the driver for the game needs a tune up. The PowerColor X1950Pro provided excellent performance producing 56FPS average, resulting in really fast yet smooth gameplay.

Enabling AA/AF in NFS Carbon is...taxing on all VGA cards, except for the PowerColor X1950Pro. The card maintained its very good performance, even at 16xAF/4xAA (40FPS), while at 16xAF/6xAA it produced 16/35FPS (lowest/average), which makes it quite playable.

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 under the "Advanced Graphics" tab, while Anti-aliasing modes were set by using Nvidia's 3D control panel.

We saved a gave and walked exactly the same route (more or less) and moved the camera a lot around the player. This is the worst case scenario while playing. By using FRAPS, we recorded two minutes of gameplay and got the lowest and average framerates.

NeverWinter Nights2 is a "difficult" game, with all visual improvements enabled, even for the eVGA 7950GT KO. The card sustains an average of 34FPS. On the other hand, the PowerColor X1950Pro showed an average performance of 26FPS, but notice that the lowest framerate was 9. This is not very satisfactory, and you may need to drop some details for this game.

Antialiasing is not offered from within the game options. Using each card's 3D control panel, we enabled up to 4x AA. The PowerColor 1950Pro provided good performance, while at 16xAF/6xAA it produced 26FPS, exactly the same as with "Company Of Heroes".

14. Overclocking

After seeing the performance of the PowerColor X1950Pro with various games, the time has come for overclocking...or not? Unfortunately, we didn't manage to overclock the card since it is as yet not supported from ATI Tool 0.25b16 and ATI's Overdrive, the feature being inaccessible. It is very possible that such features will be solved in the near future...

- Temperature

The PowerColor uses a special air cooling system to maintain much lower GPU temperatures. As PowerColor comments "...The ARCTIC COOLING Accelero X2 compliments the X1950 PRO exceptionally well by simultaneously cooling the GPU and memory. The ARCTIC COOLING has 6 heat pipes that allow superb cooling. Even when the board is overclocked, the Accelero X2 minimizes noise level with a high airflow, a unique cooling performance with extra heat pipes and patented vibration absorption..."

Now let's move on to the most interesting part, the actual performance. We used 3D Mark06 to raise the card's GPU temperatures to the maximum possible and here is what we got:

The overall performance is very good. The card idles at 40~41°C and at full load reaches 53°C, while at the same time, remaining almost inaudible. A strong point of the PowerColor X1950Pro.

15. Conclusion

PowerColor 's X1950 PRO 512MB with ARCTIC COOLING, features the first-ever GPU manufactured with the 80nm fabrication process and the new CrossFire Bridge Interconnect. PowerColor has also included the ARCTIC COOLING Accelero X2 solution for its X1950 Pro platform.

The PowerColor X1950Pro is based on ATI's Radeon X1950Pro series with an improved air cooling system to provide lower noise and produce less heat and hence, better overclocking capabilities. It has all the benefits of ATI's 19xx series and more - with the new CrossFire Bridge Interconnect

The two DVI-D ports are equipped with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), meaning you can play back High Definition content. The card is also rated "Windows Vista ready". Moving on to the most interesting part, its performance, the card was a pleasant surprise for us. Not only did it surpasses the Nvidia 7900GS, but in several tests it reached and even outperformed the Nvidia 7950GT, especially with 16xAF/4xAA enabled. This shows the true potential of the PowerColor X1950Pro.

The retail package can be characterized as complete, even though there is no retail game included. The big air cooler keeps the card very cool and at the same time, it is also very quiet, something you have to hear to believe. The biggest negative we found, was the fact that overclocking was not possible. It's not a direct fault of PowerColor, since ATI's drivers are do not allow for this as yet and ATI Tool doesn't yet support it. PowerColor confirmed this issue, which hopefully will be resolved in the near future with an upcoming build of ATI Tools.

Concluding our review, we almost forgot the best news, its price. Users can find the PowerColor X1950Pro at the retail price of ~€250 in Europe and ~US$280 in the US. The only comparable card from Nvidia in this price range is the Foxconn 7900GS, which had much lower performance in all tests. So in our view, this is a must buy card for the category of €250. If overclocking were also possible, it would receive our Editor Choice Award :-)

Value for money

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