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[H]ardOCP Evaluation of new ATI cards


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You guys can checkout [H]ardOCP's review of the new ATI cards over here


Their review covers mainly the x1950xtx (both regular and crossfire) but they do mention the x1900xt (256mb), x1650 pro and x1300xt which they will be reviewing shortly. I think one major thing which they mentioned is pricing. ATI is coming out aggressive on their new MSRP pricing. The new x1650 Pro which is slightly faster than the current x1600xt will have an MSRP of only $99. That's a whole lot of card for not a lot of cash. Even their flagship X1950XTX is only msrp at $450, which is in sharp contrast to the last several rounds of pricing.


Just thought I'd throw that out there for you guys to check out.


A couple of quick quotes for anyone who doesn't want to head over there.


Head to head Crossfire vs. Quad-SLI in Oblivion.

Now for testing at 30” at 2560x1600. For this resolution you don’t want anything less than dual-GPUs, period. Therefore we are comparing ATI Radeon X1950 XTX CrossFire with two NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2’s in Quad SLI using the new ForceWare 91.45 driver.


These results are very interesting! We were able to have higher in-game settings for the dual-GPU ATI Radeon X1950 XTX CrossFire platform compared to the 4-GPU Quad SLI platform. With the ATI Radeon X1950 XTX we were able to have HDR enabled, 16X HQ AF enabled and medium shadows turned on. With the Quad SLI setup we had to lower settings due to much slower than expected performance. In fact we had to go ahead and disable HDR completely and just use the bloom effect. The bloom effect looks nothing like HDR and we lose a lot of immersion in the game by disabling HDR, but it had to be down. We also had to set 8X AF and turn off shadows.


It should be noted that Oblivion is actually one of the games NVIDIA has listed as not receiving much benefit with Quad SLI right now and they are working on it. Still, the facts are the facts, right now ATI Radeon X1950 XTX CrossFire is providing a better gaming experience in Oblivion at 2560x1600.


Differential in available settings NVidia vs ATI.


Half Life 2: Episode 1 played very well on all video cards tested here. We found that the maximum in-game settings with full HDR was playable at every resolution. What we were left with was now just AA and AF settings. Uniquely ATI cards support 6X AA in the control panel and in some games like Half Life 2 and Battlefield 2 the option is also in the game itself. With NVIDIA video cards the control panel only has 2X, 4X and then it jumps to 8xS AA, there is no 6X AA option and no games give us that option either. This is important because if this setting existed it would most likely be playable with the BFGTech GeForce 7950 GX2 in Half Life 2: Episode 1.


WoW 1900x1200 (Windows)


When we raise the resolution beyond 1600x1200 we do see the video cards start to step apart from each other. The new ATI Radeon X1950 XTX was a lot faster than the ATI Radeon X1900 XTX. We were able to raise the AA setting up to a wonderful 6X AA at 1920x1200 and still perform faster than the ATI Radeon X1900 XTX at 4X AA.


The BFGTech GeForce 7950 GX2 was on par with the ATI Radeon X1900 XTX in this game. This means yes, the ATI Radeon X1950 XTX is once again faster than the 7950 GX2 at a higher resolution.


Nosie problems with your X1900XTX?


One of the key new features of this video card is the re-designed heatsink/fan unit. One goal was to reduce noise problems that previous heatsink/fan units suffered from. We are happy to report that the noise issue has been drastically reduced. When the video card is idle the fan is silent, period. The fan can dynamically change its RPM and therefore spins up and down depending on heat.


What we found was that it tends to hit its highest RPM around 84 degrees Celsius according to Overdrive’s GPU temperature reading. When it hits that highest RPM speed it takes literally 10-20 seconds to cool it back down to around 80 degrees Celsius and thus spins the fan down. At the highest RPMs the fan was audible and could be heard over case fans, but it was only the sound of moving air, there was no annoying “whine” like the Radeon X1900 XT/XTX puts off. We can report that they have fixed the largest sound issue with the fan. Note that the fan still isn’t as quiet as the large fan that can be found on GeForce 7900 GTX cards at full load, but it is so much better than the Radeon X1900 XT/XTX’s fan. Inside a case we don’t see fan noise being a problem at all now.

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