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Digital-Daily : Video : x1950xtx

Radeon X1950XTX and Radeon X1950 CrossFire Edition

Radeon X1950XTX and Radeon X1950 CrossFire Edition
Author: Dmitry Sofronov
Date: 25.08.2006

On 23 August, ATI officially announced of complementing its line of video accelerators with new products. Today, we are introducing you to the two novelties from the top-end tier - Radeon X1950XTX and Radeon X1950 CrossFire Edition. We'll find out about their thermal modes as well as estimate the performance boost for both the single Radeon X1950XTX as well as the combination X1950 CrossFire. And of course we'll compare them versus their most immediate competitors. Following the tradition, let's first look at their exterior because they have something indeed worth looking at.


X1950XTX sideview

The semi-transparent cooler of cherry color looks fine on the red PCB. The harmony of smooth lines is mixed with aggressive bends of the styled letter "X" which probably stands for the "1000" series of ATI video accelerators. In the middle of the letter, there is a rectangle with the embossed ATI sign. By the way, this rectangle is a good place for sticking your own logo, which will perhaps be used by some video card manufacturers producing video cards on the base of ATI chips.


X1950XTX front

As can be seen at first glance, the design of the cooler has undergone radical changes. The cooler has turned longer and wider but does not go outside the PCB boundaries more that a few millimeters, so they won't be any issues in installing this video card. The turbine of the new cooler has now been moved sideways off the DVI connectors and is now positioned above the power supply system, the radiator has also grown up in dimensions and now cools the video processor only. Just compare it versus what was there on Radeon X1900XTX.


X1950XTX front
Actually, the concept of the new cooler for Radeon X1950XTX very much resembles that of IceQ3 used on the video cards made by HIS.

X1950XTX cooler

As can be seen from the photo, the radiator of the GPU appears to be a massive copper base with soldered copper fins. To improve the heat transfer, a heat pipe is used which adjoins the radiator base with one end, and with the other end it is fastened to the cooling fins in the upper part. To cool the power components above which a turbine now hangs, slits have been made in the bottom of the cooler's housing.


X1950XTX back

On this photo, you can see radiators which cool the power components (on the above photo) and the video memory chips. Despite the modest look the "power" radiator, it is quite sufficient for cooling the transformers of the power supply system of the video card because, as was already stated, in the cooler's housing under the turbine there are slits, and this radiator is forcedly cooled by the air flow sucked by the turbine.

As regards the video memory chips, the passive radiator proves to be quite sufficient although it is not cooled by the air flow from the turbine (because no slits are provided in the cooler's housing for that). The unreality of shape of the radiator fins is attributed most likely to the aesthetical tastes of the designers. There are also some fine points about that. You must have already noticed that the radiator is -shaped rather than L-shaped which is more customary. At the same time, there is a well-seen bulge in the right-hand part. One might wonder why that is needed. It's just the place where there aren't any memory chips and where a Philips video capture chip is positioned. Right you are! The thing is that in the X1950XTX CrossFire Edition under the "bulge" there is a CompositeEngine chip which is in charge of merging the results coming from two video cards running in the CrossFire mode and its cooling would be of quite good use. And that will be definitely good for the video capture chip either.


X1950XTX front without cooler

The PCB design of Radeon X1950XTX is somehow different from its predecessor Radeon X1900XTX, but in general it is almost its replica.


X1950XTX back

The reverse side of the PCB appears to be almost identical to that of Radeon X1900XTX, although there are some slight differences seen upon a closer look.


X1950XTX GPU

The video chip has proved an unexpected surprise! It makes absolutely no difference from the already familiar R580. Its nominal frequency is not different from that of the predecessor - again the same 650 MHz. So, where is the "plus"?


X1950XTX memory

The "plus" is in the video memory chips. Video cards of the X1950 family use DDR4 video memory. In fact, on the date of announcement of the R580 chip it was declared that it offered support for DDR3 and DDR4 video memory. Half a year afterwards, the DDR4 video memory is "live" in video accelerators. At that, ATI is of course a pioneer. Like Samsung, the industry leader, whose chips are installed in Radeon X1950XTX. The overall capacity of the video memory makes 512 MB which is made up of 8 chips of 0.9 ns access time, which is equivalent to 2200 MHz operating frequency. The nominal operating frequency of the video memory is 2000 MHz DDR. Evidently, use of the new-generation memory may be of some risks, not only in terms of the PCB wiring or selection of their operating modes, but also from the part of the memory chip manufacturer. It will take some time for the new-standard chips to emerge on their "planned production capacity" and conquer the market. Nevertheless, ATI has dared for this move. Interestingly, the memory chips used in Radeon X1950XTX are the "youngest" in the line of DDR4 class chips. Here we can see that Samsung is ready to manufacture video memory chips rated for frequencies up to 2800 MHz DDR inclusive! Who knows, maybe it is just this memory which we'll see together with ATI's future R600 video processor. In this sense, it is a good idea to "trial-run" DDR4 memory on the well-known R580.

At that, we stop introducing you to the exterior of Radeon X1950XTX. If you ask why we are not bringing in the photo and description of Radeon X1950 CrossFire Edition, the answer is simple - they almost don't make any difference from one another at specifications. The frequencies of the video processor and memory are the same, therefore, they will of the same performance. The X1950XTX has two DVI Dual-Link connectors with the maximum supported resolution up to 2560x1600 each, but the same is offered by X1950CrossFire Edition, let alone the fact that the second DVI port is accessible via an adapter that is shipped as a bundled item. Another difference is in that X1950XTX offers the VIVO feature and the HDTV output. On the other hand, many HDTV content display devices have DVI inputs, so there won't be issues with watching high-definition movies. In the digital era, the VIVO is no longer that topical. Somehow or other, with any option selected the performance of 3D applications in these video cards will be the same. That's what we are up to just now.

Content:

  • Introducing Radeon X1950XTX.
  • Benchmarking. Final Words.




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