Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tech Link (Video Card): ATI Radeon X1900 Reviews

The new talk of the town, will it hold itself against the competition? Will it live up to the expectations? Check out the reviews around the web, I rounded up for your reading pleasure.

But what an excellent position from which to start following through on everything: the R580 launch is a resounding success in our eyes. Availability at launch, 4 new parts based on a huge and powerful chip, a triumphant return to the top with the new fastest graphics card available, and enough power to make the high quality features of the architecture more than useable. ATI couldn't have asked for anything better, and they certainly would not have been in a good position if they had come up with anything less.

ATI certainly has the upper hand with X1900. Users looking for the power of a dual card solution can find it in the power of a single card - the X1900XTX - and with Crossfire, ATI deals out even more frames per second.

The bottom line is that ATI has produced an impressive refresh to the X1800 XT. We are very happy to say that ATI has informed us that production is not a problem with this X1900 GPU and that these video cards are everywhere now for people to purchase. Timely availability has really been ATI’s main problem recently. ATI had some very impressive technology in the recent past; it was just that no one could buy it in the right timeframe. It seems ATI has turned the tables and provided the hardest launch we have ever seen—video cards that were actually available and in people’s hands before the card was even announced! While not official, that’s as hard as it gets folks; let’s hope ATI can maintain these hard launches and provide products the day of launch.

Legit Bottom Line: ATI has released a pair of cards that can be taken seriously by anyone that was considering the 7800GTX 512. The feather in ATI's cap is that finding the Nvidia card for anywhere near the X1900XT asking price would mean that you bought it used, if you could find someone willing to take such a huge loss on it. In fact you'd be lucky to find one at all. Today you can buy a brand new ATI card that offers features not found in Nvidia's line and performs at or near the same level in most situations, and much better in others

Thus, the current implementation of CrossFire technology seems to be a good choice for a wealthy PC enthusiast. It is not going to be a sensation since the multi-GPU system market is in fact small, but it will surely occupy a niche of its own. Moreover, the upcoming RADEON X1900 family promises to push the performance bar of CrossFire systems even higher. NVIDIA should take care to reaffirm its current leadership and you will see everything in the practical tests of ATI’s new graphics cards on our site.

Debuting at the same price as the Radeon X1800 XT first did a couple of months back, the US$549 priced Radeon X1900 XT is in a class of its own with no real competitor. We speculate the Radeon X1800 XT to gradually wane away as stocks deplete in the following weeks and months while its price slides to yet below the US$500 mark as the Radeon X1900 XT becomes the definitive successor with performance gains of up to 30%.

Well, it looks like the Radeon X1900 XTX has earned the title of the fastest single video card known to man. Oddly, though, two Radeon X1900 cards in a CrossFire config can't claim the title of the fastest two video cards known to man. The CrossFire card's marginally slower clock speeds, along with a tendency not to scale quite as well as SLI overall, leave that title with NVIDIA's GeForce 7800 GTX cards in SLI. Still, the Radeon X1900 series is quite an accomplishment. If they are indeed widely available for sale as planned, they should be very solid choices for those looking to spend an insane amount of money on a graphics card, especially since GeForce 7800 GTX 512 cards have become scarce and expensive since their launch.



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