Product: Radeon X1950 XTX, X1950 Crossfire, X1900 XT 256MB
Company: ATI Technologies
Authour: Mark "Ratchet" Thorne
Date: September 9th, 2006

Performance with the X1950 is not all that impressive compared to the X1900 XTX, there are no new features to speak of, and the noise problems with the cooler were easily solved with a third-party cooler (assuming you didn’t mind voiding your warranty). What makes the X1950 attractive, though, is the price. Ok, $449 is still a hell of a kick in the teeth for most people, but considering that the X1900 XTX was introduced at $649 and that NVIDIA’s current flagship 7950 GX2 is still around $550 on the street, $449 doesn’t look too bad at all. It’s not unrealistic to think that the cards will drop even lower not too long after they start showing up at e-tailers either.

It’s also nice to see the X1950 Crossfire Edition priced on par with the X1950 XTX, something that I was frankly a bit surprised to see considering the extra hardware and whatnot required to make a Crossfire master card. If selling Crossfire to the masses is ATI’s goal, that’s certainly one consumer-friendly way to go about it. All that we have to be concerned about it availability, which could easily drive prices well above ATI’s asking price. We’ll have to keep an eye on that when the cards start becoming available in the coming weeks.

Even though the X1950 is priced really nicely for a high-end card, recommending it as an upgrade if you already have an X1900 XT or XTX would be ridiculous, at best, considering the slight performance advantage and lack of any new features whatsoever. However, should you have something slower, or even should you be looking to jump to the other side of the high-end graphics fence, then certainly the X1950 is the way to go.

Maybe the X1950 is a bit disappointing to some of you fine folks, and I guess it would be if you were anticipating grand performance leaps or snappy new features, but stop for a second and think about what was offered here: a better cooler and faster memory. Maybe I missed it, but as far as I can tell ATI didn’t promise any new features or significantly better performance. Hell, they didn’t even give the core a new codename; they just added a silly little “+” to the end. That alone should have provided most people with some ideas on what to expect from the X1950. The price alone is worth some hype if you ask me, but then again your X1900 will serve you well, even in the face of games like Crysis and Unreal Tournament 2007, so there’s no need to feel obligated to upgrade. Should you have something slower though you now have an upgrade choice that doesn’t involve a cooling unit that will make you want to stomp a mud hole in the next ATI employee you cross paths with.

Personally, I’m most impressed with the X1900 XT 256MB. Yeah I know, I didn’t have a 7900 GT to compare with so maybe my POV is off, and yeah the 7950 GT is really close now too which should make things really interesting, but damn that’s nice performance from a $279 card don’t you think? It has all the same features as the X1950, enough pop to let you play today’s most demanding games, and the price won’t make you feel too guilty about sticking it on eBay when the time comes to upgrade to the true next-generation of graphics cards. Good stuff if you ask me.

Competition kicks ass.

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