Product: Radeon X1950 Pro
Company: ATI Technologies
Authour: Mark "Ratchet" Thorne
Date: October 19th, 2006

ATI Radeon X1950 Pro
ATI Radeon X1950 Pro
There was a time, not long ago in the grand scheme of things, when a “Pro” card meant top of the line, cream of the crop. People would say “I’ve got a Radeon 9700!” then others would spit and say “Pfft! I’ve got a Radeon 9700 Pro!” and great jealousy would be had by all the non-Pro owners while wiping their faces off.

Times have changed however and these days highly desirable Pro has been replaced with silly acronyms like XTX, XT, and GT. Pro, at least with ATI, has been relegated to the throne of less performance and fanboy mockery. We’ve been seeing it on X1300 and X1600 value and mainstream cards lately, but no respectable gamer not wanting a good spit covering would brag about having one of those cards. We haven’t seen a Pro part with respectable performance since the X800 Pro a few years ago in fact, and even owning one of those wouldn’t have guaranteed you a dry evening.

With the X1950 Pro we’ve been reintroduced to the Pro acronym tagged onto a unique graphics card that uses a unique graphics core that introduces some much appreciated advancements in ATI’s ongoing struggle against arch rival NVIDIA. Whether or not the X1950 Pro raises “Pro” back to the respectable perch it once held is something we aim to find out in this review.

The X1950 Pro is built using the RV570 graphics core which features 256MB of GDDR3 memory, 36 pixel shaders, 8 vertex shaders, and 12 ROPs. To those of you paying attention these specs will look familiar; they are the same as featured with ATI’s X1900 GT graphics card. The RV570 is no chopped down R580 like the X1900 GT uses though, no core that couldn’t quite cut it; the RV570 was designed and built for the X1950 Pro and the mainstream performance segment with purpose and intent.

So even though the X1900GT is still around, and even though it’s recently undergone a somewhat “wtf?!” spec change, it’s not long for this world and its position in ATI’s product ladder will be usurped by the X1950 Pro soon. Here’s what that ladder currently looks like:

ATI's Lineup
Market Segment Product MSRP ($US)
Enthusiast X1950 XTX
X1950 Crossfire
X1900 XT 256MB $259
Performance X1950 Pro $199
X1900 GT $195
Mainstream X1650 Pro $99
X1300 XT $89
Value X1300 Pro $79
X1300 256MB $59
X1300 64bit $49


ATI Radeon X1950 Pro
ATI Radeon X1950 Pro
In this review we’re checking out a couple of reference X1950 Pro’s sent to us by ATI. These cards, being reference, come with reference clock speeds of 575MHz core and 690MHz memory (1.38GHz effective). Reference. Have I said that? It’s reference, yep. It’s supposed to go for $199, the same price NVIDIA’s 7900 GS starts at, but the few that have already shown up on store shelves have been priced considerably higher than that (score another one for the law of supply and demand I guess).

We’ll take a closer look at the thing on the next page.

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