MSI Radeon X1950 XTX
We'll have to wait until next year for the really juicy developments in graphics card technology. But for now, the Radeon X1950 XTX's improved memory bandwidth is enough to secure it a comfortable victory over the GForce 7900 GTX.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
With version 10.0 of Microsoft's DirectX programming interface arriving early next year, we can't expect graphics card manufacturers to make radical revisions just now. It's unsurprising, therefore, that ATI's Radeon X1950 XTX chip has a large number of similarities to its predecessor, the X1900 XTX. However, ATI has also found room for a few novel features and specifications you won't have seen before - and we reckon these make it the best-value true high-performance card on the market.
Arguably the most notable of these is the presence of GDDR4 (graphics double data rate, fourth generation) RAM. ATI was instrumental in bringing GDDR3 to the market, and it's played a similar role here.
The new GDDR4 RAM combines a lower voltage requirement with a fixed burst length that's twice as high as that of GDDR3. In essence, this means the memory needs much less power to run at the same clock speed, and can therefore be run faster.
Whereas the Radeon X1900 XTX had a memory core speed of 775MHz (1.55GHz with DDR RAM), the X1950 XTX can run its memory at a massive 1GHz (2GHz with DDR RAM). As a consequence, the memory bandwidth jumps from 49.6GBps (gigabytes per second) to 64GBps. Not only is this a huge step forward from the older Radeon X1900 XTX, but it's also significantly ahead of the 51.2GBps of nVidia's GeForce 7900 GTX, giving the Radeon X1950 a clear advantage over its main competitors.
In other respects, though, the X1950 XTX differs very little from the X1900 XTX. Generally this is no bad thing, because that card's 48 pixel-shader processors already significantly outnumbered those in the nVidia cards. Should games programmers ever start to write their code to take full advantage of pixel shader processors, the X1950 XTX will find itself in the driving seat.
The core clock speed is identical to the X1900 XTX, and both cards are built using the same manufacturing process. The cooling solution has been revamped from previous ATI designs, however, and the X1950 XTX is incredibly quiet considering its astonishing power, at least by enthusiast gamer's standards.
In terms of performance, the X1950 XTX falls behind the GeForce 7950 GX2. However, that card has two graphics chips rather than one, and costs almost half as much again as the X1950 XTX. The XTX should come in at a similar price to the GeForce 7900 GTX, which is bad news for the nVidia chip, since the Radeon proved to be faster - particularly at higher resolutions (1600x1200) and with full detail bolted on.
At 1280x1024, the cards are fairly similar. Even so, given the potential of the pixel shaders, we'd say the X1950 XTX was the better deal overall.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Intel Coffee Lake 8th-gen Core processors release date rumours
- Intel's mobile future is in blazing modems as it buries Atom failure
- PC prices will continue to go up due to shortage of components
- Radeon Vega vs. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti? AMD, Nvidia announce dueling events at GDC 2017
- Toshiba's in chaos, but not quitting PCs -- yet
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCSystem EngineerSA
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)QLD
- CCSenior Project Manager - ApplicationsNSW
- TPAnalyst Workplace SupportVIC
- TPSenior Business Project ManagerNSW
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- TPFront End DeveloperWA
- FTLinux Systems EngineerQLD
- CCCyber Security ArchitectNSW
- CCProject Support OfficerNSW
- FTPMO Specialist - PermanentACT
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer - Tivoli Storage SpecialistNSW
- CCProject / Portfolio SchedulerNSW
- FTSystem EngineerVIC
- FTSenior Software Engineer - JavaQLD
- TPIteration ManagerNSW
- TPOrganisational Change ManagerQLD
- FTSenior Systems AdministratorWA
- CCDigital Communications ManagerNSW
- CCSecurity Analyst - multiple rolesACT
- FTJava Developer/IntegratorACT
- CCNetwork ArchitectWA
- TPBusiness Analyst AO7QLD
- TPSenior Project CoordinatorNSW
- FTJunior Software Developer - SASACT