ATI Fields a Powerful Graphics Board
At a Glance
ATI Radeon X1900 XTX Video Card (512MB, PCI Express x16, Dual DVI)
(Lowest Price) via Amazon.com
Powerful card competes well against rival GeForce 7-series top dogs, but it'll cost you.
High-end graphics just got interesting again with ATI's launch of its Radeon X1900 XTX card. In our tests, the $649 card proved to be a worthy challenger to nVidia's powerhouse 7800 GTX chip, outrunning the former benchmark champ in a handful of performance tests.
The X1900 graphics processor replaces ATI's late-arriving (and disappointing) X1800, but it's not just an update of that chip. It has more transistors (384 million, up from 321 million), and notable architecture changes such as 48 pixel shaders (up from 16).
In each of seven tests performed at 1600 by 1200 resolution with antialiasing turned on, our shipping X1900 XTX card with 512MB of RAM easily outran a shipping X1800 XT card with 512MB. And it bested the previously tested XFX GeForce 7800 GTX XXX Edition with 512MB of RAM in three of the seven tests.
The X1900 XTX came out on top in three of our test games: Battlefield 2, Half Life 2, and Far Cry. In these tests, it reached 79 frames per second, 95 fps, and 73 fps, respectively, speeds 4 to 11 fps higher than the 7800 GTX board's.
The 7800 GTX surpassed the X1900 XTX, however, by 2 to 8 fps on four other benchmarks run at the same settings: Quake 4, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, Doom 3, and Unreal Tournament 2004. But the XFX card is hard to find, which has driven its cost even higher than its outrageous $750 launch price.
That figure hardly makes the X1900 XTX a bargain. Despite the card's stellar performance, its high price, bulky two-slot design, unremarkable specs, and complete lack of games combined to drive its overall PCW rating down.
That said, if you're a long-suffering ATI fan, this is the high-performance card you've been waiting for. With luck, you've saved up your pennies.
ATI Radeon X1900 XTX
Powerful card competes well against rival nVidia's top dog, but it will cost you.
Price when reviewed: $649
Current prices (if available)