Buying DirectX9 compliant hardware at the dawn of DirectX10, doesn't make much sense at the first glance. But as new hardware appears, the older generations of graphical cards rapidly become cheaper.
ATi X1950 pro chip
ATI's X1950pro is not a new card, but it still has attractive attributes. We were interested whether or not will it be capable to run new games at decent frame rates.
The card in all its glory
We received Asus card for testing. The card has
made a new cooler, different from a reference one. It is less restrictive for the airflow than
the referent ATi cooler, so the vent can run at lower speeds and at the same time it will make less
The card is powered with RV570 core with 12 pipelines and 36 pixel shaders. The second attribute and ATI's main weapon against Nvidia's cards in the price range. The card features full 256-bit bus connects to 1400 MHz onboard memory, but when we overclocked both memory and GPU, we learned that this speed is a limiting factor. The GPU has got enough rendering power, so it can easily saturate the memory bandwidth. To prove this we increased the speed of the GPU from default 580 to 640MHz, leaving the memory speed at its default. The performance gain was minimal, just as we expected.
The card without cooler
The only heat pipe in the cooler has the task to conduct heat from the GPU to the heatsink fins. It works pretty good, the relatively low temperatures proves it. Under full load, the GPU heated to 47 degrees Celsius, but you have to bare in mind that the temperature will definitely be higher during the warm summer days.
On the right side you can see the bottom of the ASUS cooler. On the left side Arctic Cooling X2.
The cooler is single slot. As you can see, you can easily use Thermalright's HR-05 SLI chipset cooler, as there are no elements on the card that would collide with it. The only concern we have is inadequate cooling of the power part of the card. There are elements that are really hot, and have no cooling at all. We will inspect this further in the overclocking section.
The biggest chip (voltage regulation) is not cooled at all, and it is the hottest one.
As in all of the x1000 cards, both DVI ports are dual link. There is a S-VHS video out for all of you that play on their TV. Well, nothing new here. This is good, because this is all we need. Power is drown from a PCI-e outlet, which is standard for this category of cards.