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ATI X1900 CrossFire

It all adds up to a potentially ground breakingly fast graphics card, but then should we expect anything else from a new release?

Along with all of the new stuff, you get the dual, dual-link DVI ports, (except, of course, on the CrossFire card), perfect for hooking up to screens such as the new 30in display from Dell.

Avivo features such as H.264 support mean that X1900 will play back 1080p content smoothly, though contnet is limited to trailers from Apple’s web site. HDCP will be supported in the future, but to our understanding this will only be on future spins of the cards. Buy one on the release day and it won’t be HDCP compliant, which will be an issue when you slot in an HD-DVD or Blu-ray drive to your rig in a few months. You also get ATI’s 10-bit colour, though screens aren’t yet here to support that either.

The word is that we can also expect an All-in-Wonder version of the card very soon. If true, this would be a much faster turn around for a new All-in-Wonder than ever before.

For testing we received two cards, an X1900 XTX and a X1900 XT CrossFire Edition. The former is priced at Overclockers at £470, but there's no sign of any CrossFire cards. The 1900 XT is going for £411. This is cheaper than the current price of a GeForce 7800 GTX 512.

I’ve included a comparison table here for easy reference to see how that card compares to the X1800 XT and NVIDIA’s current flagship, the 7800 GTX 512. The core clock speed, on the XTX is a new high of 650MHz, while the memory runs at 1,550MHz. This is incredibly high, but still not approaching the insane speeds of the memory of the 7800 GTX. The 1900 XT has the same core clock as the X1800 XT – 625MHz, while the memory is slightly slower at 1,450MHz.

We only had time to test in CrossFire mode, so we unfortunately don’t have any single card scores at this stage, something which we’ll hopefully correct when we look at a retail board.

Visually, the cards don’t look too difference from the X1800 boards, and are much heavier in the hand than NVIDIA’s 7800 GTX 512.

The system we used to test the cards consisted on an AMD Athlon-FX 60 dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM running on an Asus A8R-MVB motherboard with a Radeon Express chipset. Direct comparison is of course tricky, as you can’t currently place two ATI CrossFire cards and two NVIDIA SLI cards in the same motherboard and run 3D tests. Therefore the X1900 numbers go up against the scores of two GeForce 7800 GTX’s running in SLI mode in this Alienware.

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