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ATI X1900 CrossFire

So a clear recommendation for the X1900 CrossFire then? Well, it’s definitely faster than NVIDIA’s best, and it’s cheaper.

However, despite the scores, it’s hard to recommend unreservedly for a number of reasons.

Firstly, you can’t buy a CrossFire card today. Secondly, as for investing in a single card in the mean-time you have to bear in mind that HDCP isn’t enabled on this current crop of cards, so you might not be able to watch your HD-DVD or Blu-ray movies with it. Thirdly, there’s the small issue of noise. Two X1900s running together is the loudest thing we’ve heard since, well, two X1800 XLs, which have to be one of the loudest setups ever. If might not seem so but too much noise can really spoil your enjoyment of a game, even with headphones.

And then of course, you have to bear in mind the response from NVIDIA. Nothing is confirmed but it looks like its G71 will be launched for CeBIT in March.

I also have to question the logic of the existence of the XTX, even for the most hardcore. As the CrossFire master card is ‘only’ based on the XT, as of this moment I’m not clear if a CrossFire system with an XTX will be any faster than one with another XT. If it’s no faster, then I cannot see the point of the XTX, unless you are limited to a single slot system, and want the fastest thing possible inside it – surely an incredibly niche market. This is an avenue we’ll have to explore further.

Of course, if you’re desperate to part with the best part of £500 and gain a graphics card in the process, then today, an ATI X1900 XTX would definitely be the best way to do it, safe in the knowledge that you’ve got the fastest graphics card on the planet – for now.

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