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ATI Radeon X1900 XTX and CrossFire Review - R580 Arrives

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: ATI

The Cards and ATI's Revised Lineup

In a similar, but different fashion we saw with the R520 launch, ATI is releasing an entire family of graphics cards on the market today, with availability schedule set for today as well.  These are all enthusiast-level parts, however, and you won't be seeing budget R580 parts anytime soon.

The Radeon X1900 XTX

The X1900 XTX is the new flagship part based on the R580 architecture and has the top specs to prove it.

  • X1900 XTX

  • 650 MHz core clock

  • 1.55 GHz memory clock

  • 512 MB GDDR3

  • MSRP $649

  • Available today (Don't kill the messenger!)

Click to Enlarge

While I am mighty glad to be rid of the "Radeon X800 XT Super Awesome Platinum/Gold Edition" monikers, I can only hope that no one has to come up with a clever acronym for XTX to represent "phantom edition."

The card itself should look very familiar to anyone that has seen pictures of the X1800 XT; same cooler design and same thermal design. 

A cheaper X1900 card will be released today as well, the ever popular XT model.

  • Radeon X1900 XT

  • 625 MHz core clock

  • 1.45 GHz memory clock

  • 512 MB GDDR3

  • MSRP $549

  • Available today

So, for $100 less, you are sacrificing only 25 MHz in core clock and 50 MHz (100 MHz DDR) in memory speeds.  Chances are this will be the sweet spot in ATI's line up for the enthusiast gamers. 

The Radeon X1900 XT CrossFire Edition

A welcome suprise to many of us in the business, ATI is launching the CrossFire edition of the X1900 today as well, and claims to have availability on it to boot. 

  • Radeon X1900 CrossFire

  • 625 MHz core clock

  • 1.45 GHz memory clock

  • 512 MB GDDR3

  • MSRP $599

  • Available today

Our sample X1900 XT CrossFire Edition didn't look this pretty, but we forgive you ATI.  The hardware specs are identical to that of the X1900 XT, minus the CrossFire logic that didn't change from what the X1800 brought to the table

The connectors on the X1900 XTX sample (bottom) included two dual-link DVI ports and a VIVO port.  The CrossFire Edition card (top) has a single dual-link DVI output and a custom CrossFire dongle connection that looks something like an old SCSI connector. 

The CrossFire logic remains as it was seen on the Radeon X1800 CrossFire card last month. 

Thanks to the addition of dual-link DVI connections as well as a more capable compositing engine, X1800 XT CrossFire's maximum resolution has been raised to 2560x1600 (the same resolution as those Apple 30" Cinema displays).  The two larger Silicon Image chips (seen above) are responsible for receiving the data from the slave card; each chip getting half of the dual-link DVI bandwidth.  The smaller set of Silicon Image chips output the composited image over the dongle cable to your monitor.

The Radeon X1900 All-in-Wonder

The final card being announced today is also the most surprising.  Having just released their X1800 XL All-in-Wonder parts a couple of weeks ago, the X1900 AIW is a welcome addition to the lineup for everyone except those that bought the X1800 AIW.

  • X1900 All-in-Wonder

  • 500 MHz core clock

  • 960 MHz memory clock

  • MSRP $499

  • Available today

Originally slated for a 500/500 clock setup, I was told yesterday that in order to get parts out for today, the specs were bumped back ever so slightly.

We didn't get a sample of the R580-based All-in-Wonder card yet, but with ATI's big push with Avivo and H.264 decoding, we are hoping to get our hands on one for a review very soon.

The Complete Lineup -- what the...?

With today's release of the X1900, you can officially count the X1800 as dead.  The remaining parts will be sold off and then that will be it.  That has GOT to make it the shortest life GPU from either NVIDIA or ATI in history.  Any takers?

ATI now has the X1900 firmly at the top of the lineup, and their performance should prove to be strong enough to combat NVIDIA's 7800 series.  They recently lowered the prices on the X1600 due to the fact that the 6800 GS that was priced the same was simply moping the floor with it, and the lower price makes the X1600s and X1300s a more attractive offering. 

But, in case you haven't noticed, there is a sizeable gap in this diagram.  Let's see, Radeon X1900 XTX at $649, check...X1900 XT at $549, check...X1600 XT at $, what?  Taking the AIW cards out of the picture, we have a $380 gap in ATI's GPU lineup that happens to be the spot where the majority of graphics cards are actually purchased.  This could be a big problem for ATI in the upcoming months and hopefully they have something in store for us to slide in that chasm.

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