Feeds
90%
ATI X1900 XTX graphics card

ATI Radeon X1900 XT and XTX

The world's fastest graphics cards?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Verdict

ATI clearly designed the R580 to be extremely fast in one kind of processing, while keeping the rest of the chip in pretty much the same very healthy state as the R520, at the same clock speeds. Anticipating - which is the key word - games titles with very high reliance on fragment shader processing means that the R580 can almost come off looking too much like the R520.

The R580, moreso than any modern GPU that meets the Direct3D 9 spec, therefore relies on software to show it off. Even current synthetic benchmarks designed to show off theoretical rates in 3D hardware can have a hard time exploiting the tripling in fragment processing ability. That's not to say the performance increases at the same clock speeds as the R520 are invisible. Clearly they're not, especially at the higher resolutions, with gains of up to 30 per cent in the games we tested.

A good glimpse of shader rate throughput in our instruction issue test also gives a clue to where R580's strengths lie. Furthermore, it has no real-world weakness when it comes to comparison with the R520. Vertex processing rate is intact, performance drops for antialiasing and texture filtering are almost identical, and it shares exactly the same feature base, even besting the R520 with a working implementation of ATI's Fetch4 feature.

Therefore it's fair to sum up that the R580, clocked very conservatively, gives a staggering fragment shader rate first and foremost. Following that, its considered engineering means that's followed by balanced assistance to the other major facets of today's modern game rendering, general stream programming and Direct3D 9 games still to come. Double Z-only rate sustained with MSAA, plenty of memory bandwidth in XT and XTX configuration, more than 1GBps for GPU-to-host writebacks for the first time, and very low penalty PS branching seal this particular deal in a big way.

At $649 for the X1900 XTX and $549 for X1900 XT, it'll push X1800 XT and XL down in price in short order, putting the two GPUs and their SKUs in the kind of price place we'd have expected over time, given an earlier R520 introduction. It's just somewhat maddening to see it happen so soon, annoying the early adopter of R520 hardware. UK pricing before VAT is applied is confirmed at £399 for XTX and £349 for XT, on launch day.

The GeForce 7800 GTX 512 is generally bested in all modern games, and Radeon X1000-series products have enough significant image quality advantages to give X1900 XT the nod even if the performance difference was only slight better or even slightly worse than the Nvidia product. We're seeing all the early XT boards come with the 1.1ns BJ11 DRAMs of the XTX, making the XTX a choice only for those with carefree finances.

Will the software needed to show off the R580 to its best come in time, especially with Direct3D 10/Vista games programming already under way at most major developers? Even if it doesn't fully realise its potential, the X1900 is a blindingly fast 3D graphics product with the best IQ possible.

Review by
Hexus.net

For a more in-depth, technology-focused version of this review, head over to Hexus.net here.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

90%
ATI X1900 XTX graphics card

ATI Radeon X1900 XT and XTX

A blindingly fast 3D graphics product with the best IQ possible...
Price: $549 and $649 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.