Feeds
85%
powercolor_x1900gt_tn

PowerColor X1900 GT ATI-based graphics card

Plenty of performance for under £200

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

But what really matters, as always with a graphics card, is if it will be fast enough for you to play your favourite games on it. Judging from the test results, ATI's Radeon X1900 GT is neck and neck with the GeForce 7900 GT from Nvidia, at least until you hit very high resolutions - 1,600 x 1,200 with anti-aliasing (AA) and anisotropic filtering (AF) enabled. The X1900 GT drops off very quickly when you hit high resolutions in comparison to the 7900 GT.

powercolor_x1900gt_box

At 2,048 x 1,536, the X1900 GT is suffering badly. Enable AA and AF and it gets even worse. This is especially noticeable in Far Cry, where the X1900 GT is way behind the 7900 GT.

At more commonplace resolutions, the X1900 GT is ahead, just. Oddly enough it's beaten by the 7900 GT at F.E.A.R. until you enable AA, but this is likely to be the result of specific hardware optimisations made by the developer. In Half Life 2, the X1900 GT is back in front and the same goes for 3DMark05. 3DMark06 on the other hand is difficult to judge, as the 7900 GT is unable to run most of the tests. Still, Nvidia has the edge here all the way up to 1,600 x 1,200, but not by much.

The X1900 GT does have the advantage of being able to do High Dynamic Range (HDR) rendering and AA at the same time, something Nvidia's current generation of GPUs can't. So if this is an important feature to you, then the X1900 GT is the one to go for over a 7900 GT.

I do have one complaint with the ATI reference card and that's the standard cooler. ATI really needa to come up with a quieter design. During heavy load the fan runs constantly and makes a really annoying noise. But this is really the only fault I can find with the PowerColor X1900 GT taking everything into consideration.

PowerColor, akin with many of the other ATI partners, doesn't supply a lot of software with its cards, but you do get a decent accessory bundle. The X1900 GT comes with a DVI-to-D-sub adaptor, a component video breakout cable, a ViVo breakout cable, an S-video and a composite video cable, and a PCI Express power adaptor in case your PSU doesn't have one.

Although it's a close call depending on what game you're playing, the X1900 GT tends to be just that little bit cheaper than the 7900 GT. The PowerColour X1900 GT should retail for about £195 inc. VAT, although currently there seems to be a shortage of cards in the UK.

Verdict

If you're looking at spending in the region of £200 on a graphics card, you should definitely consider the X1900 GT. There's no real advantage between it and a 7900 GT besides the ability to run HDR with AA enabled and it really comes down to the type of games you're playing. It's really a buyer's market and you've never got as much performance for £200 as you do now. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

85%
powercolor_x1900gt_tn

PowerColor X1900 GT ATI-based graphics card

A very capable sub-£200 graphics card and a strong competitor for Nvidia's GeForce 7900 GT...
Price: £195 RRP

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.