Power Color X1950 XT
Reviewed by: Admin
Reviewed on: May 1, 2007
: Power Color
: Power Color
Can you remember when ten to fifteen frames per second was considered the norm and a video card had one to two megabytes of memory? Those days have long since passed us and now if you don't get at least sixty frames per second while playing a game, you're probably screaming that you missed that last frag because your opponent has better hardware. For those who are serious about gaming there are many alternatives, but for ultimate performance a "high end" video card is the answer. So what do you get with a "high end" video card? Pixel shader pipelines, and the more the better. Why? Because when there are more lanes on the highway traffic doesn't bottleneck, providing a smooth even flow of transfer. The next concerns are how many megabytes of memory the card has and what its clock speeds are. Of course, the higher the better. Although there are many other factors that are very important to performance, but when I talk to someone about a video card it always seems that those are usually the only questions I'm asked.
The Power Color X1950 XT is one of today’s "high end" video card solutions. With 48 pixel pipelines, 512 megabytes of memory, a clock speed of 1.6 gigahertz, and an ATI R580 chipset, will this be enough to satisfy the needs of the savage gamer?
Power Color has been an industry leader in producing "high end" video performance solutions since 1999. Its US based facility is located in City of Industry California and the company's mission is to provide the highest quality products and customer support in the industry.
I have always been fond of the packaging that Power Color has used to promote what is contained inside its confines, but where are the Pixies or Aliens on this one? The box is pinkish-red in color with a black and silver back.
The X1950 XT comes further protected in an anti-static bag, which is transparent enough to see that the card has a fairly large heatsink.
As you look at the card, you will notice that the heatsink is provided by Arctic Cooling. The back of the card contains the serial and model numbers.
The Power Color X1950XT has a PCI-E format interface and has two DVI out connectors along with an S-Video connector. The X1950 XT is also VIVO and HDTV ready. You will need a PSU which has a six pin PCI-E power cable in order to run the video card as it does require an extra power source.
You will not need to purchase any cabling that is required, as everything you will need is provided with the video card.
Also provided are the software drivers, a quick install manual, and a software bundle which contains DVD software.
To install the Power Color X1950 XT, you will need a PCI-E slot on your motherboard. Remove the side panel of your case, locate your old video card and remove it, replace the old video card with the X1950 XT, plug a six pin PCI-E power cable into the rear of the card, close your case, and connect either a DVI or D-Sub cable into one of the video out connectors on the card. If you choose to use your D-Sub, you will need to use the DVI-VGA adapter that is supplied to convert from digital to analog. Your next step is installing and configuring your software.
Place the provided software driver CD into your disc drive and let it autorun. From there, the on-screen instructions will guide you through the installation. You will need Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0 installed prior to installing your software or ATI Cataylist Control Center will not work.
After choosing the directory you would like your software drivers to be installed, just follow the on screen instructions. I chose the express function to install the drivers.
After the software is installed, you will be required to reboot your computer. After you restart, you can configure your monitor by using the Catalyst Control Center.
ATI has now added an overclocking feature in its Catalyst Control Center. Once you unlock it, you will be able to increase your core and memory speeds.
X1950 XT 512MB
2nd Part Number
Memory & Bus Width
512 MB GDDR3 / 256 bit
800 MHz x 2
Dual DVI / / / VIVO / HDTV
48 Pixel Shader Unit
Direct X Support
**No support CrossFire™ / RoHS / Windows Vista™ ready / Arctic Cooling
• 384 million transistors on 90nm fabrication process
• 48 pixel shader processors
• 8 vertex shader processors
• 256-bit 8-channel GDDR3 memory interface
• Native PCI Express x16 bus interface
Ring Bus Memory Controller
• 512-bit internal ring bus for memory reads
• Fully associative texture, color, and Z/stencil cache designs
• Hierarchical Z-buffer with Early Z test
• Lossless Z Compression (up to 48:1)
• Fast Z-Buffer Clear
• Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
Ultra-Threaded Shader Engine
• Support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
• Full speed 128-bit floating point processing for all shader operations
• Up to 512 simultaneous pixel threads
• Dedicated branch execution units for high performance dynamic branching and flow control
• Dedicated texture address units for improved efficiency
• 3Dc+ texture compression o High quality 4:1 compression for normal maps and two-channel data formats
• High quality 2:1 compression for luminance maps and single-channel data formats
• Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL® 2.0
Advanced Image Quality Features
• 64-bit floating point HDR rendering supported throughout the pipeline
• 32-bit integer HDR (10:10:10:2) format supported throughout the pipeline
• 2x/4x/6x Anti-Aliasing modes
• 2x/4x/8x/16x Anisotropic Filtering modes
• High resolution texture support (up to 4k x 4k)
Avivo™ Video and Display Engine
• High performance programmable video processor
• Accelerated MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264 decoding (including DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray playback), encoding & transcoding
• DXVA support
• De-blocking and noise reduction filtering
• Motion compensation, IDCT, DCT and color space conversion
• Vector adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing
• 3:2 pulldown (frame rate conversion)
• Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
• HDR tone mapping acceleration
• Maps any input format to 10 bit per channel output
• Flexible display support
• Dual integrated dual-link DVI transmitters
• DVI 1.0 / HDMI compliant
• Dual integrated 10 bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
• 16 bit per channel floating point HDR and 10 bit per channel DVI output
• Programmable piecewise linear gamma correction, color correction, and color space conversion (10 bits per color)
• Complete, independent color controls and video overlays for each display
• High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all outputs
• Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
• Xilleon™ TV encoder for high quality analog output
• YPrPb component output for direct drive of HDTV displays
• Spatial/temporal dithering enables 10-bit color quality on 8-bit and 6-bit displays
• Fast, glitch-free mode switching
• VGA mode support on all outputs
• Compatible with ATI TV/Video encoder products, including Theater 550
• Connection to the system power supply is required:
• 450-Watt power supply or greater, 30 Amps on 12 volt rail recommended (assumes fully loaded system)
I will be comparing the Power Color X1959 XT with the XFX 8800 GTS, Power Color X1650 Pro, and the XFX 7600GT Fatal1ty Professional Series. As you can see, I chose two mainstream cards to show the differences that there are compared to the higher end cards. The benchmarks tested are listed below and the resolutions will range from 800x600 to 1280x1024.
- AMD 64 5400+ AM2 CPU
- *AMD 64 3700+ CPU (For 7600GT and X1650 Pro)*
- Abit AN9 32x
- *DFI Lanparty NF4 SLI DR*
- 2 GB Mushkin XP8500
- *1 GB OCZ Platinum rev2 (512x2)*
- Mushkin 650w PSU
- Power Color (ATI) X1950 XT 512 MB
- XFX (nVidia) 8800GTS 320mb
- Power Color (ATI) X1650 Pro Golden Pig Edition
- XFX (nVidia) 7600 GT Fatal1ty Professional Series
- Windows XP Pro SP2
- DirectX 9.0c
- All Video Drivers are the most up to date at time of benchmarks.
- BenQ FP222WH Monitor
- Far Cry: Hardware OC (Ubisoft Volcano)
- F.E.A.R. (Performance test)
- Call of Duty 2: Stalingrad (FRAPS)
- Quake4: Hardware OC (Guru 3d Demo)
- Need For Speed Most Wanted (FRAPS)
Benchmark: Far Cry
As I have in the past, I will begin with Far Cry. Although it is an older game, it is still a very popular benchmark and I always like to see what results any video card will bring.
- Maximum quality option, Direct3D renderer
- Level: Volcano, demo: Volcano.tmd
- Pixel shader: model 2.0b
- Antialising: 4×
- Anisotrophic filtering: 8×
- HDR: disabled
- Geometry Instancing: disabled
- Normal-maps compression: disabled
I had expected maybe 120 to 125 fps in the 1280x1024 resolution. So far, the X1950 XT is more than exceeding my expectations.
F.E.A.R. is also a first person shooter, and it has its own benchmark built into the game.
- FSAA: x4
- Anisotropic: x16
- Effects: Max
- Computer: High
- Soft Shadow: Off
Benchmark: Call of Duty II
Call of Duty 2, the second installment in the Call of Duty Series, is an intense action packed WW2 thriller where you can fight on all battlefronts of the European Theater.
- Anti-aliasing: x4
- Texture Filter: Trilinear
I have never before achieved over 60 FPS playing COD 2. At higher resolutions, the X1950 XT's benchmarks were quite impressive in comparison to the other cards
Benchmark: Quake 4
Quake 4, is the newest arrival in the Quake Series. It can be played in single and multiplayer modes. The x1650 Pro and the XFX 7600 GT were not tested with V1.5.
- Demo: HardwareOC
- Quality: High
- Aspect Ratio: [4:3]
- Antialiasing: 4×
- Anisotrophic filtering: 4x
- Symmetric MultiProcessing (SMP) enabled (for X1950 and 8800 GTS)
The X1950 XT performed very well in the newest version of the Hardware OC Quake 4 V1.5 tests, overtaking the 8800 GTS at lower resolutions. The 7600GT and x1650 Pro proved to be no match for the benchmark, and the results were too low to post.
Benchmark: Need For Speed: Most Wanted
This is a racing game in which you can choose from a number of vehicles, different types of vehicle setups and also choose which types of race courses you prefer.
- Track; Clubhouse and Hollis
- All basic video settings set to ¾ on scroll bar
- All geometric features: High
- Vsync: Off
NFS: Most Wanted is a very demanding game when it comes to testing your video card's performance. It seems that as frame rates increase, the ease of controlling the car you are using in the game increases as well.
If you are looking for performance under a $300 price tag, the Power Color X1950 XT is a video card that I suggest you to not pass by. As we saw in our benchmarks, the X1950 XT did very well against its main competitor and it smokes our two mainstream cards hands down. I was amazed how quiet the heatsink fan was. Even under a loaded condition, it was basically inaudible. With the ability to play all of today’s most popular video games at high frame rates, you’ll probably see your frag count increase. I never had a problem with jumpiness during my game play. The video quality was smooth at all resolutions, including a test at 1680x1050 (a resolution that OCC will be implementing in our benchmarks shortly to show how well video cards fare in a market where wide screen monitors are becoming more popular). One other find was that although the software drivers now come with the ATI overclocking utility, the card itself did not reach any rates worth talking about. I have found that with most of today's cards being at or near their max core and memory speeds, overclocking a video card is becoming a thing of the past.
- Under $300
- High Frame Rates
- Ultra Quiet Heat Sink
- 48 Pixel Pipelines
- 1.6 GHz Memory Speed
- Made for Direct X 9
- Not Crossfire Ready