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ATI's X1900 XTX kicks Nvidia's 7800 GTX 512 in the nutz

Second look Contenders compared
Tue Jan 24 2006, 21:42
THE YEAR 2005 won't be remembered as the greatest for ATI. It had a great plan and very aggressive agenda with its transition to 90 nanometre but it ended up having some issues with its R520 cards. But its delayed agenda is back the track.

At the beginning of November it managed to ship quantities of R520-based X1800 XT cards and it has been shipping it ever since. But arch-rival Nvidia managed to create a PR stunt called Geforce 7800 GTX 512 and overshadow ATI's moment.

We won't go much into technical detail but we will try to address explain what is new with the R580 chip. ATI made a completely new chip and it is not simple a speeded up R520. It is, however, based on R520 marchitecture and it is very much a like the R520 but it has more pixel Shader processors. The R520, Radeon X1800 XT has sixteen pixel pipelines and R580 is no different. They both have eight Vertex Shader units as well. The R580-based Radeon X1900 uses the same memory controller that has internal 512 bit ring but, in reality, the memory controller is 256 bit as it is supporting 256-bit memory.

The only difference is that the R580, Radeon X1900 generation card has 48 pixel Shader processors while R520 has 16. This means it can do all pixel Shader intensive operations up to three times faster. This is a theoretical number and once you see the scores you will see that R580 is actually faster than R520 in almost every game and benchmark but of course not even close to three times as faster.

The R580 has more Arithmetical logic units and has more transistors, 384 million to be precise, and it is a little big bigger than the R520.

ATI slightly changed its clock speeds. Now the card works at 650MHz and the memory has been upped by 50MHz and is set to 1550MHz. The card looks exactly like a Radeon X1800 XT, it has the same cooler and you can not really tell the difference.

alt='r580'

Benchmarketing:
We used :
ATI RADEON 1900 XTX 650/1550 MHz
Gainward Geforce 7800GTX 512MB 580/1760 MHz
Sapphire RADEON 1800 XT 625/1500 MHz
AMD Athlon FX 57
Asus A8N32 Deluxe Nforce 4 SLI X16 motherboard
2x1024 MB Corsair XMS-3500LL PRO memory
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 400GB SATA NCQ hard drive
Akasa EVO 120 cooler very quiet cooler
Akasa Power plus 650 W AK-P650FF-V2 Power Supply Unit

We have to state that we tested a retail Gainward card sporting Nvidia's overclocked 7800 GTX 512 versus non-overclocked ATI's reference card. You can always pretend that we did a review of a Sapphire card as this one will be clocked the same as reference ATI cards.

Doom 3
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
108.7
105.0
95.1
66.2
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
105.5
95.4
78.1
49.9
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
110.0
109.4
105.1
87.1
         
Doom 3 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
100.8
85.4
86.5
44.6
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
94.7
75.6
56.0
36.2
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
107.2
92.4
74.4
49.1
         
Far Cry
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
2048x1536
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
82.34
82.52
84.34
81.96
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
82.61
82.66
82.75
68.75
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
82.33
82.76
82.59
81.98
 
Far Cry High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
83.51
82.62
80.94
61.02
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
82.30
80.85
73.04
47.01
Gainward 580/ 760 MHz
83.71
83.18
77.15
51.80
         
Quake 4
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
146.5
141.2
134.3
112.4
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
138.6
129.6
112.1
77.8
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
144.9
130.6
135.9
115.1
         
Quake 4 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
137.3
129.4
116.6
89.7
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
132.7
115.7
94.4
63.7
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
138.4
126.7
111.6
81.7
         
FEAR
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
112
88
69
49
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
90
71
52
33
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
118
94
70
47
         
FEAR High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
84
66
50
34
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
71
54
38
24
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
74
53
37
24
         
Battlefield 2
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
116.74
108.32
96.03
84.18
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
92.40
93.50
85.17
63.52
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
101.29
99.28
99.17
85.66
         
Battlefield 2 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
96.75
96.27
94.53
74.79
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
93.00
90.80
78.43
57.21
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
99.62
92.33
77.89
55.19
         
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
3DMark 03
Game2
Game3
Game3
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
18475
153.3
112.7
118.7
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
16676
137.4
100.5
103.4
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
20805
174.9
139.6
120.8
         
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Vertex Shader
Vertex Shader
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
4317.6
9814.8
65.2
210.8
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
4215.7
9301.3
59.3
186.5
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
5869.6
12849.7
56.9
454.3
         
Composite Figures 3Dmark 05
3DMark 05
Game1
Game2
Game2
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
11345
47.3
33.3
59.4
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
8888
38.0
26.3
44.9
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
10010
43.3
30.2
49.2
         
Composite Figures 3Dmark 05
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Pixel Shader

VS/VS
complex

ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
5065.3
10102.5
439.3
141.8/61.9
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
4940.2
9640.9
232.5
86.7/57.0
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
6786.0
13668.3
402.8
81.8/56.9
         
Composite Figures 3Dmark 06
3DMark 06
   
ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
5147
   
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
4141
   
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
4923
   
         
SM2.0 Test
Score
GT1
GT2


ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
2298
17.780
20.519
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
1821
14.050
16.302
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
2272
17.916
19.944
         
HDR/SM3.0 Test
Score
HDR1
HDR2


ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
2574
24.745
26.738
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
1821
17.797
18.616
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
2305
17.780
26.031
         
CPU Test
Score
CPU1
CPU2


ATI X1900XTX 650/1550 MHz
1097
0.345
0.557
ATI X1800XT 625/1500 MHz
1096
0.345
0.557
Gainward 7800GTX 580/1760 MHz
1100
0.346
0.559
         

Nvidia's card - or should we Gainward's - scored well in Doom 3. It's Nvidia's game - Nvidia wins so no surprise there. At the first two resolutions, ATI is very close, while in the last two it loses more significantly. Once you switch the FSAA 4X and 8X anisotropic filtering the tables turns instantly. ATI now wins at 16x12 by 10 frames while Nvidia wins at the highest possible 2048x1536. A Radeon X1800 XT is simply not the same league in this case.

Far Cry without FSAA and Aniso can only show the difference at 2048x1536. The R520 based Radeon X1800 XT is the slowest while 7800GTX and X1900XTX tie. You need to turn the effects on and to see that at 1600x1200 X1900XTX it takes the lead over overclocked 7800 GTX 512.

The Radeon X1900XTX is either faster or ties with the 7800 GTX 512 in Quake 4. X1800XT again falls behind the two. With effects switched on the scores are still close between the X1900XTX and the 7800 GTX 512 while X1800 XT just falls behind.

FEAR is definitely becoming ATI's new pet. The rivals in the game without effects, Nvidia wins in lower resolutions and at higher one they tie. But the magic comes when you turn the effects on. ATI is significantly faster than Nvidia's card and the interesting fact is that this game uses Parallax maps and that is very popular. Even the X1800XT can keep up with 7800 GTX 512.

The X1900XTX is faster in Battlefield 2 at lower two resolutions, while the 7800 GTX 512 is faster in the higher two. The X1800 XT falls way behind. With effects on. the scores are tight at first two resolutions while ATI significantly wins at the higher two resolutions. At 1600x1200, ATI runs some 40 percent faster than Nvidia, which is a lot.

Nvidia wins the oldest 3Dmark03. The scores favour Nvidia and it can score almost 3000 more. 3Dmark05 shows a different picture as the X1900XTX wins it all. It is 1300 faster than Nvidia's offering. In theory tests Nvidia still can do much more textures single or multi ones but you can clearly see that ATI can do more Shaders.

The last test, a newcomer in our Benchmarketing family is the 3Dmark06. It is brand new and it's already controversial. The X1900XTX is some 200 points faster than the 7800 GTX 512 card. The cards are tied in Shader model 2.0 tests, while in Shader model 3.0 ATI scores this extra 200 points. CPU scores are almost identical.

Conclusion
Finally, for a change, it is rather easy to judge this card. The Radeon X1900XTX is a good step forward in ATI's development and it does kick Geforce 7800 GTX 512 in the performance nutz. It won't kill it stone dead but it scores faster in almost every single game or scenario. It is specially faster in very important FSAA 4X and 8X Aniso as these are the settings that someone who buys such games should be playing at. It is a simple choice: if you are not an Nvidia fanatic and you prefer to have the fastest card around the Radeon X1900XTX should be your choice. If you are the proud owner of Geforce 7800 GTX 512 card you are fine you still have a very good card, a good competitor to ATI's X1900XTX but not a faster one. The Radeon X1800XTX is behind those two but it can still give you a nice performance.

We know that Nvidia is working on its G71 but it is not yet announced. This one might turn out even faster than the Radeon X1900XTX. It all depends on Nvidia's clocks and Nvidia's yields and at this point no one can tell how those two things will go.

Obviously, Nvidia now knows what it is up against and it will fight furiously to win its crown back. Nvidia likes crowns as maybe its CEO thinks he is a king. In that case I know a lot of princelings/ executives. Nvidia is working hard on G71, possibly named Geforce 7900 GTX or something, but until it announces it but until Nvidia manages to get its crown back, the Radeon X1900XTX is the fastest card around. As simple as beans. µ

 

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