The Radeon X1950 Pro from ATI that launched today is the company’s $199 competition against Nvidia’s GeForce 7900 GS. Based on a new graphics chip — the R570 — it’s the first of ATI’s cards to not need an external dongle to connect two cards in a dual-GPU CrossFire configuration. The old, thick-cabled dongle was not only a pain to connect, but was far from elegant. The X1950 uses a pair of internal connectors instead, similar to Nvidia’s SLI bridge clip. However, ATI’s are flexible to allow for varying degrees of space between PCI Express slots on different motherboards (see image courtesy of ExtremeTech). The X1950 Pro is also the first CrossFire-ready card that doesn’t require a Master version of the card to work as a two-GPU solution.
According to a review on ExtremeTech, the R570 chip has about three-quarters of the features of the R580 chip found in the Radeon X1900. The site was impressed with the overall features of the card, pleased with the abandonment of the external dongle and Master-card requirement and delighted by the X1950 Pro’s performance as a single card. When paired up with another X1950 Pro, though, performance was disappointing. Its recommendation was to go with the ATI card if you have no intentions of doing a dual-card array immediately or in the future. If you’re looking to do something multi-GPU, Nvidia’s cards are still the top choice.
Radeon X1950 Pro: The Evolution of CrossFire [ExtremeTech]