ASUS EAX1950CROSSFIRE/HP/512M and EAX1950PRO/HTDP/256M

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While NVIDIA is marching forward with its DirectX 10 capable GeForce 8800 series, ATI is still mum on their next generation graphics cards. Which is somewhat surprising, as one would think this time of year would be ideal for new product announcements.

But while Vista is due for a broad release in January '07, games that fully exploit the features of DirectX 10 won't be commonplace for quite some time.  The rest of the market is still full of great material that is OpenGL or DirectX 9-based leaving the current line of ATI graphics cards as a viable options for all but the most demanding of enthusiasts.

Today, we are going to evaluate two cards from ASUS built around ATI's X1950 GPU.  The first graphics card is the EAX1950CROSSFIRE/HP/512M which comes with an X1950XTX GPU and 512MB of GDDR4 memory for the best performance ATI currently has to offer.  The next model is a slightly scaled down EAX1950PRO/HTDP/256M which brings a more affordable mid-range solution with an X1950Pro at the core and 256MB of GDDR3 memory.  In the pages ahead, we're going to assess the overall features and performance of each card and then weigh in with our opinion on Asus two latest ATI-centric creations.  Aside from DirectX 10 support, these cards pack a punch in more way than one, so let's get started.

EAX1950CROSSFIRE/HP/512M & EAX1950PRO/HTDP/256M
Specifications
Model
EAX1950CROSSFIRE/HP/512M

Graphics Engine
RADEON X1950XTX

Video Memory
512MB DDR4

Engine Clock
650MHz

Memory Clock
2GHz (1GHz DDR4)

Memory Interface
256-bit

Max Resolution
2048 X 1536

Bus Standard
PCI Express X 16

HDTV Output
Yes

HDCP Support
Yes

DVI Output
DVI-I

Adapter/Cable Bundled
CrossFire Cable
DVI to VGA adapter
DVI To YPrPb adapter
Power Cable

Software Bundled
3D Game: SNOWBLIND &GHOST RECON
ASUS Utilities & Driver
Model
EAX1950PRO/HTDP/256M

Graphics Engine
RADEON X1950PRO

Video Memory
256MB DDR3

Engine Clock
581MHz

Memory Clock
1.4GHz (702MHz DDR3)

Memory Interface
256-bit

Max Resolution
2048 X 1536

Bus Standard
PCI Express X16

VGA Output
YES, via DVI to VGA Adapter

HDTV Output
YES, S-Video to HDTV Out

TV Output
YES, S-Video to Composite

DVI Output
DVI-I

Dual DVI Output
YES

HDCP Support
YES

Adapter/Cable Bundled
DVI to VGA adapter
Power Cable
HDTV-Out Cable
Software Bundled

ASUS Utilities & Driver

  EAX1950CROSSFIRE/HP/512M Retail Package

  

The bundle that complements the EAX1950CrossFire includes a multilingual SpeedSetUP manual for basic installation and setup of the card.  The manual was a bit generic, not covering proper cable installation in CrossFire configurations, which was surprising.  The package also included a six pole PCI-Express power adapter that marries up with two molex outputs from the PSU.  Two disks were provided, one including drivers and other utilities, while the other included an electronic manual.  Two full version games were included as well, namely Ghost Recon: Advance Warfighter and Project Snowblind.  For HDTV output, a DVI to YPrPb adapter is included while a DVI to Analog adapter is offered for those without a DVI ready monitor. Last is a CD booklet to hold the included CDs with room for several more as well.

EAX1950PRO/HTDP/256M Retail Package

  

The bundle that accompanied the EAX1950Pro included the same SpeedSetUP manual, CD case and power cord as the X1950CrossFire.  We also found a pair of CDs including drivers, utilities and an electronic manual.  There was a DVI to VGA adapter and, for HDTV support, an HDTV-Out cable adapter.  With this model, no retail games were included at all, which was a mild disappointment.  The Utilities CDs for both cards included such proprietary titles as ASUS Splendid for enhanced video playback quality, ASUS Video Security Online for remote monitoring of your home via a webcam, ASUS Game LiveShow for streaming gameplay to share with others, ASUS Game Replay for recording and playing back gameplay, ASUS Game FaceMessenger for IMing in-game, and ASUS OnScreenDisplay for fine tuning screen options during gameplay.

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