Performance Summary and Final Comments
Performance Summary: The EAX1950CrossFire and EAX1950Pro both performed as we expected. The EAX1950CrossFire competed on about the same level as an NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX. The more affordable EAX1950Pro trailed the two cards as expected by consistent margins in all tests.
While ATI is still working out their first DirectX 10 offering, they've shown they still have some viable options in the DirectX 9 arena. The EAX1950CrossFire is the equipped with an X1950XTX GPU and 512MB of GDDR4 memory, making it the most powerful ATI-based graphics card at this time. In each test, the EAX1950CroosFire competed on about the same level as our reference GeForce 7900GTX. The retail bundle was excellent, with two games and the necessary cables, dongles and software to successfully install the card with minimal fuss. The printed documentation was a bit generic in our opinion, omitting any mention of proper CrossFire cable set up. On an up note, overclocking was excellent, with the EAX1950CrossFire posting measurable gains in our tests. We were also impressed with the looks of the card, with its fire engine red cooler which sported a hefty copper heat sink
Overall, we have mixed feelings about the EAX1950CrossFire. It's becoming increasingly more difficult to recommend a DirectX 9 based card with Windows Vista and DX10 arriving next month. And in the current market, this card is too pricey at about $495. The non-Master version of this card is a bit cheaper at around $435, but with the GeForce 8800 GTS available for less, it's hard to get excited about the EAX1950CrossFire. Asus obviously put together a really nice bundle, but it doesn't offset its higher pricer tag.
The EAX1950Pro was a strong mid-range graphics card that delivered solid performance in all of our tests. The EAX1950Pro brings dongle-free crossfire to the mix in a single slot package. Overclocking proved to be a weak point with this particular card and the retail package was nothing too flashy, lacking any real extras such as a full retail game.
With a price of about $184, the EAX1950Pro offers a nice price to performance ratio. While the performance results with this card expectedly trailed the two high-end cards, the deltas were relatively small considering the price differences between each model. On average, we saw differences of roughly 15-20 FPS when compared to the X1950XTX. With that said, is it worth the performance hit to save close to $300? We suspect for some of you it may very well be. If you're an ATI fan and can't bring yourself to shell out close to $500 for an Asus XTX, it may be wiser to pick up two EAX1950Pros and walk away with a little extra cash left over to buy the next game on your wish list.