Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro Dual

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Outputs and Overclocking

Outputs and Overclocking

When it was announced, the Radeon X1950 Pro Dual was originally supposed to support quad-monitor output, for those who wanted to use this card for its multi-monitor abilities rather than linking both processors together for additional performance. It appears that Sapphire put the axe to this idea though, as the final, shipping Radeon X1950 Pro Dual card only has two dual-link DVI output ports. If you look closely on the PCB near the DVI ports, you can see cutouts and silk-screens for the additional HD-15 ports, which were simply left off the final board. If the ports were placed in this position, they wouldn't have worked in any modern chassis, mind you, although early samples had an adapter which could move these ports to another case slot. This feature can still be seen in Windows, as the X1950 Pro Dual automatically detects the ability to run up to four screens when not in Crossfire mode. Sadly, two of the monitors cannot be enabled since there are no connectors for them. When Crossfire is enabled, linking the two onboard GPUs together, the board only ouputs from a single port.

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Crossfire Disabled

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Crossfire Enabled

In-between the DVI ports is an S-Video/HDTV output port. Sapphire bundles Component, S-Video, and Composite cables with the box, giving potential buyers a lot of flexibility. As you can see near the S-Video port, Sapphire is using the ATI Rage Theater processor onboard as well, allowing for hardware based audio/video encoding and decoding.

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Dual DVI-I, Crossfire, and PCIe Connectors

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Dual 6-pin PCIe Power Connectors

Despite the fact that this card links together both GPUs via an internal Crossfire connection using a PCI Express bridge chip, there is still a second generation Crossfire connector at the top of the card's PCB. In the original press release, Sapphire claimed that through the use of this connector, users would be able to link up multiple dual-GPU cards together for a quad-GPU based Crossfire system. Well, that didn't necessarily pan out. While the hardware may still function in this regard, neither ATI nor Sapphire have drivers which support quad-GPU configurations, rendering this once interesting feature moot. But hey, if you want to write a driver for this function, the connector is still there.

The X1950 Pro Dual requires the use of two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors, one for each graphics processor. Even though dual 6-pin connectors would make it seem like this card consumes a lot of power, our actual consumption numbers were quite manageable, as we'll show later in the article.

One (very) important point to note about this card is motherboard-level compatibility. With the use of a single PCI Express x16 slot and a board-level Crossfire connection, for all intents and purposes, this card should be compatible with every PCI Express x16 motherboard on the market. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In order to get use of both onboard graphics processors, this card still must be run in a Crossfire-compatible platform. If you run this card on and Nvidia based platform, ATI's drivers will not allow you to enable Crossfire, and thus, limit you to a single GPU only. Basically, if you purchase this card, you'll want to ensure that you have an Intel 975/965 series or ATI based motherboard.

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X1950 Dual on Nvidia 680i - No Crossfire

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X1950 Dual on Intel 965 - Crossfire Ready

The single-GPU based Radeon X1950 Pro card was a mild overclocker, typically being able to hit clock speeds of a bit over 600 MHz GPU and 1.5 GHz DDR (stock clock speeds are 580 MHz GPU / 1.4 GHz DDR). The Radeon X1950 Pro Dual can be overclocked as well, through ATI's Catalyst Control Center or through a third party cool like ATITool. We were able to overclock our card's dual GPU's up to 650 MHz, however, we were not able to overclock the board's memory at all. The overclocks provided minimal performance gains throughout our application tests, sadly.

Tags:  Radeon, Sapphire, App, dual, x1, SAP, pro, AP

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