Overclocking, Performance Summary & Conclusion
The default core and memory clock speeds for the Sapphire X1950 Pro are 580MHz and 700MHz (1.4GHz effective), respectively. We used the overclocking tools built into ATI's Catalyst Control Center to experiment a bit with difference clock speeds. We didn't expect extraordinary results based on our reference card experience, but we were hoping for at least a moderately decent overclock. Unfortunately, we only had bad luck when trying to overclock the X1950 Pro sample we received. After some tinkering, we couldn't even get an overclock of 600MHz core and 710MHz memory to remain stable. Anything less than that really didn't prove to be worth the effort as the performance gains were nominal or nonexistent.
Performance Summary: In the mid-range segment, bang for the buck is king, and the Sapphire X1950 Pro delivers a strong bang for not that many bucks. While it can't hang with an overclocked 7900 GT like the XFX model we used for reference in some games, it can keep pace or outperform it in others. Plus, it performs right on par with a standard 7900 GT.
As we mentioned before, one of the more desirable features of the X1950 Pro is the utilization of ATI's new simpler approach to CrossFire. Anything that makes multi-GPU technology more accessible to the average consumer is a plus. The great thing about a CrossFire-enabled card is that you can always add a second card to your setup down the road if you decide you don't have enough 3D horsepower any longer.
Sapphire's X1950 Pro bundle is more practical than fun. While some companies seem to be including fewer cables and adapters, it's nice to see Sapphire not skimping in this area currently. We would like to see the company change the game that is included, though.
At around $200, Sapphire has a strong contender in their stable. If you have an extra $70, you might want to consider Sapphire's X1950 XT. But if $200 is the absolute most you can spend, then do yourself a favor, and take a look at the X1950 Pro.
. Great price / performance ratio
. Native CrossFire support
. Not too noisy
. Dual DVI
. Fairly priced
. The Da Vinci Code game?
. Warranty not as good as some of the competition
. Not a strong overclocker