Sapphire Radeon X1950 XTX

Introduction, Specifications, and Bundle

While we all sit and wait to see what AMD/ATI have in store for us with their next-gen, DX10-class R600, the Radeon X1950 XTX remains ATI's current flagship desktop GPU. In light of NVIDIA's excellent GeForce 8 series of cards, the Radeon X1950 XTX has certainly lost some of its initial luster, but nevertheless it's still one of the more powerful graphics cards currently available.

Today at, we're going to take a look at Sapphire's take on ATI's flagship, aptly named the Sapphire Radeon X1950 XTX. On the hardware level, there is very little to differentiate this card from ATI's own branded Radeon X1950 XTX, but Sapphire does sweeten their offering with a more generous accessory bundle and a relatively competitive price. 


Sapphire Radeon X1950 XTX
Features & Specifications
- 384 million transistors on 90nm fabrication process
- Up to 48 pixel shader processors
- 8 vertex shader processors
- Up to 256-bit 8-channel GDDR4 memory interface
- Native PCI Express x16 bus interface

Ring Bus Memory Controller
- Up to 512-bit internal ring bus for memory reads
- Fully associative texture, color, and Z/stencil cache designs
- Hierarchical Z-buffer with Early Z test
- Lossless Z Compression (up to 48:1)
- Fast Z-Buffer Clear
- Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions

Ultra-Threaded Shader Engine
- Support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
- Full speed 128-bit floating point processing for all shader operations
- Up to 512 simultaneous pixel threads
- Dedicated branch execution units for high performance dynamic branching and flow control
- Dedicated texture address units for improved efficiency
- 3Dc+ texture compression o High quality 4:1 compression for normal maps and two channel data formats
- High quality 2:1 compression for luminance maps and single-channel data formats
- Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL 2.0

Advanced Image Quality Features
- 64-bit floating point HDR rendering supported throughout the pipeline
o Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
- 32-bit integer HDR (10:10:10:2) format supported throughout the pipeline
o Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
- 2x/4x/6x Anti-Aliasing modes
o Multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sparse sample
patterns, and centroid sampling
o New Adaptive Anti-Aliasing feature with Performance and Quality modes
o Temporal Anti-Aliasing mode
o Lossless Color Compression (up to 6:1) at all resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
- 2x/4x/8x/16x Anisotropic Filtering modes
o Up to 128-tap texture filtering
o Adaptive algorithm with Performance and Quality options
- High resolution texture support (up to 4k x 4k)
Avivo Video and Display Platform
- High performance programmable video processor
o Accelerated MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264 decoding and
o DXVA support
o De-blocking and noise reduction filtering
o Motion compensation, IDCT, DCT and color space conversion
o Vector adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing
o 3:2 pulldown (frame rate conversion)
- Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
- HDR tone mapping acceleration
o Maps any input format to 10 bit per channel output
- Flexible display support
o Dual integrated dual-link DVI transmitters
o Dual integrated 10 bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
o 16 bit per channel floating point HDR and 10 bit per channel DVI output
o Programmable piecewise linear gamma correction, color correction, and color space
conversion (10 bits per color)
o Complete, independent color controls and video overlays for each display
o High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all outputs
o Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
o Xilleon TV encoder for high quality analog output
o YPrPb component output for direct drive of HDTV displays
o Spatial/temporal dithering enables 10-bit color quality on 8-bit and 6-bit displays
o Fast, glitch-free mode switching
o VGA mode support on all outputs
o Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions and refresh rates
- Compatible with ATI TV/Video encoder products, including Theater 550

- Multi-GPU technology
- Four modes of operation:
o Alternate Frame Rendering (maximum performance)
o Supertiling (optimal load-balancing)
o Scissor (compatibility)
o Super AA 8x/10x/12x/14x (maximum image quality)


Sapphire's high-end video cards have historically shipped with a comprehensive software and accessory bundle. Included with the company's Radeon X1950 XTX card, we found a basic user's manual, an addendum detailing CrossFire power requirements, a driver CD-ROM, and an assortment of other discs that included copies of Cyberlink's PowerDVD 6 and Power Director 4, and the Da Vinci Code PC game. The copy of Cyberlink's Power Director video editing software was included to compliment the card's video in / video out (ViVo) capabilities. In past reviews we've found an older version of Power Director to be quite useful and easy to use (see here). The Da Vinci Code game, however, left something to be desired. The game is OK, but if you read the book or watched the movie of the same title, the game will likely leave you feeling a bit flat. Numerous on-line game reviews seem to reflect our sentiments.

There was also a collection of cables and adapters included with Sapphire's Radeon X1950 XTX XTX. There was a standard 6-ft S-Video cable, a composite video cable, and two DVI-to-DB15 adapters included, along with a splitter for connecting the card to an HDTV's component inputs, and another adapter equipped with S-Video and composite video inputs and outputs. Lastly, there was a molex-to-6-pin PCI Express power cable adapter thrown in as well, should your power supply not have the required plug.

Tags:  Radeon, Sapphire, App, x1, SAP, XT, AP

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