The cards are both around the £200 quid mark, the only real differences between them is the Nvidia has more RAM whilst the ATi has slightly highler clock speeds. Help very much apreciated and if possible a friendly referal to a suitable Motherboard, I was to go with the Asus P5B but I've heard there could be better alternatives depending on the GFX Card I chose.
THe 7950GT, even overclocked, probably still falls short of 7900GTX performance. That said, 7900GTX was at the level of the x1900xtx in most benchmarks.
Find some reviews that compare the x1900xtx to the new x1950xt, and you will be able to tell which of your two cards is the clear winner.
That said, I have nothing but good feedback about EVGA, I've owned 2 of their cards and I'm now using the (in my opinion) excellent value 7900GTO. Their main trump card is the OC friendly / aftermarket cooling friendly liftimewarranty. THey also offer a 3month upgrade program called "step up" where you only pay the difference to upgrade to a newer card ... but for most people it's impractical since they keep their cards for longer than 3 months, especially cards near the high end.
However, looking at the x1950xt specs that you linked, I see several big advantages :
1. Good aftermarket cooling (supposedly quiet) on the ATI card - the stock 7900GT/7950GT cooler pictured on the EVGA site is actually fairly loud in 3D mode. I've owned a 7600GT which uses a very similar cooler, and I can tell you it can get annoying as often I had to turn up the sound to drown the turbine noise. I could be wrong, and EVGA may be using a newer cooler ... but it looks awfully familiar.
2. HDCP support. This is a fairly important point if you intend to keep this card for a while (read : a few years) and plan on using it with Vista as well as HD-DVDs. THere is no need for it yet, but within a year or two I think the HD-DVDs and other protected content will be much more prominent.
The main major downfall of the x1950xt that you listed is it's 256MB of memory. For low/midrange type of cards, 256mb is more than enough (in fact any more is practically a marketing ploy and a total waste). But on cards that are close to high end, 512mb can make a difference when you're dealing with large texture sizes (try playing DOOM3 on the highest settings). I suspect this will become more of an issue as newer games appear in 2007.
Either way, having mentionned these things, I think that both cards should offer more or less similar performance and allow you to max out the details at a mainstream (1280) resolution for any current games as well as most games in 2007. Except for oblivion of course
I don't know if these were manufactured, but a 512mb X1950XT would be a clear winner here. The 256MB version still probably has a performance advantage over the Nvidia card ... but I dont know how much of a performance hit it would take when it has to handle texture sizes higher than 256mb.
I have to agree with advantages you've noted redwing, the ATi card looks like a beast . The HDCP support also a bonus plus, but of course hearing alot about how Doom 3 loves its RAM also led me to believe other games would follow in its streak which is why I considered the Nvidia card so heavily.
Finnaly thank you very much for the feedback.
In the end I believe I'll go with the advice and consider purchasing a 512MB version of the ATi card.
If you can find a X1900XT 512MB for the same price as a X1950XT, go for it. But from the only performance comparison we have to go by, if anything the X1950XT 256MB is outshining the X1900XT 512MB at high res with AA/AF, but they are both about equal and trade blows 1-2fps here and there. Unfortunately, the cards used different driver versions so a 1-2 fps difference has to be called a tie. http://www.hardwarezone.com/articles/view.php?id=2122&c...
Personally I would rather have the iceQ X1950XT than a reference X1900XT 512MB. I don't feel it is going to make a big difference down the road at best playable settings. Might we see a 20fps vs 12 fps case favoring the 512MB; sure. But it won't be playable on either.
And forget the 7950GT, it gets it's butt whooped by these cards at GPU limited settings. Look at the Quake 4 4x/8x high res results even. I'd be amazed if there is one game that the 7950GT could beat a X1950XT because of the amount of RAM. The majority of games the X1950XT will win with a few games like Riddick and Lomac going to the 7950GT. But that has nothing to do with 256MB or 512MB.