ATI releases new mainstream card into the gaming arena

Markham (ON) - ATI today heated up the battle in the midrange of the graphics field, offering a new contender for Nvidia 7900 GS graphics cards. The manufacturer claims that the new Radeon X1950 Pro will offer 10 to 35% more more gaming performance than its its competitor and - for the first time- includes native Crossfire support by default.

ATI's new card builds on the reputation high-end and recently released X1950 XTX card, but has fewer features in common as the name might suggest. At its heart, the new card uses the RV570 GPU, a stripped down version of the XTX' faster R580, which also supports GDDR4 memory instead of the Pro's more traditional 256 MB GDDR3.

The RV570 is clocked at 575 MHz (R580: 625 MHz), with the memory being rated at 1380 MHz (2000 MHz). The pixel shader count is reduced to 36 (48), while the card still comes with all the features one would expect from an ATI graphics card for Windows Vista-ready computers, for example ATI's fast dynamic branching, high dynamic range rendering in combination with anti-aliasing, 10-bit processing and HDCP support to enable Vista users to watch Blu-ray or HD DVD movies on their systems.

What makes the X1950 Pro especially interesting is that it is ATI's first graphics card to make use of new native Crossfire technology, which eliminates the need for a branded Crossfire Edition card, if users want to run more than one graphics card in their computer. According to the company, native Crossfire works on Intel and AMD platforms "that cable Crossfire technology supports, including AMD socket 939 and AM2 motherboards, and Intel. 975X and P965 motherboards."

Radeon X1950 Pro cards carry a suggested retail price of $200.