- Incredibly powerful, Beats the competition
- Quite costly
If you don't play high end games, then the PowerColor X1900XTX isn't for you. For serious gamers it could be a worthwhile purchase, though an expensive one.
Price$ 990.00 (AUD)
The sceptical customer might expect the X1900 XTX, which follows closely on the heels of the X1800 series, to be little more than a more refined retread of a familiar path. This would be the wrong impression.
Incontestably the fastest graphics card we've seen in recent times and almost unfeasibly expensive, the X1900 XTX has a huge amount of untapped potential that could turn it into a barnstormer. Whether this potential will be realised and whether it's worth the cost is more debatable.
At first glance, the XTX offers little that's radical compared with the X1800 XT. Its memory bandwidth of 49.6GBps (gigabytes per second) is only slightly better than the X1800 XT's 48GBps. The XTX is built to the efficient 0.09-micron manufacturing process, but so was the XT - and 512MB of memory is no improvement.
But the key to the X1900 XTX's potential success is pixel pipelines - bags of them. These consist of programmable units that allow games coders to alter the way each pixel is shaded. The programmer can now create all manner of effects and textures.
First introduced in DirectX 8.0, programmable pixel pipelines have been used more and more by game coders looking to create something different from the norm. They're quickly replacing traditional dedicated texturing units in importance, since today's pixel shader can do most of the jobs previously handled by texture units - while consuming far less memory bandwidth.
That's been the theme followed by most of the big graphics card releases of modern times, although it's never before been made as apparent as here. The X1800 XT had 16 pixel pipelines, while nVidia's GeForce 7800 GTX boasted 24. But ATI has blasted both of those into submission with the X1900 XTX's 48 pixel pipelines.
In tests, the XTX was faster than both the X1800 XT and the 7800 GTX across many of today's games. On titles including Quake IV, Splinter Cell and Far Cry it was, on average, 2fps (frames per second) to 3fps faster at resolutions of 1,280x1,024 and 1,600x1,200 with no detail settings turned on. With anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing turned up to the full, the lead reached 8fps to 13fps. But even with everything turned on, there were some games - Fear in particular - where the lead was not so great. Even the most modern of today's games aren't built to take advantage of the Radeon's stunning architecture.
The complexity of today's games should give you an idea of how sophisticated cutting-edge graphics cards have become. But this achievement has come at a price: today's high-grade cards consume an enormous amount of power. It makes little sense to pour your cash into a graphics card for your PC, only to find your pride and joy bursting into flames because the PSU (power supply unit) can't take the pace. A 450W PSU ought to be enough for the X1900 XTX or an equivalent, but why not go the whole hog and upgrade to the latest in PSU technology?
As an immediate purchase, the Sapphire X1900 XTX wouldn't make sense. It's far too expensive, and ATI is relying on games programmers sharing its view and cranking up the pixel pipelines to the full. It's a card whose time may come, but until then, you'll be better off with the X1800 XT, which is likely to hit a far more competitive price point with this release.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- AMD busts Ryzen performance myths, clearing Windows 10 from blame
- Nvidia supercharges GeForce DirectX 12 performance with new Game Ready driver
- Ryzen works with XMP memory profiles
- Beyond smartphones, Samsung wants its Exynos 9 chip in VR headsets
- Nvidia slashes GeForce GTX 1080 prices, reveals new overclocked memory options
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- LG 2017 OLED and Super LED UHD 4K TVs: Hands-on review
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTGraduate Software EngineerNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- CCAutomation Test AnalystQLD
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistACT
- FTSenior Functional Consultant - Data Analytics - TelcoVIC
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectWA
- CCLightweight Directory Access Procol (LDAP) DeveloperNSW
- FTDatabase Administrator - OracleQLD
- CCSharePoint Developer - Multiple Roles - 3-6 Mth Contract Initially - SydneyNSW
- FTChief Security OfficerNSW
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!SA
- CCMicrostrategy DeveloperVIC
- FTPMO ManagerNSW
- CCNetwork EngineersACT
- TPProject SchedulerVIC
- FTSolutions Architects - 10 roles availableACT
- FTTeam and Project AdministratorQLD
- FTDeployment ManagerVIC
- CCSalesforce Functional AnalystNSW
- TPAgile Implementation LeadNSW
- TPSenior Network EngineerWA
- FTInfrastructure Project Manager Office 365 ImplementationVIC