Sapphire X1950 Pro Dual Review 46

Sapphire X1950 Pro Dual Review

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The Sapphire X1950 Pro Dual is a unique graphics card made by Sapphire only. As the name suggests, Sapphire has put two GPUs on this core, not even ATI has built such a card yet. It is based on the RV570 core which is used on the X1950 Pro and GT for example. The massive PCB is basically two video cards on one board, there are two GPUs and two sets of memory, 512 MB GDDR3 for each GPU.

X1900 GTX1950 GT X1950 Pro X1950 Pro Dual
Pixel Shaders3636362x 36
Vertex Pipes8882x 8
ROPs1212122x 12
GPURV570RV570RV5702x RV570
Memory Size256 MB 256 MB 512 MB 2x 512 MB
Memory Bus Width 256 bit 256 bit256 bit2x 256 bit
Core Clock575 MHz500 MHz 575 MHz2x 580 MHz
Memory Clock600 MHz600 MHz 700 MHz2x 700 MHz

As you can see the major change is that you have two cards working in CrossFire on one board. There is a very slight bump on the core clock as well, but this should not have any major impact on performance. What to note here is that the clocks are not lowered compared to the single card configuration. This shows that Sapphire can handle the heat put out by two GPUs and 1 GB of memory quite well. The "CrossFire" approach comes at a price though, you need a motherboard chipset that supports CrossFire - all Intel and AMD/ATI motherboards, none from NVIDIA. However, you do not need two PCI-Express x16 slots. This offers an easy upgrade path for single-slot motherboard users who want to get more performance, but can't go CrossFire.

To enable the second GPU on the card, you go into your Catalyst Control Center and put a check mark to "Use CrossFire". That's it - you don't need to connect any cables or configure anything in the system BIOS.

Complete Specifications

  • 2x 36 pixel shader processors
  • 2x 8 vertex shader processors
  • 2x 256-bit 8 channel GDDR3 memory interface
  • Native PCI Express® x16 bus interface
Shader Technology
  • Support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware.
  • Shader Model 3.0 vertex and pixel shader support:
  • Full speed 32-bit floating point processing
  • High dynamic range rendering with floating point blending and anti-aliasing support
  • High performance dynamic branching and flow control
  • Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL® 2.0
Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering
  • 2x/4x/6x Anti-Aliasing modes:
  • Sparse multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sample patterns, and centroid sampling
  • New Adaptive Anti-Aliasing mode
  • Temporal Anti-Aliasing
  • Lossless Color Compression (up to 6:1) at all resolutions, up to and including widescreen HDTV
  • 2x/4x/8x/16x Anisotropic Filtering modes:
  • Up to 128-tap texture filtering
  • Adaptive algorithm with performance and quality options
  • Improved rendering with higher subpixel precision and LOD computation levels
  • New rotational high quality rendering mode
3Dc+™ — Advanced Texture Compression
  • High quality 4:1 compression for normal maps and luminance maps
  • Works with any single-channel or two-channel data format
Ring Bus Memory Controller
  • Programmable arbitration logic maximizes memory efficiency, software upgradeable
  • New fully associative texture, color, and Z cache design
  • Hierarchical Z-Buffer with Early Z Test
  • Lossless Z-Buffer Compression (up to 48:1)
  • Fast Z-Buffer Clear
  • Z Cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering
  • Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, up to and including widescreen HDTV
Avivo™ Video and Display Engine
  • New advanced video capabilities, including high fidelity gamma, color correction and scaling
  • Dual independent display controllers that support true 30 bits per pixel throughout the display pipe
  • Full symmetry on both heads
  • Each display interface supports display resolutions beyond 2560x1600
  • Advanced DVI capabilities, including 10-bit, 16-bit HDR output
  • YPrPb component output for direct drive of HDTV displays
  • Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
  • MPEG1/2/4 decode and encode acceleration:
  • DXVA support
  • Hardware motion compensation, iDCT, DCT and color space conversion
  • All-format DTV/HDTV decoding
  • Adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing and frame rate conversion (temporal filtering)
  • Multi-GPU technology
  • Four modes of operation:
  • Alternate frame rendering for maximum performance
  • Supertiling for optimal load-balancing
  • Scissoring for compatibility
  • Super AA for maximum image quality
  • Native CrossFire support simplifies setup by requiring no dedicated slave or master hardware
  • 24-bit CrossFire connection enables high resolutions and refresh rates
  • Supports the broadest range of platforms for both Intel and AMD
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