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Liquid Cooled X1900 XTX Card Reviewed 126

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the big-barrel-of-oil-so-much-more-fun dept.
An anonymous reader writes "TrustedReview's Andrew Miller has posted a review of the new liquid cooled Radeon X1900 XTX card. There have been a few reviews floating around based on engineering samples of this product, but it sounds like the actual card turned out to be quite a sight to behold." From the review: "If you are seriously considering buying an X1900 XTX, then it is well worth paying the extra money for this card as the noise reduction is dramatic. The extra performance is just an added bonus. However, the 7950 GX2 is simultaneously faster and quieter for the same money. The X1900 XTX on the other hand has the option of HDR and FSAA as well as the possibility of running in Crossfire (assuming you can get hold of a similarly cooled master card).
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Liquid Cooled X1900 XTX Card Reviewed

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  • But. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Monday July 03, 2006 @11:31PM (#15654396) Homepage Journal
    Is there a usable Linux driver to accompany that card when it's released? Yeah I know I know, the core gaming market is Windows, but some Linux users DO want fast video cards.
    • Re:But. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mattmacf (901678)
      I don't mean to sound trollish (ok, maybe just a bit), but given ATI's track record, I doubt there's a reliable Windows driver for this card. And in all seriousness, what would you need to run in Linux that requires such a high end video card. Personally, I think it's just a bit overkill for Tux Racer.
      • One word:

        BZFlag!

        ---

        http://www.burningserver.com/ [burningserver.com], for all your blank web page needs!
      • doom 3 perhaps?
      • Re:But. . . (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mike Savior (802573)
        Doom 3, Unreal Tournament, CS (via wine), games that run in cedega.. there might not be a slew of games for Linux and I know I'm missing some, but there are great ports out there that the troll community just likes to ignore for their own sake.
        • My 7800gt can play doom3 at very high settings at a very high framerate - there's nothing out for linux that should need this card to perform well!
        • "Great Ports".
          You named 2 linux versions and 1 emulated one...
          (Oh Yea, Americas Army also has a Linux version)

          Sure, Linux is great and all that, but dont try to advertise it as a gaming OS, since it is not, and usually requires a bunch of extra modules and trying to find a driver that works, as well as getting it to work in X11 and whatnot.

          • I don't use my distro to play games. I looked into it, but I don't play games. How would I know what else is out there? That and the commercial games come with everything they need packaged in, I think.
          • (Oh Yea, Americas Army also has a Linux version)

            Much to our (Linux and Macintosh users) grief, America's Army was officially discontinued on these platforms: http://aaotracker.com/thread.php?threadid=132745 [aaotracker.com]

            There's always Doom 3 and Quake 4, but as good as they are, they aren't America's Army. There is still a small but thriving community of Linux and Macintosh AA players, using the last (2.5) version, but I don't think it will last long.

      • Universities (Score:2, Interesting)

        by sowth (748135) *
        I imaging plenty of universities use 3D acceleration in Linux for their work, among other places. Then again, they probably use one of the BSDs or Unix...
      • And you want to shell out $400+ for 2D card?
      • Oh come on! If you used ATI cards in the 1999-2001 timeframe, you'd practically worship their current crop of Windows drivers. They are a VAST improvement over what ATI used to pawn off on customers.
      • Re:But. . . (Score:2, Interesting)

        by espinafre (973274)

        I don't mean to sound trollish (ok, maybe just a bit), but given ATI's track record, I doubt there's a reliable Windows driver for this card.


        Sometimes I wonder if "faulty drivers" isn't an excuse for actually sub-par hardware... How can anyone tell?
      • Agreed. Let's see a stable Windows driver before we start screaming for Linux
    • Re:But. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SlashdotOgre (739181)
      I'd be happy if ATI released an Xorg 7.1 compatible driver; I've had to mask Xorg 7.1 in Gentoo since I run Xgl and need the proprietary driver. To be fair, ATI tends to be relatively quick in supporting their latest cards with their Linux drivers. For example when I got my Dell D610 with the mobile X300 in Feb. 2005 (the D610 was one of the first machines with the new PCIe vid cards on a laptop), there was a compatible binary driver within a month. Unfortunately, the driver had a bug and hung on systems
    • Just ignore ATI (Score:5, Interesting)

      by idonthack (883680) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @12:34AM (#15654605)
      Any time I look at buying a card, ATI gets completely ignored because Nvidia's Linux support is so much better.
      • Neither Nvidia nor ATI have drivers for ppclinux.
        Nvidia does not have good Linux support.
      • "Any time I look at buying a card, ATI gets completely ignored because Nvidia's Linux support is so much better."

        s/so much better/sucks less/
    • Re:But. . . (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcpkaaos (449561) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @12:41AM (#15654633)
      Is there a usable Linux driver

      As long as you plan on staying with Xorg 6.8.x, you should be fine. Anything greater and you might be one of the many, many people (myself included) who suffer hard lock-ups when X shuts down or you switch VTs while X is running. I have tried many combinations of kernels and versions of fglrx against a couple versions of Xorg (6.8.2 and modular), and only 6.8.2 was stable. YMMV, but this has been a fairly common issue for a number of folks. Although this makes it sound like Xorg is the problem, I don't believe it is. IIRC, someone over at the Gentoo forums traced it to a call made within the driver.

      I've since given up on running modular X with my ATI card and chose to mask it until my next upgrade (which will be NVidia, no doubt). It's been a month or two, so this may have been fixed (though I doubt it). If anyone has an update on that, please do tell.

      Good luck. :)
      • I wondered what was causing that. I get that on my desktop system.

        Xorg 7.0.22, kernel 2.6.16.20, on Debian etch. But that machine uses integrated Intel video, not a Radeon system. Sounds like an Xorg problem, to me. I wonder if I can downgrade Xorg.

        OTOH, my laptop has the same Xorg, kernel and Debian dist, but uses the open source Radeon driver with no problems.
    • There may very well be, however it won't last long.
      ATI have a new policy of pulling support for their products even while they're still selling new in the stores. They recently dropped support of the R200 ( see http://www.rage3d.com/board/showthread.php?t=3385 6 854 [rage3d.com] ).

      This may be marked as a troll, and maybe this wouldn't be out of line, but I still warn you:

      Do not buy ATI products if you use or intend to use Linux . Otherwise you will be sorry.
      • I totally agree with not mixing ATI and Linux. 2d works great using the generic ATI driver, but when trying to install ATI's binary driver, I was met with brutal failure trying to get dual/triple head display settings to work... NVIDIA. Much better support and ease of installation of the driver.
  • ...how are the latest Linux drivers coming along?

    Oh, well. Looks like a neat card, too bad it's still slower than the top of the line nVidia board. Expensive as all hell too!

    Maybe once they get the liquid cooling thing down we'll see a good bump in clock speed.

    ---

    http://www.burningserver.com/ [burningserver.com], for all your blank web page needs!
  • The X1900 XTX on the other hand has the option of HDR and FSAA as well as the possibility of running in Crossfire (assuming you can get hold of a similarly cooled master card)

    What a completely pointless statement. Not only does the GX2 have HDR and FSAA (as have all cards since the 7xxx and Xxx series - perhaps even the 6xxx series) but you can (probably) run a GX2 in SLI mode. Recently a friend was upgrading and we looked into Crossfire. The motherboards are hard to get (here in Oz), and they're exp
    • by imboboage0 (876812) <imboboage0@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @12:00AM (#15654516) Homepage
      I believe it was in reference to running both HDR and AA at the same time. I don't know if this has been resolved since last I checked, but that was the advantage to having ATI as far as I could tell.
      • nVidia implemented their pipline in such a way that one part does both, or maybe only one of them can be on at the same time, so they are mutually exclusive. Arguable how much difference it makes since, in general, HDR uses power to the point you've not got enough left over for AA without too much framerate loss. However, in an SLI configuration you do, and that might be one of the only reasons to spend such an amazing amount of money.
    • NVidia is not "officially" supporting SLI for the 7950. This card has 2 GPUs so it is effectively an SLI card on one board. This has huge advantages over traditional SLI since it requires less power and cooling and affords greater speed due to the shortened data paths. Also, of course, it's far less expensive than a pair of 7900GTXes.

      "Officially" being the operative word, NVidia is working with some high profile builders (i.e. Alienware) for dual and quad SLI solutions with the 7950. NVidia has state
  • by LordOfTheNoobs (949080) on Monday July 03, 2006 @11:42PM (#15654439) Homepage
    As you can see, he was truly shocked [trustedreviews.com].

    / probably at his sweet new ability to render metal nips [trustedreviews.com]
    // i believe these figures from the article specify metal nipple rendering in the tera-nip range. [trustedreviews.com]
    ///totally sweet
  • "If you are seriously considering buying an X1900 XTX, then it is well worth paying the extra money for this card as the noise reduction is dramatic. The extra performance is just an added bonus."

    Noise is more important than better graphics. Can someone tell me WTF is going on?


    • I think it's for the rich nine-year-old geek who doesn't want his parents to know he's up at 3 AM playing games. He also probably has headphones for these early-morning fragfests.
    • I'm sorry, I really apologize but I Didn't Catch That Last Thing You Said Over The Sound Of The FUCKING JATOS [airshowjournal.com] Your're Using To Vent Your Box.

      There are many people that often like to both see and hear their games. Wierd, I know.
      • Right, because the fan on my GPU inside my computer under my desk is as loud as a JATO and prevents me from hearing the 55 watt satelite speakers on either side of my monitor. I thinks it's safe to assume that anyone who puts forth the money for a top of the line GPU probably already has a decent sound system.
        • Yes, you can probably hear quite fine with the regular cooling system and some nice speakers. However, the person who buys a $500 - $600 video card is not likely to want her gaming environment to be anything less than as close to perfection is possible. When you can hear the constant hum of Rosie the Robot under the gunfire and mood music, you're not as close to perfection as possible.

          Then again, what do I know? I'm no gamer.
    • Both ATI and Nvidia are going to be making DX10 cards this fall. New games that will truly require a next-gen card are coming out before the holiday season. Vista is coming out sometime in 2007. All the performance from here on out is going to be geared to DX10, so it isn't worth it working on pumping up the power on DX9 cards. Obviously, DX9 users will see advancements with DX10 cards, but the point is sort of that games in two years won't run on DX9 cards, so releasing stronger DX9 cards now is silly.
    • They are suggesting buying this card over an equivalently powered, but air-cooled, card. Thus, even if the performance were the same, you should get this - but the performance is actually better, (because it can be clocked higher due to the cooling) so thats the added bonus.

      That said, Id personally take a hit to performance for a passively cooled card any day.
    • I have an excellent graphics card called the ATI Rage 128. I run at 1600x1024, 24bit color, which means no 3D at all.

      It doesn't heat the room. It has no moving parts. (neither does the heat sink on my CPU -- damn hard drive moves though, until I replace it with solid state)

      I'm completely happy with my video card. I will remain happy... until a Linux desktop requires a god-damn 3D accelerator just to display a few dozen xterm windows and a dozen Firefox windows. There is absolutely no reason I should ever ne
      • How long did it take you to be okay with overlapping windows? Sorry to bring up a sore subject.
        • by r00t (33219)
          Prior to the mid-1990s, I just used the Linux
          text console. 80x25 was OK for browsing the web
          with lynx.

          And yes, there were porno videos. There is a
          great one out there called dirty.vt (google
          will find it) that plays well at 9600 baud in an
          80x24 xterm. On a Linux box with a 100 HZ clock,
          the following code does a decent job of playing
          it at the right speed:

          #include <unistd.h>
          #include <stdio.h>
          #include <stdlib.h>
          #include <string.h>

          int main(int argc, char *argv[]){
          int buf;
          whil
      • Surely you know that people use these for video games. Right?
        • I've heard that people use these for video games. A game console would be more appropriate, or you could actually go outside to play with other humans, but OK... whatever.

          What gets to me is that all the new OS software (Vista, MacOX X, X.org) is designed to run 2D stuff through the 3D pipeline. I don't want a space heater in my computer. My video card is perfectly fine for 2D. Apparently the 3D cards are not! Recent gamer cards have supposedly done such a bad job with 2D that it is actually faster to run 2D
          • Then there are the bad jokes like see-through windows, which we all get stuck with because somebody thought it was l33t.

            I love translucent windows. I wish I could set the opacity of any window arbitrarily. It's incredibly useful when you're either copying text or using one window as a reference while writing in another.

            I've also never had any noise or problems from the Radeon 9600 in my desktop machine, which has issues playing the latest games but which can do transparency and OS-level 3d effects with

            • I had a bit of trouble understanding your "copying text or using one window as a reference while writing in another" comment, because it just doesn't make sense... until I realized that your window manager settings are probably click-to-focus and raise-on-focus.

              Switch to focus-follows-mouse and autoraise disabled. This should be trivial for a Linux box. For Windows XP or Vista, I think you need to look for a "tweakUI" tool that Microsoft has available for download.

              Now, put the window you want to read on top
      • Hey I have a similar card - on my Linux machine, think it's a nVidia something 64MB. It runs without the nvidia kernel driver too, simply because I never bothered to install it. That's great, if that's all you need. I got a feeling that every time there's a new hardware article someone have to put it down. It's like an article about sewing machines, and a comment that says "What's wrong with needle and thread?" or an article about the latest cool car and say "What's wrong with an old Ford? Gets me from A to
        • There is a certain unfairness here. Gamers are dragging business-like users into buying hardware that is more expensive, more failure-prone because of the heat and moving parts, power wasting, and noisy. The high-end performance of a few years back could be had today without any moving parts. Moving parts fail, take more energy to run, and make noise.

          Even if you do have the fancy card, it will run cooler (and thus last longer and save energy) if you avoid making it render silly compositing effects all the t
    • Noise is more important than better graphics. Can someone tell me WTF is going on?

      The reviewer is blind.

    • I sleep in the same room as my PC stands, so noise is a very important factor. I don't like to turn my PC off and as I only HAVE one room where I can place the PC. I can't place the PC in another room as that one is too moist.

      (And no, I don't live with anybody else. My studio is just two rooms. Bathroom and living/sleep/kooking area.)
    • http://www.silentpcreview.com/ [silentpcreview.com] A few thousand people there seem to think noise is more important than performance.
  • Assuming... (Score:5, Funny)

    by knifeyspooney (623953) on Monday July 03, 2006 @11:57PM (#15654502)
    assuming you can get hold of a similarly cooled master card

    Indeed, my MasterCard will need some cooling off time after I purchase one of these babies.
  • by A Nun Must Cow Herd (963630) on Monday July 03, 2006 @11:59PM (#15654515)
    I'd rather see such cooling techniques used to make silent mid-range cards with good performance, rather than having it only available with hideously expensive high end cards.
  • Pathetic. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bronney (638318)
    Went and looked at the OC results and well, it's like nil. Why bother with watercooling when you can't squeeze more clocks out of it. I believe the vid fan isn't the noisest part in the box?
    • Moving parts in my computer:

      1. hard drive platters
      2. hard drive heads
      3. keys on keyboard
      4. mouse
      5. speaker cones, as desired
      6. DVD

      That's it. Not even the power switch moves, as it is a capacitative switch that just senses the presence of my finger.

      I intend to fix the hard drive problem. At least I got rid of the ball bearings with the last upgrade. I think I can cram all my stuff onto a 20 GB solid state device. That will run cooler, and the failures will be sector-by-sector instead of everything at once.

      Wh
      • I totally understand the peacefulness of a quiet computer :) But most of the time my winamp is on and I don't notice the fans anyway. When I need to turn up the fans, I usually have my headphones on for games and if I do 4.1 for games, they're up high :).

        It moggles my bind to imagine someone buying that card within the same generation just for the noise it reduced versus framerate gains that's all.
      • Well done. I'm lamenting the fact that, due to a desire to play Oblivion, I now have two fans in my system instead of one. (The system fan is undervolted Nexus 120 mm - very quite. I've replaced the heatsink on my 6600GT GPU with a Zalman VF700 and undervolted the fan, but its still the loudest thing in my system. Previous GPU used a passive Zalman heatsink.)

        It is good to have people like you around - it makes me feel that I'm not obsessive. :-)
        • The Zalman VF700 has "Silent and Normal fan speed settings. The Silent plug uses 5V power and spins the fan at 1,350 RPM, while the Normal setting uses 12V power and cranks the fan up to 2,650 RPM." (TechReport.com)

          Why do you need to undervolt the fan further? Are you so cramped for space that you can't put your computer on the floor where 1,350 RPM should be silent?
          • Anything under 12V is undervolted. As it happens, I'm using a different undervolting adapter than the one provided with the unit for space and asthetics reasons.
            • Anything under 12V is undervolted.

              I suppose that's one way to define it. I would say undervolting means providing less voltage than the device recommends or was meant to get. Since my CPU fan came with resistors to output 6V, 8V, or 10V, I don't see that as undervolting unless I go below 6V.
      • I've gone better, I run diskless so there's no disk noise. Even so it's not silent, I can hear a very quiet hiss when the system is busy. I guess it's the power supply caps or something.
      • You could also eliminate the moving parts on your keyboard if you can find a Touchstream LP [fingerworks.com]. It has a flat surface that detects the presence of your fingers to determine which letter you're typing. And I guess you can also use hand gestures across the surface for various shortcuts. I looked into getting one a while back, but in the end it was a little too expensive for me.
    • Re:Pathetic. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Frogbert (589961)
      Thats the point, the video card fan shouldn't be the noisiest fan in a system, unfortunately a X1900XTX fan is.
    • Re:Pathetic. (Score:2, Informative)

      With proper water cooling i'm able to run @ 780/890 on these with only soft modifications. With hard voltage modifications these cards will do a lot more. (25-30% out of spec) Of course, from a value proposition it is all a waste of money, but it is fun to tinker. I don't think this is a good 'value proposition' either. Middle of the road is the best I suppose.
      • Ah that's good to hear. Good job btw. I was wondering why the OC result on the page was so bad. Sometimes we really don't need that 15fps but I can't justify my purchases, as you said the middle cards are the ones with most value, but we go ahead and get the extreme ones anyway. I can't justify my purchase if I don't OC the hell out of it. Eventhough we know it'd only last 6 months before somethings replace it.
    • Try using any top of the range graphics card out today on a hot day and you will see why Hint they get very hot, my x1900xt will hit late 90 degrees c on a hot day. Much like the wether we currenly have in the right now.
  • Energy consumption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tsa (15680) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @01:02AM (#15654688) Homepage
    I always wonder what the energy consumption for water cooling is compared to air cooling. Does anyone know anything about that?
    • I always wonder what the energy consumption for water cooling is compared to air cooling.

      Well, the only things that consume energy with water cooling is the pump (which, in the case of my Reserator 1+ from Zalman is a 5W aquarium pump) plus the fans (if any) you use to dissipate the heat from the radiator(s) - so it consumes probably less energy, but I guess the difference is negligible.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @03:54AM (#15655111)
      Water cooling pumps don't need a lot of wattage to run, neither do air cooling fans. In general water cooling probably uses slightly more power since usually the water cooling radiator is air cooled, so you've fans and a pump. However it's just not a significant amount of power next to the other draws in the system.

      Rememeber all the power is needed for is moving things around, either air or water. There's not a compressor or anything.
  • This is EXACTLY the card you need when trying to prove to a bunch of your friends that you definately have spent the most money on a computer that can't quite outperform their slightly cheaper PC's...

    The real question is how can I waste even more money now that I've water cooled my 4 multicore intel's and my video card, ive got a freon injector over my 48channel sound card and my LCD monitor requires three projector screen stands just to hold it in place...

    Wait there's some external storage drives sha
  • ...on this caliber of subject matter appearing on Slashdot's front page. Guys... a video card cooling review? ffs.
  • by vijayiyer (728590) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @01:57AM (#15654814)
    So I'll get a video card instead.
    • Curiously, it was the opposite that made me buy my PS2, after years of resistance against consoles, being forced to buy one due to the ridiculous upgrade spiral new PC games put me on.

      It took me 4 years of upgrades to my computer so I could play MS Flight Simulator 2000 (in case you're wondering, parts are unconceivably ridiculously expensive where I live due to extreme imports taxes).

      My last disappointment was Battlefield 2. I have to upgrade my video card again (and perhaps my CPU, but the box says it wil

  • Thermaltake tidewave
    For anyone who wants this for the cheap. It's what Saphire have used in this card and you can get them for about £45.

    Warter is essential, haven't found a top end card yet which dosen't get too hot on a day like today.
  • Well i can say that for the last couple of months or so Nvidia and Ati have been showing some very impressive progress in their offerings. but you know what would impress me more ?

    well i will tell you, i would be more impressed if they could develop a video card that has a common seris socket for the GPU and Ram like a Motherboard that way i can upgrade the Chip and the ram like i do with my computer !.

    i mean come on Nvidia already has a Unified Driver Architecture so why not that too, a card like that woul

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