ATI's Radeon X1950 XTX graphics cards


...and family
— 6:40 AM on August 23, 2006

PC GRAPHICS TECHNOLOGY HAS EARNED itself a reputation as a fast-moving locus of innovation, and that rep is certainly well deserved. Still, the much-ballyhooed talk of six-month product cycles and the breakneck pace of change is a little bit overheated. About 25% of everything that happens in PC graphics involves truly novel innovations, such as new GPU microarchitectures with features never seen before. The rest is mostly just dance remixes.

Today is a day of dance remixes for ATI. You can hear the thump-thump-thump of the drum track throbbing in the background if you listen closely. Fresh off the announcement of its public engagement to AMD, the red team has cued up five new Radeon video cards, from the low end to the very high end, and they are all remakes of already familiar tunes.

Fortunately, in the world of video cards, remixes actually bring improvements most of the time. They tend to offer more graphics horsepower at lower prices, not just a torrid, syncopated rhythm from a drum sequencer. The new flavors of Radeons range from the X1950 XTX at just under five hundred bucks to the X1300 XT at well under a hundred. In the middle of the pack is a potential gem for PC enthusiasts: a new $279 version of the Radeon X1900 XT that looks to redefine the price-performance equation. Keep reading for the info on ATI's revamped lineup, including our tests of the most appealing cards for enthusiasts.

   
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