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ASUS Radeon EAX1950 Pro Video Card in CrossFire: Today we fire up two reasonably priced Asus video cards and compare single vs CrossFire performance.
Date: February 21, 2007
Written By: Mike Hermon

Like most hardware people I spend a lot of time visiting different forums, on almost every forum I visit I always see at least one post that goes something like this. "Why would you buy two brand XXX video cards when you can get one top of the line brand XXX card that performs better" I always have a one word, simple answer "FINANCES" Not everyone can drop $500-$700 in one chunk on a top of the line video card, spending a couple hundred here, and a couple hundred there is a lot easier to swallow for the majority of the hardware buying public. I've never owned a top of the line, bleeding edge state of the art video card, maybe I don't know what I'm missing, but for my money, I want it to stretch as far as possible and lucky for me the manufacturers know there are millions of buyers out there just like me.

Up on the test bench today is the . I won't be comparing it to another card, instead I'll be comparing Crossfire vs. no Crossfire, is the extra performance worth an extra $200. The EAX1950 Pro comes in two versions, one is the standard and one is the Crossfire edition, the only difference in the two is the Crossfire edition includes the two Crossfire bridges you will need to run in Crossfire mode, as far as the cards go they are identical, so if you only need a single card and don't plan on using crossfire, stick with the regular edition and save yourself a few bucks at the checkout.

The EAX1950 Pro is based on the RV570 core running at 581MHz clock speed and 702MHz GDDR3 using a 256-Bit memory interface. The EAX1950 Pro is Windows Vista ready AND HDCP ready.

From the Asus website these are the technical specs of the card.

Graphics Engine
Video Memory
256MB DDR3
Engine Clock
Memory Clock
1.4GHz (702MHz DDR3)
Memory Interface
Max Resolution
2048 X 1536
Bus Standard
PCI Express X16
VGA Output
YES, via DVI to VGA Adapter
HDTV Output
YES, S-Video to HDTV Out
TV Output
YES, S-Video to Composite
DVI Output
Dual DVI Output
HDCP Support
Adapter/Cable bundled
DVI to VGA adapter
Power Cable
HDTV-Out Cable
Software Bundled
ASUS Utilities & Driver
Power Supply Requirement:
1. 450-Watt power supply or greater, 30 Amps, 12 volt rail is recommended (assumes fully loaded system)
2. For CrossFire™: 550 watt power supply or greater, 38 Amps, 12 volt rail

The card arrived padded in pre cut foam in a nice looking, thin retail box, you wont find a lot of extras with this bundle, no games you most likely wont play, no "free" software you most likely already have multiple copies of anyway. This not only helps keep costs down, which I am all for, but it also cuts down on the loads of junk you either have to find a place to store or get rid of.

What you will find in the bundle is the card itself, driver CD, manual on CD, quick start guide, DVI to VGA adapter, HDTV out cable, Molex to PCI power adapter and a CD wallet. If you get the Crossfire edition you will also get two Crossfire bridges, the standard edition does not come with them.

The card itself is longer than most cards I have dealt with, so that may be something to consider if space is a concern. The cooler on the card is large and does take up an additional slot, it is a heatpipe based design with a fan at the front of the card that blows air across the GPU, through the fins and out the back, the heatpipe further aids in cooling by transferring heat away from the GPU to the fins that the fan cools. The cooler is attached to the card using a metal bracket on the back. Not only does it appear to be an effective design, but it looks good to.

If you have been keeping up with Crossfire, and have been paying attention to the review so far you might have noticed the mention of Crossfire bridges, Yes that's right you no longer need a master card or an ugly, awkward dongle hanging off the back of your case to run in Crossfire mode. ATI has gone to an "onboard" Crossfire much like Nvidia and their SLI bridge. ATI however uses two bridges compared to NVIDIA's one. Keep in mind the standard EAX1950 Pro does not come with any Crossfire bridges.

Test Setup:

The test system I'll be using is as follows,
Windows XP w/SP2
Intel 3.4GHz P4 socket 775
Foxconn 975X7AA-8EKRS2H
2 X WD Raptor 74GB SATA HDD
Asus Dual Layer DVD burner
Tagan TurboJet 1100W PSU

Games used will be

Battlefield 2
Half-Life 2 Episode 1
Quake 4
Tomb Raider Legend: Next Generation Features

The driver settings were manually configured for AntiAliasing and Anisotropic Filtering enabled (4xAA and 16xAF respectively), and set to "Quality" via the video driver's control panel. All games were set to their highest allowable game settings and patched to the latest versions. FRAPS was used to capture the scores.


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