It's products such as the X1900 GT that serve the true needs of the gaming public. By dropping the level of the components a notch, these cards deliver excellent performance with smaller price tags.

Despite being a cheaper version of the X1900 XTX, the GT's specifications are far from average. The 256MB of DDR3 is fairly standard, as is the 256bit memory interface and the 0.09-micron manufacturing process, but the core clock speed is an impressive 575MHz. And the memory clock speed is only 60MHz off the XTX's figure.

More impressively, there are 36 pixel shader processors. This emphasis on pixel shader processors formed the backbone of the X1900 XTX's assault on the high-end cards market. Games programmers will soon be creating titles that make use of the programmable pixel shader processors – the XTX's 48 pixel shader processors therefore make it better equipped to handle future games. With the high cost of the X1900 XTX this is a gamble, but it makes a lot of sense on the more modest X1900 GT.

So the GT should improve with age. But for now, it struggled to keep up with the 7900 GT. Tested across a range of titles, it consistently finished around 4-5fps (frames per second) behind the 7900 GT at lower resolutions and detail levels.

At 1,600x1,200 with full anti-aliasing, the lead dropped slightly. Even so, it was only in Half-Life 2 that the X1900 GT managed to eke out a lead.

Sapphire's bundle is extremely good, giving you full video-in facilities, plus a choice of one of several free games – you can play all of them for a few minutes before making your final choice.

Sapphire X1900 GT: Specs

  • ATI Radeon X1900 GT graphics processor
  • 256MB DDR3 RAM
  • core clock 575MHz
  • memory clock 600MHz (1.2GHz DDR effective)
  • 0.09-micron manufacturing process
  • 36 pixel shader processors
  • 256bit memory interface
  • PCI Express interface
  • DirectX 9.0 support
  • DVI
  • video-in/out
  • ATI Radeon X1900 GT graphics processor
  • 256MB DDR3 RAM
  • core clock 575MHz
  • memory clock 600MHz (1.2GHz DDR effective)
  • 0.09-micron manufacturing process
  • 36 pixel shader processors
  • 256bit memory interface
  • PCI Express interface
  • DirectX 9.0 support
  • DVI
  • video-in/out

OUR VERDICT

This is a pretty decent card and its 36 pixel shader processors could yet prove decisive. For the time being though, the GeForce 7900 GT offers higher frame rates for only a few pounds more. As such, this has to be the second choice for those shopping around the £200 mark.

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