Overclocking & cooling
We were talking so much about overclocking this card, now we will share with you our experience. First of all, the cooler is really good. It is capable of radiating the extra heat generated from overclocking, and in comparison with Artic Cooling Accelero, it will perform similar. We are going to complain about noise, because this card sounds really loud at 80% of its speed.
Tried to push the air cooling.
With the default cooler it is easy to overclock the onboard memory from 1400 to 1600 MHz without compromises. We were a bit disappointed with GPU overclocking capabilities. Only 10%, which results in 640 MHz core. Inadequate cooling? No, there is a new problem.
As we have
found out, our card overclocked the same using the default cooler, Accelero,
and water cooling. The problem isn't in the GPU, or onboard memory, but in the
onboard power supply elements (voltage regulators). As you may have heard, ATI
has gone completely digital in this segment, and these elements heat up really
fast. By adding heat sinks to these elements, we have achieved another 20 MHz
to the GPU overclock.
Unfortunately, no matter how big fan was over this part of the graphical card, we couldn't attain higher clock frequencies. Maybe these voltage regulators are working at their max already.
We have added small coolers on these elements, as you can see on the picture, but it still didn't help.
To buy or not to buy? The problem is that ATI has two more X1950 models, so the decision is even harder. The great thing about this Asus card is that it is really cheap and it sells for only €150. That is a great price.
If you are
a gamer on the budget then you should consider X1950GT. Still, this card is only €30 cheaper but then again slower. X1950GT can
attain the clock speeds of the pro card, but it has slower onboard memory. This
slower memory makes the difference when you are playing in higher resolutions,
but again modern games are using more and more video memory, and here we come
to the second doubt.
Is 256MB enough? Frankly, no. If you have tried custom made high resolution textures for Oblivion (e.g. Quarl's texture packs), then you have seen that using big textures hits the performance dramatically. If you want to play in higher resolutions we suggest buying a 512MB version of 1950 pro.
However, the card is a good choice. It can handle most of the games even at higher resolutions, but with some details reduced. The strong point of this card are definitely pixel shaders. 36 of them, will allow you to play modern games that require extra pixel shading power. As for DirectX 10 games, they will come late 2007 anyway so you still have some time to enjoy the DirectX 9 hardware.