Let’s recap what we’ve discovered on our benchmarking.
On 3DMark03, which simulates older games, GeForce 7900 GT was 6%-8% faster than Radeon X1950 Pro at 1600×1200 and at 1920×1440 with no image quality enhancements enabled. They called for a tie at 1920×1440 and 2048×1536 both with image quality enhancements enabled and Radeon X1950 Pro was around 8% faster then GeForce 7900 GT at 2048×1536 with no image quality enhancements enabled. GeForce 7950 GT was between 27% and 35% faster than Radeon X1950 Pro, depending on the configuration we used.
On 3DMark06, which simulates newer games and puts HDR (High Dynamic Range) into the equation, Radeon X1950 Pro was between 14% and 17% faster than GeForce 7900 GT. In fact, we were impressed by the fact that on this program Radeon X1950 Pro was between 17% and 20% faster than GeForce 7800 GTX. Here GeForce 7950 GT was a little bit faster than Radeon X1950 Pro (3%-5%).
Games based on Doom 3 engine like Quake 4 is still a painful place for ATI-based video cards. On this game Radeon X1950 Pro was worse than all other video cards we included in our benchmark.
On F.E.A.R. Radeon X1950 Pro achieved a terrific performance when no image quality settings were enabled: it was between 10% and 14% faster than GeForce 7950 GT and between 34% and 36% faster than GeForce 7900 GT. But when we maxed out image quality settings, GeForce 7950 GT became between 11% and 27% faster and GeForce 7900 GT achieved the same performance level of Radeon X1950 Pro, except at 1920×1440 where the card from PowerColor was 12% faster.
On Far Cry with no image quality enhancements enabled GeForce 7900 GT and Radeon X1950 Pro achieved the same performance level, while GeForce 7950 GT was between 13% and 19% faster. When we maxed out image quality settings, GeForce 7900 GT became between 7% and 10% faster and difference to GeForce 7950 GT increased a lot, to something between 28% and 31%.
Finally on Battlefield 2142 Radeon X1950 Pro was slower than competing video cards when no image quality settings were on (GeForce 7900 GT was between 4% and 9% faster and GeForce 7950 GT was between 24% and 29% faster), but when we enabled image quality settings, it achieved the same performance level of GeForce 7900 GT at 1600×1200 and became between 8% and 10% faster than this video card on higher resolutions. At this scenario GeForce 7950 GT was between 13% and 14% faster.
Radeon X1950 Pro is an interesting competitor to GeForce 7900 GT – if you don’t play Quake 4 or Doom 3, of course. This model from PowerColor can be found for USD 250, on average, ten to fifteen bucks cheaper than a GeForce 7900 GT also with VIVO function from MSI (keep in mind that we need to compare apples to apples). And you get a terrific cooling solution for free.
This would mean a terrific buy, but there are other things you need to put into the equation.
If you have USD 250 and don’t want VIVO function, GeForce 7950 GT offers a far better cost/benefit ratio, as it is faster and costs the same thing. If you like fancy coolers there is a Gigabyte model with a cooler from Zalman for “only” USD 240 at Newegg.com. Honestly, this is our pick at the USD 250 range.
If you don’t want VIVO function but want to buy a Radeon X1950 Pro, you can find one for something between USD 160 and USD 180 – and ASUS has one with a fancy low noise cooler as well.
And also, if you can afford, there is the new GeForce 8800 GTS with 320 MB at the USD 300 range (but with no VIVO function).