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Posted:2006-04-21 By hardware review
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GeCube X1900 XTX , 


GeCube  X1900XTX REVIEW,



At this time ATI Radeon X1900 graphics processor is one of the fastest solutions in the field of consumer 3D graphics. Today we are going to take a closer look at one of the retail solutions based on this GPU – the Radeon X1900 XTX graphics card from GeCube, and try to find out what are the most attractive features of this product for the end-users.

A modern high-end graphics card is an extremely complex device not only because of the immense number of transistors the graphics processor consists of. Developing the printed circuit board for such a card is a challenging and resource-consuming task as it has to provide for stable operation of the GPU and graphics memory at frequencies above 500-600MHz. This gets even more complicated due to the 256-bit bus the GPU and memory communicate through. The power circuitry has to meet strict requirements, too, now that the power consumption level of today’s high-end card is as high as 80-120W.

So, developing an original PCB for a high-end graphics card is a risky and costly business for the graphics card manufacturer and if anything goes wrong due to some unaccounted-for factors, the card manufacturer’s reputation, and the GPU maker’s too, may suffer, not to mention the inevitable financial loss.

We’ve got the present situation as a result: all high-end graphics cards are now being made on facilities rented by ATI Technologies and Nvidia, the chief GPU makers in this world. The companies’ partners buy ready-made solutions and may equip them with an original cooler or change the clock rates and BIOS settings, but most often they only stick their own logo and supply original accessories. This is why there’s so much uniformity in the high-end graphics card sector, but on the other hand the user is guaranteed stability of operation because the GPU manufacturer should know better how to design PCBs for its own graphics processors.

The GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX graphics card that we are going to talk about today is yet another such product. Let’s see how it’s going to attract the potential customer.

GeCube  X1900 XTX

Package and Accessories

This is the box the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX comes to the retail market in.

The moderate-sized cardboard box is painted black and red colors; red-haired Ruby with a katana in hand and outlined in a flash of lightning is pictured on the front of the box. A sticker in the bottom right corner tells you there is a full version of the 3D tactical shooter Delta Force: Xtreme inside. The package looks all right, but lacks any catching details in our eyes. It may make it difficult for the card to attract a potential customer in a shop. The box contains the following, besides the graphics card

GeCube  X1900 XTX

  • User manual
  • Two DVI-I à D-Sub adapters
  • VIVO splitter (S-Video and RCA)
  • YPbPr splitter
  • External power splitter
  • S-Video cable
  • RCA cable
  • CD with drivers
  • CD with CyberLink PowerDVD 6
  • CyberLink CD with PowerDirector Pro 2.5 and Medi@Show SE
  • CD with Delta Force: Xtreme

There’s nothing extraordinary here, but you get everything you really need to install and use your GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX. The user manual is without any extras, but provides all the necessary information. The choice of the included game is somewhat questionable. Delta Force: Xtreme, although belongs to quite a remarkable series, doesn’t stand out among a lot of other similar projects. It is also a rather out-dated title, having been announced about one year ago, and cannot serve to demonstrate the capabilities of today’s graphics processors.

Curiously enough, the power adapter is like those included with Nvidia’s graphics cards, i.e. with two Molex connectors. All cards with ATI’s GPUs on board have previously been shipped with an adapter that had one Molex plug. It makes sense, considering the Radeon X1900 XTX can draw over 70 watts from the external connector. The connection resistance is two times smaller with the two connectors instead of one. This helps to avoid overheat and make the connection more reliable. Well, many modern power supplies are originally equipped with one or two cables for PCI Express graphics cards, so the mentioned adapter may not be necessary to you at all.

The rest of the accessories included with the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX graphics card are quite ordinary and we have no complaints about them.

PCB Design GeCube  X1900 XTX

The graphics card doesn’t differ from the reference sample and is an exact replica of the card  Radeon X1900 XTX

There’s only a paper label on the reverse side of the PCB that tells you this is indeed a GeCube product: GC-X1900XTXD-VIE3. They even left intact the picture of Ruby on the cooler’s casing and the ATI logo on the fan motor card.

Eight Samsung K4J52324QC-BJ11 GDDR3 chips in 136-pin FBGA packaging are installed on board the card. The total amount of graphics memory is 512MB and it is clocked at 775MHz exactly as described by the Radeon X1900 XTX specification. As usual, the memory contacts the cooler’s base via rubber-like heat-conductive pads. Its efficiency is rather low, particularly due to their excessive thickness, yet they cool the chips all right. The graphics processor works at 650MHz as described in the official specs, too. Very thick dark-gray thermal paste with low thermal resistance is employed as an interface between the GPU and the cooler.

The card carries a Rage Theater chip that endows it with VIVO functionality. You cannot use the video output and connect an YPbPr-interfaced device simultaneously because the appropriate adapters need the same connector. This is a drawback of almost all graphics cards with VIVO support, though.

The cooling system installed on the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX was first examined by us . Its origin can be traced back to the Radeon X850 XT cooler and its design implies that the hot air is exhausted out of the PC case. The thick copper foundation and the use of heat pipes help this cooler cope with the high heat dissipation of the R580 chip. Unfortunately, the level of noise isn’t always comfortable because the cooler’s plastic casing works as a resonator when the fan speed is increased. It’s even not the level of noise, but the “plastic” tone in its sound due to the resonance that is irritating

Noise, Overclocking, 2D Quality GeCube  X1900 XTX review

The GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX is an exact copy of the reference Radeon X1900 XTX from ATI, and its cooling system behaves absolutely alike. The fan works at its max speed when the computer is turned on and is really hard to bear, but then slows down in steps to become almost silent. The speed of the fan would go up sometimes during our tests – the fan speed control circuit must have reacted to the GPU temperature getting higher, but the noise remained at a comfortable level even though with that irritating “plastic” quality.

The reviewed graphics card from GeCube is at the very top of the current Radeon X1900 series, so we didn’t expect it to be any good at overclocking. That was indeed so: the maximum frequencies the card was stable at were 675MHz GPU and 800 (1600) MHz memory. This review is about practical and inexpensive rather than extreme overclocking, so we only added a 120mm fan to blow alongside the card’s PCB. This is why we didn’t achieve any wonders, but you should be aware that the frequency potential of the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX, and of any high-end graphics card for that matter, is almost exhausted even without any overclocking. The card is already working near its limit. Better overclocking results may be achieved by using water-based or cryogen cooling and by modifying the power circuit, but such experiments are rather expensive and involve not a small risk of damaging the card in the process.

The quality of 2D image provided by the card was expectably high in all display modes, including 1800x1440@75Hz and 1600x1200@85Hz. The GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX delivers a sharp picture without any fuzziness or shadowing which are sometimes observed with very inexpensive no-name products that use non-standard PCBs and low-cost components

Testbed and Methods GeCube  X1900 XTX review

We tested the performance of our today’s hero on the following platform:

  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 CPU (2x2.60GHz, 2x1MB L2 cache)
  • AsusA8N32-SLI Deluxe mainboard (Nvidia nForce4 SLI X16 chipset)
  • OCZ PC3200 Platinum EL DDR SDRAM (2 x 1GB, CL2-3-2-5)
  • Samsung SpinPoint SP1213C hard disk drive (Serial ATA-150, 8MB buffer) and Maxtor MaXLine III 7B250S0 hard disk drive (Serial ATA-150, 16MB buffer)
  • Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 sound card
  • Enermax Liberty 620W power supply (ELT620AWT, 620W)
  • Dell P1130 and Dell P1110 monitors (21”, 1800x1440@75Hz max display mode)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2 with DirectX 9.0c
  • ATI Catalyst 6.3
  • Nvidia ForceWare 84.21

We set up the ATI and Nvidia drivers in the same way as always:

ATI Catalyst:

  • Catalyst A.I.: Standard
  • Mipmap Detail Level: Quality
  • Wait for vertical refresh: Always off
  • Adaptive antialiasing: Off
  • Temporal antialiasing: Off
  • Quality AF: Off
  • Other settings: default

Nvidia ForceWare:

  • Image Settings: Quality
  • Vertical sync: Off
  • Trilinear optimization: On
  • Anisotropic mip filter optimization: Off
  • Anisotropic sample optimization: On
  • Gamma correct antialiasing: On
  • Transparency antialiasing: Off
  • Other settings: default

We select the highest graphics quality settings in each game, identical for graphics cards from ATI and Nvidia, except for the Pacific Fighters flight simulator that requires vertex texturing for its Shader Model 3.0 rendering mode. Radeon X1000 doesn’t support this feature therefore we ran the game in Shader Model 2.0 in this case. We did not edit the configuration files of the games. To measure the performance we either used the integrated tools of the games we tested in, or if there were none available, resorted to FRAPS utility. If it was possible, we measured minimal performance as well.

To load the video subsystem to the full extent and to minimize the influence of the CPU speed on the performance results we didn’t test the systems in the “pure speed” mode. We only ran the tests in “eye candy” mode with full-screen anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. It is not only about more optimal use of the graphics subsystem potential. We get much higher image quality in this mode than in case no FSAA and/or no anisotropic filtering are used.

We turned on full-screen antialiasing and anisotropic filtering from the game’s own menu if possible. Otherwise we forced the necessary mode from the ATI Catalyst and Nvidia ForceWare graphics card driver. We didn’t test the card in overclocked mode, because the overall frequency increase during overclocking was not that significant. Besides GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX, we have also included the following graphics cards:

Performance in First-Person 3D Shooters

battlefield 2 - GeCube  X1900 XTX  BENCHMARK


The recently released GeForce 7900 GTX has shattered the previously unrivalled dominance of the Radeon X1900 XTX except where an efficient and fast graphics memory subsystem is crucial for the overall result (such cases are full-screen antialiasing in high resolutions or extremely high, above 4x, levels of antialiasing).

The hero of this review is still unrivalled in this test and it enjoys a 15% lead over the GeForce 7900 GTX in 1600x1200. The average performance is over 100fps in this case, so even the most demanding gamer won’t be left unsatisfied.

The Chronicles of Riddick GeCube  X1900 XTX  BENCHMARK


Even if the GeForce 7900 GTX didn’t exist, the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX would still lose this round to the GeForce 7800 GTX 512. So, the GeCube is 15% slower than the GeForce 7900 GTX in every resolution – Nvidia’s card boasts a much more efficient OpenGL driver and can process two times more Z-values per clock cycle which helps a lot at rendering stencil shadows. The resolution of 1600x1200 is hardly available to owners of the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX although the average performance is quite close to comfortable for this game genre.

Call of Duty 2 GeCube  X1900 XTX  BENCHMARK


The GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX fails to take the first place in Call of Duty 2 , either. The recently released GeForce 7900 GTX is noticeably faster and allows playing the game with comfort in 1280x1024 with enabled full-screen antialiasing and anisotropic filtering. A curious fact is that there is little profit from the 48 pixel processors: the results of the Radeon X1800 XT and the Radeon X1900 XT are nearly identical.

Doom 3 GeCube  X1900 XTX  BENCHMARK


It’s like in The Chronicles of Riddick , except that the GeForce 7900 GTX is not so far ahead of the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX. The gap amounts to 10% in 1600x1200 which is very little considering the overall predilection of the Doom 3 game engine towards the GeForce 6/7 architecture. The GeCube card is only 4.7fps slower than the GeForce 7900 GTX in that resolution, their absolute speeds being about 57-62fps. So, this resolution seems to be available for comfortable play on either of the two graphics cards.

Far Cry GeCube  X1900 XTX  BENCHMARK


The GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX yields over 90fps in 1600x1200 with enabled FSAA and anisotropic filtering, leaving the rest of the participating graphics cards behind. In lower resolutions the GeForce 7900 GT drops out of the common group due to its lower GPU and graphics memory clock rates.


It’s the same on the Research map. Note the huge difference – about 20% – between the Radeon X1900 XT and the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX. We can’t explain this since the clock rates of the cards differ but very little. Can it be that the extra 25MHz of GPU frequency produce such a colossal effect here?



The GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX is the best in 1600x1200 resolution, but its performance is already too low for comfortable play. In the lower resolutions the GeCube is a little slower than the GeForce 7900 GTX, by less than 5%. As you remember, the cards are doing full-screen antialiasing here.

Half-Life 2 GeCube  X1900 XTX  BENCHMARK


The GeCube enjoys a certain lead in resolutions higher than 1024x768, but Half-Life 2 is such an easy application for today’s graphics hardware that even the GeForce 7900 GT, the slowest card in this review, easily gives you more than 60fps in 1600x1200 with turned-on full-screen antialiasing.

Performance in Third-Person 3D Shooters x1900xt

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory GeCube  X1900 XTX  BENCHMARK


The GeCube is confidently ahead of the others in resolutions above 1024x768. It is a little slower than the GeForce 7900 GTX in 1024x768 when there’s a rather small load on the graphics memory and the higher scene fill rate brings victory to Nvidia’s card. Note that even in that resolution you get a bigger speed reserve with the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX (although this is not so very important for a third-person shooter).

Performance in Simulators x1900xt review

Pacific Fighters GeCube  X1900 XTX  BENCHMARK


The engine of this game was originally oriented towards the GeForce 6 and 7 architectures and Nvidia’s cards have always been and remain superior to Radeon X1000 series products in this test. Even so, you can play this game in 1280x1024 with enabled FSAA and anisotropic filtering on the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX. You should be aware that you can’t get the best-quality water surface in this game because none of Radeon X1000 series chips supports vertex texturing. This has been a prerogative of GeForce 6/7 series cards so far.

Performance in Semi-Synthetic x1900xt review

Aquamark3 GeCube  X1900 XTX  BENCHMARK


Aquamark3 benefits from higher fillrate of the GeForce 7900 GTX, but cannot take advantage of the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX potential, because there are hardly any pixel shaders 2.0, not to mention 3.0 in this application. Moreover, even in test modes with FSAA, the benchmark doesn’t load the memory subsystem that much and ATI grahics cards cannot benefit from their ring bus memory controller. So, GeForce 7900 GTX once again proves that it is extremely well fitted for older games and benchmarks.

Performance in Synthetic x1900xt review

Futuremark 3DMark05 build 120 GeCube  X1900 XTX  BENCHMARK


The first prize here belongs to GeCube solution. The flagship Nvidia card yields about 700 points to the leader here, but at the same time it is slightly ahead of Radeon X1900 XT working at lower frequencies than Radeon X1900 XTX

Futuremark 3DMark06 build 120 GeCube  X1900 XTX  BENCHMARK



Although 3DMark06 is a more contemporary and more complex benchmark than 3DMark05, GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX yields to GeForce 7900 GTX with standard test settings. There is nothing really surprising about it: the fillrate of the Nvidia’s flagship product is much higher. As for the pixel shader processing speed, Nvidia’s solution ran mostly as fast as Radeon X1900 XTX 9and sometimes even faster). And as for FSAA, it is not enabled in 3DMark test suites by default.

Conclusion  GeCube  X1900 XTX  review

Having tested GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX graphics adapter we have every right to say that it boasts all the advantages and drawbacks of an ATI R580 based graphics card. It is one of the today’s most powerful graphics accelerators that is especially efficient in high resolutions with enabled FSAA as well as in those applications that deal with simultaneous processing of numerous complex pixel shaders. Like any other Radeon X1900, GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX is often defeated by GeForce 7900 GTX, especially in those OpenGL games that require high fillrate.

However, just like any other Radeon X1900 solution, GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX has more promising long-term prospective than GeForce 7900. The main reason for us to think so is the overall tendency that we have been observing in the today’s gaming world towards more numerous and more complex instructions in the gaming pixel shaders. Therefore, Radeon X1900 with its 48 pixel processors looks much more confident in this environment.

As for the actual solution offered by GeCube, we cannot make any specific conclusion about it: it is an exact copy of the reference board. To be more exact, the card itself is manufactured together with all other Radeon X1900 products and doesn’t really differ from what most other vendors have to offer.

The accessories bundled with the card are not very numerous, which is slightly disappointing, because this product belongs to the high-performance graphics solutions. But at the same time it doesn’t have anything excessive that could have affected the price of the GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX. From this standpoint, our hero is a complete opposite to what Asustek Computer has to offer: they pack their top-notch graphics solutions with all sorts of accessories.

So, GeCube Radeon X1900 XTX is a pretty attractive buy for those computer users who need the ultimate performance and do not really care about the far not free-of-charge goodies they get together with the card.


  • High performance in most applications
  • Excellent performance with enabled FSAA and anisotropic filtering
  • Transparent textures anti-aliasing
  • 512MB of graphics memory, efficient Shader Model 3.0 implementation, 48 pixel processors – great reserve for the future
  • Hardware H.264 decoding and other HD formats support (Avivo engine)
  • Dual-link DVI support.


  • High power consumption
  • Higher level of noise than that of the competitor’s solutions
  • Lower performance in OpenGL applications where high fillrate is required
  • Few bundled accessories.


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