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Review: GeCube vs Sapphire - Radeon X1950 Pro AGP: the must-have upgrade?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 4 April 2007, 08:35

Tags: ATi Technologies (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaiaf

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GeCube GC-HV195PGA3-D3 X1950 Pro AGP appearance

GeCube's Radeon X1950 Pro AGP is a single-slot-taking graphics card that, apart from the obvious AGP connector, looks like the company's PCI-Express version.

However, for GeCube to effectively use the 8x AGP interface on a GPU that was designed for native PCI-Express connectivity, ATI's Rialto PCIe-to-AGP bridging ASIC needs to be added to the PCB, on the back.

The topside heatsink - a Jeff Fu-designed all-copper heatsink creation - concurrently cools the memory chips, too.

Our early sample was pre-overclocked, but looking at GeCube's specification page the card should ship at default X1950 Pro frequencies, that is, 575MHz core and 1380MHz GDDR3 memory.

The heatsink's fan isn't thermostatically controlled and, as such, is very noisy; certainly loud enough for it to be discernible in quiet systems.

Any current midrange card, if ported over to AGP, is going to require an external power connector. GeCube adds in the 6-pin variety that's commonly found on most PCIe SKUs.

Looking at the rear, the GeCube GC-HV195PGA3-D3 (RoHS) is outfitted with a couple of dual-link DVI ports. GeCube proclaims HDCP compliance, but it's worth knowing that only the right-hand port, as you look at it, is HDCP compliant.

The large heatsink on the back of the card is what keeps the aforementioned ATI Rialto bridging chip cool, as well as providing a modicum of cooling for associated power circuitry.

Eagle-eyed readers will also notice that, being based on AGP, the CrossFire fingers are missing. There's no point in adding to the production cost for the simple reason that AGP-based motherboards ship with only one graphics-based slot, so no real multi-GPU fun for you guys.


GeCube's GC-HV195PGA3-D3, priced at around Ā£140, should offer similar performance to a single-card PCIe setup; it ships with the same clock speeds and framebuffer size (256MiB). We'd recommend GeCube use a thermostatically-controlled fan for shipping models, however.