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Desktops

ATI X1900 XTX graphics card delivers teraflop performance

ATI has leapfrogged over Nvidia in the perpetual battle for graphics-card supremacy with its ridiculously quick Radeon X1900 XTX

Today ATI lifted the lid on its flagship graphics card, the Radeon X1900 XTX. Ours arrived a few days ago -- delivered under the cover of darkness by armed men in dark suits.

Reading from the accompanying technical document (which inevitably self-destructed after ten seconds), it becomes clear why the X1900 XTX is set to be the new reigning champion of graphics cards. Codenamed 'R580', the card is said to have 100 times the power of a Pentium 4-based PC, and provides over half a teraflop of computing power.

It has a graphics processing unit (GPU) clocked at 650MHz, an effective memory speed of 1.55GHz, and 48 shader units (three times that of its predecessor) for delivering ultra-realistic scenes.

The arrival of the X1900 XTX is a welcome one for ATI, especially as the company's last flagship card, the much-hyped X1800 XT, failed to make as big an impression as it had hoped.

According to ATI's own figures, the X1900 XTX can run F.E.A.R. at over 160fps at a resolution of 1,600x1,200 pixels with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering enabled. By comparison, Nvidia's top card, the GeForce 7800 GTX 512, manages a mere 100fps.

The X1900 XTX should cost around £360, but there's a slightly slower version, the X1900 XT, with a 625MHz GPU and 1.45GHz effective memory speed, for around £310. There's also the All In Wonder X1900 with an integrated TV tuner, and an X1900 Crossfire Edition card, which lets you run two ATI graphics cards simultaneously for over 1 teraflop of computing power.

We think it's only right that we give the XTX an intensive once-over, so we're off to lock ourselves in a dark room with a few of the latest games. Watch out for a review shortly. -RR