Sapphire Radeon X1950 PRO Dual video card review
Mention the word 'Gemini' to any ATI fan, and you're liable to see them break out in a cold sweat of excitement. For some time now, this code name has been floating around the web, standing for ATI's attempt to follow in the footsteps laid most recently by NVIDIA's GeForce 7900 and 7950 GX2 parts - That is, offering dual-GPU performance via two cores, but using only a single graphics board.
Despite many months of hearing whispers about Gemini, and seeing the odd proof of concept board from AIBs at trade shows, we've still been yet to see an actual, final product hit retail shelves - Until now. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's ATI's largest AIB partner, Sapphire, who have been first to step up to the plate with a final, retail Gemini-based design, taking two RV570 cores which make up the hugely popular Radeon X1950 PRO, tying them together in a CrossFire configuration with a PCI Express bridge chip on the board, feeding each core with 512MB of RAM and creating the Radeon X1950 PRO Dual.
Of course, this kind of configuration raises several questions - How will two cores on a single board perform compared to a 'true' CrossFire configuration? How does it compare price-wise to two standard Radeon X1950 PRO boards? Will the thing even fit in my case?! All of these questions and more we'll be attempting to answer over the course of this review, as we put the Radeon X1950 PRO Dual through its paces.