It may be early days yet but response to ATI's latest chipset, the Radeon X1900 GT and the intended rival to NVIDIA's GeForce 7900 GT, seems rather muted. At least that's our gut feeling since sales figures aren't available. The fact that not many manufacturers (as indicated by a survey of online retailers) seem to be shipping this chipset would appear to support our instincts. Either ATI and its partners are unable to produce enough, or there is just not that much interest in this chipset.
Has ATI lost the battle for mind share for this generation's graphics cards? It would appear so. Name a mid-range graphics card. Does NVIDIA's GeForce 7600 GT come to mind first or the Radeon X1800 GTO? On the high-end - Radeon X1900 XTX or GeForce 7900 GTX? SLI or CrossFire? NVIDIA's latest SLI wonder - the GeForce 7950 GX2 also contributes to this subtle winning of hearts and minds, something that ATI was unable to counter except by putting a positive spin on benchmark numbers. Even if you are a staunch ATI supporter, you can't deny that the variety of products is clearly on the green field (and that's something you can easily prove it to yourself with a little leg work or a couple of online retailers).
The good news is that reality is hardly ever a stark choice between black and white. So the majority may know or have heard of the GeForce 7900 GT, but ATI is no slouch in the marketing department too and most would know about the rivalry between the two. Comparison shoppers would explore alternatives, read reviews and realize that the GeForce 7900 GT is not the outright champion in benchmarks as some would think initially. The Radeon X1900 GT can actually hold its own in certain benchmarks and games. Discerning users may prefer the Radeon X1900 GT for its ability to reproduce high dynamic range rendering and anti-aliasing together, something that NVIDIA can't replicate yet. Some may get better performance at unconventional resolutions with a Radeon X1900 GT while others may view the onboard Rage Theatre chip as an additional feature. It all boils down to the primary uses of each individual, right down to the specific games played.
So for those who have not made up their minds about their next high-end graphics card, here's our take on MSI's version of the Radeon X1900 GT 256MB. First, a glimpse of the card and the technical mumbo jumbo: