IntroductionYesterday saw Sapphire launch their watercooled TOXIC Radeon X1950 XTX. With pre-plumbed cooling and guaranteed clock speeds over and above the standard reference ones, we managed to snag a quick snapshot look recently to see if it's any good. Coming clocked at 695/1000, up from 650/1000, the TOXIC Radeon X1950 XTX represents Sapphire's attempt at more performance for no more noise, in the same space, using watercooling for the graphics core.
So before you get stuck in to this snapshot, we suggest a read of our look at the TOXIC Radeon X1900 XTX first, if you haven't seen it already. The X1950 XTX version is identical in terms of the cooler, how it all fits together, how you install it, etc. It saves us repeating ourselves and keeps things short and sweet for all concerned.
Read that and refamiliarised yourself with what a TOXIC watercooled Sapphire Radeon is and means? Good, onwards to the card and cooler.
The Boards and CoolerThe standard board is first up:
Sapphire apply heatsinks to each DRAM module since replacing the reference cooler with the TOXIC one means the DRAMs aren't actively cooled as they used to be. Notice the X1950 XTX labelling to confirm that's what SKU it is, since the cooler says otherwise on these pre-retail examples.
It comes pre-plumbed to the card as before, so you just plug and play as you would with any other graphics board, connecting up power to the cooler section so the pump and fan can do their thing. The 'X1900' stickering will be changed for full retail examples, we're told.
The CrossFire board is much the same, although it seems you get a double-wide backplane (possibly because a single-slot version doesn't exist quite yet).
Testing wasn't without issue, sadly. The screws on the top of the cooler can foul on boards placed in front, so be careful when you're installing the TOXIC with another board placed right next to it. More seriously, depending on how you get your TOXIC, the clips retaining the hose to the waterblock might well poke out towards any board in front, too. They stick up much further than the screws on the cooler do, further limiting what you can stick in the slot in front of the board. Therefore depending on your TOXIC (it's not clear if full retail examples will have the clips moved, and it's not easy to do so on your own, if at all without having to drain and refill the whole thing), you could run in to trouble depending on the slot configuration on your mainboard.
That means, realistically, the entire thing can be called a three-slot solution if it ships as our samples did, unless you put half-height boards in front of the graphics one so the top of the PCB on the half-height board is underneath the protruding hose clips. Further, testing on an ASUS P5W DH Deluxe, where there's a PCIe x1 slot above the first PCIe x16 slot, where you'd potentially want to put the cooler section, had the cooler fouling on the end tabs of the DIMM slots. So depending on your mainboard the product may not actually fit properly.