We won't lie! The original Radeon X1950PRO from ATI didn't excite us - it has let us down a number of times already in terms of cost vs. performance. But when word came that GeCube were mixing it up, like they did in the old days with the Radeon 9600XT Extreme, our hopes began to rise. Unfortunately nVidia had one big cannon out ready and waiting and was ready to shoot down the red team.
The X1950PRO continues to disappoint. You have to look at a few things before you simply think we're being too harsh on either ATI or GeCube;
Size - Taking up near enough to three slots, it's not an ideal solution. Sure, an 8800GTS takes up two slots, but look at the performance you get out of it. What are we sacrificing all this space for here? Some special and unique cooler - that seems about it.
Loud - GeCube say that a couple of ultra silent fans are included but "ultra silent" compared to what? Sleeping next to a freight depot that has mach trucks leaving every five minutes? Unfortunately it is NOT ultra silent; we wouldn't say it's silent or even quiet, to any degree.
Performance vs. Price - It wins out a few times against the GeForce 7950GT and it also offers a very nice performance increase when compared to the standard model. But the problem is this is coming at an expense. The standard Radeon X1950PRO comes in at around $300 AUD with the 7950GT being closer to $380 AUD. The GeCube Champion Edition should retail in Australia for around $375 - $400 AUD, making it quite an expensive option when you begin considering value for money.
This card is also overclocked to its max; it's not going to do anymore. nVidia's GeForce 7950GT on the other hand is still at it stocks speed and has plenty of overclocking headroom, only uses a single slot, isn't as loud as the Champion Edition and is not limited to the Catalyst Control Center for overclocking.
We like the GeCube brand - we have had lots of graphics cards come from them and given them plenty of awards over the years. They offer a cheap card normally thanks to the lack of bundle - that's not a big deal, that's the market they go for. We like them so much for this very reason but - and it kills me to say it - this card offers nothing! Nothing that can justify what it's going to cost and what the consumer wants is value. The FZ Cooler would have been better placed on a high-end card such as the Radeon X1950XT and overclocked out of the box to avoid any confusion of the maximum OC.
Yes, performance is quite good and faster than the GeForce 7950GT sometimes. Though, do not forget that the 7950GT is stock clocked. When you get into overclocking, as far as dollars spent go, and even though the GeCube Champion Edition is quite a unique and interesting product, your money could be spent better.