I actually tried Bioshock on an x1950 Pro (which uses the weaker R570 chip , as opposed to the top of the line R580 used in the X1900 versions) with the same A64 X2 4400 CPU , and it actually ran Bioshock surprisingly well.
full detail at 1280X1024 , and it generally ran in the 40-50fps range. maybe not too amazing, but not bad for an upper mid-range card from a year earlier.
Im still not sure what the heck is wrong with that 7950 . the corruption is visible during the boot up sequence, but Windows Safe mode will load just fine , as will normal Windows if I uninstall the drivers. I am using the latest BIOS and chipset drivers (this is a compatible board, according to ASUS) The only other card in this PC is an SB X-fi , so I can't imagine that causing the issue. the PSU is an Antec TP-550 , which should be more than capable too.
Bioshock really isn't all that demanding - it's Unreal based and lots of cards can run it well. My 4870X2 could run it at 2560x1600 with every setting at maximum, 16x AF, and 24x edge-detect AA enabled and achieve acceptable frame-rates, and on the other side my 7900GS also ran it just fine at lower resolution (and ofc no DX10 options). Oblivion is the one to watch though, especially if you're going to run with a lot of mods - it can easily become a more demanding game than Bioshock. 😊
On the card itself - corruption during bootup says, to me, BIOS enumeration problems with the bridge (and I don't put much stock in that nVidia and Asus claim the board is compatible - I own the ritzier SLI version of the board and it exhibits problems with these cards, when other boards that aren't on the list run them flawlessly - they are *not* universally compatible with PCIe boards), but issues within Windows during gaming may be heat, bad joints (I've never actually experienced this on a GeForce 7; I bring this up not to argue if it exists or not, but to say that I don't know what it looks like first-hand), or again BIOS compatibility problems. My advice is to try the card on another system and see if the issues persist, improve, or change.
On the PSU - absolutely AOK as long as it has decent 12V supply. nVidia massively over-stated the power requirements for GX2 and QuadSLI; if I remember right the first draft of system requirements said something like 800W PSU and you had reviewers doing entire QuadSLI systems on 400W PSUs without issues. My own QSLI testing used a Corsair 520W and in normal gaming it never broke 350W at the wall (that's with two 7950GX2s). Enabling 32x SLI-AA (which heavily loads the GPUs) took it up to around 400W. That's not bad at all. Especially for a modern PSU. 😀
well I managed to find an HIS branded X1900XT 512MB so we will see when I get the card, what drivers are the best in terms of stability/performance for it? the latest ones on AMD's site are the 10.2 I believe.
weird thing I noticed about the GX2 , is that while in some games like Quake4 , the GX2 was significantly faster than the X1950 Pro (that engine apparently really likes the Nvidia cards) , in Hitman , the maximum frame rate was almost the same, although there were less instances of slowdown during the most demanding parts of the game.
HIS makes nice cards IME (and a lot of them from that era had Arctic Silencers pre-installed), it should be a good choice (any powerful single GPU would be a good choice imho - I really don't care Radeon or GeForce or Quadro). I think 10.2 are fine as well - I can't recall any problems with them for either my HD 4800s, or the limited testing I've done with my X1600s. Do note that they REQUIRE .NET 2.0 and WILL NOT install it on their own; they will let you install with zero .NET resources on the system, and then when you restart throw errors all over about .NET not being present. Save yourself the headache and load up .NET beforehand if you don't already have it installed. .NET 1.1 (and its SP1) is easily found on Microsoft's website, but 2.0 is a web installer if you go through Microsoft. However Lenovo has the entire redistributable here: http://support.lenovo.com/us/en/downloads/ds002897 😎