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» Channels :: Graphics Card
GeCube Radeon X800 GTO 256MB (PCIe)
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Friday, 16th September, 2005
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  


Adding More Oomph to the GT

In the past few months since the launch of NVIDIA's GeForce 7800 GTX cards in mid June, there has been an almost unprecedented amount of activity in the graphics industry. You would assume that with the launch of the new generation of cards from NVIDIA, things would settle down. NVIDIA would be busy marketing its new toys and reaping the rewards of its earlier launch; ATI should be slogging to solve its yield problems and get its own next generation R520 chip out as soon as possible. On the contrary, we have had an increase in competition spearheaded by a spate of new product releases from both companies.

To quote just a few choice examples: from ATI, we have had the Radeon X800 GT and the X550. NVIDIA too has announced the GeForce 6800XT, 6600LE and 6500. Some of these, will only be available to OEM vendors but still, the number of such product releases (and its increasingly confusing suffixes) seems to look like one-upmanship from both sides. After all, the products released are mainly concentrated in the highly competitive lower and middle range market segment and where notably, ATI still stands a fighting chance in the absence of the R520. Moreover, these products are usually offshoots of existing chip SKUs, with either beefed up or scaled down graphics and memory chips, depending on which market niche it is targeted at. These chips, which would otherwise have depreciated quickly when the new generation parts start to appear, are recycled in these 'new' products, allowing the companies to get rid of their older inventory.

The buzz generated by the freshness of these products is another consideration. Instead of flogging a relatively dead end product like ATI's Radeon X800 which didn't really set any standard due to its awkward positioning for example, why not reuse the same graphics processor, tweak its pipelines, slap on a new suffix and voila, a 'new' product is born without the taint of the previous, unsuccessful one.

It is in such chaotic and frenzied times that yet another Radeon graphics card enters the world, this time, it is the Radeon X800 GTO. With a suffix that invokes speed demons and racing cars, ATI has positioned the Radeon X800 GTO as a minor step up from the Radeon X800 GT (itself another recent launch). Like the Radeon X800 GT, the GTO is made up of a mixture of cores; either the R423, R430 or the R480. It is also available in two flavors, with a frame buffer size of 128MB or 256MB.

Regardless of the memory size, the core clock speed of the GTO is rated at 400MHz, slower than the Radeon X800 GT by around 75MHz. However, it makes up for its slower clock by having four extra pipelines over the Radeon X800 GT. Meanwhile the memory speeds are rated at 700MHz DDR for the 128MB version and 980MHz DDR for the 256MB version. In short, the Radeon X800 GTO is almost exactly like the Radeon X800 GT if you take the same core and unlocked four pipelines while downclocking its speed. And most importantly, the Radeon X800 GTO is the superior card. Confused yet? In that case, please refer to the following table to see a comparison of the present mid-range stable of cards from ATI:

Overview of ATI's Mid-range Cards
GPU/VPU ATI Radeon X800 GTO ATI Radeon X800 GT ATI Radeon X800 ATI Radeon X700 XT
Core Code Various (R423, R430, R480) Various (R423, R430, R480) R430 RV410
Transistor Count Varies Varies 160 million 120 million
Manufacturing Process (microns) Varies Varies 0.11 0.11
Core Clock 400MHz 475MHz 400MHz 475MHz
Vertex Shaders 6 6 6 6
Rendering (Pixel) Pipelines 12 8 12 8
Memory Clock 256MB - 980MHz DDR3 128MB - 700MHz DDR1 256MB - 980MHz DDR3 128MB - 780MHz DDR1 350MHz (700MHz DDR3) 525MHz (1050MHz DDR3)
DDR Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth 256MB - 31.4GB/s 128MB - 22.4 GB/s 256MB - 31.4GB/s 128MB - 25.0 GB/s 22.4GB/s 16.8GB/s
RAMDAC Dual 400MHz Dual 400MHz Dual 400MHz Dual 400MHz
TV Output Int., 1024x768 Int., 1024x768 Int., 1024x768 Int., 1024x768
TMDS transmitter Int. 165MHz Int. 165MHz Int. 165MHz Int. 165MHz
PCI Express Interface x16 x16 x16 x16
Molex Power Connectors NIL NIL NIL NIL

As you may have noticed from the table, there are also many similarities between the Radeon X800 and the 'new' Radeon X800 GTO. The memory speeds are slightly changed but the core used can actually be found in some, though not all of the Radeon X800 GTO cards available, and with the exact number of pipelines. You might even call the Radeon X800 GTO the grandchild of the original Radeon X800.

Meanwhile, the Radeon X800 GTO is also on paper the brawny bigger brother of the Radeon X800 GT and should easily outpace it. The extent of this improvement, along with how it would perform against NVIDIA's equivalent, is probably why you are still reading this. So without further ado, let us move on to the technical specifications of the Radeon X800 GTO that we have received from Taiwanese manufacturer, GeCube.

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