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Radeon X700 vs GeForce 6600 Comparison (AGP & PCIe)
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Jimmy Tang on Wednesday, 21st September, 2005

A Portrait of the Radeon X700

Since we have previously covered NVIDIA's GeForce 6600 series in some detail in our comparison of the mid-range GPUs , we shall be focusing on the vanilla ATI Radeon X700 in this article. First, for those who have skipped the technical specifications table, the Radeon X700 uses a 0.11-micron GPU codenamed R410. This GPU is the smaller brother of the top end R420 (found in the Radeon X800 series), which has 16 pixel pipelines. By contrast, the R410 has only half that though both GPUs have the same number of vertex shaders. While many vendors have overclocked this card, the standard core clock speed is 400MHz.

The AGP version is just slightly longer than the PCIe and there is a small rectangular outline on its PCB that looks like a marked location for an optional Rage Theatre ASIC.

The cards look similar at the back, except for the Rialto chip (in yellow).

The memory interface has also been adjusted downwards from 256-bits to 128-bits for the R410. Compared to the GeForce 6600, which uses DDR1, the reference Radeon X700 can either use DDR1 or DDR3; the choice is usually left to the discretion of the vendors. The memory frequency for the DDR1 version is 600MHz DDR compared to 700MHz DDR for the DDR3 version. To keep the price competitive with NVIDIA's offerings, 128MB of memory is commonly found on these cards. The following table summarizes the two standard versions of the Radeon X700.

Different Flavors of the Radeon X700
GPU/VPU ATI Radeon X700 128MB DDR1 ATI Radeon X700 128MB DDR3
Core Code RV410 RV410
Transistor Count 120 million 120 million
Manufacturing Process (microns) 0.11 0.11
Core Clock 400MHz 400MHz
Vertex Shaders 6 6
Rendering (Pixel) Pipelines 8 8
Memory Clock 300MHz (600MHz DDR1) 350MHz (700MHz DDR3)
DDR Memory Bus 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth 9.6GB/s 11.2GB/s
RAMDAC Dual 400MHz Dual 400MHz
TV Output Int., 1024x768 Int., 1024x768
TMDS transmitter Int. 165MHz Int. 165MHz
Interface PCIe x16 OR AGP 8x (with Rialto bridge) PCIe x16 OR AGP 8x (with Rialto bridge)
Molex Power Connector PCIe - None
AGP - Yes
PCIe - None

AGP - Yes

Both the reference AGP and PCIe Radeon X700 look quite similar, with the AGP version having a slightly longer PCB to accommodate the Rialto bridging chip. The same circular cooler is used for both cards, cooling both the memory and the core. The Rialto chip is passively cooled and its temperature may reach more than 70 degrees during operation. However, we have had no problems with it even at these temperatures so the temperature tolerance for this bridging chip should be quite high.

Only the AGP version of the Radeon X700 needs a Molex power connector.

This yellow square marks the spot where the Rialto bridge chips are located.

The standard connectors at the rear of the card should consist of a DVI-I connector, an analog VGA output and a mini-DIN connector. Considering its initial price and performance bracket (lower mid-range), the included connectivity options are reasonable and bonuses like having a second DVI-I connector are rare and probably available only on 'special' editions from vendors.

Both the reference AGP and PCIe Radeon X700 have the same rear I/O connectors.

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